Kennewick arts, parks and recreation groups share '14 plans

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMarch 25, 2014 

Metal horse artwork at Kennewick's south Highway 395 entrance, a second community garden and a new pathway are among the projects Kennewick's parks and recreation and arts groups plan to tackle in the next year.

The two commissions updated the Kennewick City Council on their 2014 plans Tuesday.

Linda Moran, arts commission vice chairwoman, and Ben Rutledge, parks and recreation commission chairman, said the two groups have been working together to find ways to enhance what they are working on.

Parks, recreation facilities and art contribute to Kennewick's quality of life, economic development and tourism, they said.

The arts commission has looked at ways to support parks and recreation by creating low-maintenance art pieces, including installing artwork in traffic circles instead of landscaping, Moran said. The group is working on the art for a traffic circle at 45th Avenue and Olympia Street.

"We've been pretty successful so far," she said.

The two commissions are working together on a long rectangular piece of property off Columbia Center Boulevard near Hansen Park, Moran said. They plan to clean up the corner and install xeriscaping and artwork.

The playground at Columbia Estates also will be torn out and replaced because of safety concerns, said Maxine Whattam, the city's community services supervisor.

In northern Kennewick at Lawrence Scott Park, Rutledge said the group is working on a second community garden. The community garden at Olympia Street and 10th Avenue has been a huge success, with residents taking real ownership.

At Columbia Park, Moran said the arts commission plans to promote performing arts use throughout the park during the next few years.

In east Kennewick, what role the Kennewick Senior Center plays in the community in the future is a focus, Rutledge said.

The dynamics and demographics of seniors are changing, and that could mean reinventing the senior center so it better serves the community. That will be done with community input, he said.

In the Southridge area, the parks and recreation commission will be determining the best use of seven additional acres because the Southridge Sports & Events Complex is heavily used, Rutledge said.

At Kennewick's south entrance along Highway 395, three restored metal horses will be installed to refer to the nearby Horse Heaven Hills and the Carousel of Dreams, which is under construction in the area, Moran said.

The arts commission also is working on how to use leftover scraps from the carousel in a piece of artwork that will serve as a wayfinder to the carousel at the Southridge Sports & Events Complex, Moran said.

Near the Five Corners area near Steptoe Street and Hildebrand Boulevard, the arts commission is considering a project to engage volunteers to form a pathway and do some cleanup and initial plantings, Moran said. They hope to involve school children in writing the stories about the landscape and plants for interpretive signs.

"We've got some big ideas," she said.

Overall, the arts commission will be working on marketing and trying to reach out to developers to offer its services, Moran said. The commission is working with a developer to help plan themed art for traffic circles in a development.

The arts commission also is putting together an art tour using an app in the next year or year and a half, Moran said. That will include art the commission has worked on, but also existing artwork in the community such as historic signs and the 9/11 memorial and the carousel.

"They all have great stories, and that's what attracts people to do this tour," she said.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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