Lions Lake playground

Callie Straatmann swings across monkey bars June 21 at a park near Lions Lake’s. The Washington Parks and Recreation department is discussing removing the little blue playground, which was installed in the 1990s.

Board might vote to remove aging

playground at Lions Lake

At its Wednesday evening meeting, members of the Washington Park Board will be asked to rename the 20-acre Phoenix Park in honor of Richard F. Stratman, a former Washington mayor. 

“Establishing a city park on the east side of town was a priority of Mayor Stratman and the subject was discussed on many occasions in my meetings with him,” Joseph Vernaci wrote in a letter to the park board. Vernaci is the manager of the Phoenix Center II Development Corp. LLC, which is one of the largest shopping centers in Washington.  

“It’s my opinion that (Phoenix) park would ... not be in existence were it not for his repeated requests that it be part of the overall development of Phoenix Center II,” Vernaci wrote. “I don’t believe there is any more deserving person, and it would be a very much deserved tribute to this man responsible for the existence of this park. ” 

The park, which officially opened in 2012, is the third-largest park in the city’s park system. Only the Miller-Post Nature Reserve, a 67-acre park that features a 2-mile walking trail, and the Busch Creek Disc Golf Course, a 30-acre park that opened in 2019, are bigger. 

The Phoenix Park features a 4,100-foot walking trail, a 50-foot bridge at the northern area of the park and an 85-foot bridge crossing a creek that runs through the park. There are also tennis and pickleball courts, six ponds in the park and more than 100 trees that were planted prior to the park’s opening. The city is planning to construct a new playground in the park, which will include seven slides of varying lengths, a rock climbing wall, a merry-go-round, rope walls and more. 

The playground will likely be installed sometime in 2022, according to city officials. 

The potential renaming of Phoenix Park is just one of a handful of items on the park board’s agenda. The group will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in Washington City Hall. 

Other agenda items include continued discussions on installing a new turf surface at Ronsick Field, a report on attendance at the Agnes Nolting Aquatic Complex and the removal of playground equipment at Lions Lake. 

The playground at Lions Lake was installed in the 1990s.