One of the fastest growing communities on the Eastside, the City of Sammamish enjoys a tranquil setting surrounded by natural beauty. Home to 40,000 people, the residential community is located on the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish, with Redmond to the north and Issaquah to the south. Sammamish incorporated as a city in August 1999. Since then the city has been busy building new roads, designing parks and creating other community infrastructure.
Historically an area of timber and agricultural activities, Sammamish now boasts many of the finest residential areas in the Puget Sound region set in an environment of green spaces, including wetlands and community parks. The area has long been considered to be excellent for families – as evidenced by the substantial number of people under 18, the excellent school systems (Issaquah and Lake Washington School Districts) and the emphasis on organized youth activities.
A blend of small-town atmosphere with a suburban character, the city also enjoys a unique core of urban lifestyles and conveniences. It is characterized by quality neighborhoods, vibrant natural features, and outstanding recreational opportunities. A variety of community gathering places provide numerous civic, cultural, and educational opportunities. Restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues dot the nature landscape of the city.
Residents are actively involved in the decisions that shape the community and ensure a special sense of place. Accordingly, the city’s Comprehensive Plan is intended to:
Maintain a small-town atmosphere and suburban character so that new development will complement Sammamish’s existing character as well as allow for diversity and creativity;
Provide a family friendly, kid safe community;
Encourage community gathering spaces which invite human presence, arouse curiosity, pique interest and allow for the interaction of people;
Establish a unique sense of place for visitors and residents;
Respect the character and integrity of existing neighborhoods;
Preserve trees and green ways by encouraging the preservation or development of large areas of greenery which provide a visual impact as opposed to creating small areas of unusable residue;
Protect and enhance streams, wetlands and wildlife corridors;
Maintain a harmonious relationship between the natural environment and future urban development;
Create a safe and interesting network of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding;
Establish a park and recreation system that meets the high standards of the community;
Provide accessible, quality government service and encourage active, involved citizens;
Develop civic and cultural opportunities and experiences.
Lake Sammamish is the sixth largest lake in Washington, and one of the major recreational lakes—with high use by fishermen, boaters, water skiers, swimmers, and picnickers. The freshwater lake is 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 105 feet and a surface area of 8 square miles. It lies east of Bellevue and west of the Sammamish Plateau, and stretches from Issaquah in the south to Redmond in the north. There are popular State and County parks along the shore including Marymoor Park at the lake’s north end, Lake Sammamish State Park at its south end and East Lake Sammamish Trail. Lake Sammamish State Park boasts 6,858 feet of waterfront along its 512 acres. The parks day-use facilities including an active boat launch, picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, two swimming beaches, and softball and soccer fields.
Seward Park covers 300 acres and is located in southeast Seattle in the neighborhood of the same name (map). The park occupies all of Bailey Peninsula, a forested peninsula and former island that juts into Lake Washington. It contains one of the last surviving tracts of old-growth forest within the city of Seattle. The park is named for former U.S. Secretary of State William Seward. Columbia City and surrounds, located just west of Seward Park, offers a variety of local restaurants.
One approaches the park from the north by Lake Washington Boulevard S, from the south by Seward Park Avenue S., or from the west by S Orcas Street. The main parking lot and a tennis court are located in the southwest corner. The most commonly used trail is a car-free loop around the park. It is flat and 2.4 miles long. The perimeter trail was repaved in 2007. Other trails run through the interior, including a few car-accessible roads that lead to amenities including an amphitheater and picnic area. Seward Park features numerous small beaches, the largest one on its southwest side, as well as a playground and an arts center. Both Seward Park and Beacon Hill are part of the Seattle School District.
Beacon Hill, in south Seattle (map), is comprised of four areas: North Beacon Hill, Mid-Beacon Hill, Holly Park and South Beacon Hill. It’s a neighborhood where professional people and blue collar workers still live side-by-side. Rather than being divisive, the economic diversity of Beacon Hill has brought the residents together, as they strive to keep the feel of the community intact. Still considered an affordable place to buy a home, the houses possess unique character. In North Beacon Hill area, there are nice examples of the Seattle Box style home and quality Craftsman-style bungalows. The Pacific Medical Center, also located in North Beacon Hill, is an Art Deco style building that used to serve as Amazon’s world headquarters and has been a national landmark since 1979. The Seattle Light Rail has a stop at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill, which has upped neighborhood’s appeal to people who work downtown and commercial developers alike. The distinctive views of the Olympics and Cascades are enjoyed throughout the whole Beacon Hill neighborhood.
One of the highlights of Beacon Hill is Jefferson Park. Its golf club, which was home course for professional golfer Fred Couples during his teens, is one of Seattle’s few public golf courses. The park itself offers visitors gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains, downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. Other sports which can be played at the park include lawn bowling, basketball, cricket and tennis. The park also houses a community center, a wading pool and playground. Starting in 2012, a permaculture project called Beacon Food Forest will be housed on a 7 acre plot adjacent to the southwest corner of the park.
Van Asselt Community Center is located on S. Myrtle Street. It offers children and teen programs, drop in sport activities, fitness classes, art classes and other programs to benefit local residents. The facilities, remodeled in 2007, include a gym, dividable multipurpose room, teen room, childcare and kitchen. On the grounds, there is a wading pool, playground equipment and outdoor basketball hoops.
The Beacon Hill Blog, which is maintained by Wendi Dunlap (who also has managed the Beacon Hill email list since 1999) offers timely neighborhood information, neighborhood photos and an events calendar.
Beacon Hill is served by light rail direct to downtown Seattle. The station is 150 feet under Lander Street and the average downtown commute to about 12 minutes, car-free. Given its convenient proximity to I-5 and Interstate 90, a relatively affordable housing market, and its sweeping mountain and Puget Sound views, Beacon Hill has a lot to offer.