Engineering Study Looks to Revamp Cochrane Park

CochraneDucksYelm, WA — Cochrane Memorial Park is set to receive an engineering study to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of the iconic public resource.

Cochrane Park serves as one Yelm’s most popular parks, offering multiple ponds, waterfalls, and walking paths, making it a beautiful spot for pictures, and weddings. The park also serves an essential public purpose by taking clean water from the reclamation facility, which processes human waste to a level cleaner than California drinking water standards, and recharges the aquifer as part of the City’s water mitigation strategy.

“Cochrane Park is one of the most appealing parks in the community and is symbolic of the City’s effort to conserve our natural resources,” Public Works Director Chad Bedlington said. “It is a popular destination for the community and we want the public to be a part of the re-design and engineering process.”

Cochrane Park was built in 1999 and was one of the first parks in the state to use clean, reclaimed water to recharge an aquifer. Since that time, the Department of Ecology found procedures to streamline the process to improve functionality and reduce vegetation challenges at similar parks.

Cattails and other invasive species have historically made their way into the park, and water in the fish pond and wetlands frequently backs-up due to clogging of the natural filtration system. A recent study determined the wetlands are not leaking, but need to be reconstructed to restore the original performance of this innovative system.

The engineering study will result in a redesign of Cochrane Park to prevent some parts of the system from drying out and other parts from overflowing. The engineering study will include extensive analysis, conceptual exhibits, public outreach, and recommendations for reconstruction.

“The redesign will allow the park to pump more than double the amount of water  back into the aquifer, which will improve the appearance and functionality of Cochrane Park,” Bedlington said.