Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

February 10, 2005

 

Sandy Brooks, Park Board Coordinator

Board of Park Commissioners

100 Dexter Avenue N

Seattle, Washington 98109-5199

 

Re:  Proposed Magnuson Park Supplemental Use Management Guidelines

 

Dear Board of Park Commissioners:

 

The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees has reviewed the Proposed Magnuson Park Supplemental Use Management Guidelines and the subsequent changes made by the Parks Department after the public meeting on the proposed changes.  We endorse the recommendations of the Northeast District Council and offer the following additional comments:

 

Affected Organizations:  The Parks Department added the Northeast District Council as an organization affected by the Use Guidelines.  The Department, however, deleted the Sand Point Community Liaison Committee, an organization that has worked for almost 30 years to ensure a balanced use of the property to meet the many interests and park needs of our community.  Friends of Magnuson Park was not included in the listing of affected organization. 

 

The Parks Department suggests substituting the Magnuson Park Community Communications Committee and member community councils and clubs as a substitute for “community organizations.”  But, the Parks Department has denied a spot at the table on that committee to the Liaison Committee and Friends of Magnuson Park.  In addition, serving on that committee hardly provides notice of park activities and development due to the poor attendance by community groups as the committee serves no advisory or substantive role.  The mission of Seattle Parks and Recreation is to work with ALL citizens to be good stewards of our environment.  To be consistent with this mission, we believe the Use Guidelines should be inclusive and welcoming to all community organizations. 

 

Special Events:  After the Parks Department public comment on the proposed changes to the Use Guidelines and a public meeting, the Department added as permissible “special events,” “interim weekday use parking facilities” and “driver/rider training activities.”  Addition of the park and pool “special event” arose after complaints about the Parks Department’s lease of the parking lot by the old commissary to Children’s Hospital without a permit.  While we have been told that Children’s only needs parking during construction on its own campus until 2007, we do not believe park and pools are an appropriate park use.  The parking area sought for continued lease by Children’s is highly congested in the spring and summer and interferes with normal operation and use of the park by those who stroll in that area, boaters and those using the fields.

 

“Driver/rider training activities” should not be authorized until you have a full briefing about what is intended by including this type of special event and the liability the city could incur.  In the past, Magnuson Park has been used for bus driver training in an area adjacent to the natural area.  There were pollution impacts associated with this activity in the fragile area.  Currently, a portion of the park in a designated environmentally critical area has been used for motorcycle training.  This is near a natural area and landslide prone location where a trail was illegally dug.  Although this trail was filled, a new off-road course is apparent through the natural area next to a steep slope.  We do not believe this type of special event is appropriate for Magnuson Park.  At minimum, additional information should be required prior to making a decision upon adding it to the Use Guidelines as an authorized special event.

 

Public Safety Plan:  Because criminal activity at the park has continued at an alarming rate, we support a new section under “Responsibilities” to require development of a public safety and crime prevention plan in cooperation with impacted communities and the North Precinct Advisory Council.  There was a stabbing across the street after one Park-permitted fraternity activity; there have been several incidents of arson and vandalism and much drug activity.  The Parks Department has told us there is no funding for direct police staffing at Magnuson Park, nor any likely in the future.  We are not asking for a Magnuson Park police force as suggested by the Parks Department in rejecting our request for a public safety plan.  All community groups have asked for is some kind of protocol so that the Parks Department notifies the police department of criminal activity at the park.  This is not currently happening. 

 The Parks Department has said it will notify the police department of events that seek an alcohol permit from the Liquor Control Board.  We do not believe that events such as wedding receptions get at the problem of criminal activity in the park.  We believe that the Parks Department has a responsibility to work to keep our park safe in cooperation with the police.

 We hope you will consider our comments on the proposed revisions to the Magnuson Park Use Management Guidelines.  We appreciate the opportunity to submit our recommendations.

 

Sincerely,

                                                           

Jeannie Hale, President                                     Kate Lloyd, LCC Magnuson Park Liaison

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                                  4303 NE 35th Street

Seattle, Washington  98105                                          Seattle, Washington  98105

525-5135 / fax 525-9631                                             522-8822 / fax 526-5525

jeannieh@serv.net                                                        katelloyd@myhealthcheck.net