Comments to the Culture, Arts, & Parks Committee
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
6057 Ann Arbor Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98115
THE BAD THINGS HAPPENING AT SAND POINT/MAGNUSON PARK ...
It is exciting to be a part of the creation of a great urban park in northeast Seattle. There is so much happening, so much has happened, and so much more is to happen. This is a complicated process and because it is a complicated process it is even more important that there is in place an oversight committee or council with neighborhood and professional, scientific members. This group, called for in the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Committee, needs to be put in place so that there is an accountability for implementation of park changes and so that community members and users will have a forum in which to get answers to questions. With the addition of members with particular professional and scientific expertise, the Sand Point Community Liaison Committee, a group of neighbors either elected or appointed by their respective community councils, could well serve as an advisory council to the Parks Department at Sand Point/Magnuson Park. This advisory council or board should be created with representation of 1/3 neighbors, 1/3 park staff, and 1/3 scientists or professionals whose selection is agreed by both the first two representations.
If this advisory council had been in place, perhaps ...
- The wetlands may not have been filled for the east sports meadow
- The wetlands may not have been covered with cintrex in the off leash area
- The wetlands may not have been filled with wood chips along the off leash area.
- The mayor's message to conserve electricity and water would have disallowed the lighting at the old commissary for 24 hours a day seven days a week from last October until after the first of the year
- The decision may have been made to replace the outdoor light standards with more energy efficient standards rather than using the reason that "it was not cost effective to replace them because it would cost more than our saving in electricity costs"
- The site of the former WAVE barracks would not have been hydro seeded and now watered in this very dry spring
- The choice of exotic plants would not have been made but rather the guidelines for both historic and natural areas would have been followed
- Coke machines may not have been installed in the park
- Coke machines may not have been installed on the south, sun-facing sides of the buildings in the park
- Union rules would have been followed and a "stop work" order would not have been necessary on the installation of an espresso stand, in the park
- Union rules would have been followed and there would not have been an issue of using seasonal employees in place of regular employees
- Union rules, and park policy, would have been followed and a vacancy would have been posted rather than filling it from within
- The policy of art in the Park would have been followed and no "left over" art from an outdoor sculpture show would have been left in place
- There would have been no healthy trees cut per the Department's tree policy
- No permission would have been given to the men who cut the conifers during the Christmas season
- The neighbor who sends his gardener to cut the trees on Promontory Point interfering with his private view would have been prosecuted (he does this each year)
- The reuse plan would have been followed and the use of exotic and non-native plants would not have happened, such as at the Brig and other areas within the historic area
- There would be a demand for a staff person who is either a horticulturist, botanist, or possesses common sense and the latest planting, in early July, of non-natives in the natural area would not have occurred
- This same staff person would not prune the noxious weed "gorse" but would have dug the plant out of the soil
- There would be accountability for what is done at the park and we would not now be under the scrutiny of the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, and the enforcers of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- The budget request for a noise polluting, air polluting, fossil fuel guzzler, habitat invader, trailblazer may have been denied and the security force may have to return to using either bicycles or autos for paroling this accessible park
- A competitive process may have been used to select a vender for the espresso stand rather than allowing someone's friend to set up an operation with hand painted signs and second hand equipment
- Perhaps there wouldn't be a for-profit outfit on a multi-year lease in one of the few large facilities in the north end which would be able to host a multitude of cultural, artistic, and educational events which are now "shut out" because the priorities of culture, arts, and education were not followed
- Perhaps the natural areas adjacent to the new cross-park road would not have been bull- dozed of the entire natural habitat if the advisory council had been consulted. No council, no informed staff, and we lost our owl habitat and the area is still barren and scarred from the bulldozer
- Perhaps the maintenance agreement for Fin Art would be followed and mowing of the habitat areas and the native plants would not have occurred
- Most importantly, the need for an advisory board is not only to ensure that Federal, State, and City laws and Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation policies are followed and obeyed, but to provide an open forum where neighbors, users, and tax payers can get answers to their questions. There is a desperate need for an open and honest responsible forum for everyone. The rumors flying about $30,000,000 for Mudlake, the loss of the Audubon Summer Nature Camp, the demise of the Senior Program could be addressed if there were a place to take these rumors!
- Now, the collusion between Parks and Lorig in the development of the triangle at the southwest entrance to the park on NE 65th Street would have not happened. There would not be the specter of Initiative 42 raising its head, there would not be a complete disregard of the current "freezing" of any plantings or clearings while the Vegetation Management Plan goes through the public process, and there would not be a conflict with the request from a neighborhood group for public moneys for a "design" of the entrance while Lorig and whomever plants and seeds the triangle in their design.
AND THE GOOD THINGS HAPPENING AT SAND POINT/MAGNUSON PARK ...
From a cedar forest, to sawmills, to airport runways, to ...
- A wonderful place for urban visitors. Since Magnuson Park was created and since the property was surplussed by the Navy, many very good things have happened to our northeast regional park.
- Housing for homeless singles and families is well maintained and is working well.
- The Park has never been less "trashed".
- More people come to enjoy the out of doors.
- Community members enjoy the events.
- Environmental organizations have found a pleasing location.
- Hundreds of children are able to participate in YMCA programs, Audubon Nature Camp, SailSandPoint programs, environmental restoration work, and sports.
- Dog walkers have the only off leash area in the city with access to Lake Washington.
- Grounds crew and staff support the efforts of the environmental restoration at Promontory Point.
- Community and special interest groups are able to hold meetings in any of several buildings on the site.
- Security is always present. There are fewer crimes, less drugs, less partying, and fewer overnight campers in the bushes.
- The grasses have been allowed to grow and create not only habitat but also a pleasing environment for the visitors who walk and enjoy the beauty of the park
- Park staff attend community meetings to present the plans for the park.
- Magnuson is ahead of the rest of the department in curtailing the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides.
- Removal of invasive plants and planting of native plants to improve the habitat at Promontory Point, near the Lookout Tower, by the swimming beach parking lot, and at the North Shore and around several buildings.
- There are fewer dogs off leash outside the Off-Leash area.
- The Junior League Playground attracts many families and their children.
- Through a $100,000 Department of Neighborhood matching grant, improvements on Promontory Point include an Environmental Education Pavilion, Native Plant Butterfly Garden, and improved nature trails.
- Funding obtained and use begun for the second Community Center building with stage, pool, and basketball court.
- Senior programs are taking place.
- A wetlands forum was held and scientific, community, and educational input was given.
- Funding was obtained through the Pro Parks initiative for the design team for the ball fields/wetlands planning.
- A Vegetation Management Plan study with public participation has begun.
- Park visitors enjoy the summer Sunday band concerts.
- Funding from the Pro Parks levy and a Small and Simple grant from the Department of Neighborhoods supports the design for the Magnuson Community Garden.
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