Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

April 29, 2001

Mayor Paul Schell
1200 Municipal Building
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104-1876
Fax 684-5360

Councilmember Nick Licata, Chair
Culture, Arts and Parks Committee
Seattle City Council
11th Floor, Municipal Building
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104--1876
Fax 684-8587

RE: Continuing Problems at Sand Point/Magnuson Park: Installation of Coke Machines with No Community Involvement

Dear Mayor Schell and Councilmember Licata:

The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees is concerned about the installation of Coke machines at Sand Point/Magnuson Park. Once again, there has been a total lack of communication and community involvement in the decision making process. We have concerns about energy conservation, increased litter, commercialization of the park and providing syrupy sugary drinks to children, in addition to the usual lack of community involvement on issues relating to Sand Point/Magnuson Park under current management.

As you may know, there was a great deal of controversy with Coke machines in the Seattle public schools. In that situation, citizens learned that the School District had entered into a contract with the vending machine company and that the School District would receive some of the proceeds from the sales of items in the machines. To its credit, the School District recognized the need for citizen involvement. The District established a committee to address commercialization and other issues associated with Coke machines in the schools. The issues were well publicized and there were many opportunities for citizen comment. While some issues remain unresolved with the School District, the Parks Department can learn from the School District example in recognizing the importance of community involvement.

Neighborhoods involved in and impacted by Sand Point/Magnuson Park development have been provided with no information about installation of the Coke machines. Has the Parks Department entered into a contract with Coke? Does the Parks Department receive a portion of the proceeds from sales of vending machine items? How were decisions made as to where machines would be located? Why weren't citizens involved? Did the Parks Department consider energy conservation issues and the impact of placing vending machines that require constant refrigeration in the hot sun? Is there a plan for installing waste receptacles to address the litter problem that will undoubtedly result? What will be the cost to taxpayers of increased litter pickup by the City? Who will be responsible for cleaning up graffiti that may result on the vending machines? Was any thought given to the appropriateness of providing sugary drinks to children who play at the park? (One machine is located near the Junior League Playground.) These are just a few of the issues related to installation of the Coke machines at Sand Point/Magnuson Park that merit discussion.

The Laurelhurst Community Club would like to join our neighboring communities to participate in decision-making relating to what will likely be the finest park in the region. The management at Sand Point/Magnuson Park has precluded this opportunity. Once again, we ask you to designate the Sand Point Community Liaison Committee, chaired by Jeanette Williams, as the advisory committee called for by the Blue Ribbon Committee to provide advice and assistance on major planning, management and policy issues at Sand Point/Magnuson Park.

Management at Sand Point/Magnuson Park should have had the courtesy to consult the Sand Point Community Liaison Committee before installing Coke machines in the park. Laurelhurst and other communities provide representatives to this group. The Liaison Committee would have provided an opportunity to discuss the issues and it seems logical that park management would have consulted this group. We urge you to take steps immediately to remove the Coke machines and to provide for community involvement in park issues as called for by the Blue Ribbon Committee. We look forward to hearing back from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Jeannie Hale, President
Laurelhurst Community Club
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
525-5135/ FAX 525-9631
jeannieh@serv.net


Kate Lloyd, Magnuson Park Liaison
4303 NE 35th Street
Seattle, Washington 98105
522-8822 / fax 526-5525
cmcdlloyd@home.com

cc: All City Councilmembers, Ken Bounds, C. David Hughbanks, Eric Friedli; Seattle Park Board Commissioners

Jeannie Hale, President
Laurelhurst Community Club
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
525-5135/ FAX 525-9631
jeannieh@serv.net

cc: City Councilmembers


Return to Laurelhurst home page