WELLINGTON HILLS PARK
With reference to the Woodinville Weekly’s article about the Snohomish County’s Parks Advisory Board approval of the Wellington Hills Park plan, I want to comment on Tom Tiegen’s remarks about those who oppose his park plan.
The first public meeting on the proposed Wellington Hills Park was held on May 8, 2012.
At that meeting, Tom Tiegen told the audience, the park, in the form of a regional sports complex, was a “done deal.”
He then went on to say many of the same things that are in The Woodinville Weekly article concerning other people’s initial resistance and their eventual surrender to a park’s construction.
The Snohomish County Dept. of Parks & Recreation meetings at Brightwater were primarily slide-show and poster board presentations showing the various iterations of proposed master plans.
Audiences were encouraged to write questions on cards and to pass them to someone from the county.
At one meeting, someone had an opportunity to ask about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) check list, but Tiegen quickly took the microphone away and re-directed the audience to come forward and look at the various drawings that were placed around the room.
As for the mentioned public process — I guess it depends on what “public process” means.
At the first meeting, Tiegen stated he wanted to start construction on the park/sports complex in October 2012.
On that schedule, the tree cutters and bulldozers were to begin their work less than five months after the first public meeting.
The Wellington Hills Park plan is probably the largest sports complex project ever initiated within Snohomish County.
With that in mind, why hasn’t the proposed plan been throughly evaluated in the same manner any other major project is proposed, studied and reviewed?
For example, the Brightwater sewage plant site was rigorously studied, rigorously scrutinized and publicly reviewed by citizen groups, experts and numerous panels.
This is Washington state. There are established and very specific ways of doing things and we typically don’t rush into expensive projects.
Yes, decisions can take time. And yes, studies and reviews are potentially expensive, but, isn’t that the essence of due process and long-term fiscal responsibility?
Shouldn’t we have a thorough review, rather than fast-tracking a major, but non-essential, project into construction?
The consequences of sorting out problems afterwards are not only frustrating and messy, but typically they’re more expensive, and quite possibly no one will be happy.
Bill Stankus, Woodinville
In the November 19th Woodinville Weekly, Snohomish County Park and Recreation Director Tom Tiegen is quoted as saying “… we have thousands of folks very supportive of this park …” to replace the golf course.
At the Snohomish County Parks Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, November 13, he stated that there were a lot of supporters who didn’t want to get into battles with their neighbors but were very supportive.
Does Tom really think that those of us who gave up our time to attend the meeting really want to get into battles with anyone?
Does he not think we have more important things to do on a Tuesday afternoon?
Let me draw an analogy. Suppose we decide to build a county aquatic center in Tom’s back yard.
I guarantee you there would be numerous supporters in a 3, 4 or 5 mile radius but it would not make or break their current living situation.
If it goes through they’d be pleased, however if it did not, no big deal.
However, Tom himself would be very opinionated. If it goes through, his whole life changes forever as there will now be thousands of people tromping through his backyard to the aquatic center.
The constant noise, particularly on weekends, and the night lights would permanently alter his lifestyle.
He would have skin in the game and would cut out of work to fight the proposal.
Such is the case for the neighbors adjacent to the current golf course location.
Our lives will change forever if Snohomish County government runs us over.
The whole idea to mitigate the construction of Brightwater was to put in parks to offset wiping out such a large green space.
A commercial sports complex is NOT a park. If you want to see a park, visit Volunteer Park or the Washington Park Arboretum.
It seems as if Brightwater has given Snohomish County government carte blanche to run over local residential neighborhoods.
No private business would be allowed to build such a complex as it violates local zoning laws. Does the county not have to abide by the law?
Mike O’Grady, Woodinville