The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Average citizen won't even have adequate recreation in King County

county priorities King County's adopted budget illustrates county priorities.
   Fifteen million dollars is assigned to prevent development on 2,240 acres near Issaquah, North Bend, and Lake Sawyer. Those purchases are for open space, not sports fields.
   Of a $4.8 million allocation for "parks and recreation," a significant amount of the $1.9 million portion for Cottage Lake Park will be spent on rewilding about 40% of the former Norm's Resort, including eliminating shoreline lawns. Boat launching, fishing, and swimming will be crowded together on the west side.
   And you can bet the $950,000 included in the "parks and recreation" category for buying the Preston Mill will not result in active recreation either. (Then there's $1.5 million to research a trail along East Lake Sammamish??)
   The $600,000-plus state and federal money for flood control projects will not necessarily be spent to control flooding. Using the proposed Cedar River Basin plan as an example, 42% of the funding will be spent for fish habitat restoration.
   All the open space land removed from the tax rolls (and added to the county's inventory of open space to be maintained at a county-estimated annual cost of $275/acre) wouldn't be so bad if it relieved pressure to downzone private land. That's not happening, as witness the current push to downzone rural lands from five acres to 10-20 acres per home. There'll be a great rural land inventory for the rich, but none for the average citizen, who won't even have adequate recreation amidst the plethora of open space.
   [Regarding Cottage Lake Park], I have questions for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
   The information in your Public Notice (Application 95-4-00375) indicated that the rewilding of Cottage Lake Park, or around 40% of it, is mitigation for King County's plan to disturb 2.83 acres of wetlands on the park's west side.
   If King County left that wetland alone in its present state, and left alone the little stream that crosses the Woodinville-Duvall Road into the park, would that cancel the necessity for the rewilding?
   If the county confined its improvements to the dry uplands only, would there be any requirements on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers for the county to remove lawn areas along the lake and replace them with native brush and trees?
   If the county left in place the wetlands reeds, etc., growing along the lower reaches of the little stream, that in the summer is a mere trickle, is that sufficient stream buffering for the Army Corps? If not, how much is required by the A.C.E.?

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville