JUNE 2, 1997
City Council, Parks hold joint session
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
Members of the Woodinville City Council discussed their vision of the future for parks in the city with the Parks and Recreation Commission at their first-ever joint meeting. The commission has been given the task of coming up with a vision and mission for parks, recreation, and open space for the next decade.
Councilmember Lucy DeYoung spoke out strongly in the meeting. "The Parks and Recreation's job is to come up with a long-term plan with a balance between the vision and the implementation," DeYoung said.
She said she viewed the Northshore School District's Sorenson complex as the "cornerstone" of the Parks and Recreation program. She noted its historical ties, its proximity to Wilmot Gateway Park, and other uses.
DeYoung spoke out on park opportunities with the local streams. "We need to take Trib 87 and make it an urban stream ... I think we can live with fish and people together," DeYoung said, challenging the parks board to find ways of making streams part of the parks' system. "People like babbling brooks. We used to play in them as kids." She wanted to find ways to work with industrial businesses along Little Bear Creek to ensure stream quality and provide off-hour access.
DeYoung and Councilmember Barbara Solberg took stands on park user fees.
"We need to charge people outside of the city to use our facilities. It's unfair to ask the people in the city to pay," DeYoung said.
"I think this facility needs to be run as a self-sustaining facility," DeYoung said of the Sorenson complex.
Solberg spoke of maintenance fees and parking meters. She said that paying for use was a "fact of life" and that parks should generate some revenue. "I think we're going to have to take a practical look at creating a little bit of revenue," Solberg said.
DeYoung spoke of giving teens a place to hang out, though she was opposed to bowling alleys and skating rinks. She also noted the double-edged sword of tourism. "Tourism is wonderful, but it brings in a lot of traffic," DeYoung said.
Solberg noted the influx of seniors coming with Brittany Park and said their needs would have to be met partially through parks. Solberg also suggested incorporating the arts into the long-range plan.
The Parks and Recreation Commission were asked to look at ways of acquiring parks and maintaining them, as well.
Bellevue's Parks and Recreation Director Lee Springgate was on hand, urging Woodinville to come up with a vision and mission on what type of park system to create. He advised the city to take a leadership role now and stay ahead of demand for land and acquire land before it was taken for development.
Springgate counseled that quality management of parks would make for long-term credibility for a park system, one in which the citizens would find enjoyment and safety. He suggested use of public/private partnerships, estate planning, and working with conservancies, and pointed out the personal, social, environmental, and economic benefits of a park system.
The council and parks commission hardly needed to be sold. Councilmember Solberg could be overheard chanting "Get that park land, get that park land," at the end of the meeting.