Northwest NEWS

December 4, 2000


County should be thanked instead of criticized

Since time distorts facts, I sorted through my parks-east-of-Woodinville file for at-the-time facts on the Mary Cash farm/Daniels Creek Park.
   There were several Woodinville Weekly articles, including some by WW reporter Al Dams is he the same Al Dams currently with County Parks??
   The scenario started with what was called the Bear Creek Athletic Fields, 32 1/2 acres on NE 165th that "contemplated two fields each for soccer and baseball-softball, a passive meadow with a loop trail, parking and restrooms." (There is also a small lake.)
   An after-the-fact determination of insufficient non-wetlands for sportsfields re-activated the search, which resulted in the purchase of the Mary Cash farm: ". . . land that could accommodate ball fields, Bob Jacobs, chief of capital improvements for Parks and Natural Resources, said." . . . "The land, much of which is flat, could be made into a couple of ball fields, Loutsis said." . . .
   After insufficient non-wetlands also foreclosed the Cash farm for ball fields, in 1991 Al Dams wrote that "(Constance Zimmerman, a project administrator with County Parks) said plans for that front part of the property include a picnic area and a play area for children. The storage shed and barn will become picnic shelters, she said."
   In 1992, an article described "10 local residents who came to a meeting July 29" on the Mary Cash farm plans, which included a children's play area, a covered picnic area, parking, and a mile-long nature boardwalk through the wetlands that "ends in a room-sized observation platform."
   One of the three Nov.20, 2000, WW articles on the county's asphalting the parking lot pointed out that the Mary Cash farm, which environmentalists now consider at the most as an interpretive center, was bought with county general funding, as opposed to the adjacent Cottage Lake Blueberry Farm which was bought with Waterways 2000 funding.
   Waterways-funded land must be "natural," which explains why all the blueberry bushes were torn out to reclaim nature, unlike Bellevue which features its city-owned blueberry farm as a farming amenity in the city.
   But since general funds can be used for active recreation, it's important to permit active recreation wherever there's sufficient dry land to permit it. Especially since the "Bear Creek Athletic Fields" on 165th have no people-use whatever, and since so much of Cottage Lake Park has been re-natured and fenced off from people.
   So instead of criticizing King County for asphalting 1400 sq. ft. for parking (which is probably less surface area than occupied by the two residences that the county demolished and which could have served as caretaker quarters or low-income housing), the county should be thanked.
   Unless the park's new goal is lockup for the favored handful, the public needs parking wherever people are accommodated, which should include Daniels Creek Park.
   But Parks should be criticized for sending 11 staffers to meet with 11 environmentalists onsite. At the $132/per staffer charged by the county's building and clearing permits people, that's $1,452 per hour for those 11 staffers, with travel time counted.
   What a waste. I wonder how many staffers will attend the Nov. 28th community meeting to decide whether to tear out the asphalt.
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville