TUE, FEB 23, 7 PM- Come to Ball Parks at Saint Edward State Park Meeting at Kenmore City Hall

Future of St. Ed Core: Ball Parks and Parking Lots?

By Peter Lance
Eddie Hiking in the Park-ing -scaledI think one of the big snow jobs that are overwhelming the Park Commissioners are the traffic and parking issues. Daniels, Hankinson and the City of Kenmore seem to turn a blind eye to this? I don’t think the ballfields and hotel will play well with park visitors or each other. I think the combined effects of the individual proposed changes in the park are NOT well understood. The Daniel’s proposal claims, “We don’t expect the park entrance road to be widened or altered as a result of this project.” Maybe not, however add baseball to this and you probably have a Perfect Storm of internal traffic and parking problems. Having professional parking and traffic studies done before anything is agreed is just common sense.

Here are some of the issues:

  1. Replacement Parking: – The ballfield is now used for parking during events like the summer concerts. This will be lost when the 2 new fields are built.

  2. Ball Player Parking: – The new ball players will require parking.

  3. Traffic Jams: – Ball players, hotel patrons and park visitors will often be driving in and out at the same time of day. Expect real frustration when ball fields are being turned over? (A game or practice is ending and new teams arriving.)

  4. What will the plateau of the park look like when the trees are actually removed?

  5. What activities will be lost to the park?

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2 Responses to TUE, FEB 23, 7 PM- Come to Ball Parks at Saint Edward State Park Meeting at Kenmore City Hall

  1. Bob Graff says:

    I think issues regarding traffic and parking are concerns that must be addressed. Beyond that, my take-away from the 2/9 meeting is that in the opinion of Citizens for Saint Edwards State Park, the proposal will have a negative impact on:
    1. wildlife
    2. families/children
    I will address each:
    First, in terms of wildlife, the word “sanctuary” was used in a recent Seattle Times Letter to the Editor and repeated again last night. If this is what you truly desire of St. Ed’s, then this is what you should advocate:
    – removal of seminary building (including asbestos, mold and other hazardous waste)
    – removal of playground structure – it has no place in a wildlife sanctuary
    – maintenance of Seminary Trail and northern open space for access to the shoreline and wildlife viewing
    – permanent closure of the North Ridge, Grotto, South Canyon, and South Ridge trails as well as the southern open space/meadow so wildlife can freely inhabit the forest without human disturbance. That is the purpose of a wildlife sanctuary.
    – Prohibition on pets – they have no place in a wildlife sanctuary
    – Elimination of Summer Concert Series and other special public/private events – they have no place in a wildlife sanctuary.
    Second, in terms of concern for our kids, this organization has a long history of opposing renovation to the existing ballfield area so it can be used by local Little Leagues – community-based, non-profit organizations providing recreational opportunities for our children. So I don’t buy the “concern for kids” argument in relation to the Seminary proposal.
    Since arriving in Washington 11 years ago, St. Ed’s has been my family’s big back yard. We have spent untold hours on the trails, on the playground, at Summer Concerts, etc. My kids have grown, but I still hike the trails numerous times each week. It brings me peace – even with the sounds of floatplanes, boat traffic, cricket matches, company picnics, bike races, or whatever else my be happening in and around the park.
    I have listened to Citizens for Saint Edwards State Park for the eleven years that I have lived in Kenmore and I have concluded that what you desire is something that has never existed. St. Ed’s is not a wildlife sanctuary! And it is not intended for the sole purpose of quiet walks through the woods – no matter how much you and I enjoy that aspect of it. It is a recreational park. And this current proposal in no way prohibits the variety of recreational opportunities that currently exist.
    Thanks for reading.

  2. Bob Graff says:

    What follows is my “unabridged” testimony (my oral testimony was shorter due to time constraints) provided at the Feb. 23rd meeting at Kenmore City Hall regarding the renovation of ballfields at St. Edward State Park:

    My name is Bob Graff and I am a Citizen for St. Edward State Park.

    Since arriving in Kenmore from Ohio over 10 years ago, St. Ed’s has served as our family’s big back yard. It is where I go numerous times every week to enjoy solitary hikes through the forest and by the waterside. In years gone by, it is where I spent time with my wife and children enjoying the playground, trails, great lawn and swimming pool. For I have always understood the importance of providing outdoor, active recreational opportunities for children.

    So as a Citizen for St. Edward State Park, I advocate for the continued appropriate balance of conservation, recreation and historic preservation within park boundaries.

    Someone with more knowledge can correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I can see, the vast majority of the park is dedicated to passive use, primarily hiking/walking, and wildlife habitat. There are some forested areas and vast open spaces that are available for other recreational opportunities – biking, the playground, special events, and so on. And there is one 5 acre parcel containing existing structures and I am happy there is a current viable proposal that will allow for the presvervation of the historic Seminary Buidling.

    So when I look at this proposal to renovate the existing ballfield area so it can improve the availability of outdoor recreational opportunities for our community’s children, I wholeheartedly support the proposal and see it within the appropriate balance of conservation, recreation and historic preservation.

    Will the renovation of the existing ballfield area bring more noise and traffic into the park? Absolutely. Will it dramtically impact my ability to enjoy my peaceful, solitary hikes through the forest? Absolutely not. I have often hiked the trails when the ballfield and other open spaces are being used for cricket matches (trust me, they get loud), company picnics, bike races, and other special events. And I have always found that once I get a short distance away from the open areas, the sounds associated with those activites fall away. In fact, the biggest disruption to the peace and natural sounds of the forest is more often the boat traffic and float planes utilizing Lake Washingon.

    Regarding traffic concerns in relation to the proposed ballfield renovation, let’s keep in mind that Little League baseball games have been taking place for decades at Bastyr. Therefore, this renovation will not significantly increase traffic flow from Juanita into the St. Edward/Bastyr entrance. Additionally, having a large playground, trails and a renovated Seminary building on the same premises as the ballfields will allow families to enjoy other aspects of the park before and after games, thereby limiting the “floods” of cars coming and going at one time. Also, given that Bastyr has been such a supportive partner of Little Leagues, I am confident that if some “overflow” parking is needed at especially busy times on the ballfields, they will look for ways to accomodate the need as they have for years.

    Furthermore, will this proposal interfere with other uses of this area of the park? Beyond the cricket matches – which seem to be addressed in the proposal already – I don’t believe so. The most common use of this area from my experience is small groups of people using the exisiting ballfield for practice or games. In fact, following a hike through the forest this weekend – and it was a busy day in the park – I sat next to the ballfield area for some time to see how many people utilized it. There was one – a gentleman practicing his fly fishing.

    Keep in mind that I have no selfish interest in the ballfield proposal. My children have been away from Little League for many years and my primary use of St. Edward State Park is hiking the trails. However, I view this proposal as better meeting the needs of my greater community – especially the children.

    Finally, to critics of this plan who may see it as detrimental or a risk to the natural aspects of the park, I have a challenge. Become a partner with the users of the renovated ballfields and utilize the St. Edward Environmental Learning Center to provide educational opportunities to children and families attending ballgames. It would be very simple to set up information tables and fun hands-on activities – especially for siblings of ballplayers – to help inform and educate them about the park and environmental issues in our region.

    So in summary, I support this proposal within an effort to achieve an appropriate balance of conservation, recreation, and preservation within the boundaries of St. Edward State Park.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my input. I look forward to the day I can finish a hike at St. Ed’s, wander to the ballfield area, witness a Little League baseball game, and cherish the memories of my own children doing the same so many years ago.

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