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January 12, 2006

Comments

Sheman E. Lillie

I would like to know when the next meeting is with King County Parks and LWYSA. Its time to turn up the heat!

Jim Laurel

Very likely the reason is that not all LWYSA members support this deal. It should come as no surprise that many people who enjoy soccer also value unstructured play on open spaces.

quenneville

I want to thank King County Council member Kathy Lambert, Mayor Rosemarie Ives, and Redmond Council members Nancy McCormick, Richard Cole and Pat Vache for attending the meeting yesterday at Horace Mann. There were over 150 concerned citizens in attendance. The bulk of whom are steadfastly against the sale of Sixty Acres South to LWYSA. I’m sure our ranks will grow, as this sale becomes more widely publicized. Here are some of the key points I derived from the meeting.

1) The County states that the sale is not a violation of Forward Thrust per their review with King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Frankly, I don’t believe this will hold when all the facts are presented in an unbiased way. KC Parks is taking funds derived from the sale of a Forward Thrust park to acquire non park land in partnership with Lake Washington Technical College. Certainly this is in violation of the spirit of Forward Thrust.

2) The County is effectively changing the designation of Sixty Acres from "passive recreation" to "active recreation." This is not a distinction that should be taken lightly. Norm Maleng in a 1998 legal opinion noted the distinction. It should forever remain as passive recreation based on the unique characteristics of the site. KC Parks has massive park acreage available for active recreation – why sell this one?

3) The surplus process that Parks used on this one is a joke. KC Parks surplused Sixty Acres South back in 2004 with no public notification. They surplused a heavily used park to King County because Parks no longer needs it as a park and then propose to sell it to a private organization to develop it for athletic fields because demand is so high. This helps explain why SASS’s Community Partnership Grant (CPG) proposal was not accepted. Does anyone have a probably with this?

4) Parks states that deed restrictions will keep this a public park. This is the United States. Property ownership is damn near sacred. Once this property goes to a private party, all bets are off. I don't care what kind of language gets put into the contract. Once Sixty Acres South land leaves the public trust, write it off.

5) LWYSA has finally decided after 11 years to allow public access to a public park (Sixty Acres North) while attempting to extend their lease to 50 years and purchase outright Sixty Acres South. What a coincident.

This sale increases the quantity of soccer opportunities for one powerful huge soccer monopoly at the expense of variety of recreation opportunities for many voiceless small groups. I talked to Curt Bateman earlier in the week and told him I would gladly support the efforts of LWYSA to establish additional soccer fields in locations other than 60 Acres South. His exact response to me was that 60 Acres South "would enable them to hold larger events". Ah - the real reason! It’s not about the kids and the need for more soccer fields. It's about "larger events." That's where the money is! One group last summer paid $30,000 for one 4 day event. LWYSA is a business - It's about the money!

Jim Laurel produced a very powerful video describing the importance of Sixty Acres South remaining as a passive recreational park. Jim will make this video available for those interested viewing it. Sixty Acres is the jewel in the Sammamish Valley Regional Park. This sale must and will be challenged.

Sincerely,
Chuck Quenneville
President, Valley Estates Homeowners' Association.

David Brombaugh

So - what happened? On another message board, I saw that about half of the attendees were LWYSA folks. That being the case, it seems that the community opinion from the meeting should have been about even.

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