Members of the Seattle Area Soaring Society board met with King County Parks director, Kevin Brown on Friday September 15. What they learned was startling.
First off, the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association is indeed proposing to turn the east side of the field into a parking lot. Yes, you heard that right - a PARKING LOT. It's no wonder that the LWYSA facilities manager, Curt Bateman, was so sensitive about our last post. Curt sent us an email requesting that we remove the post speculating that LWYSA intends to build a parking lot. Evidently, even the LWYSA knows that they are doing something wrong.
The County is proposing a "concession agreement" with the LWYSA with a term of 30 years. During that time, the LWYSA will manage the park, including all scheduling. If you want to schedule the park THAT YOU PAID FOR WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS, you will have to go to the LWYSA on bended knee and make a request. And you'll be writing those checks to the LWYSA. Furthermore, the LWYSA will be setting the price. We don't know what that will be yet, but the language in the contract allows the LWYSA to charge rates commensurate with comparable play fields. What this means to you soaring, kite, rocket and dog folks is that you will be paying higher rates because of the higher costs of maintaining the field for soccer use.
Here's the best part. LWYSA will be permitted to rent the field throughout the year. So when they say "the public can use the field whenever we're not using it", you can be sure that they will ALWAYS be using it. They plan to rent this field every possible day they can.
Finally, SASS has been pressing for some concessions to the many drop in users of 60 Acres South. The County's response to this is that they will submit this as a "request" to the LWYSA as part of the negotiations. What the County is proposing is 1 Saturday a month on which the LWYSA will not be able to schedule anything. If this is sounding a lot like the rules for that timeshare you never use, you're not far off the mark. And indeed, part of the strategy seems to be to make using the park so impractical for drop in users, that they'll eventually stop coming altogether.
The LWYSA has two key problems, parking and revenue. This tidy deal with the County will allow them to solve both those problems AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. The proposed deal between the County and the LWYSA is so egregious and displays such wanton disregard for the taxpayer, that we can hardly believe they can talk about with straight faces. The County and the LWYSA have been busy lobbying your King County Council officials, so be sure they hear your voices as well. We can beat this if everyone speaks out.
WE NEED YOUR HELP. Please visit the Take Action page for letter templates and addresses of your King COunty Council members.
Send your letter to your Councilmember's attention (and copy all the others) to:
King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue Room 1200
Seattle, Washington 98104-3272