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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Cedarbrook Coalition

This article reprinted from Friday's Shoreline Area News.
It is authored by George Piano, Chair of the Cedarbrook Coalition.

The Cedarbrook Park is an example of several open space sites in Shoreline that have a great deal of support in the community for acquisition as new public parks. Currently, the funding climate for such acquisitions is more difficult, but the need is just as great as ever. There is actually a deficiency of Open Space and Parks in this part of Shoreline, and the City actually has less open space than many nearby cities, even though we do have some fine parks.

The citizens of two cities, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park which surround this potential parks site, find this is a refuge and recreation site that offers welcome respite and fun during this difficult economic time. The Shoreline School District has been taking the desires of the community and situation seriously.

The supporters of this site and others in town such as Aldercrest and Sunset have shown tremendous intitiative and community spirit. We wish them all good luck and success in their quests.

The Cedarbrook Coalition


By George Piano, Chairman
Cedarbrook Coallition
In the fall of 2008, in response to the Shoreline School District’s expressed intent to surplus and sell the Cedarbrook Elementary School property to the highest bidder, a neighborhood group composed of residents of both Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, The Coalition for the Preservation of Cedarbrook, a registered 501(3)C non profit corporation, was formed. The goal of this group is to work with both communities to find a way to acquire and preserve the Cedarbrook property as an active neighborhood park. After introducing the Coalition to the Shoreline School Board and explaining our goal, the Coalition was given until August of 2010 to create a viable plan to purchase the property from the School District. Support for the Park continues to grow within our community. The Coalition has almost 1000 signatures on a petition of support and many subscribers to our website. The Shorelake Soccer Association has endorsed our efforts and has provided very generous financial support. During the past year we have made several presentations to both the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park City Councils to increase awareness and to develop official support.
It became clear that the process of raising the necessary funding for the purchase of the property in this tough economic climate was going to be a difficult and complex process and would require more time than the School Board had granted. With unanimous support from the Shoreline Parks and Recreation Board and the Lake Forest Park Community Services Commission, and with a great deal of help from Shoreline Parks Director Dick Deal, a Resolution of Support was drafted to present to the City Councils of both communities. The resolutions commit the Cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park to work together with the Cedarbrook Coalition to explore sources of funding to purchase and develop the Cedarbrook property as a park. The Resolutions also requests additional time from the Shoreline School District to accomplish this goal. This resolution was adopted unanimously by both City Councils. Now that both cities have officially pledged their support and commitment to working towards the acquisition of the Cedarbrook property, we are anxiously awaiting a positive response from the Shoreline School Board granting us the additional time necessary to make this community dream a reality.
The Cedarbrook Coalition is in the process of planning our spring and summer campaign to continue raising neighborhood support and awareness for the development of the park and is committed to working with the Shoreline School District and the Cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park to get this done. We welcome help from any and all folks interested in preserving the gem that is Cedarbrook, for our ourselves and for generations to come. Folks can learn more by visiting our website or contacting George Piano, Chairman. Cedarbrook Info The Cedarbrook property is approximately 10.6 acres. Currently there are several unused school buildings including a small administration building, a large classroom building, and a gym building that includes a large gym, a stage, a commercial kitchen, and several bathrooms. The property includes areas of native forest, open play fields, designated wetlands, and parking areas. Whisper Creek runs along the northern border of the property and is a lovely fish-bearing, year-round creek. Portions of this creek are currently being restored by the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation. Working in conjunction with local citizens, a new foot bridge has been built linking the Cedarbrook property with the bordering Lake Forest Park and Shoreline neighborhoods, and areas along the creek have been cleared of invasive nonnative plants and are being replanted with native vegetation. A watershed that was once known as Cedarbrook Creek was diverted underground and into a culvert that runs across the playfield when the school was built. This creek eventually empties into Whisper Creek. The hope of the Cedarbrook Coalition is that, as part of the park development, we will be able to daylight this creek, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and see this stream once again flow in the sunlight. The property is a perfect opportunity to develop the only active park in this area that can include open play fields, basketball and tennis courts, a toddler playground, and perhaps a community center utilizing the existing gym. There is potential for a skateboard park, pea patches, nature trails, and a rest area for bicyclists puffing up Perkins Way on the new Trail connecting route. The possibilities are endless. Photos by Andrew M. Bradner

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