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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friends of Aldercrest Presentation at Shoreline Parks Board

Friends of Aldercrest will be giving a short presentation to the Shoreline City Parks Board and Director of Parks & Rec, Dick Deal.

The purpose of this presentation is to ask the Parks board to support the addition of Aldercrest Annex to Shoreline's PROS plan. Currently, Shoreline's PROS plan identifies the north-east corner of Shoreline, namely Ballinger Neighborhood, lacks adequate park facilities to serve the community. Friends of Aldercrest want the Parks Board to acknowledge this gap and support a resolution encouraging the city and school district to start working towards a solution. Nearby
Lake Forest Park will also benefit and should be encouraged to participate in a solution .

Aldercrest Annex has served the surrounding communities as a park for nearly 50 years - almost as long as the school has existed. Right now, it is the only place kids in the area can go to play baseball, soccer, fly planes, or just run across an open field.
Population density in the area is increasing and demand for parks and open spaces will likewise increase.

Aldercrest Annex is still being held by the NEC municipal jail project and hopefully, with the completion of the
environmental impact statement later in 2010 , it will be dropped from the list of possible jail sites. When that happens, the city and school district need to be on board with a plan for the city to acquire Aldercrest Annex property as a park.

We need a good showing support from the community at the
February 25th Parks board meeting. All interested parties are invited to attend. Parks board meeting starts at 7:00pm in Council Chambers at Shoreline City Hall.

Photo Credit - Nancy Morerya

Why More Parks?

Vibrant cities have a good balance of private homes, retail and commercial, and public spaces. When city planning is done well, private interests and public spaces create a sustainable combination that further fuels the success. Cities that focus only on development of private interests, for instance, and ignore development in public spaces are not successful or sustainable.

No one will argue that the population in Western Washington is increasing. As cities like Shoreline and Lake Forest Park densify and development squeezes more dwellings in less space, the demand for open space and parks do not lessen; instead the demand increases. No longer having traditional back yards, people look to public lands to meet their needs for gardening and recreation. Most if not all multi-family structures lack the open space to meet the needs of their inhabitants.

In the Ballinger Neighborhood of Shoreline and nearby Lake Forest Park, densification is inevitable like most neighborhoods. Eventually single family parcels will be re-developed with higher density dwellings - often with little or no green space. Today, the residents in nearby condos, apartments, and houses use Aldercrest Annex for outdoor activities. Where will these families go without Aldercrest Annex - particularly when housing density increases?

Although Bruggers Bog Park is across the street from Aldercrest Annex, it is not appropriate for soccer, baseball, tennis, and other organized or individual sports. In fact, Shoreline Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PROS) has identified the Ballinger Neighborhood as deficient in community parks. The Lake Forest Park homes next to Aldercrest Annex have no public parks or open spaces to serve the community. Without Aldercrest Annex, the nearest park to play ball or tennis is about 2 miles away with Ballinger Way as an impediment slicing half of our neighborhood from the rest of the city.

Has Shoreline and Lake Forest Park been keeping up with the public space demand? A calculation of acres of parks per 1000 people is a simple way to compare city’s park interests against other neighboring cities. This calculation does not measure the quality or accessibility of the city’s parks but it does provide a basic comparative method. The chart below is a comparison of Shoreline’s park acres against 19 other cities in the Puget Sound. The chart shows that Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are at the bottom!

Aldercrest Annex is our community park and without it, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park will fall even further behind becoming a near-desert, devoid of the recreational space so needed by our communities.

Park Acres per capita - Puget Sound Cities compared

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