Help steer parks’ future

MONROE — Some people want Snohomish County to spiff up its existing parks instead of building new ones.

Other park users have more specific interests. They include connecting the county’s recreation trails, focusing on equestrian areas and developing nearly 3,000 acres of state and county forest land near Lake Roesiger.

Whatever your opinion, you’ll have a chance to air it during a forum scheduled for Tuesday. The 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. meeting at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds is intended to help craft the county’s six-year parks plan.

It picks up from a series of meetings last year. This time, parks staff intend to summarize what they’ve already heard and to listen to new ideas. If you’re unable to make it in person, you can write the county a letter or an email.

“One of the ones we heard repeatedly was that the public was really interested in us focusing on existing facilities before building new ones,” said Sharon Swan, a senior parks planner.

Infrastructure at some of the most popular county parks, including Kayak Point and Flowing Lake, is at least 30 years old. That’s where many believe the county should be putting resources.

During the past year, the parks system has expanded at a galloping pace.

Over the summer, the county and the state Department of Natural Resources teamed up to buy nearly 3,000 acres of forest near Lake Roesiger. A developer had hoped to build a rural mini-city on the land. Instead the county and state plan to use it for mix of recreation and growing timber.

In October, the county acquired land near Sultan for a future shooting range. The Centennial Trail also continued to grow northward from Arlington toward the Skagit County line.

Those park projects all have drawn strong community support.

Other future county parks are being paid for, all or in part, through a $70 million settlement over King County’s Brightwater sewage treatment plant. The 2005 agreement spells out how Snohomish County must spend the money.

Those projects include: Tambark Creek, a 40-acre park southeast of Mill Creek where construction might wrap up later this year; Miner’s Corner, a 12-acre park in Maltby currently in the planning stage; and the 100-acre Wellington Hills property in Maltby that the county bought earlier this year with plans to build a ballfield complex.

The site of Tuesday’s meeting, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, is another facility the county wants to improve to bring in more year-round business.

To focus more on its regional parks, the county might consider transferring up to six smaller parks to cities.

Weigh in

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Evergreen State Fairgrounds 4-H Building; 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe.

If you can’t make it, you can send comments to Snohomish County.

By mail: Snohomish County Parks &Recreation, Comp. Plan Update; 6705 Puget Park Drive; Snohomish, WA 98296.

By email: sharon.swan@co.snohomish.wa.us

More information: 425-388-6616

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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