The Wellington Hills Sports Complex? No, it's NOT a done deal!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

One Tree, Wellington Hills Park, Snohomish County, Washington State

Approximately 90 years ago this tree, then a seedling, made the mistake of setting its roots in a place where, circa 2014, ambitious bureaucrats want to cut it down and replace it with turnstiles, concrete and asphalt.

Majesty means nothing to ruthless politics.




photo by Bill Stankus
December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's been cold, there's a bit of snow on the ground along with patches of road ice - Now's a perfect moment to look-back at a past November

Wellington Hills Park and 240th St. during a typical "Convergent Zone" snow. 

photos taken November 27, 2006 by Bill Stankus


71st Dr. SE, walking towards 240th St.
                                                       
Golf Course, south side of 240th
                                                    
240th St. and view to the west
                                                         
Looking downhill, first curve 240th St.

Stuck cars seen from first curve 240th St.

Walking past cars, view of last 240th curve before Rt.9

240th St. curve uphill of Primus Bldg./asphalt recycling co.

Drivers attempted going up or down 240th St. - same results

Powerful vehicles - stuck in ditch

Waiting for a tow

Sanding trucks could only go so far uphill from Rt. 9

Obviously the "Road Closed" sign was effective

Down on Rt 9. plowing & sanding helped - once the snow stopped falling

One after another, ditch parking on Rt 9 from 240th St. south to 195th St.


Happy & safe holiday driving - Remember, keep faith in yourself and the drivers near you - real winter is about to begin.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This ain't your granny's park, this is a for-profit Regional Pay-To-Play Enterprise (and not a park at all, or at least not what granny called a park)

... after reading the November e-newsletter from the dept. of parks, I clipped out the following:


And that got me thinking - since the dept. of parks wants Wellington Hills to be a money-maker ...

Here's a few biz suggestions:


1.  Statistical analysis and pie-charts all indicate that oodles of people go to parks to smoke marijuana. To cash in on this, the dept. of parks should invest in concession stands selling primo weed and fresh scones.

2. Rent paint ball guns and sell tickets for hiding in elevated hunter’s tree stands. Then, promote trail walkers to be active, not passive* – encourage them to blow duck calls** as they naively enjoy nature unaware of the paintballers.

* Suggest they wear impact resistant eye wear.
** For sale in the park at the County’s Acme Sporting Goods.


3. In the less developed 91.2% areas of the park - rent, sell or lease all the necessary gear and accouterments for alternative activities: 


·      On-trail Motocross
·      Demolition Derbies
·      Bungee Jumps from Trees
·      Boomerang Tag
·      Caber Tossing
·      Whack-A-Real-Mole
·      Curling
·      Lumberjack Axe and Saw Competitions
·      And, the always popular, Beer Pong


4.  Since this is a for-profit Snohomish County Park, The Redneck Games would be perfect – some of the traditional events:

·      Cigarette Flip
·      Bobbing for Pig’s Feet
·      Seed Spitting
·      Toilet Seat Throwing
·      Mud Pit Belly Flop
·      Big-Hair Contest
·      Wet-T-shirt Contest
·      Armpit Serenade
·      Greased Pig Chases
·      Cow Pie Tossing
·      Spitballing
·      Dumpster Diving

5.  Sponsor MMA caged fights, including long-drawn-out matches between bureaucrats and fire ants.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Turf crumbs, artificial turf, synthetic turf & ignorance is not bliss

Snohomish County currently has one artificial turf field - Tambark Creek Park - built with mitigation funds given to Snohomish County by King County so that King County could build the Brightwater sewage plant in Snohomish County.

With more of that mitigation pot-o-gold, Snohomish County wants to tear-up Wellington Hills Park and then build six artificial turf fields with stadium lights in Wellington Hills Park.

Their stated purpose: Make Wellington Hills Park a cash cow.








Turf crumbs on the surrounding concrete, near picnic tables at Tambark Creek Park, Snohomish County Washington.


For more info on the controversial use of artificial turf fields:

NBC News - How safe?

Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition

Lots of info at Syn Turf

This is just one of many Youtubes on the health hazards for children and the dangers of artificial turf fields.





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Snohomish County Planning Commission - Public Meeting & Comments, October 7, 2014

I'd say, last night was a successful public meeting.

The meeting room was SRO... more than 100 people attended last night's Snohomish County Planning Commission.  

At least 90 people chose to speak their concerns relating to the County's Comprehensive Plan.  Most spoke about how their neighborhood or community would be adversely effected if UGA's boundaries are moved, dead-end streets are opened to major traffic flow or speculative development is allowed.

The good people of Sultan Washington certainly made their case that theirs is a community not needing urbanization or wildcat development.

And, a large contingent of Neighbors to Save Wellington Park was also there to speak out about the Department of Parks plan to change a one-of-a-kind natural park into, metaphorically speaking, a strip mall.  

Here's what I presented:


I open with these words from Ansel Adams, the nature photographer and environmental advocate:

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”

But that’s exactly what we, Neighbors to Save Wellington Park, are doing – we’re fighting to save a community asset from destruction.

Harking back to the beginning of this effort … King County gave Snohomish County funds intended to mitigate for the effects of the nearby Brightwater sewage treatment plant; the funds were not intended to create a countywide, regional tournament level facility.

Furthermore, the size and scope of the proposed plan for the sports complex at Wellington Hills Park are inconsistent with its surroundings and the rural designation of the area. 

Wellington Hills is a rurally zoned area and rural areas should not be easy targets for urbanization. Developments in rural areas should be limited to activities that continue to promote rural character.

But the current proposal for multiple lighted fields and hundreds of parking stalls is clearly urban … as are the noise and traffic that will be produced by sports events.

Fundamentally we believe: Neighborhoods should have a voice in what happens to their community and the community’s needs should have precedence over those of special interest groups.
 
We are not opposed to sports or sports fields - that has never been our issue.  What we object to is the inappropriate development of Wellington Hills Park as well as the persistent disregard for our community’s thoughts, needs and vision for a community park.   

In many ways, the proposed “tournament level sports complex” is no different than when a big box store elbows its way into a quiet rural town … and radically disrupts and negatively impacts the quality of life and the daily life of established neighborhoods.

I encourage you as members of the Snohomish County Planning Commission to represent the interests of our community … and all communities in rural areas … by insisting that the guidelines for development of parks be respectful of citizens, their input and be harmonious with the surrounding communities.


Bill Stankus


 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wellington Hills Park - Snohomish County, Washington State


240th Street SE runs east-west through Wellington Hills Park. 
The following photos were taken approximately mid-way on 240th – The first one is from the north side of the street, looking westward. The second is of the south side of 240th.




If Snohomish County's Department of Parks gets their way, Wellington Hills Park  - what you see in the panoramas - would be nuked out of existence and replaced … not with the park people have said they want … but with a real pork barrel project - a tournament-level sports complex.
Play any Orwellian word game you want - their plan is NOT a community park - it is commercial development meant for the benefit of for-profit sports businesses.
  
If you search this blog's archives, you'll find lots of scenic views of Wellington Hills Park. What I can't show are the many hundreds of hours spent by average workaday people delving into the mysteries of the County's bureaucracy in order to counter the County’s sports complex plan.

Yet we persist because we want to save a natural landmark from inappropriate development and we don't want our community mugged by excessive and unnecessary “pollutions” – traffic congestion on the single road this area depends upon, evening and weekend crowds and noise, stadium lights and the constant churn produced by parking lots for over 750 cars.
  
Fundamentally we believe:  Neighborhoods should have a voice in what happens to their community.  Special interest groups may have lobbyists and easy access to bureaucracy, but that doesn't necessarily equate with "doing the right thing".
 
We are not opposed to sports or sports fields - that has never been our issue.  What we object to is the inappropriate development of Wellington Hills Park and the slick way our community has been treated.   

Sports fields have specific requirements, none that occur in Wellington Hills Park. Those basic needs are: open space, quick access via decent roads, large parking lots, sewer lines, etc.. Sports fields should also not disrupt or negatively impact their surroundings - which the Dept. of Parks' plan will do in bucket fulls.
 
In many ways, the proposed “tournament level sports complex” is no different than when a big box store elbows its way into a quiet rural town … and disrupts and impacts the quality of life and the daily life of established neighborhoods.

I close with these questions:

• Should taxpayer money (in this case, $27 million) be used to build an expensive sports complex to benefit for-profit sports businesses?

• Is this situation any different than when professional sport teams owners expect taxpayers to pay for expensive stadiums, arenas and ballparks?
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snohomish County - Miner's Corner County Park - Epilogue

On the east side of Miner's Corner County Park, there are underground petroleum pipelines and overhead electrical power lines.  

see Part 1 

                   Part 2 
                                Part 3    


On the west side of the park, there are a children’s play area, basketball court, covered slab with tables, and, near all these amenities is a monument to the Snohomish County Council and the Parks Dept.

Scattered amongst the park’s amenities are inaccessible, fenced-off islands of nicely mowed grass encircled by asphalt pathways.

Another noticeable feature of Miner’s Corner Park is the expansive areas of what the Parks Dept. refers to as "natural vegetation".

You and I might simply call these areas, "itchy-scratchy, buggy, weedy fields".










photos by Bill Stankus
September 2014


park by Snohomish County's Dept. of Parks

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Snohomish County - Miner's Corner County Park - Part 3


On the east side of Miner's Corner County Park there are underground petroleum pipelines and overhead electrical power lines.  

see Part 1  Part 2

On the west side of the park there's a playground for young children.

The west side of the park also has toilets, a basketball court, a covered slab with tables, a monument to the Snohomish County Council and the Parks Dept. and, near all these amenities is a play structure.

Since Miner’s Corner is in Snohomish County, perhaps the Monroe Correctional Complex inspired this play-structure.




Let’s play Hide & Seek because there’s an awesome hollow log in the weedy ditch, "perfect" for hiding.

 Or maybe under the footbridge is a good hiding place.

I'm certain they don't want children to be tripped or speared on decorative log landscaping ... surely the County’s landscape engineers considered every detail when they designed this park ... but having a surplus of fallen trees is sooo tempting.

Ironically, the County prides itself on the fact Miner's Corner is the first ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant park in Snohomish County.

None the less ... petroleum pipelines, power lines, a profusion of noxious weeds (Ragweed, Scotch Broom, etc) ... a sandbox near a pond, hollow logs near play structures, numerous logs with massive root tangles and logs along pathways which have projecting limbs and fractured spear-like breaks ... and lots of large rocks that will be slippery when it rains (this is the Pacific Northwest).

And, all of this interpretative park design because King County coughed up mitigation funds to build the Brightwater sewage plant in Snohomish County.


photos by Bill Stankus

park by Snohomish County's Department of Parks

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Snohomish County - Miner's Corner County Park - Part 2


On the east side of Miner's Corner County Park there are underground petroleum pipelines and overhead electrical power lines.  

see Part 1   Part 3

On the west side of the park there's a playground for young children. This area has a climbing structure, slide, swings and a large sandbox.  The sandbox is located next to a pond with elaborately shaped cement walls.

The pond, when full, spills over the cement wall and water is channeled around the sandbox and under a footbridge, which is near the children’s climbing structure.

The entire play area is landscaped with large rocks, logs (some solid, some hollow) and large logs with intact root masses.

 
The first three photos were taken April 2014 and the last three were taken September 2014.

Also, for different perspectives of the sandbox area – the large sculpture-like metal sand funnel can be seen in photo no.1 and no.2
 



drainage away from sandbox area, towards play structure (not shown in this set of photos).


pond spillway







A person noticed I was taking photos of the sandbox area and asked if I had seen the child’s ball in the pond.  She commented how tempting the floating ball would be to a child and then she remarked, “Why would they place a pond and ditch so close to a sandbox?”




photos by Bill Stankus

continued.