Back on January 28th, the Parks Department presented a draft of the 2014 Parks & Recreation Visioning Plan to the Snohomish County Council for their consideration. Several citizens attended that meeting and voiced their concerns because, for the first time, the county officially described Wellington Hills Park as a “regional, tournament-level athletic facility”. (See p. 27 of the Visioning Plan.)
Despite numerous requests to remove references to Wellington Hills Park as a tournament facility, the Parks Visioning Plan moved forward with no changes and was scheduled for Council vote during the February 25 Operations Committee meeting. This meeting was canceled at the last minute, and the motion to approve the document has not yet been rescheduled. We will let you know when the motion reappears on a council agenda.
Why is this important?
Although the Parks Department will tell you that its Visioning Plan is primarily a requirement for funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), in fact this document also satisfies requirements that development under the Growth Management Act start with a public visioning process. (See the Preface.)
The Visioning Plan claims to base its findings on input received from Snohomish County residents. Yet the Parks Visioning Plan actually reveals that residents’ highest priorities are Trails and Leisure Activities. Sports and Special Use Facilities rank last.
Survey responses also overwhelmingly state that the emphasis should be on renovating existing facilities rather than developing new ones.
The Visioning Plan shows us that, once again, the Parks Department is ignoring public input regarding the development of Wellington Hills Park.
NSWP urges you to use this unexpected delay to express your desire to develop Wellington Hills Park in harmony with its rural site and surroundings. It’s an obvious choice for providing the trails and leisure activities desired by residents without destroying the natural beauty of the park.
And remember to ask the Snohomish County Council and the Parks Department to correct the Visioning Plan. Remove all references to Wellington Hills Park as a regional, tournament-level athletic facility, and instead use this site to give constituents what they say they want.
You are welcome to voice your opinion in a 3-minute comment at the next Operations Committee meeting (date and time to be announced). Or send an email to the Council Members (firstname.lastname@example.org), Executive (email@example.com) and Parks Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to copy NSWP (NeighborsToSaveWellingtonPark@gmail.com).