The Wellington Hills Sports Complex? No, it's NOT a done deal!
Showing posts with label over-development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label over-development. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wellington Hills Park, Washington State, Snohomish County

Here in the Northwest we take pride in the natural beauty of our forests, mountains and lakes ... but if you stop and think about it, what we see is often far away and sometimes unapproachable ... such as the Cascades or Olympics or Lake Washington’s shoreline.

A simple question - Can you name a local park filled with trees, natural features, peace and quiet and without swimming pools, soccer fields or baseball diamonds?

In Woodinville, on the Snohomish County side of town, there is such a place ... Wellington Hills Park. It's not a large park but it has majestic trees, almost 100 years old and there's walkable rolling hills and dales. As a bonus, if you’re strolling in the park you might see deer or bobcats, coyotes, eagles, hawks and owls doing what wildlife does best - existing in the small places we haven’t over-developed. 

Wellington Hills Parks is located between a quiet residential neighborhood and the commercial businesses of traffic-y Route 9. Unfortunately, the park has been targeted for unnecessary urban development - of the sprawl variety.

In May of 2012, Snohomish County's Director of Parks, Tom Teigen, announced that Wellington Hills Park was no longer scheduled to be a community park ... instead it was to be re-shaped into a regional sports complex.

Thus began my photography of the park. Since that terrible day in May I've taken thousands of photos of the place, in part to document what the park looks like but also because ... well, it's a beautiful place and I wanted to share that beauty with everyone. 

Here are a few recent photos of the park. 

btw, If Tom Teigen gets his way, the area in the photos would be de-watered, dug out then leveled. The removed soil would then be used as leveling fill dirt in other areas of the park.

In place of what you see in the photos there would be a number of artificial turf and grass sports fields, stadium lights and a 500 car parking lot.

photos by Bill Stankus
December 2013

And, just to be perfectly clear - Neighbors To Save Wellington Park is NOT opposed to sports fields or sports in general. What we are opposed to is the inappropriate use of Wellington Hills Park.

Monday, February 4, 2013

For real

I did not pose this photo.  We were walking around in Wellington Hills Park and suddenly she hugged a tree.  Naturally I took a picture.

Naturally it's a tree the Department of Parks and Recs wants to cut down. She doesn't know that - yet.

Attention Snohomish County bureaucrats:
As far as Wellington Hills Park being changed into an "active use" park, well duh.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

my response to things stated in the Woodinville Weekly article

After you've read the Woodinville Weekly article about the Parks Advisory Board and their vote approving of the Wellington Hills Park plan ... I want to comment on Tom Tiegen's remarks about those who oppose his park plan.   

The first public meeting on the proposed park was held on May 8, 2012. And at that meeting, Tom Tiegen told the audience that the park in the form of a regional sports complex was a "done deal".  He then went on to say many of the same things that are in the Woodinville Weekly - people’s initial resistance and their eventual surrender to the park’s construction. 

As for the mentioned public process - I guess it depends on what "public process" means. At the first meeting, Tiegen stated he wanted to start construction on the park in October 2012. On that schedule, the tree cutters and bulldozers were to begin their work less than five months after the first public meeting.

Questions? The meetings at Brightwater were primarily slide-show and poster board presentations showing the various iterations of the Master Plan. The audience was encouraged to write questions on cards and to pass them to someone from the county. At one meeting, someone finally had an opportunity to ask about the SEPA process ... but Tiegen quickly took the mic away and re-directed the audience to come forward and look at the various drawings that were placed around the room.

The Wellington Hills Park plan is probably the largest single project of this type ever initiated within Snohomish County.  With that in mind, why hasn’t the proposed plan been throughly reviewed in the same any other major project is studied and reviewed?  For example, the Brightwater sewage plant site was rigorously studied, rigorously scrutinized and publicly reviewed by citizen groups, experts and numerous panels.  

This is Washington State - there are legal ways of doing these things and we typically don't rush into expensive projects. Yes, decisions can take time. And yes, studies and reviews are potentially expensive - but, isn’t that the idea - to get it right? 

Shouldn’t we do it right, rather than fast-track a major but non-essential project into construction? The consequences of sorting out problems afterwards is not only frustrating and messy, but typically more expensive - and quite possibly, no one will be happy.

Bill Stankus
Thanksgiving 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

In the Woodinville Patch And There's a New Sign!

(I will occasionally be blogging in the Woodinville Patch.)

click to read, "Last Golf Days at Wellington Golf Course"

and, "Closing a Woodinville Landmark"

Once the County installed gates in front of the parking area (for the old club house and country club) it was only a matter of minutes ... and up popped several declaration signs, from the new masters. New rules are now in force.

There's even a phone number if you want to rat on someone who has a dog on a leash over 8 ft. in length or, heaven forbid, they are walking around with golf clubs!

I have a feeling there will be a bunch more signs in the days to come.  Signs that more or less will say:

                                             "You will not have fun unless you pay for it."

There's something Kafkaesque about forbidding the playing of golf on a golf course.

Then again, I've never worked in a department within a local government. Nor have I spent hours sitting around big tables deciding how to profit by making changes - both to the land and to people's lives.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I know that county guy or at least I've seen him before

After the May 8th bombshell fell on us about the plan to change Wellington Hills Golf Course into a "sports complex", I went to all the meetings: the ones held at the Brightwater conference center, a meeting at the golf course community center and numerous meetings at neighbor's homes.

... there was something about the Parks and Recreation guy that seemed familiar ... like I've listened to his spiel before ... then it hit me ...., yes I had, he reminded me of "Professor Harold Hill" in the film, "The Music Man".  Yes, that's it!

... a musical (and clever) lesson in misdirection