Comment: City Council majority ‘rolling back Edmonds parks’

Mayor Mike Nelson

The new council majority rejected the voices of thousands of Edmonds residents. Voices who want a fairer distribution of our parks, more open spaces, more trails and more walking paths. They dismissed the community contribution as flawed. They say they want input from citizens, but reject any opinion that doesn’t match their own.

Instead, some members of council decided it was in the city‘s best interest to create a small group of hand-picked friends to decide the future of our parks system.

Tuesday’s council action was a continuation of their ongoing efforts to block improvements, financial support and expansion of our municipal parks. These council actions included delaying the hiring of key park staff and voting against the city receiving $1 million in state park grants.

In contrast, our Municipal Parks Department is helping move Edmonds forward by updating its Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS) plan. The plan identifies future park projects and qualifies the city for state grants for outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.

Our parks planning process included unprecedented outreach to Edmonds residents to ensure we have an improved parks system that captures the interests of our community. As part of this outreach, there was a substantial engagement program with a wide range of voices, including the traditionally underrepresented voices of our Chinese, Korean and Spanish communities. As part of this engagement program, extensive use of online and direct mail surveys; online presentation documents and materials; and live translation at community meetings was provided to the public.

Thanks to the city’s commitment and outreach efforts, 1,958 people responded. Based on input from the parks department and the community, the park plan recommendations included:

  • Acquisition of new parks in the south and southeast of Edmonds.
  • Acquire more open space to conserve unique natural areas such as wetlands, forests, and stream corridors.
  • Build more trails in our parks and trails that connect our neighborhoods.
  • Updated our park playgrounds and washrooms, and added more park amenities.
  • Yost pool replacement.
  • Improve universal access to our parks.

Implementing these recommendations is necessary to ensure that our park system continues to move forward, not backward.

Please contact your council and let them know that you support our PROS plan to expand and improve Edmonds Parks. And tell the council to stop rolling back Edmonds Parks.

–By Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson

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