Historic ball field in St. Edward State Park faces irrevocable change

To all who value and enjoy St. Edward State Park: I write to alert you.

The City of Kenmore is relentlessly pushing a $4.91-million proposal to “improve” the open and natural grass ball field by installing “a fenced synthetic turf field, a subsurface stormwater system, and other related structures,” like bleachers, backstops, dugouts, a perimeter walking path, field lighting, maintenance shed and added parking — not to mention more asphalt, vehicles, congestion and noise.

“Approximately 131,000 square feet of sod will be removed. A 6-inch thick layer of free-draining aggregate will be placed over the subgrade, which will be covered with a 6-inch thick plastic grating system …..”

Adjacent to the field is a Class 2 wetland, which the state rating system defines as “difficult, though not impossible, to replace, and provides high levels of some functions.” Class 2 wetland buffers must be 100 feet, but “approximately 42,717 square feet (90%) of wetland buffer area is expected to be impacted,” a euphemism for uprooting the living soil and replacing it with dead plastic. To jump this hurdle of “insufficient” buffer, Kenmore is applying for a critical area variance, which if granted, would allow the proposal to move ahead.

Kenmore promises “compensatory mitigation” and “enhancement” of the area, yet concludes “the project will result in permanent unavoidable impacts to a wetland buffer area.”

This proposal is not a “renovation” or an “improvement.” It is a transformation — destructive to what is now a living ecosystem. It would benefit a minority of users when thousands of people come here every year to absorb and enjoy a place set apart from the beginning to preserve and protect a natural sanctuary.

Youth fields are important, but this development belongs in a municipal or school setting. We cheered our son’s soccer team wherever they played, often in school fields. Why isn’t this a pursued option now?

In 2008 the Washington State Parks Commission rejected a previous Kenmore ballfield proposal for St. Edward State Park as “inappropriate.” It still is.

If this development concerns you, please call or write. Public comment period for the Critical Area Variance is Aug. 18 through Sept. 8.

For more details: www.kenmorewa.gov/ athletic-field-saint-edward.

City of Kenmore Email: permittech@kenmorewa.gov. Phone: 425-398-8900.

Washington State Parks Commission (makes final decision.) Email: commission@parks.wa.gov. Phone: 360-902-8502.

Karen Prince

32-year resident of Kenmore

More in Letters to the Editor

Not too late to prevent more deaths | Letter

Thank you for the recent article in the Feb. 5 edition of… Continue reading

What about inequality? | Letter

One drawback with having so much of the media controlled by billionaires… Continue reading

Funding solution | Letter

Easy way to get rid of King County funding struggles: get rid… Continue reading

Country Village is a wonderful place | Letter

Is anyone still outraged by the soon-to-be destruction of Country Village? I… Continue reading

Thank you Rep. DelBene | Letter

The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has just… Continue reading

A missed opportunity | Letter

Your article (“Let’s talk about race,” Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Dec. 14) missed an… Continue reading

Protecting your packages | Letter

Regarding the article on package porch pirates (Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Nov. 30), there… Continue reading

Kudos to the postmaster | Letter

I used to dread going to the Bothell Post Office. It was… Continue reading

Washington State Stadium | Letter

“Washington State Stadium” — a publicly named stadium — will promote local… Continue reading

Work toward a cleaner future | Letter

I recognize that climate change is the No. 1 threat to the… Continue reading

One way to address homelessness | Letter

Why is Seattle’s homelessness problem getting worse not better? Some people are… Continue reading

Mental illness in teens | Letter

Who here enjoys high school, Secondary Academy for Success aside? Of course… Continue reading