Letters to the Editor

Don't trust State Parks' motive with Seminary building | Letter

Parks administration is likely flimflamming the public when it says public-private lease at Saint Edward State Park is to save Saint Edward State Park Seminary building.

In a recent article regarding a potential tenant for the Saint Edward State Park Seminary building, the Bothell Reporter website reported, “The monthly lease rate was not addressed in a letter of understanding by a potential tenant."

Kidder Mathews brokerage stated: "It is our clients hope that we can put something together quickly to prevent further deterioration of the seminary building thereby avoiding the burden of potential demolition and related costs to Washington State Parks,” the document states. “Per our discussion, we spoke to the city of Kenmore and Bastyr University. All parties are committed to work with Washington State Parks and each other to create a public-private partnership that will restore, preserve and improve the Saint Edwards State Park Seminary building for current and future generations.”

I would like to object to both the State Park and city of Kenmore secretive behavior that created the commitment “to public-private partnerships” for the State Park without public review. The push is on to lease the building by January. Why?

As the article states, $2.4 million was provided by the State of Washington to protect the building from further water damage and to build a large cistern, an ongoing water source for park landscaping. Water was the main culprit in the buildings' ongoing damage under Parks management during the past 30 years and that has been solved. There is time to be selective about a candidate to lease the building and the public needs to be involved in that selection.

The hurry to do this deed is to shore the State Parks' budget, which is abysmal, as soon as possible. If I knew the details of the back room deal, I would guess that there will be an upfront bump of substantial funds, unheard of amounts, for a short-term fix for the overall Parks' budget with little coming in the remaining 99 years of the lease.

Secret talks do not bode well for continued public use and impact on the natural park.

Ann Hurst, Kenmore

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