Blake Peterson/staff photo
                                A commission staffer chats with a resident at an Aug. 13 meeting.

Blake Peterson/staff photo A commission staffer chats with a resident at an Aug. 13 meeting.

Kenmore discusses Saint Edward ball field renovations

The state Parks and Recreation Commission is beginning the EIS process for the proposed project.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission hosted a public-scoping meeting on Aug. 13 at Kenmore City Hall to update the public on Saint Edward State Park ball field renovations proposed by the city.

The meeting allowed Kenmore residents to learn more about the proposal and share their comments and concerns with the commission before the drafting process begins.

“That’s why we’re here today: to know more,” Jessica Logan, the commission’s environmental program manager, told meeting attendees. “We’re doing this process as openly and transparently as possible, which is why you’re here today. We need your help.”

The city’s proposal involves renovations to the historic grass ball field at the park. The grass would be replaced with artificial turf, with lights and bleachers added. The potential project is affiliated with the Kenmore Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan, a guided policy document for how city parks make improvements to parks and recreation.

The city first requested a lease from the commission to make this happen in 2015. The lease would give the city the green light to refurbish the field, then be responsible for its ongoing maintenance and operations.

“One of the overriding goals of that plan is to provide recreational opportunities available to all the community, to provide diverse opportunities and to provide both a variety of active and passive recreation,” Debbie Bent, Kenmore’s community development director, said of the open space plan. She added that the ball field presented active recreation possibilities.

But due to reservations regarding impacts to traffic, recreation and the environment, an environmental impact statement, or EIS, was requested by the commission

Usually, a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist, which compiles environmental information about a proposal for decision makers, is used. But after looking at the complexities of the property, whether related to parking availability or to the ball field-adjacent wetlands, the commission decided that a SEPA checklist wouldn’t be enough to ultimately move them to approve a long-term lease with the city.

“During the last review process, we identified a number of potential impacts that brought enough to concern to us and the city,” Logan said. “We decided we needed to do a much more thorough analysis than what is provided by a SEPA checklist.”

The commission is the lead agency for the EIS process. The procedure has six steps: scoping, preparation of the draft EIS, issuance of the draft EIS (which entails another public meeting), preparation of final EIS, issuance of final EIS and then an agency decision on the proposed action. The final step, like parts one and three of the procedure, also comes with an option for the public to comment.

Logan said that a common misconception around the EIS process is that it’s like a permit process. She said it’s more accurate to liken it to a disclosure process, as the finished document covers a range of alternatives to a proposal and what its impacts would be.

Five alternatives were shared at the meeting: artificial turf with and without lighting; restored natural turf with and without lighting; and the potential for there to be no action. The environmental impacts of each possibility would be covered in the EIS.

Relevant mitigation measures would additionally be discussed throughout the EIS process.

The EIS process begins with scoping, which Logan said was fulfilled by the public meaning. The purpose of the scoping process is to begin an analysis that not only reviews the potential environmental impacts of a project but also gives the public an avenue to voice what they’re most concerned about.

Through this process, the commission will then able to narrow down which impacts are most relevant and worthy of scrutiny and which are nonexistent, making the finished statement concise and easy to understand.

“They don’t want these long, burdensome, 1,000-page documents,” Logan said of the statement’s writers. “They want documents that people will read and that are relevant — that decision makers will actually use to base their decisions off of. One of the ways we do that is reach out to the public — the people who know the resource the best and the people who are most likely to experience the impacts of the proposal.”

After the opening remarks made at the meeting, the public was encouraged to write down their comments and questions on submittable cards, and learn more information about the proposal via poster boards set up in the council chambers.

Among them was an interactive poster board that asked the comment to put a sticker on the impacts they were most concerned about. On it, there was especially an emphasis on natural environment features, like water and plants and animals, and on built environment features, like environmental health, relationship to existing land use and transportation and parking.

Logan said there was no exact timeline of how the proposal will unfold at the time of the meeting. The draft-writing process for the EIS will begin immediately after the gathering, but how long it will take is contingent on what the research process looks like.

Once an initial draft is completed, there will be another opportunity for the public to share their thoughts on the project. Whereas the Aug. 13 meeting was limited to submitting written comments, at the followup meeting residents will be able to make verbal testimonies. There will also be a 30-day comment period for community members, according to Logan.

When a final statement is completed, the commission will use the information gathered as the basis for a decision as to whether or not to lease the field in the long term to the city. The commission hopes that the Aug. 13 meeting illuminates issues that it might not have uncovered.

“That doesn’t mean there are concerns we haven’t thought of,” Logan said. “That’s why you’re here.”

Anyone with questions about the project can contact Bryan Hampson with development services for the city of Kenmore at bhampson@kenmorewa.gov or 425-398-8900.

Learn more about the history of this project at kenmorewa.gov/athletic-field-saint-edward.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

The memorial service for Bothell police officer Jonathan Shoop on Tuesday.
Memorial honors fallen Bothell police officer Jonathan Shoop

After a motorcade through the city, the rookie cop’s two brothers spoke at a service Tuesday in Bothell.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Pandemic is spiking in South King County, governor says

Gov. Jay Inslee met with elected officials, health officials and business partners in Federal Way to hear concerns, suggestions about state’s response to COVID-19.

Sound Transit breaks ground on Federal Way Link Extension

The $3.1 billion project includes three new stations near Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.