Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey recently gave the Kenmore City Council an update on city staff’s progress in pursuing a lease of the ball field at St. Edward State Park.
Staff members from the city have met with Washington State Parks (WSP) commissioners and staff on multiple occasions to give updates on their proposal, which includes making renovations to the ball field to make it safer for players.
Several residents have raised objections to the city’s proposal, citing concerns about the environmental impacts and questioning if local teams really need the ball field space there.
Karlinsey said WSP staff is conducting a bat survey to determine that piece of the potential environmental impact to the park. He said if bats are found there, the city would likely remove the lights from its proposal.
While some councilmembers voiced support for the proposal moving forward, others raised questions and concerns, including Stacey Denuski.
“This decision isn’t an easy one,” she said. “(I’m) not sure if St. Edward State Park is the right place (for this).”
She also raised concerns about the cost of the project going from $2 million to $5 million, while Councilmember Nigel Herbig questioned if grass could continue to be used instead of artificial turf, echoing concerns from the public.
Before Karlinsey made his presentation to the council at the June 12 meeting, several people shared their support of and objections to the city’s proposal during the citizen comment portion of the meeting.
John Ratliff was one of the people who spoke against the proposal. He said preserving the sense of tranquility at the park was of greater importance than the need for sports fields, and he asked the city to pull back on the plan, or at the very least, reduce the amount of changes they want to make to it.
Rich Fried, president of the North Lake Little League, was one of the commenters who spoke in support of the city’s proposal.
“This is what our community wants,” he said.