After reading David Parrish and Gail Spangenberg-Parrish’s letter, I am concerned that Mercer Island residents are making decisions about Mercer Island Center for the Arts with incomplete and faulty information.
First, the “proposed fire lane” is an alternative. It is not the only solution for creating fire protection for the performing arts center. It is not certain this alternative will be used. MICA has not proposed any streets through the park, which would leave pedestrians vulnerable.
According to the Parks and Recreation Plan 2014-2019, Mercerdale Hillside is designated as an open space while Mercerdale Park is designated as a community park. Evaluating the parkland needs for the community, the plan states that we have met goals for open space but have 35.29-acre deficit for community parks. Community parks provide “diverse recreational opportunities” while open space “preserves natural resources.” This community has put forth a huge effort to preserve open spaces. Now we need more community parks not more open space. Placing Mercerdale Park in a conservancy would be a step in the wrong direction.
I am awed by hard work of the members of Protect Our Parks in spreading 4 inches of mulch to kill the weeds and invasive plants in the Native Plant Garden. I do question putting in so much effort when the arborist’s evaluation in the MICA SEPA report states: “it is concluded that the trees proposed for removal are either dead or in poor health and provide little function to the park, the wetland or wetland buffer.” So why is Protect Our Parks renewing the forest floor, without considering the condition of the forest canopy?
Why are we preserving a status quo that isn’t working?