This time, let’s buy the farm | Editorial
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
April 19, 2011 · 2:36 PM
When discussing the closing of Stevenson’s Farm, everyone comes to the same conclusion — maybe the city (we) should buy this and make it into a park. It is hard not to consider this vacant, nearly untouched five-acre piece of ground as a unique opportunity to expand open space here.
Islanders are famous for caring deeply about parks and open space as well as the environment and preserving the past. Buying this land would also enhance the Island’s culture and character as an urban oasis in the center of the intensifying lifestyle of the Puget Sound region. And rare is the opportunity to find a piece of open land with access, utilities in place and neighbors who would likely find a park next door more agreeable than more houses generating more traffic and less privacy.
To be sure, the Stevenson family members have not made their plans for the property public. It is only gossip or hearsay that surrounds the idea that they have decided to sell the land. Their action to evict the handful of horses that have been stabled there, however, invites the assumption that the land is to be developed in some way. It is much too valuable to leave as is.
And yet, the horses, while still owned by a handful of folks, will be without a place — and the idea that the Island can accommodate animals, which represent a piece of the Island’s past and culture, will be diminished. It is unlikely that a special place can be made for them like there is for dogs at Luther Burbank Park. In a time of severe budget constraints, it is also likely that the city is not in a position to consider such a purchase — not because the purchase money cannot be found, but because it would obligate the city to operate and maintain the land as a park. But there are ideas for that as well — instead of offering Luther Burbank to off-Island park users and dog owners for free, why not generate a few bucks by charging for its use?Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.