Letters to the Editor

Vote to preserve Mercer Island parks

To the casual observer, Mercer Island is blessed with great parks, playfields, beaches and open spaces — the Lid Fields, Luther Burbank, South and Island Crest Fields, Pioneer Park and lots more. These play as important a part as do our schools and accessibility in justifying Mercer Island’s premier position among suburban communities.

But a closer look shows that not all is well with our parks, open spaces and recreation assets. Playfields lie waterlogged and league games are cancelled for lack of adequate drainage; Luther Burbank loses shoreline to erosion for lack of shore plantings and natural bulwarking; our forest retreat of Pioneer Park is losing trees to disease and becoming a thicket of brambles; our network of trails that make the parks accessible to all neighborhoods is incomplete. And next year, the six-year voter-approved maintenance funding for Luther Burbank expires; that’s nearly half-a-million a year, and even that proved inadequate for the need.

I began working on this matter from a specific concern about Pioneer Park; after several months of working with youth and sport league leaders, dog owners, playground user parents, and lovers of Luther Burbank Park, we have crafted a comprehensive plan that balances and meets the needs of many constituents. The City Council essentially endorses this plan.

This fall, voters are asked to approve a bond issue to fund capital investments in our parks, playfields, playgrounds and beaches. Plus, they are being asked to approve a companion measure, a levy to renew maintenance funding of Luther Burbank, to undertake aggressive restoration of Pioneer Park and to maintain the capital improvements needed.

All Mercer Islanders have a stake in the passage of both measures, for these assets play an important part in creating premium real estate values and making Mercer Island the most desirable community in the region. Vote yes — twice — to preserve our parks.

Fletch Waller

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