City involves community in parks development
By Tara Nelson
The Blaine parks board is trying an innovative new approach to the development and maintenance of its neighborhood parks.
In a special meeting with Blaine residents Monday, board members outlined a new model for community feedback that would form distinct neighborhood associations to represent the parks in those areas.
One parks board member would be allocated to each of the neighborhood groups to hear and bring those suggestions back to the parks board for consideration, said board member Tiiu Kuuskmann.
“The city’s parks board wants to help you,” Kuuskmann said. “We will help you get in touch with the people who have power to implement those ideas.”
A majority of residents from all neighborhoods said they wanted better maintenance of existing amenities such as picnic tables, barbecues and trails as well as new amenities such as portable restrooms, covered areas and interpretive signage.
Some, such as the residents of the Brickyard park neighborhood, said they wanted bocce ball areas and new playground equipment.
Others such as the members of Montfort Park neighborhood association, wanted kayak access, more distinct park boundaries and interpretive signage to educate visitors about the sensitive bird populations that roost there.
Several members also said they thought the trails could be widened to make the park more friendly to handicapped people.
Members of the Salishan neighborhood parks association said they wanted to see more stations for “mutt mitts” or biodegradable plastic bags used by dog owners to pick up waste; replacement of “old trees” and an expansion of the park by acquiring a neighboring lot to the north.
The suggestions from Monday’s meeting will be brought to the next board meeting on June 20, said Alex Wenger, a planner at the Blaine community development department. “We’re going to consider these for the 2008 capital improvement plan,” he said.
Wenger said since the meeting, the planning department has also received a number of calls from residents wanting to volunteer to help implement those ideas. For more information on how to get involved, call 332-8311.