Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Parks/Recreation’ Category

State Parks Repair Backlog $463M; Current Funding Scant

by Matt Rosenberg December 30th, 2013

Washington State Parks have a backlog of deferred maintenance projects valued at $463 million now, up from $373 million in 2001, according to a new report to the legislature from the state parks and recreation commission. Current legislative funding for the backlog is a scant $7 million. The news comes as the parks system continues to wrestle with tough new fiscal realities sure to require more reliance on outside revenue and far less from Olympia.

This Is Your Land: Larrabee State Park, The Video

by Matt Rosenberg June 6th, 2013

On wondrous Chuckanut Drive betwixt Bow, Washington and Bellingham on the eastern shores of the Salish Sea lies Larrabee State Park. From the main parking lot, a small underpass conveys pedestrians beneath the train tracks on a short winding path to a lovely beach. On a business trip from Seattle to points north yesterday I had a chance to stop by. Also present were local school groups including one from Concrete, Wash. Larrabee is a scenic and family-friendly state park worth an extended visit on a weekend or a leisurely summer weekday.

The Salish Sea concept invokes native histories across the U.S. -Canadian border between Puget Sound the Straits of Georgia in British Columbia. Supporters accent science-based efforts to protect water quality, marine life and Native cultures tied to the bi-national region’s aquatic byways and resources. Here’s a map of the Salish Sea and information on a 2014 Salish Sea conference being organized by Western Washington University.

Our video shot at Larrabee will tell the rest of the story, for now.

More here on Larrabee.

Also see our previous original Public Data Ferret outdoor videos or photo features accenting public lands to explore.

This Is Your Land: Kubota Garden, Seattle

This Is Your Land: On Lummi Mountain – The Video

This Is Your Land – Melakwa Lake – The Video


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

Privatize management of Lynnwood’s golf course, report urges

by Matt Rosenberg March 4th, 2013

In a report to be presented tonight to the Lynnwood City Council, the city’s director of parks and recreation strongly recommends the city privatize the management its troubled, money-losing golf course. The facility was the subject of a critical state audit in December because it has relied on continued bailouts from the city’s utility fund including a $1.3 million chunk of recent borrowing repaid slowly enough to constitute a “permanent diversion” of funds in violation of state law, auditors said. The city pledged to explore new options including closing or selling the course, or contracting out its management. The new report says the latter would “produce significant cost savings and efficiencies coupled with a strong marketing approach to produce higher revenues.”

Tumwater at odds with state on loans for failing golf course

by Matt Rosenberg February 19th, 2013

A recently-issued report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says the City of Tumwater is breaking state law by continuing to fund its money-losing golf course with revenues from its utility fund which are paid back so slowly the loans are a “permanent diversion” of taxpayer monies. The public facility owed nearly $2 million as of December but the city says it won’t change its practices because keeping the land open and green is crucial to connecting regional recreation assets, and the course will eventually see an uptick in revenues from hoped-for redevelopment of the adjacent Brewery District. Tumwater’s response stands in sharp contrast to that of two other Washington cities recently faced with similar audit findings about public golf courses beset by red ink. Lynnwood in Snohomish County is exploring contracting out the operation of its golf course or selling it, and Sumner in Pierce County says it will seek to sell its facility.

Lynnwood’s struggling city golf course might be offloaded

by Matt Rosenberg December 26th, 2012

The City of Lynwood has in effect permanently diverted funds from its utility account to prop up its money-losing city golf course, in violation of state law, according to a newly-released accountability audit from the State of Washington. The city says in response it will stop raiding the utility fund to keep the golf course solvent – and in 2013 will decide whether to sell the facility, contract its operations out to the private sector, or keep it afloat through General Fund loans or transfers.

Controversial Cowlitz shooting range still needs key grant

by Matt Rosenberg October 22nd, 2012

Scattered across the State of Washington are dozens of target practice ranges for owners of rifles, pistols and archery bows, and more than a few involve cooperative arrangements between local governments and non-profit shooting clubs. One these is the Roger Dahl Range operated in West Seattle by the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club on City of Seattle property under a ten-year lease set to expire in 2013. Another is in Cowlitz County in southwest Washington, where on October 23rd the county council is set to approve a $153,330 contract with Horsely Construction for land preparation work on the Cowlitz County Public Shooting Range. The county has pledged a total of $245,000 in loans to the operator of the range, the non-profit Cowlitz Game and Anglers, to get the facility built, according to the Longview Daily News. The loans may or may not be forgiven. But despite the county’s help; despite surmounting protests from concerned neighbors and county taxpayers and winning a county land use permit with 44 provisos; and despite a groundbreaking ceremony last weekend, the project’s ultimate success may still hinge on a somewhat iffy state grant.

This Is Your Land: The Kubota Garden, Seattle

by Matt Rosenberg October 9th, 2012

Perhaps the most unique of the City of Seattle’s parks is The Kubota Garden. From the page for The Kubota Garden at the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department’s web site: “Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The city acquired the property…an historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota. Kubota was a horticultural pioneer when he began merging Japanese design techniques with North American materials in his display garden in 1927. The Gardens are a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and rock out-croppings with a rich array of plant material.”

I had a chance to visit the garden for the first time, a few days ago. Following are some photos. If you live in or are visiting Seattle, don’t miss this place.

Visitors explore a reflecting pond at The Kubota Garden, in Southeast Seattle/Matt Rosenberg

Many of the smaller trees are are strikingly ornate/Matt Rosenberg

An extended family photo shoot/Matt Rosenberg

For more information on how to volunteer or support The Kubota Garden, contact The Kubota Garden Foundation.

Public Data Ferret’s Parks and Recreation archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

County in 10-year deal with popular dog wash at Marymoor

by Matt Rosenberg October 3rd, 2012

If you’ve been glad to give your muddy, happily exhausted canine a good sudsy hosing at Wash Spot Express in King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond after a romp in the “Doggy Disneyland” off-leash area there, you’ll be pleased to learn the company and the county are likely to be inking a new 10-year concession agreement before the end of this year. The proposed pact and an accompanying letter of endorsement from County Executive Dow Constantine have been transmitted to the county council. The dog wash on park property is adjacent to the west parking lot and the popular 40-acre Marymoor off-leash facility. Because the partnership formed in 2007 has worked out well for the county and Bothell-based Wash Spot LLC, says the agreement, it should be extended until 2022. If expected approval is granted by the King County Council later this year, Wash Spot Express’ monthly rent under the new agreement will be $1,050 and the company will pay the county 10 percent of all monthly income above and beyond the first $8,000 earned per month.