Celebrate parks this July | City Corner

By Carrie Hite, director Parks and Recreation, and Cultural Services | Jul 02, 2015

If June is any indication, we are in for a very hot summer. The Edmonds Parks Department has already seen record numbers of people enjoying our beachfront and other parks, and we’re ramping up seasonal labor to keep up with the demand.

Along with keeping the parks clean, safe and enjoyable, the Parks Department is also responsible for the downtown flower baskets and corner beds.

Recreation and Cultural Arts offer many specialty summer camps and recreation programs and summer concerts in City Park and Hazel Miller Plaza. Also, residents can take a walk and view the new artisan-made historical signs around town.

It probably is no surprise, but the City Park play area is under construction this summer, as we are installing the first ever spray pad for the City. Although it would be fabulous to have the spray pad in operation now as we experience record-setting heat, the City needed to time for construction during summer months.

There is less likelihood during dry months of penetrating the underground water table during construction. The spray pad will be completed, hopefully in time for Labor Day and some nice September weather.

Other happenings around town include the master planning for Marina Beach Park as we prepare to daylight Willow Creek through the Edmonds Marsh.

There have been some great community conversations about this waterfront gem, and we are nearing a final concept design.

The public is invited to the final open house from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at the Edmonds Plaza Room, located above the Edmonds Library, 650 Main St. We will also have an online open house, beginning July 9, that can be found at marinabeach.publicmeeting.info. Please join us at the open house or visit us online to give us your feedback about the final concept.

The Planning Board and City Council are set to review the final plan and adopt it before the end of summer.

Another project in process is the partnership with the Edmonds School District to construct two synthetic turf multi-use fields at the former Woodway High School. This project has long been identified and adopted as part of the City's Comprehensive Plan and the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan. An extensive public process conducted in 2006 and 2007 created a vision for the only full-size, synthetic, multi-use fields in Edmonds, offering year around opportunities for active lifestyles.

It has taken some time to put the financial puzzle together to begin the project.

This project has not been without controversy, as recent anecdotal reports of the health impacts of the crumb rubber infill being used have raised some community concerns.

Both the School District and funding partner, Verdant Health Commission, completed independent studies to determine if there were any health effects of this infill.

Both efforts reviewed 32 studies and concluded that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Neighbors have also voiced concerns, fearing that noise and traffic will impact the neighborhood. The City is committed to working with neighbors to mitigate these concerns.

In other news, the City is in active negotiations with the Edmonds School District for the purchase of Civic Field, an eight-acre park that is widely used by the whole community.

The City has been leasing this site for its downtown park for more than 35 years. It has long been a priority to purchase the property and secure its future as a park.

The Parks Department continually looks for assets and opportunities to provide a quality of life for our citizens. A few new additions this past year include outdoor fitness equipment, thanks to a partnership with the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The equipment is located in the open space area just south of the plant at 200 Second Avenue South, Edmonds. It can be accessed by trails from Second Avenue and SR 104.

In addition, we have striped eight outdoor pickleball courts at the Yost tennis court area. Portable pickleball nets can be checked out at the Frances Anderson Center for a refundable deposit.

This July, the National Parks and Recreation Association, along with local parks and recreation departments, are celebrating 30 years of Parks and Recreation Month and the importance of parks and recreation for the world.

From the start, parks were created to serve the people – to give them a place to appreciate nature, exercise, socialize and have fun. This mission lives on and will continue to intensify into the future.

This July, please join the Edmonds Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department in celebrating our parks!



Comments (1)
Posted by: douglas george swartz | Jul 03, 2015 14:24

In reference to the statements by Ms. Hite that there is no scientific evidence to support any health issues with crumb rubber and the implication that all reports of health effects are "anecdotal", these are untrue statements. Searching on "health issues of crumb rubber athletic fields", one finds numerous scientific studies that have been conducted that show that the nasty chemicals in crumb rubber can be vaporized into the atmosphere under normal playing conditions and leached into rain water under normal rainfall conditions. One study by the Department of Analytical Chemistry, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station showed the following VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were released into the air by shaking particles of the crumb rubber under slightly elevated temperatures (simulating normal field use on a hot day)--Benzothiazole,Butylated hydroxyanisole,n-hexadecane,4-(t-octyl) phenol (these are not nice compounds folks) and that the following leached into water that the pellets had been soaked in--zinc,selenium,lead,cadmium (again not nice elements-the health effects of exposure to these elements is well documented).

The report concluded "The laboratory data presented here support the conclusion that under relatively mild conditions of temperature and leaching solvent, components of crumb rubber produced from tires (i) volatilize into the vapor phase and (ii) are leached into water in contact with the crumbs."

So what Carrie must mean is that there is no study YET that says "if my child plays sports on this material for 6 hours a week for a full year, he or she is four times more likely to develop cancer". Why does not a study like this exist--the recycled tire industry has a pretty strong lobby.

If the Parks Department and the School District go ahead with this decision, at minimum they risk the costly proposition of having to tear out this material in the future when such a study is finally published (how long was the tobacco industry able to sit on evidence linking smoking to lung cancer even though their own studies showed it) and the very real risk of lawsuits. As a resident of Edmonds, I find it hard to believe that the City and School District are willing to take such a risk.

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