MI Reporter Article Thursday, January 25, 2018:
CCMIP urges Mercer Islanders to preserve, protect parks and open spaces
Group encourages Open Space Conservancy Trust Board to oversee more than Pioneer Park.
The Open Space Conservancy Trust Board voted at its Jan. 18 meeting to add an agenda item to its 2018 work plan to discuss the addition of parks and open spaces to the trust.
This action was prompted by the Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks’ request.
“We believe now is the time to create a higher threshold to preserve our remaining open space by placing them in the Trust,” said Peter Struck, CCMIP co-chair, in a press release from the organization.
The city created the trust almost 30 years ago whereby city lands are transferred to the trust for ownership and management with the express intent of preserving open spaces and protecting the character of the Island, according to CCMIP.
Pioneer Park is currently the only parcel of land that is in the trust.
“Why should Pioneer Park be the only space afforded the added protections provided by the trust?” asked Meg Lippert, CCMIP co-chair.
While City Council action will be needed to transfer additional lands into the trust, the trust is an appropriate setting to introduce and begin the conversation as it is a public body entrusted with the preservation of parks and open spaces.
“The benefits of the proposed action includes increasing the economic and environmental benefits of these lands, sustaining the ability for every-day citizens, as well as park staff, to directly influence how our parks are maintained and used, and ensuring that parkland and open space, which together represent the City’s single largest asset, receives the special community oversight that the Trust can provide,” according to the press release.
By placing this proposal on their agenda, the Trust board, with guidance from the City Council and City staff, can establish a process of public engagement, legal and regulatory review (as necessary), and develop a well-defined plan to move forward,” according to CCMIP.
CCMIP stands ready to assist in this discussion, and move the proposal forward as expediously as possible.
Who is CCMIP?
CCMIP was formed in the summer of 2015 to “Protect Our Parks” through full and robust engagement of Island residents and voters. Most recently, CCMIP has focused on efforts to stop a proposed private development on an acre of public parkland in Mercerdale Park. In addition, CCMIP, under the direction of the Mercer Island Parks Department, has sponsored over 200 hours of volunteer labor to rehabilitate the Native Garden in Mercerdale Park. Visit www.ProtectMIParks.org for further information.