Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sequim Parks - Weeds versus Toddler Safety?

I have attended the past number of Sequim Parks Advisory Board meetings and have noticed another example of the remarkable disconnect that often exists between government agencies and Sequim families.

Part of the agenda of the Sequim Parks Advisory Board is to discuss the “state of the parks” in Sequim. I guarantee you that the items you think of as you picture the state of Sequim parks are different from the ones the Board members bring up.

The Park Board members mention weeds getting high on a trail behind Les Schwab. In contrast, I hear parents mention to me issues like the unsafe toddler playground at Carrie Blake Park. It is located just feet from the main road into the park with no safety fence around it. Toddlers can easier wander into the path of a distracted driver totting their dog on their lap heading into the dog park. From the parent’s perspective, this is a tragedy waiting to happen and the parent wonders at the City’s lack of interest in addressing such an obvious safety concern.

I have met the Sequim Parks Advisory Board Members and have found them to be good, caring, concerned citizens. Their lack of awareness of issues that kids and families care about isn’t due to a purposeful choice, or resistance. The entire board is older. I would guess that four of the five members are older then 65 years old and the other is in his 50’s. “Kid” issues just often don’t get raised effectively or properly by parents. If the Board isn’t aware of an issue, they can’t react to it or be held accountable for the issue.

There is at least one opening, with perhaps more coming, on the Sequim Parks Advisory Board. Having a Board member that is raising a kid and is using the Sequim City Parks would be a huge help to the Board and to the cause of kids and families in Sequim. I know for a fact that the existing Board would welcome a younger new member.

The real trick is getting someone to donate their time once per month to the community by attending the meeting. This Parks Advisory open position is a classic case of something that wouldn’t take a lot of time (one meeting per month) but have a huge influence on issues in Sequim (The Board makes direct recommendations to the City Council about Parks issues).

Call me if you have questions. We really need someone from our midst to step into this role. I can be emailed at sequimfamilies@yahoo.com or called at 461-4455. Please let us know if you apply so we can recommend you to the City Council.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Playfields A Step Closer!

It is ok to get excited! The huge playfield project that we are advocating is moving closer to reality. The first step in any project is to secure permission. This week we have officially received the blessing of the City of Sequim and the State Dept. of Ecology and Dept. of Health.

Phew! Now comes the easy part of raising money for a large capital project in a down economy.

The emails I am getting this week from the Fall after school leagues as they get ready only motivates me further to work hard on this project. Everyone is out of space. This project is badly needed and will make a huge statement that our town is not only a retirement town. It is also a vital, healthy town of all ages.

For now give thanks that we navigated through the up front obstacles. (And get a bit excited that there are acres and acres of playfields coming when we pull this project together).
See you at the fields!