Friends of Marymoor Park
January 24th, 2001 Meeting Summary
Bobbi Wallace, King Co. Parks facilities manager, gave a rundown of the 2001 and 2002 budget situation. In the 2001 budget, the good news was that more money was forthcoming for operations and maintenance, including headcount for mowing (restoration to 1999 levels, overturning cuts made for 2000), one person for Integrated Pest Management, money to maintain the new soccer fields at Marymoor, and money to maintain the interim use of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
However, there is a funding shortfall projected for 2002 which is substantial. One reason is the new cost to minimally maintain (i.e. fence and gate, restrict poaching, prevent and/or clean up illegal dumping, evict squatters, prevent or extinguish fires) newly acquired park acreage. Another cause of the shortfall is a desire by the Executive and the Council to live up to the spirit of Initiative 695 which sought to limit property tax increases.
Because of the projected shortfall, money will be squeezed from the 2001 budget to help pay for the 2002 budget. This includes a hiring freeze, which will primarily effect the new mowing slots. Bobbi will have the authority to evaluate current staffing priorities, and she can possibly fill some open slots using existing personnel. However, mowing is not usual a safety issue, so mowing will probably be performed at year 2000 levels.
Norah presented a list of proposed projects for Marymoor, with indications of priority (safety first, etc). FOMP members are requested to make comments as to priority, as well as to make comments on (or volunteer work parties for) the items on the list.
Comments should be sent to Norah Gaynor.
Deborah Churchill, from the City of Redmond, announced that tourism money is available from the City. This money is raised through the Hotel/Motel tax. On a quarterly basis, the city reviews requests for money. This can fund items which enhance the "touristability" of Redmond, and Marymoor activities might be considered tourist draws to the city. Possible items that could receive funding would be signs to group-based activity sites (velodrome, museum, R/C park, community garden). An advertised public event expected to draw people from outside the area might qualify for a grant. There is approximately $80,000 available annually. Interested groups can contact Jackie Goren at 425-556-2441.
The row of Black Cottonwood trees separating the Community Garden from the grass soccer fields has become an issue of concern. Apparently, a large limb fell next to a gardener working her plot last year. Severe injury or death could have resulted from the incident had she not been lucky.
Tree removal, however, is not the most desirable outcome. These old trees are essential habitat for cavity nesting birds, as is evident from the Barn Owl currently believed to be roosting in the westernmost of the trees, and the American Kestrels which [attempted to] nest in the easternmost tree in the row last summer. Hairy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers have also been noted in the row.
Investigations will be made to ascertain whether there are ways to mitigate the danger, such as limbing and/or topping the trees. It is possible that individual trees may need to be removed immediately, while others are safe to remain where they are after trimming, while others still may be fine. Infilling with young trees should proceed concurrent with tree removal. The trees separating the Interpretive Lot from the grass soccer fields, a continuation of the aforementioned row, should also be examined.
Michael Hobbs, from the East Lake Washington Audubon Society, has installed 10 birdhouses in the park (8 on the east side of the slough and 2 in Marymoor West). He also installed perching posts and poles in the north end of the East Meadow (immediately east of the beginning of the Interpretive Trail). These should provide locations for nesting Savannah Sparrows and other species to sing from during breeding season, as there are no bushes in that part of the meadow. 24 hours after installation, a Say's Phoebe, a flycatcher rare in western Washington, was actively flycatching using the biggest perch post as a perch.
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