August 23, 2022 Meeting Summary
-- see also the April 27, 2022 meeting summary
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Introductions – Chris Jordan, Marymoor Park Business Unit Coordinator (replacing Norah); King County Parks; Greg Helland, SODA representative, FOMP President; Michael Hobbs, FOMP Secretary, webmaster; Glenn Eades, Eastside Audubon; Shai Hinitz via Teams, MAR/C representative, FOMP Board; Rob Thomas, AEG Presents (Marymoor Concerts); Scott Thomas, Community Partnerships & Grants, teammate with TJ Davis, King County Parks; Felicity Wang, Mazu Cultural Exchange Association
Mazu Cultural Display Review - Felicity Wang, leader of the Mazu Association in Seattle, past chairman of Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Felicity presented the outline of a plan for an International Cultural Park to honor the life of a young woman, some 1200 years ago, in China. Mazu is considered to be the deification of this woman as a benevolent goddess of the sea. The culture park would be funded by the North American Mazu Cultural Association, a registered non-profit. Funds would also come from other Mazu associations worldwide.
The proposal would be for a Cultural Park on the lawn of the KC maintenance facility that is near the model airplane field. This would include a pavilion, a statue of Mazu 10 meters tall (32.3 ft.), statues of two generals 3 meters tall (9.9 ft.), an interactive computer kiosk with information, and a small Mazu Cultural center with a tiny office. There would also be a garden with cherry, plum, maple, dogwood, weeping beach, katsura, crabapple, magnolia, etc. They would like to build a cultural park and to “engage in 10 years of international Mazu Cultural Festival activities, 2023-2032”.
The first question, of course, was about parking whenever there are special events at the proposed site. The nearest parking is the M/ARC field parking, which is not available. But there is the parking lot near the east entrance which might be available.
Glenn suggested that this sounds like a religious organization, not a purely cultural one. Wikipedia refers to Mazu as a religion. This raises issues of appropriateness (building a religious site on a public land). Felicity countered that it is not religious, and asserted that the United Nations had declared that it was a 'cultural tradition'. [But Felicia also stated that she prayed to Mazu when recovering from cancer, and that Mazu is "just like Jesus"].
Greg asked if there were any similar sites (cultural/religious) within King County Parks. We all agreed that Native American sites would not be comparable. No other similar sites came to mind, though religious events have been held at Marymoor (i.e. Eid celebrations).
Greg further asked “Why Marymoor?” Felicity responded that there is both a beautiful space and many visitors.
Greg asked “How does this cultural site benefit the Marymoor visitor community?” Felicity said that the site would be beautiful, and would be educational.
Further discussion ensued, not directly addressing the proposed Mazu site, but more generally one of land use at Marymoor Park. Greg also asked “What other cultural facilities for how many other cultures will be located here, and where will they go?” and made the observation that many people/organizations want to place some facility here because it’s a great place, good accessibility, and the land is “FREE”. But Marymoor is already (close to?) overused.
This led into discussion of the supposedly ongoing creation of a new Marymoor Park Master Plan. Key items of discussion were the very limited available land within the park, the large number of existing park users, the existing conflict between them (scheduling, access, parking, crowds, etc.), and the great demand for more facilities by new user groups. The arrival of Sound Transit Light Rail and the adjacent development of land immediately NE of the park is a huge worry (especially concerning cut-through traffic and parking within Marymoor). The proposal for a professional cricket pitch entered into the discussion, as did the proposed TOPs tennis facility.
How can we determine how much development of Marymoor Park should be allowed? Why would large additional structures be added to one of the last large areas of open space within the urban part of King County, and why can't the county acquire and already-developed site such as an unused mall for them? Should professional sports be allowed to displace casual and amateur sports? How could one choose between all of the potential cultural/quasi-religious organizations that might want space? What existing park user groups should be expelled from the park to make room for different ones? Why hasn't King County acquired additional open space lands within the Urban Growth area to provide space for all of these groups that want to come to Marymoor?
Marymoor Master Plan
Scoping has been largely done, but Chris says there will need to be an outside consultant hired to develop the plan. Greg asked how renewals and modifications to existing Partnership agreements should proceed; they’ve been put on a back burner awaiting the Master Plan, or have been made a low priority? MAR/C has been waiting for approval for almost 4 years! Also, both EAS and MAR/C are awaiting CP&G approval for re-up on their partnerships. FOMP reasserted that existing partners should not be put on indefinite hold!
- The rest of the meeting was mostly devoted to getting to know Chris Jordan, and to help familiarize him with the various ongoing projects and issues.
Next meeting Wednesday, September 28th, 2022
TBD is whether this will again be a remote meeting, or in-person at Marymoor
These notes do not constitute an official record of the meeting. They may have inaccuracies and omissions. If anyone has any complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to Michael Hobbs at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will endeavor to correct them.