Why More Parks?
Vibrant cities have a good balance of private homes, retail and commercial, and public spaces. When city planning is done well, private interests and public spaces create a sustainable combination that further fuels the success. Cities that focus only on development of private interests, for instance, and ignore development in public spaces are not successful or sustainable.
No one will argue that the population in Western Washington is increasing. As cities like Shoreline and Lake Forest Park densify and development squeezes more dwellings in less space, the demand for open space and parks do not lessen; instead the demand increases. No longer having traditional back yards, people look to public lands to meet their needs for gardening and recreation. Most if not all multi-family structures lack the open space to meet the needs of their inhabitants.
In the Ballinger Neighborhood of Shoreline and nearby Lake Forest Park, densification is inevitable like most neighborhoods. Eventually single family parcels will be re-developed with higher density dwellings - often with little or no green space. Today, the residents in nearby condos, apartments, and houses use Aldercrest Annex for outdoor activities. Where will these families go without Aldercrest Annex - particularly when housing density increases?
Although Bruggers Bog Park is across the street from Aldercrest Annex, it is not appropriate for soccer, baseball, tennis, and other organized or individual sports. In fact, Shoreline Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PROS) has identified the Ballinger Neighborhood as deficient in community parks. The Lake Forest Park homes next to Aldercrest Annex have no public parks or open spaces to serve the community. Without Aldercrest Annex, the nearest park to play ball or tennis is about 2 miles away with Ballinger Way as an impediment slicing half of our neighborhood from the rest of the city.
Has Shoreline and Lake Forest Park been keeping up with the public space demand? A calculation of acres of parks per 1000 people is a simple way to compare city’s park interests against other neighboring cities. This calculation does not measure the quality or accessibility of the city’s parks but it does provide a basic comparative method. The chart below is a comparison of Shoreline’s park acres against 19 other cities in the Puget Sound. The chart shows that Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are at the bottom!
Aldercrest Annex is our community park and without it, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park will fall even further behind becoming a near-desert, devoid of the recreational space so needed by our communities.