LETTER | A letter to the Park Board regarding Juanita Beach

Kirkland has a long history of acquiring and preserving park land and open spaces. We can be thankful to the city leaders before who recognized opportunities, schemed and succeeded in procuring as much waterfront land as possible. We now have Kirkland’s  first city manager who is willing to give up what so many before have struggled to preserve.

 

With all of Kirkland’s parks we still have only two on the waterfront that can provide the space, facilities and parking needed to host the big events residents enjoy. These two are Marina Park in Downtown and Juanita Beach Park. Currently when big events occur in the downtown core, merchants suffer with congestion and lack of parking for customers.

 

Events at the current Juanita Beach allow for shared parking on the north side eliminating impact on Juanita Village merchants and the neighborhoods. The City implies the ARC will provide for overflow parking. No Way. There is already not enough parking planned for events predicted to occur at the ARC. We need to keep this an “open space” park and natural area for citizens to enjoy the outdoors.

 

One question that has not been addressed is where is there another place to host the children’s concerts? They were moved to Juanita a few years ago to the applause of CBD merchants who were tired of customer parking being taken up. Juanita was a perfect new location. Where will you move these concerts now? These concerts require the entire north side to accommodate attendees. This seems to be an impact being overlooked by the City.

 

On another note, it is also our neighborhood park. It has lighted tennis courts (which the city promises to move to somewhere else but not in our community), it has the ball fields that entertain us with future baseball stars, it has the original historic home of the important Juanita pioneers who developed Juanita Beach, plus it provides the needed open space for the densely populated multi-family community around the park which was promised when this development went in.  The proposed development will degrade and destroy Juanita’s community fabric and residential feel. 

 

Parks, other than our two premier parks, do not have parking and restroom facilities. They are nature parks or neighborhood parks. Juanita Beach is the regional park in our city with even more potential if the original master plan is implemented.

 

South Juanita Beach cannot be separated from the north side. The master plan for the south side was not developed without the north side. There is already insufficient parking for all the activities on the south side. And per the master plan, activities are going to be added to include more picnic shelters, increased boating accommodations and a new bathhouse. 

 

Please save the north side of Juanita Beach from commercial development. Juanita beach needs to exist in its entirety, as one park.

 

Karen Lightfeldt