To the Editor:
When I learned of the City of Kirkland's plans to destroy and build a 93,000 Sq Ft Aquatic Recreation Center and 200+ parking spaces where beautiful Juanita Bay Park now sits and delights so many people, I thought it had to be a mistake. Or a bad joke.
Putting aside the fact that Kirkland residents already have access to multiple pools (both indoors and out) the City Council and Park Board should know better than most that natural Parks mitigate climate, air, and water pollution impacts on the surrounding environment and public health. They provide gathering places for families and social groups, as well as for individuals of all ages and economic status, regardless of their ability to pay for access. Parks improve the local tax base and increase property values. And Parks have a value to communities that transcend dollars. Parks and parkland provide a sense of public pride, social equality and cohesion to every community they’re in.
The Juanita Beach proposal under consideration is not only ill conceived but has been promoted and pushed to the exclusion of other more suitable locations and the information being disseminated to the community is prejudiced, inaccurate and stilted.
When you consider the horrific environmental impact to Juanita Beach, the snarling traffic, the irreplaceable loss of natural beauty and common space, the Center’s already growing construction cost and the fact that the community that will be most affected by it does not want it, it begs the question why is Juanita Beach under consideration at all? There MUST other viable locations - and there are.
The Kirkland City Council and Park Board speak of a “legacy” to the community. If they build this Aquatic Recreation Center where Juanita Beach Park now stands, they’ll indeed have their “legacy”. One of shortsightedness, ego, dollars over communal well-being and worst of all natural tragedy.