Mixed feelings arise at planning meeting

HANSVILLE — Nearly 70 Hansville residents turned out Wednesday night to offer suggestions for the community’s newest park. The community gathering at the Greater Hansville Community Center saw many different schematic variations of Norwegian Point Park, some drastically independent of each other.

Residents reminded county officials, the Seattle-based Berger Partnership — contracted to do the design of the master plan — and local community leaders of the importance of community involvement in the process.

The gathering started with a quick history of the four-acre property and how the county came to own it.

Eight buildings on the property were also a point of discussion and county officials announced three of them were deemed not historic and will be torn down. The other five could be added to the National Registry of Historic Places (see sidebar for more information on the registry). The county stands to lose approximately $350,000 of a $1 million grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation (WSRC) office if the buildings remain on the property. The WSRC has strict guidelines as to what kinds of buildings can be on park lands purchased with grant funding.

“I would like to comment on that, it seems to me we have this beautiful parking lot here, and it’s usually wide open,” said Hansville resident Becky Ellison. “Why don’t we have the (Americans with Disabilities Act) parking down there, and we can have walking and bicycling down there.”

Parking at the downtown park was a sensitive issue, as most residents moved to the North End community for the view from the downtown area. Many said they didn’t want it marred by a parking lot full of cars. Several residents, Tony Atkinson among them, said some locals have been hoping for a little surge in commercial ventures in the downtown core and Norwegian Point Park could tie in with those future plans.

“My concerns would be mainly on trying to make this project low impact on our community,” said fourth-generation Hansville resident Evan Zachary. “One of my big things to be addressed is lighting. There’s a big difference between security and light pollution. You should also securely define the boundaries of the park.”

Other residents wanted nothing more than to leave the park as natural as possible so future generations can see what Hansville was like during the first part of the 21st century. Berger Partnership Principal Landscape Architect Jonathan Morley took notes and answered questions raised during the meeting. He and county officials from the Parks and Recreation Department said at the next meeting they would present designs ranging from a completely natural park environment to one a little more developed. He assured residents input gathered at Wednesday’s meeting would be incorporated into the present designs. The landscape architects and the county are aiming to have three public meetings and hope to have a master plan reading sometime in April.

Residents can send input to, and county officials encouraged any and all to utilize it.

“I grew up not far from a beach in Edmonds and it doesn’t look the same as it does now,” Atkinson said. “If we don’t keep the docks and piers, we’re never going to have that again.”

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