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City to improve park visibilityScreening

"POULSBO - As the Arbor Vitae at Lions Park have grown and flourished over the years, so has the rate of vandalism at the park. The trees are providing an all-too effective visual barrier at the 6th Avenue site, allowing incidents of malicious mischief to continue. Poulsbo Police officers are unable to adequately check the park during their routine patrol checks and motion-detecting equipment (used to tip off neighbors to night time activity) has been tampered with on a regular basis. As a result, the city has accrued over $700 in damage this year alone, according to Tracy Wall of the Lions Park revitalization committee. During the last 12 months the biggest issue is a lack of visibility, she said, noting that removing some trees at the park would rectify the problem. Wall and Linda Berry-Maraist - both of whom played a major role in a grass roots effort to replace the aging play structure at the park earlier this year - presented their case to city council Wednesday night. The two have taken the matter through the extensive committee process and recently received the much-needed blessing from the Poulsbo Tree Board and the Park and Recreation Department. Local arborist Kevin McFarland also favors the plan. For Wall and other parents whose children use the renovated site on a regular basis, it comes down to an issue of safety. Arbor Vitae is a screen and it's screening the park, Wall explained. There are a lot problems caused by not being able to see into the park. Citing the National Parks Plan, Wall pointed out that it is important to be able to see through such recreational areas. One particular area of the park that is raising concern is a corner located near the restrooms. The site is extremely well-shielded and therefore presents a potential problem, Wall said. Seeing into that corner is impossible, she noted. It provides a potential place for child predators. Council voted 7-0 in favor of removing every other Arbor Vitae at the park and replace the tall trees with low-lying shrubbery. The trees and some Forsythia behind the swing set are also causing problems and will be removed. Approximately $1,600 has been budgeted for the project, but the Poulsbo Noon Lions will help offset some of the costs. This is a second chapter at Lions Park, said Mary McCluskey, director of parks and recreation. The (trees) are healthy but they need some help. In other park news, the Poulsbo City Council voted unanimously to add lighting to the skate area at Frank Raab Park. The vapor lights will be installed on a one-year trial basis and will allow local youth to use the skate park until 7 p.m. during the winter months. "

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