The current effort by the City of Edmonds administration to have the city council approve an inadequate and deficient Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan for city properties (our parks and city-owned open spaces), in spite of significant citizen concerns, is yet another example of the need for better governance in Edmonds.
You may recall the mayor put out a press release in March of 2021 (over a year ago), announcing the city would provide, for public review and city council approval, a restoration plan to address the flooding and salmon recovery problems in the Perrinville Creek watershed. No such “plan” has been made available for public review, but city administration convinced (coerced?) the city council to provide taxpayer funds to begin work on who knows what in Perrinville Creek. Is the city afraid of public input or public accountability that would come with having a plan?
The PROS Plan is a required component of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, so city administration has no choice but to put out a plan on how it is going to maintain and improve city property for the benefit of its citizens. So, is this fear of accountability the reason why this administration had the contractor remove the action items that were a component of past PROS Plans? Is this why the new draft plan avoids addressing the degradation of natural areas in our parks and open spaces?
Good governance means elected officials listening to citizens and obtaining the facts; deliberating on the facts and public input; and developing well thought-out plans that can/will be implemented for the betterment of the people and their environment in Edmonds. Avoiding accountability will only make things worse, not better. Political agendas should not play a role in our local government.
Please join me in commenting to the city council at firstname.lastname@example.org or at their public hearing next Tuesday to ask that they hold off approving the new PROS Plan until a council-appointed citizen committee is convened to recommend action items and revisions to the PROS Plan for council consideration.
My letter to the council is as follows.
Please DO NOT approve the current draft of the six-year Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. Citizens of Edmonds have identified numerous deficiencies that have been ignored or dismissed by the contractor hired by the city to “update” the 2016 PROS Plan. Instead of updating the prior “publicly-approved” PROS Plan and its’ action items for the six-year period up to now, the contractor instead deleted the action items and changed the goals and structure of PROS Plan – – and in so doing, deleted much of what the citizens of this city were expecting to see in the plan.
The 2016 PROS Plan had important concepts that are absent in this revised draft:
- Capitalize on the unique identity of Edmonds
- Look forward to the future of Edmonds
- Steward and activate key community assets
These concepts need to be “reinstalled” in the new PROS Plan.
I’m pleased that the draft plan included the “equity” issue on locations of neighborhood parks, but it should not have taken an outcry by the public (as evidenced by the huge number of written comments) to realize the deficiencies in this restructured draft PROS Plan.
I ask that the council hold off approving the current draft until a council-appointed citizen committee is convened to recommend action items and revisions to the PROS Plan for council consideration in approving the final 2022-2027 PROS Plan.
Joe Scordino; 40-plus year resident and father of four kids I was proud to raise in this town.