The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces its regular meeting next week in Ilwaco.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum, 115 Lake St. S.E., Ilwaco. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment is provided at all regular Commission meetings, which are convened six times a year at locations around the state.
The Commission will consider adopting two prioritized management options for the historic Saint Edward Seminary Building at Saint Edward State Park near Kenmore – rehabilitating the building for public-private purposes – or vacating the building. If the action is adopted, staff would be directed to explore detailed rehabilitation proposals and work with interested parties to develop any appropriate lease and governance options. If a rehabilitation proposal does not provide results in 12 months, staff would take steps to vacate the building.
Saint Edward State Park is a 316-acre park with 3,000 linear feet of freshwater shoreline on Lake Washington. The park is popular for its expansive lawns, fields and hiking trails through second-growth forest near the lake. The 80,000 square-foot seminary building is the most visible feature of the park. Constructed in the 1930s, it was used as a Seminary School until 1976, when the state obtained the park and building from the Catholic Archdiocese. The building has been in disrepair for nearly four decades. During this time, numerous proposals and planning efforts have been considered but did not come to fruition because they were too expensive or were not viable for a variety of other reasons.
Last year, the Commission adopted a formal resolution to seek out private or public partnerships to explore funding possibilities. In July, the City of Kenmore expressed interest in working with Daniels Real Estate of Seattle to rehabilitate the building and pursue a lease agreement for the building. Bastyr University, located adjacent to the park, has expressed interest in leasing space in the building. At public meetings on the issue, some have expressed concern that any commercial uses of the building not affect public access and enjoyment of other park facilities, trails and natural features.
In other business, the Commission will:
• Provide some evaluation of projects included in grant requests to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and administered through the Recreation and Conservation Office. Projects include park improvements such as trailhead, picnic and day-use areas and property acquisitions at existing parks.
• Convene a public hearing to consider requesting changes to the Washington Administrative Code governing safety inspections State Parks is required to perform on recreational conveyances such as ski lifts.
• Adopt Commission regular meeting dates and locations for 2015.
The Commission also will hear several reports, including financial, business development and legislative updates. There will be presentations on the 2013 Volunteer Program and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park.
Work session: A Commission work session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Ilwaco Heritage Museum, 115 Lake St. S.E., Ilwaco. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no time is scheduled for public testimony, and the Commission takes no formal action at work sessions.
Topics on the work session agenda include updates on the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Task Force; agency seashore responsibilities; real estate management policy; Mount Spokane; parks improvement and operations; Creative Services program; and the State Parks central reservation system. The Commission also has scheduled a roundtable discussion with state and other government officials – a regular component of Commission work sessions.
Commission tour: The Commission has scheduled a Friday tour of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park. The tour will depart at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19, from Adrift Inn, 409 Sid Snyder Drive, Long Beach.
About Washington State Parks: The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.