A huge “Thank you” to the enthusiastic group of Steilacoom volunteers who spent Saturday morning, 5 March, planting native plants along the 5th Street Waterway. They were augmented by more hard-working volunteers from the 627th Security Forces Squadron, McChord. Adults and children all pitched in, with an impressive result. The plants along the waterway are now starting to bud. It will be rewarding to watch them develop throughout the spring. A special thanks to Jim Senko, Mark Burlingame, and Rick Creger who planned and guided the event. Additionally, the Chambers Street entrance to Farrell’s Marsh Park now has a dog waste bag dispenser thanks to the a pair of generous Steilacoom donors. Thanks very much for your contribution!
The Town of Steilacoom Parks and Trails Committee met on February 28. Next meeting will be April 7 (6:30-8:30 pm) in the Town Hall meeting room. Following is the February meeting report:
Eagle Scout Projects
Community Center Woods Project Daniel Boyle from Steilacoom Troop 71 has gotten complete approval from the Scouts organization for his Eagle scout project to restore and enhance the trails in the Community Center park, where the trails in the woods have become very overgrown with invasive plants. Daniel has been in frequent communication with Mr. Burlingame regarding his project. He plans to begin the project in the middle of March.
There has been no recent contact regarding the proposed Eagle Scout project to install trail signage markers to identify throughout the Town which pathways are public access. Signage to identify Town pathways has been discussed at Parks/Trails meetings since September, 2009. Installation sites have been identified on a Town map, the signs have been attached to posts, and the posts are ready to install. The Town may move forward with this project via other means, such as a “Make a Difference Day” project.
There has been no recent contact regarding the proposed Eagle Scout project to refurbish Charlie’s Park. The project would involve replacing damaged and weathered boards, learning how to make cedar shingles and using them to create a new roof for the kiosk down below, restoring the rails, replacing or restoring the wood to improve its weather resistance, and installing signage that would educate park visitors on Charlie Buchanan for whom the park is named, with perhaps a picture of Mr. Buchanan. A deadline for completion of this project by this Eagle Scout is 7 May 2011.
Potential Open Space
Sally Jacky presented the concept for the proposed Harlock Park. She solicited further ideas and feedback from those present. Sally reported that 160 Town residents have expressed support of the proposed park and that the current owner is having the property appraised. The asking price of the property has not yet been definitively determined.
Sally presented information in response to questions raised at the last Parks/Trails meeting regarding the proposal to purchase the property comprised of property located across the street from Deer Hollow on Galloway St to maintain as an open space. The concept is to purchase the open space from funds collected by donors. Greater Tacoma Community Foundation is the tax-exempt organization that will accept the funds in a dedicated fund, Harlock Park Fund. If successfully purchased from the volunteer effort, the property would be offered to the town to be an open space park. The Town Council has not yet indicated if they would approve acceptance of the open space.
Those present at the last Parks/Trails task force meeting expressed some concerns regarding the initial asking price for the property. The assessed value is $47,500 for each of the three lots for a total of $142,500. Other concerns were the disposition of the donated money if the collected funds are insufficient to purchase the property; loss of tax revenue; value of this particular location compared to other potential open space in Steilacoom; intended recreational use of the passive and open space; and maintenance concerns. Sally Jacky’s response to these concerns is in Appendix A.
Sally indicated that a stewardship committee has been formed with representatives from various areas of Steilacoom. She will forward the names of members via email.
Further discussion at the meeting involved who would pay for the cost of the appraisal and other fees involved in purchasing the property, private attorney consultation, and disposition of the funds if the amount of money collected was not sufficient to purchase the property or the purchase of the property didn’t come about. Ron Lucas stated that he would ask the Council their thoughts regarding the Town ultimately acquiring the property. A staff report would be needed, followed by a resolution of intent.
627th Security Forces
On 10 Feb Rick Creger met with Amber Ricketson from the 627th Security Forces stationed at JBLM at Sunnyside Beach. Amber is the volunteer coordinator for the 627th and would like to establish a community service effort for her unit. It is possible that this could result in a long term commitment like the Town’s relationship with the 42nd MP Brigade. Nancy Henderson has been in contact with Amber and discussed with her potential parks/trails projects. The extent and type of volunteer participation has not yet been determined. Michael Digenero will soon be the new volunteer coordinator for the 627th. Nancy intends to maintain contact with the volunteer coordinator. She will offer a tour of parks and trails in Steilacoom and a discussion of past projects and potential future projects, in coordination with Mark Burlingame, Director of Public Works.
Sean Schmidt has organized a Steilacoom Flower Restoration Planning Meeting for Saturday, March 26th, from 1:00-3:00pm at the Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Center (STCC), 1515 Lafayette Street in Steilacoom.
There is strong interest to restore the Steilacoom Flower (aka Small Flowered Woodland Star, Lythophragma parviflorum) to Steilacoom, Lakewood, University Place, and other areas of Pierce and Thurston County. The purpose of the meeting is help the many people interested in the Steilacoom Flower know how they may assist with restoration efforts and to make definitive plans for moving forward with this project to begin this spring.
Sean requests that anyone wanting to attend contact him in advance because materials may be sent out prior to the meeting, and to let other interested persons know of this opportunity.
Native Plant Acquisition
Jim Senko will meet with Mark Burlingame on 14 Jan 2011 to select native plants which can be obtained at a significant discount from the Pierce County Conservation District. The native plants can be used for the second phase of the enhancement of the 5th St. Waterway trail. This project is a mitigation required by the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife for the Martin St. hydraulic permit approval.
Replanting of the Slope on Martin Street
During the restoration of martin Street, there was disruption of the vegetation on the slope just above the cove. The property belongs to Mr. Johnson. Plans are to revegetate the slope with native plants and trees at a future date.
Cedar Creek Work Crew
The work crew from the Cedar Creek Correctional Facility has been available on a weekly basis to assist with parks projects. The work crew has completed a number of improvement projects around Steilacoom, to include removal of storm debris from Sunnyside Beach Park and other areas, removal of an old hedge near the Town Admin building, elimination of noxious weeds from the Community Center Park and along the 5th St Waterway trail, and creation of a trench for new electrical service to provide 20 amp dedicated circuits for the Vendors’ Market and other street fairs. The Town can now provide power for up to 5 separate vendors.
Community Work Party
The next community work party is Saturday, 5 March 2011, from 0900 to 1200 at the 5th St. Waterway to plant native plants. The enhancement of the 5th St. Waterway trail is a mitigation required by the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife for the Martin St. hydraulic permit approval. If enough volunteers are on hand, potentially more invasive plants can be removed. The Cedar Creek work crew, as of 1 March, completed the preparatory work by removing many noxious and invasive plants along the 5th St Waterway. Nancy distributed flyers about the event to nearby residents and posted information on the Town bulletin board and on the bridge over the waterway. Jim Senko and Rick Creger have met to determine where the plants should be placed, and marked the locations. Over 200 native plants will be picked up Friday, 4 March. Nancy will send out another reminder about the work party to those on the email distribution list and will also recommend that participants bring rubber boots, as the area is very wet and extra tools if they would like, The Town will have tools available. It is recommended that participants park at the Saltar’s Point Elementary School parking lot and walk down the 5th St Waterway trail to the bridge.
NEXT WORK PARTY: 5 March 2011 at the 5th St Waterway
NEXT MEETING DATE: Thursday, 7 April 2011, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Town Hall.
Presented by Sally Jacky
1. Location–what is the value of Harlock Park to all of Steilacoom, who does it serve?
Harlock Park is available to all the town residents including the immediate neighborhood and to visitors. Persons will see the plaque “Harlock Park”. Harlock Park will complement the nearby parks by adding a low-maintenance open space park within a 5- to 10-minute easy walking distance to the active Webber Court Park and to the future home-owners’ active park of the Norberg Estates. Property values of present and future nearby houses will benefit from the presence of the natural setting of Harlock Park. The property is centrally located near the established neighborhoods along Lexington St and Marietta St., is across the street from Deer Hollow on Galloway St., and is in the immediate vicinity of possibly 23 houses to be built on the Norberg Estate. The property is easily accessible from the bus stop on Lexington St. Ft. Lewis military residents will have an opportunity to enjoy the natural setting.
The seller wishes to dedicate the property to the Harlock family. Persons will see the plaque “Harlock Park”. It is meaningful to acknowledge citizens who have lived for generations in our historic town. This is an opportunity to add public knowledge to the history of our town.
The Harlock Park is an exciting project. Our town citizens are eager to save our open space and provide a habitat and corridor for our wildlife in the Bill’s Addition in Steilacoom as well as protect the quality of our water and air. 160 Steilacoom citizens have shown support thus far. Who have expressed support? Citizens who are second, third, and fourth generation residents; families including young couple homeowners with babies who say our town will be their home for many years; teenagers; working families; and retirees.
In Harlock Park on lot 4 is a pedestrian path that will provide a safe short non-vehicular off-street public access trail between Galloway Street and the Norberg cul de sac.
2. Loss of tax revenue
It is important to have a strong town tax base from residential property taxes. It is equally important to have a quality of life environmentally for all Steilacoom citizens, even those who do not have views of our beautiful Puget Sound. Less than 10% of residential property tax remains in Steilacoom. Residential properties use more services than taxes collected from them. The hope is that more businesses will come to Steilacoom.
3. Long term maintenance
A 7-member “Friends of Harlock Park Stewardship Committee” has been formed representing five Steilacoom neighborhoods to address long-term maintenance of the property. An annual maintenance calendar is being created of volunteers who will maintain the land on the third Saturday of each month from 10 am to noon. The volunteers will be supervised. So far more than ninety residents have signed up to participate. A citizen has offered his riding lawn mower to be used to cut the grass.
Minimal maintenance will be needed. It will include removing invasive noxious weeds, clearing debris after storms, mowing the grass, and planting native vegetation.
4. Asking price it too high
The seller has had the land appraised and will have a report soon. It is important to realize that there are several projects in Steilacoom for which funds are being sought including renovation of the Indian Museum. Also, there is concern about the future of Saltars Point Marina. Different donors contribute to different projects. Donors for Harlock Park will be sought outside Steilacoom as well as in Steilacoom. The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has established a designated fund, the Harlock Park fund, to which citizens can make tax-deductible charitable donations once the town has accepted the donation of the proposed purchase of the land.
5. Describe passive park, wildlife corridor, open space
The Harlock Park property is to be preserved as open space, forest, habitat corridor, native plants, and passive park in memory of the Harlock family. There are small woods of trees, vegetation, and grass on the property. In regards to urban forest management, Nancy Henderson has commented, “An urban forest consists of various types of vegetation as well as trees. The vegetation can also be of significant environmental value. . . .” and, additionally, provide a healthy and rich natural heritage.
Habitat corridors exist in Harlock Park between Galloway Street and Stevens Street. A deer run goes from the woods along Roe Street to Steilacoom Boulevard along and across the Tunnel of Trees to Sunnyside Beach area. Deer and other wildlife walk along Galloway Street to Harlock Park. A strip of privately owned land adjacent to lot one on Lexington Street has the potential of being preserved as a habitat corridor to Harlock Park.
Fallen logs and low growing plants are all contribute to the healthy soils found in nature. Low and mid canopy shrubs help natural soil conditions. On the Harlock property, visitors can observe and learn about native plants growing there and their interdependence, the significance of woods and grasslands to keep our air and water clean. Visitors may observe and learn about bird and animal habitats and corridors. They can identify animal footprints and scat. They may well see deer grazing or walking in the woods, an eagle, humming bird, or a pileated woodpecker.
Rachel Carson wrote “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
6. Will there be environmental problems in the future
Doug Fortner, town planner, reported that an environmental impact assessment is not needed because the land will remain the way it is. It is not a critical area. It appears to not be a wetland. It is sandy soil on flat land.