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Movement on Morgan-Madison Park to make it a natural space

EVERETT — Park planners here are listening to neighbors, refining ideas, and hoping to begin work soon on a long-planned, 1.8-acre park at the street corner of Madison and Morgan.
“I’m excited to see it move forward,” said Greta Kaas-Lent, who lives near the park and is a member of the Evergreen Way Alliance,
a group she said encourages quality-of-life improvements along the Evergreen corridor from 41st St. to the Boeing freeway.
A grandmother, Kaas-Lent was one of about a dozen community members who attended a Feb. 28 meeting at Forest Park to discuss the Madison-Morgan property. Kaas-Lent said she “absolutely” plans to use the park. “It’s gorgeous. (It has) beautiful, large trees,” she said.
Dean Shaughnessy, project coordinator for Everett Parks and Community Services, told the group that the Madison-Morgan
property was purchased in 2010 with a conservation grant, which provides funding to preserve natural space for public use. The grant stipulates use limitations, however: The funds must be used for conservation and “passive” pubic recreation, Shaughnessy said.
“Passive” improvements may include trails, viewpoints, picnicking facilities, restrooms, playgrounds and restoration projects.
Activities and uses that are prohibited by the grant include putting in most types of buildings, structures, improvements or equipment, or anything that covers more than 5 percent of the park “with impervious surfaces, including asphalt, concrete, gravel, buildings or ponds.”
The park property includes a 1,702 square foot house that was remodeled in 2011 and rented out by the city until 2014, when problems were discovered. The unspecified problems needed to be corrected
before the city could rent the building again, Shaughnessy said.
What to do with that former residence was just one of many issues Shaughnessy and parks planning manager Mark Harrison discussed with neighbors at the Feb. 28 meeting. Suggestions attendees gave included: historical (site) signage, short picnic tables, interpretive activities, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, accessible and restricted (no overnight) parking, decorative lighting, and motion-detector lights.
“We can’t do it as an off-leash park” because of the small size and the vegetation planned, Harrison said when the subject of dogs came up.
A recurring concern voiced by park neighbors was how to minimize improper
park usage while adding desirable equipment, such as benches and picnic tables. Some expressed concern about restroom misuse by vagrants, drug-users, or vandals. Harrison said the park likely will not have a restroom because of its community-neighborhood nature. Also, restrooms are expensive to maintain, he said.
 The park also needs a name. The city is taking suggestions.
Shaughnessy said a revised drawing of the park plan should be posted on the city’s parks department website, www.everettwa.gov/parks , later this month.
“I’m very appreciative of the parks department meeting with us again (and) getting as many comments
from neighborhood residents as possible,” said Tina
Hokanson, chair of the Evergreen Neighborhood Association. She encouraged people to visit the city parks department’s website at www.everettwa.gov/parks to see or add comments.
“This has been a long process,” Hokanson said.
Shaughnessy said the Madison-Morgan property was covered with blackberries and other “invasive species” in 2011, but community volunteers pitched in to remove unwanted vegetation.
He called the planned park “a fairly nice parcel,” noting that the conservation grant ensures that the property will be kept “as natural as possible.”

  

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