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June 25, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Is Westlake Park best spot for a children's play area?

I question the wisdom of placing a children's play area in Westlake Park (DJC June 20). Will parents with small children actually use this space as the homeless congregate in the tree grove to the south and street youth congregate on the north podium? Does it help or hinder the park when the open space which is used for community events is taken away and parceled to an exclusive use? When organized protests or other events occur, how will the equipment stand up to vandalism and what is the risk of the equipment being repurposed as projectiles and weapons and who would be liable if this happens?

Of importance to parents with younger children (and this has been the case in every public meeting for playgrounds I've been at) where are the restrooms located that they can use? It is wise to allow a two-year evaluation of this facility; perhaps we are able to host another WTO conference in that time frame to really put the facility to the test.

However, of greater concern is where has the public process been for the citizens of Seattle to provide a voice in the allocation of space in the main living room of the city? At the very least, a public process to determine the best location within the park for the playground, for instance I would advocate that an possible location is at the southern tip away from the podium, adjacent the coffee shop that has a restroom, good patronage, and natural surveillance of the corner.

There are issues with every location in the park, but where was the opportunity for the public to participate in the discussion?



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