Residents want assurance parks won’t be sold
EVERETT - Residents in a north Everett neighborhood want to make sure their two parks remain playfields for kids.
The Everett School District owns Doyle Park and the Norton Avenue Ballfield in the Port Gardner Neighborhood. Residents are worried the district will sell the parks to developers, but the district says it intends to have the city buy the parks.
Doyle Park, a two-acre park at 3420 Grand Ave., and the Norton Avenue Ballfield, a three-acre park in the 3600 block of Norton Avenue are too small to build a school on according to the district.
The parks are the closest ones to home for many Port Gardner kids. The neighborhood is circulating a petition that asks the school board to keep the properties as parks. Neighbors plan to present the petition to the school board at its Nov. 27 meeting. Thirty more people signed the petition at Port Gardner’s neighborhood meeting last week, and this week neighbors are going door to door to collect more.
The parks are being discussed as part of the district’s draft long-range plan for non-school properties. The draft plan says the district intends to sell or give the properties to the city’s parks department in the next 10 years.
The board will see the draft properties plan at its Nov. 27 meeting but will not be voting on it until next month after two public meetings are held on the plan. The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Jackson High School and 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Evergreen Middle School, district spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said.
City parks director Paul Kaftanski said this week the city doesn’t have plans to buy the two parks. Buying the parks would take away money from other park projects, he said in June.
Jean Hewat, one of the neighbors circulating the petition, was happy to hear the district is interested in having the city acquire the properties.
If the school board gifted the parks to the city, “it would be a win-win for everybody,” she said.
The district’s ultimate goal is to keep the properties open space, Waggoner said last week. Board members have said previously that they would like to see the city acquire the parks.
The parks department currently maintains Doyle Park, which a family donated to the district in 1951. The district got the land for the Norton field in 1893. It was the original site of Jackson Elementary.
Hewat and a “small but dedicated group” of neighbors have held work parties at Doyle Park to clean it up, she said.
Doyle Park gets “packed with kids” and in the winter “it’s a giant sledding area,” Hewat said.
The district’s other non-school sites in the properties plan include the current administration building on Colby Avenue, the Longfellow Building downtown, which is used for administrative purposes, and two large undeveloped lots at the southern tip of the district.
The plan recommends the district lease or sell the Colby property and sell, lease or demolish the Longfellow Building in the next 10 years. By that time, district administrators will have moved to the district’s new, larger administration building near 41st Street and Broadway that is currently under construction.
Read the petition online
The Port Gardner petition is available online at portgardner.net/parks-petition/. People can electronically sign their name to the petition through the website.
To participate in a future work party, e-mail Jean Hewat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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