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Ferguson Park suggestions look to boost fun

SNOHOMISH — At the park board’s first outdoor meeting of the year, a small group gathered at Ferguson Park last week to brainstorm improvements to the scenic lakeside spot.
Thirteen board members, city staffers and residents shared the park’s history, discussed past challenges and envisioned an even more popular park.
Under the picnic shelter, board chair Lya Badgley asked the attendees how many remembered when camping was still allowed in the north Snohomish park.
Almost half the hands went up, including parks and facilities manager Mike Johnson’s. He also remembered how “shenanigans” led to the end of camping in the late 1990s.
Illicit drug dealing and use were also sometimes problems.
Fast forward 20 years and the park has matured to better serve its users.
Elizabeth Grant, director of the Snohomish Community Food Bank, which borders the park, has witnessed the change personally.
“It’s really toned down … drug activity is really diminishing,” she said. Ferguson is a “fun, family oriented — really a utilized park,” Grant said.
Johnson said the parks department had been partnering with the Snohomish Police Department to do weekly park checks, including at Ferguson. The department’s community outreach officer has also been able to offer help to people identified in homeless encampments.
While not many residents attended, some sent in feedback about the park through social media.
One suggestion was to create an off-leash dog area.
Board member John First suggested installing a crosswalk on Avenue D to make it safer for children to walk to the park.
Another resident suggested installing security cameras by the bathrooms to prevent vandalism.
Dan Winkelmann, who attended the meeting, said he used the park with his preschool-aged grandchildren. He suggested installing a sign on Lakemount Drive which abuts the park to inform people that the road has no park or boat launch access.
Winkelmann was also concerned about after-midnight partiers at the park. Johnson instructed him to call 911.
Others said they enjoyed strolling through the park, or taking refuge from the sun at Hill Park on the hottest days.
One commented on the nine-hole disc golf course draws aficionados plus families looking for novel recreation. The Frisbee golf fan suggested that with upgrades, the course could qualify for the play on a Professional Disc Golf Association tour.
While disc golfers, dog walkers and boaters were represented at the meeting, children cast their own votes for the best uses of Ferguson Park in the background.
On the sun-soaked day, they tested out the swings, played ball and ran through the grass, showing rather than telling why they loved the playground.
Next up on the board’s agenda is an Aug. 15 party at the former site of Hal Moe Pool. More details will be available soon. The Park and Recreation Board’s web page is www.ci.snohomish.wa.us/111/Park-Recreation-Board

 

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