LBA Parks Advocates Speak for Large Numbers in City
July 2, 2015
Op-Ed by Maria Ruth
I am a member of the LBA Woods Park Coalition, part of the “small group of hardcore citizen park advocates,” as Andy Hobbs described us in his article on the Olympia City Council’s retreat and possible park tax. We are not small. We represent the needs and interests of thousands of citizens citywide.
More than 5,300 people signed our petition asking the City Council to purchase the 150-acre LBA Woods as parkland. The Olympia parks department’s own research, conducted between November 2014 and March 2015, clearly established that our interests — buying the LBA Woods, protecting open space and natural areas, and acquiring future parkland before it is developed — are also high-priority interests for those citizens who participated in the park’s eight neighborhood meetings, the OlySpeaks online survey, and the random-sample survey of 4,000 households.
We are not hardcore. “Hardcore” makes us sound like extremists. We are committed to protecting the last largest parcel of woodland in Olympia. We are passionate about parks. We are dedicated to restoring much-needed funding to maintain our current city parks and to ensure there is habitat and open space for Olympians in the future.
Sure, you’ll see many of the same core group of parks advocates speaking out at city council meetings every week, but we represent a diverse group of park advocates. Knowing we have several thousand people supporting us inspires us to continue speaking out for them and for a better Olympia.
MARIA M. RUTH