(WCN photo of Dick Thurnau from 2008)
A special honor today for a man who’s worked hard, well into what should have been his sit-back-and-rest years, to improve his neighborhood: Today is “Dick Thurnau Day” in King County, by special proclamation, it was announced at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin shared the image of the official proclamation document:
As the proclamation acknowledges, Dick, now 89, has lived near Lakewood Park for decades and has been particularly devoted to protecting, improving, and advocating for its small lake, now known as Hicklin Lake. Just last year (WCN coverage here), “floating islands” were put in place to help improve its water quality, after a long campaign by his group Friends of Hicklin Lake to get something done. He also tended to the land side of Lakewood Park, organizing volunteer cleanups, community barbecues, and much more.
We’re told Dick is in a new fight now, having recently been diagnosed with cancer. If you would like to send well-wishes, his address is 1031 SW 112th, zip code 98146.
Recently, we were among those CC’d on a letter from Friends of Hicklin Lake to the King County Parks Department. The letter voiced numerous concerns about the park, particularly regarding its use for disc golf. Christie True, who leads Natural Resources and Parks, has responded to the same mailing list with inline answers to concerns voiced by the citizens’ group (which are in bold, inbetween her answers):
Thank you for your e-mail sharing your concerns about the use of King County’s Lakewood Park and Hicklin Lake by the disc golf community. As you mention, Lakewood Park is a public park and is open to all users for both passive and active recreational activities.
As a general overview of Lakewood Parks and its may features and uses, you may know that it is unique in that it is the home of the only disc golf course (established in 1989) in the King County park system. In addition to the public disc golf course, Lakewood Park has three picnic shelters, a playground area, restrooms, walking path around Hicklin Lake and is the new home of the Technology Access Foundation Learning Center (TAF).
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions. Many of the community events are not charged for the use of the park. The new concession at Lakewood Park sells disc golf equipment as well as snacks and beverages and is open to the public. The Parks and Recreation Division (Parks) receives revenue each month from the new concessionaire and also receives revenue from user fees for picnics and other activities.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to each of your concerns which I have provided below:
Is politics controlling reality in our local park? That seems to be evident, where one group of players is allowed to take over a public park for their benefit. Their web site notes “every nook and cranny of the park” has been utilized.
From our observations we find the following:
This King County public park is Lakewood Park/Hicklin Lake, located in the heart of White Center, and has been turned into a single sport arena, remaining a “park” in name only.
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions throughout the year.
The disc golf community has given countless hours to volunteer projects over the years. In addition, they work with the local school district offering disc golf classes to the middle and high school students.
King County personnel defend, with lame embarrassing excuses, both of the illegal activities which occur in connection with this sport and the environmental damage to the park landscape.
Many of the illegal activities that occur at the park cannot be resolved by Parks alone as we do not have legal enforcement authority and must rely on other King County agencies, such as the King County Sheriff and Animal Control, to enforce King County regulations.
The citizens who have long fought to get some water-quality help for White Center’s Hicklin Lake share word of progress at the county level. Dick Thurnau and Marcia Wollam from Friends of Hicklin Lake received this update from Kevin Brown of King County Parks:
Earlier this year we spoke with many of you about a proposal to make improvements to Lake Hicklin within Lakewood Park. With your support, enthusiasm and a tremendous amount of volunteer assistance we are going to be starting our efforts to restore Lake Hicklin to a more natural functioning wetland. As part of this process we will be working with volunteers on two occasions this coming winter to install new and more appropriate vegetation along the shores of Lake Hicklin. The first event which will take place the last week in November will result in willow stakes being planted along the shore. A second effort will be scheduled in February in which we will again work with volunteers to plant additional plant species via potted stock. These efforts will be led by Tina Miller, a wetland biologist and volunteer coordinator with the Parks Division – and we have AmeriCorps assistance as well.
An additional project aimed at improving water quality in the lake will install floating islands planted with native wetland vegetation in several areas around the lake during the spring and summer of 2013. Although new to this area, such islands have been used throughout the world to control algae blooms and to reduce pollutants. Two to four islands will be installed, depending on the success of a grant proposal to the Washington Department of Ecology. The island project will be managed by Sally Abella, a senior engineer with the Water and Land Resources Division.
We look forward to implementing this community project with your support and we would greatly appreciate your letting others within your organization know about the upcoming work being done. Should you have additional questions or want to see how your organization can get involved please contact Tina, Sally or myself.
Some finishing touches are still in progress at the Technology Access Foundation (TAF)’s new headquarters in White Center – the Bethaday Community Learning Space. But it’s swinging its doors open to the public, with an open house this past Wednesday night allowing a look inside, as the second of three grand-opening events that are scheduled.
The new building in Lakewood Park is not only the headquarters of a vibrant education organization – it also has space to be made available to the public for rentals. And of course, it’s wired to the max:
June is just around the corner, don’t forget to mark your calendar for this family-friendly preview event at Technology Access Foundation’s new home in White Center – the Bethaday Community Learning Space. BBQ, games, tours and fun for the whole family. Come and help spread the word – it’s time to celebrate and warm up our new home together!
NHUAC is pleased to have Sherry Williams, Deputy Director of TAF (Technology Access Foundation), provide updates on the soon to be operational Community Learning Center at Lakewood Park. Please join us to hear the exciting news and updates of this new addition to White Center.
Here’s the agenda:
7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes
7:05 pm Public Announcements
7:10 pm Public Comment
3minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups
7:15 pm Mike Martin, Burien City Manager
7:20 pm Deputy BJ Myers
7:30 pm Sherry Williams, Deputy Director
Technology Access Foundation
7:50 pm Treasurer’s Report
8:00 pm Committee Reports
2. Arts and Parks
3. Public Safety
4. Housing and Human Services
5. Public Outreach
8:05 pm Unfinished Business/Old Business
• Flower Bed Planting (100 ST & 16th Ave, SW)
• Flag Pole and Flag at SCMP
• Jubilee Days
8:10 pm New Business
• May Agenda
• May 10 Public Safety Forum
(Rendering of new center)
Announced today via news release (read it in its entirety here): A financing deal that’s part of the package for the TAF center in Lakewood Park has closed. Here’s how the $ shakes out:
Financing for the facility was supplied by multiple public and private partners. Enterprise Community Investment, one of the largest allocatees of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), provided $12.5 million in NMTC allocation. A $2.9 million bridge loan was financed by Enterprise Community Loan Fund, which used proceeds from the sale of its Enterprise Community Impact Note to fund part of the loan. The Seattle Foundation made a $1 million investment in the Note last April as part of its commitment to support development of projects that promote the health of local communities. Impact Capital participated in the bridge loan by providing $1.46 million of the $2.9 million in bridge financing. Other financing included $2 million from King County, $1.5 million from the State of Washington; $1 million from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; a $500,000 federal appropriation arranged by Senator Patty Murray; and $300,000 from Microsoft Corporate Community Affairs.
The three-story facility is expected to be open before year’s end.
(From left: Dow Constantine, King County Executive; Miya McClain, TAF Alum; Biruk Araya, TechStart Student; Trish Millines Dziko, TAF Executive Director; Ken Birdwell, Valve Philanthropist; Joe McDermott, 8th District King County Councilmember; Alan Spicciati, Highline Interim Superintendent) Story, photos, and video by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now
Dignitaries gathered for the event celebrating the now officially named “Bethaday Community Learning Space” in White Center’s Lakewood Park A large gathering of neighbors and dignitaries gathered on a rise of gently sloping green space, a building site chosen with the environmental goal of minimal disturbance to and inclusion within the existing natural surroundings.
Nearby groves of trees will be preserved for cooling the building, as well as a number of other innovations in design and materials for the energy and water efficient building.
TAF executive director Trish Millines Dziko explained to the gathering that the new official name of the facility is a consolidation of two inspired individuals in education and science, Mary McLeod Bethune and Michael Faraday. Dziko also noted that 92% of the fundraising has been completed and encouraged the participants to support the final efforts to secure the remaining funds as the construction begins.
The 24,000 sq. ft. Bethaday Community Learning Space will create opportunities for White Center community members to participate in computing, financial-planning, job training and other classes, according to TAF; groups will also be able to rent spaces in the building at a low cost so programs can be operated which benefit the community, including out-of-school options.
Ken Birdwell, founder of Valve, and a philanthropist supportive of TAF, told WCN that he is looking forward to coming back to Bethaday in ten years to hire the future engineers he will need in his own computer game industry who will have been inspired to pursue science and technology careers within the Bethaday Learning Community.
Friday’s festivities also included performances – here’s the WC-based Tanoa Polynesian Dance Group:
It’s been a long time in the making, but Dick Thurnau of Friends of Hicks Lake tells WCN Technology Access Foundation has announced August 26th as the groundbreaking date for the long-long-awaited learning center in Lakewood Park (home of Hicks Lake). They have raised 92 percent of the $13 million needed for the three-story, 25,000 square-foot building, where students will have access to science, technology, engineering, and math (often shortened to STEM) coaching and learning. The building will be south of Lakewood Park’s upper parking lot; enter from SW 108th; the August 26th event is set for 10:30 am-noon, all welcome.
(WCN photo of Hicks Lake, 1/7/09)
From Dick Thurnau at Friends of Hicks Lake:
King County has allotted $25,000 in the budget for Lakewood Park / Hicks Lake improvements and has asked Friends Of Hicks Lake for suggestions. We have many; however, we wish to gather input from the community to provide the best and wisest recommendations.
Suggestions (including, so far):
*Water fountain with an aeration system to help cleanse the lake water and display a beautiful attraction. (will need volunteers)
*Walking path around Hicks Lake might require use of a small section of school property (safety reasons)
*Volleyball, basketball court in half of the tennis court, horseshoes
*Full-time caretaker for the park house to control graffiti, litter, illegal alcohol usage, and vandalism
Dick Thurnau with Friends of Hicks Lake reports that graffiti vandals hit various structures, including the picnic shelter and restroom, at Lakewood Park (home of Hicks Lake) on Tuesday – one day after a paintover of previous vandalism. “Even over the student-painted murals,” says Dick, who says something has got to be done about this recurring problem.