Just back from the Southwest District Council meeting at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor), where one of the guests was Deputy Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams. His main topic was an update on future West Seattle Golf Course improvements; we’ll write about that separately. After that briefing, he asked if anyone in the room — the council is made up of representatives from community groups and organizations around western West Seattle, which the city calls the “Southwest District” — had questions or concerns about the cyclocross controversy. (If you missed it – that was a bike race scheduled for Halloween in Lincoln Park, till the Parks Department canceled the permit with days to go after being contacted by upset community members.)
No revelations, but for the record, since the topic generated so much interest here originally (and spawned a couple of citywide media stories, here and here): First Williams recapped the background — saying Parks promised it wouldn’t allow those races in “natural-area parks” after a 2002 cyclocross race at Lincoln Park left some trails and turf at the park “utterly destroyed,” but that policy “got lost” in the bureaucracy somewhere until the granting of this permit came to the attention of “members of the community” who “reminded us of our commitment,” at which time, “five days before the event, we canceled it … The department was trying to keep a commitment we made to the community, trying to recognize that Lincoln Park is a natural-area park that needs to have uses compatible with its design as a natural-area park.”
One point of interest in his brief recap: He acknowledged that the cancellation announcement brought “a lot of e-mail from people who were upset on both sides … that kept us busy for a number of days.” The race promoters went on to have an event on Halloween after all, in White Center’s Lakewood Park; Williams says there’s one scheduled in Seattle, in Lower Woodland Park, for November 15.