Council Addresses Concerns with Park: Urges Action by City to Solve Problems

February 19, 2014
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The Everett City Council took up the issue of reported problems at Seven Acre Park last Monday (Feb. 10), after several residents who use the park came forward to voice their concerns about the park during the Council’s public comment period.

According to the residents who appeared, unleashed dogs and their owners are creating an unwelcoming and potentially hazardous situation at the park, where visitors are often accosted and jumped on by dogs.

Other reported problems have included dying trees and pets getting sick from drinking water at the park.

Additionally, new signage at the park has not been successful in getting dog owners to curb and leash their pets and councilors indicated that it may be time for the city to begin enforcement efforts.

Community Development Director Jamie Errickson, who was present at the meeting to address another matter, told the Council that schematic plans for the redesign of the park are on schedule to be completed in the next few weeks.

Since Seven Acre Park was built on the site of the former GE plant the ground was capped and covered with new soil before the park was constructed. Some residents and visitors to the park are concerned that the contaminated soil beneath the cap may have leached up into the new soil, causing the sick animals and dying trees that have been noted at the park.

However, Errickson cautioned that to date there is no evidence that the cap has been breached and no reason to jump to conclusions that the park is contaminated. The city has hired a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) and environmental engineer to look into concerns about the cap. Additional testing of the soils at Seven Acre Park, which were requested by the Common Council in November, will be completed as soon as the weather relents enough for soil samples to be taken and tested.

In the meantime, Errickson suggested that a temporary solution while the city awaits soil testing and new park designs, could include the construction of an enclosed dog park, for dog owners to use.

Councilor Rosa DiFlorio acknowledged the dog park idea could help, but said the city should consider enforcement in the dog park, if it decides to move forward with such a plan. Just as with the new signs requiring visitors to curb and leash their dogs, if there is no enforcement, dog owners may ignore the dog park altogether.EVsevenacrepark0218