County to host meeting to discuss Vashon’s new park

King County will hold a public meeting next week to discuss the future of the 250-acre Maury Island property the county purchased late last year from Glacier Northwest.

The meeting marks the first public gathering to discuss the county’s newest acquisition on Vashon. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at the Vashon High School cafeteria.

Officials from the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP) will present general information about the property as well as ongoing research into the type of soil remediation that may be required at the site, which is polluted with arsenic and lead from Asarco’s smelting operations in Tacoma.

Doug Williams, a DNRP spokesman, said there will be time for questions and feedback, but much about the site’s future will remain unknown until a cleanup plan is finalized and funding for remediation secured.

“The whole point of this meeting is to let folks know the nuts and bolts of what the property is and to give the public the opportunity to ask questions, with the caveat that there are a lot of things we don’t know yet,” he said.

Williams said this meeting is the first step in a long public-involvement process where Islanders will have the opportunity to provide input on how the soil is cleaned, what amenities will be created at the site and what environmental protections will exist there.

“It’s the beginning of what is hopefully a good, productive dialogue between the county and the folks who will hopefully love and use this site,” he said.

Although he is unsure if more meetings will occur on Vashon, Williams said DNRP will likely create an informational website on the topic and develop the means to receive public input.

“Whether that dialogue occurs in person, at a meeting or through e-mail or direct mail, I don’t know. …We might have other methods of reaching out to the community,” he said.

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