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County begins planning for former Glacier site

Next week the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP) will kick off planning for the future use of the former Glacier site on Maury Island, which has been in county hands since 2010.

At a public meeting on Tuesday, DNRP officials will give an update on the county’s work concerning the site and explain the  upcoming year-long process for planning how the site will ultimately be used as a natural area or park.

Officials from the state Department of Ecology will also be on hand at the meeting to explain the process of investigating and cleaning the site’s contamination from the historic Tacoma Smelter Plume.

Planning for the site will largely be guided by a citizen advisory group made up of Islanders and off-Islanders with interest in the site or with particular expertise, said Connie Blumen, DNRP’s Natural Lands Program Manager.

Blumen said many on Vashon care about the future of the 250-acre site — a well-loved recreational area that is also of concern to conservationists — and several have already volunteered to help with the planning process.

“There is a lot of interest in the site,” Blumen said.

Those on the committee, which will be formed in the next month, will help determine how the area will be used by pedestrians, dog walkers and equestrians, and if any amenities such as parking lots, restrooms or picnic tables will be added. The committee will also determine how the site will be named.

“We want to work hard to provide a plan that addresses the community’s interest in that site,” Blumen said.

Those interested in being on the committee can learn more and give their names at the meeting. Blumen said she hoped the group would include a broad spectrum of Islanders as well as a few regional stakeholders.

“We don’t want just people who represent a specific interest — we want people who just represent the community,” she said.

Once the county, working with the committee, irons out the details of how the site will be used, Blumen said, it can more easily move forward with creating a cleanup plan to be approved by the state.

Last month the county applied for federal grant funding to help determine how to best clean the site.

A future cleanup plan, Blumen said, may require soil remediation in spots and will likely address the old mining equipment left at the site.

The planning and cleanup process will be a long one, Blumen noted, and will include several more public meetings as well as public comment periods when the community can weigh in on the county’s plans.

Tom Dean, director of the Vashon Maury Island Land Trust, said he was excited to see planning for the former Glacier site get rolling. He said he hoped Islanders will volunteer to be on the committee and that those with a particular expertise — such as ecologists or landscape architects — will consider giving their time as well.

‘There are a lot of talented people on Vashon, and if people can bring their expertise to the group that’s really valuable input,” he said.

 

A public meeting on the Maury site will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at McMurray Middle School.

 

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