PARKLAND, WA — On Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 6:30 p.m., there was a room at Elmhurst Elementary with over 100 people packed in, overflowing into the hallway and outside into the courtyard. The meeting was about the development of the Brookdale Golf Course into housing.
Paul Green, of Azure Green Consultants, LLC was the featured speaker. He brought his son and another associate to show the current plan for the site. Neighbors, local land use advisory committee members, local historians and politicians were present to see the story unfold. They signed in as parties interested in further information on the development.
Jesse Paez from Mayfair opened the meeting by introducing Marianne Lincoln of the Pierce Prairie Post, Pierce Communities Coalition, Spanaway Community Association and historian of the Descendants of Fort Nisqually Employees Association. Marianne brought photos of the original Hudson Bay Land Claim, points on the Naches Trail, the trail across the golf course and the cemetery on the golf course.
Mr. Green was then introduced. He noted he is aware of the history of the property. The Tolentire family told him as much as they know as former owners for several decades. He explained there are green spaces and open areas that assured everyone, allow for the historic parts to be available. But when questioned, did note they will be owned by the homeowners association, a private local entity, not a public access park.
Questions from the visitors began immediately. The questions focused heavily on the road impacts of 388 more houses on Brookdale Road in the already overcrowded road conditions of mid-county. The discuss grew rowdy at times, but thankfully never erupted. Sewer, water, flooding, school and other infrastructure concerns were expressed as well. It is a large development and still has not been fully vetted or approved by processes in the development regulations.
The next study on the development will be traffic. Because of this meeting and the sign up sheets, the public will hopefully have a chance to give input. It would be a travesty if they do not take the time to do so, There are serious impacts here. Willie Painter, Communications Director for Franklin Pierce Schools spoke to the school concerns. At 1.8 students per household, this development of 388 houses, represents another entire elementary school for the pipeline, 700 students.
The editor promised to keep up with the progress here in the Pierce Prairie Post and the Pierce Communities Coalition members present assured folks they, too will follow this. In addition, historians from the National Historic Trails have weighed in by email and meetings with County Council members.
Lee Kreutzer, the Cultural Resources Specialist/Archeologist for the National Park Service said, “While the location is a marked site on the old Oregon Trail in Washington, it is not part of the Oregon National Historic Trail (NHT) as currently designated by Congress. The NHT at present does not extend into Washington. Therefore this office, which administers the NHT for the National Park Service, cannot weigh in on the matter. You could note in your comments, though, that the Naches Trail is a study route under consideration for possible designation to the Oregon NHT.”
In an email from Dave Welch, a former National Protection Officer for the Oregon-California Trails Association, regarding the Naches Trail, he said, “As part of the designation process [for the Naches Trail], the NPS Santa Fe has completed their feasibility study. It is in HQ DC review at the present time. When the review is completed it will be submitted to Congress. Could be later this year. I have not spoken with Rep. Heck, but plan to at some future time with the help of David Nicandri.”
Stay tuned, there is much fascinating Washington State history right here in Parkland. There are many more chapters for this story to come in the near future.