Re: “Lakewood reaches green with US Open revenue” (TNT, 10-15).
The article would more aptly be titled “Lakewood sacrificed green for little gold.” Just as the greens of the U.S. Open were fraught with embarrassing problems, so was the use of Fort Steilacoom Park as a parking lot.
To begin with, the city sacrificed its own development regulations. The use of the park for “off-site parking” violated Lakewood’s Land Use and Development Code (LMC 18A.30.930) pertaining to land zoned for open space and recreation.
The city also sacrificed the decades-old balance between open space and active recreation within the park. The tall grass prairies of the park have been repeatedly mowed down like a recruit’s hair at basic training. More than 76 acres of natural open space have become lifeless and featureless. Wildlife no longer has habitat, and the prairies continue to be encroached upon.
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Stewardship of the park’s natural open space is central to Lakewood’s vision. If Chambers Bay wants to host golf tournaments, let it sacrifice for the associated parking.
As for Lakewood, let’s not again sacrifice green for gold. We should be good stewards and let the prairie grass grow, stay tall and restore the natural balance within the park.