Who we are: The Friends of Aldercrest are the BALNA subcommittee focused on the future of the Aldercrest Annex property. We promote community stewardship of the park and work to shape a future for the property that preserves open space, provides recreational opportunities, protects and improves ecological functions, and respects the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
- We work to continue the legacy of the Aldercrest site as a neighborhood and community asset. This is done by working in partnership with the Shoreline School District and the City of Shoreline.
- We work to preserve and enhance open space and recreational opportunities for the surrounding communities of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Mountlake Terrace.
History: (More information available at City’s Aldercrest Subarea Plan and Zoning page)
In fall 2008, the Shoreline School District declared Aldercrest Annex at 2545 NE 200th St. as surplus property. The Friends of Aldercrest was originally formed as a non-profit organization by members of the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park community with a goal of preserving the legacy of Aldercrest Annex as a public asset. Before any further steps were taken to sell the property, it was nominated as a possible location for a regional jail. We fought against the jail siting.
Once the property was removed from consideration as a regional jail site, we worked with the School District and City of Shoreline to form the Aldercrest Annex Task Force and rezoned the property. The rezone would allow the property to be more densely developed by a future buyer, on the condition that 5 to 7 acres of the lower park area were donated to the City to become a permanent community park.
The Friends of Aldercrest are strong supporters of the Shoreline School District and believe the property should bring maximum value to the School District in service of their educational mission. We also believe part of the property should continue to serve as an asset to the community by providing public open space and recreational opportunities in a neighborhood where few other options exist.
Until the Aldercrest Annex property is sold, it sits in a form on limbo; the School District can’t afford to commit large resources to its maintenance and it does not belong to the City to maintain. During this time, the Friends of Aldercrest committee will continue to organize park clean-ups and participate in other activities to help keep the park a welcoming part of our community. Once a sale or other development plan is announced, the Friends of Aldercrest will help serve as a community voice to ensure the changes are a positive impact on the Ballinger neighborhood.
The Importance of Keeping Aldercrest Annex Park Space:
Vibrant cities have a good balance of private homes, retail and commercial, and public spaces. When city planning is done well, private interests and public spaces create a sustainable combination that further fuels the success. Cities that focus only on development of private interests, for instance, and ignore development in public spaces are not successful or sustainable.
No one will argue that the population in Western Washington is increasing. As cities like Shoreline and Lake Forest Park densify and development squeezes more dwellings in less space, the demand for open space and parks do not lessen; instead the demand increases. No longer having traditional back yards, people look to public lands to meet their needs for gardening and recreation. Most if not all multi-family structures lack the open space to meet the needs of their inhabitants.
In the Ballinger Neighborhood of Shoreline and nearby Lake Forest Park, densification is inevitable like most neighborhoods. Eventually single family parcels will be re-developed with higher density dwellings – often with little or no green space. Today, the residents in nearby condos, apartments, and houses use Aldercrest Annex for outdoor activities. Where will these families go without Aldercrest Annex – particularly when housing density increases?
Although Bruggers Bog Park is across the street from Aldercrest Annex, it is not appropriate for soccer, baseball, tennis, and other organized or individual sports. In fact, Shoreline Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PROS) has identified the Ballinger Neighborhood as deficient in community parks. The Lake Forest Park homes next to Aldercrest Annex have no public parks or open spaces to serve the community. Without Aldercrest Annex, the nearest park to play ball or tennis is about 2 miles away with Ballinger Way as an impediment slicing half of our neighborhood from the rest of the city.
Has Shoreline and Lake Forest Park been keeping up with the public space demand? A calculation of acres of parks per 1000 people is a simple way to compare city’s park interests against other neighboring cities. This calculation does not measure the quality or accessibility of the city’s parks but it does provide a basic comparative method. The chart below is a comparison of Shoreline’s park acres against 19 other cities in the Puget Sound. The chart shows that Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are at the bottom!
Aldercrest Annex is our community park and without it, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park will fall even further behind becoming a near-desert, devoid of the recreational space so needed by our communities.