Keep Fall City Park sign now

We, the undersigned petition that King County Executive Ron Sims NOT give away, trade, or transfer ownership of Fall City Park, Arena, its parking lot and adjacent youth baseball fields to the Snoqualmie Tribe.

According to Mr. Sims office, he wants to give this land away because:
The park is located within the ancestral territory of the Tribe and once served as one of the principal permanent settlements until the mid 19th Century.

While local taxpayers appreciate the sentiment behind Mr. Sims proposal, we would ask for a more modest alternative such as a display, plaque or other form of recognition of the history of the land.

Mr. Sims claims the tribe will continue to support existing recreational activities, and that the tribes ongoing support will be codified in the land transfer agreement.

Here are some concerns shared by the Raging River Riders (RRR), a Fall City-based nonprofit riding club and a major user of the arena (petition authors are not members, nor are they affiliated or representing RRR):

The tribe has no money allocated for maintenance. It has admitted to RRR members that it has no equipment to do maintenance and isnt even certain how to go about doing arena maintenance.

The tribe has no history of understanding and supporting equestrian recreation. The Fall City arena is unique and heavily used. The parking lot is the gathering point for trail-riding trips on the nearby Snoqualmie Valley trail and adjacent timber lands. The arena itself is free for casual use and is a irreplaceable resource for area drill-teams including 4H, for open play-day Western Games events sponsored by RRR (50+, mostly children, attended our monthly event yesterday!) and other groups, and for training and exercise by hundreds of others in a given month. All this potentially is in jeopardy.

The tribe, federally recognized and self-governing, is exempt from state and county land use regulations. There are no guarantees how it would manage this land going forward.

The park is the only Fall City-area, easily accessible, active-use county-owned recreation. King County has a responsibility to provide adequate public services to unincorporated communities such as Fall City.

In addition, other local citizens have added the following concerns to this petition:

In order for the park to remain viable for use by the public, the tribe must have knowledge about how to maintain an equestrian facility, as well as the knowledge of the underlying value of the property to the equestrian community. The park is heavily used, and losing it would permanently damage equestrian recreation in King County. It is the primary access point to much of what is remaining of the equestrian trail system. Without the access (parking, safe crossing, etc) use of the trails would become virtually impossible.

From a taxpayer standpoint, it is not wise for the county to just give away county assets without a vote being placed before the entire county. Beyond the recreation value (which is priceless) the land itself has tremendous intrinsic value. Parcels of that size are becoming rare in King County and are highly valued in the real estate market. Transferring public property into the private domain for no money is fiscally irresponsible.

As taxpayers we count on our parks and as King County Property Owners we pay taxes for a number of parks, it does not seem fair that Mr. Sims can determine who to give away a park to as he wishes. What other parks or land trades does Mr. Sims have in the works? How do these land giveaways benefit local taxpayers? How do they benefit Mr. Sims?

This will set a precedent to other groups who wish to stake claim on valuable park and county property based on the history of the land. Considering the number of tribes and rich history of the State of Washington, this could jeopardize many places that our families enjoy.

Handing over County Equestrian Property seems to be a pretty rash move at a time when there are groups all over Washington working to set up Equestrian Centers due to the heavy demand of these facilities as well as the additional revenue they bring to their areas.

Just last year, as part of its commitment to youth, King County announced that grants as large as $75,000 "will be used to build new sports complexes, playgrounds, sports courts, acrobatic equipment and an equestrian arena ", according to the County website. $50,000 was awarded to Paradise Ridge Equestrian Arena on Vashon Island, but Fall City arena is going to be handed over to a tribal government? What a confusing message to taxpayers in our area.

Questions about liability and safety have been raised regarding a non-County group taking over this land.

How would this change which groups gets priority for scheduling? What kind of fees would the tribe apply for use? Many equestrian groups (several 5013 nonprofits) count on this arena and parking area as a resource to keep their costs down (by not having to rent private arenas).

Tribal laws would now apply to this Park- new laws that King County citizens have not approved or voted on but will be required to abide by, and will be enforced by the Tribe.

We all respectfully ask that Fall City Park (including arena, baseball fields and entire parking lot) remain a part of our King County Parks and not be given away, traded, loaned or transferred to any tribe or other group.

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Goal
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Latest Signatures

  • 13 December 2015836. Kimberly Ak
    I support this petition
  • 12 December 2015835. Sue G
    I think the county has been doing a wonderful job maintaining the Fall City Park for so many users and would like to keep it that way. We are not in a budget crisis, in fact are having record tax revenues to be able to afford to keep maintaining this park
  • 09 December 2015834. Tori G
    I support this petition
  • 09 December 2015833. Melissa F
    I support this petition
  • 07 December 2015832. Timothy Scotth
    I support this petition
  • 03 December 2015831. Mary M
    I'm all for keeping something up for kids, adults.
  • 02 December 2015830. Laurie Ls
    I support this petition
  • 02 December 2015829. Tammy R
    I support this petition
  • 01 December 2015828. Kate M
    I support this petition
  • 30 November 2015827. A Douglasj
    I support this petition
  • 30 November 2015826. Donna J
    I have lived in King County for most all of my life and made the choice to move to Ellensburg several years ago because of the increasing restrictions on horse owners in that county. The loss of the Falls City Park would be a significant loss to all horse
  • 28 November 2015825. Karyn S
    I support this petition
  • 27 November 2015824. Gloria M
    I support this petition
  • 23 November 2015823. Rob M
    I support this petition
  • 22 November 2015822. Nika H
    I support this petition
  • 21 November 2015821. Peter H
    В
  • 20 November 2015820. Kristen F
    I support this petition
  • 19 November 2015819. Jan B
    I opposed the National Graves and Repatriation act in 1985. The tribes have taken back countless museum artifacts, most to be reburied or resold! This denies the american citizen from seeing part of his history, also, most of us having Native American in
  • 16 November 2015818. Terri Wr
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015817. Darci D
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015816. Samantha Chen
    Let's Do This!!
  • 15 November 2015815. Virginia R
    Horseback riding areas, including arenas, are rapidly dissappearing in our area. Where once was large tracts of open space, we now have massive housing developments. King and Snohomish Counties combined have one of the largest number of horses per capita
  • 12 November 2015814. Barbara Ac
    I support this petition
  • 10 November 2015813. Eilene G
    Please keep open..Thank you.E.
  • 09 November 2015812. Julie N
    I support this petition
  • 07 November 2015811. Kathy J
    Keep this arena; it is needed resource for the community; horse people all over the eastside need this space.
  • 06 November 2015810. Matthew Jd
    I support this petition

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Information

Edward HansonBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Ron Sims and King County Council

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