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home : opinion : columnists June 26, 2016

5/8/2013 1:18:00 PM
By Sharon Waters

Referring to a Leavenworth Echo Article appearing April 24, titled "City Officials consider ending Booster Club use of city parking lots"... "really?"...all money raised goes directly to our local kids. Let me get this straight...the city leases the huge old warehouse area for parking to improve availability for tourists. In order for this to fly with the locals...the city is charging for that parking to reimburse money spent by the city to go back to the city, so in the end the city didn't spend any there are other city parking lots also making the transition to charge-for-parking. As quoted in the article "they (the Booster Club) have been doing it for a long time" - Leavenworth City Administer Joel Walinski. I joined the Booster Club and "parking cars" in the late 70's. Booster Club parking as a fundraiser began a few years before that. So (as a guesstimate) the "long time" mentioned above is a real long time (40 plus years). How can we just shut out those who have, and those who would, continue to work so hard to support our kids? The carpet that will be pulled out from under this fundraiser will be incredibly huge! It takes a large organization to make this parking work. By parking cars, the Booster Club is also providing a much needed festival, city, and community service. The Club keeps the parking area organized and clean...making sure that no one gets blocked in or parks crooked... thus taking up space where another car could have parked. The Club parking attendants are often the first line of communication for tourists. Those attendants are able to answer questions regarding restrooms, restaurants, hotel/motels, gift shops, helping them with directions, and to say the them a "Welcoming Smile". I am also concerned that there may be still another problem to solve. If the parking lot on the west side of the pool is free (and I am certainly not suggesting otherwise) guess where everyone will park first? Where then will our pool patrons who purchase season's passes, swim lesson and swim team families, our local pool community, pool users who come from the surrounding areas and the tourist pool users park? Pool patrons come carrying towels, chairs, umbrellas and other "stuff", so parking far away is an issue for them as well as for our senior citizens. I think consideration of "signage" would provide more parking spaces in this lot. Finding a better place for motor homes and vehicles pulling boats would free up the 5-6 spaces that they take up parking "across" the parking spaces. Signage that addresses "no overnight" parking would help. It would be terrific, of course, if there were a few pool employee marked parking spots; which was originally promised in the grand plan for the new pool. A little "off" the parking subject, but I would like to thank the Leavenworth City Council for finding a solution and approving an animal control contract - Echo May 1. I also see where the Council was able to contribute $4,000 for tennis court restoration "because the city has long considered the school district property to be a part of the parks system" - Mayor Cheri Kelley Farviar. I do see all the sides that various city council persons presented in the article and appreciate your scrutiny surrounding them. You know...I have every confidence that the City Council will do their best to find a way to...perhaps "grandfather" the Booster Club parking for two festivals per year in honor of their loyal 48 plus years of parking. I look forward to what the City Attorney may find with his research. I often wonder, in this small community, if progress is worth "squishing" the locals out? >br>Sharon Waters Leavenworth

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