Posts Tagged With: gentrification

Tales of the Tot Lot 2

So the land swap was stopped when the City Attorney admonished the Council it was their obligation to compel Parks to abide by the terms of the transfer and honor the restrictions.  The Council then voted unanimously to record a conservation easement which would preserve the Tot Lot in perpetuity.

But then, Val Tollefson moved to delay the recording of the Conservation Easement while an access road was worked out between Laughlin, Parks, and the adjacent, Madison Cottages community. It seems the Madison Cottages folk decide it best to accommodate the access road because if the Wyatt Cottages proposal is not granted, a more intrusive and aesthetically disagreeable development might replace the good work of Cutler/Anderson Architects.

Point well taken, but too smacking of defeatist accommodation for me. And since the good folk of Madison Cottages represent a mere fraction of Park’s-going public, why should they have such disproportionate influence?

We await the announcement of the Wyatt Cottages proposal to the Design Review Board with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Will the concerned parties present accurate information this time around regarding the Declarations of Covenants, Restrictions and Reciprocal Easements–remember those?

This is but a sketch of a convoluted tale of intrigue. There remain such details as the erroneous reports by the County Assessor, a land value increase of nearly 80% the very year the property was transferred to Parks, the “disappearance” of the studio from the assessor’s building report 2 years before it was demolished, the miraculous appearance of a ghostly pole-frame building, mysterious address changes, and specious readings of legal terms.

It seems we are afflicted with a double denial of many troubling aspects of the concurrent Wyatt Cottages and Suzuki developments. On the one hand, the Madison Cottages community–as well as the Friends of Suzuki– sweep the shady history of land transfers to Parks under the rug. On the other, we have the present Council embarrassed by their part in obscuring Parks and the previous Council’s questionable deeds. Add to this HRB’s reluctance to jeprodise Council support by allowing public scrutiny of these sketchy practices, and the tight-lipped, good old boys in the Building Department, and you have a first class cover-up.

All sides of this debate can be said to lack transparency.  We need a fresh and honest perspective on the issues that shape the island’s future. We need tranlate our high ideals of inclusiveness and economic equality into practical solutions while preserving the precious remnants of our natural environment.

Categories: Musings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tales of the Tot Lot part 1

The long history of the Tot Lot demands an uncommon level of attention and patience; I hope my good readers might bear with this convoluted tale about a tiny children’s playground in the heart of Whimsical Winslow.

The Tot Lot tale extends as far back as 1997, when Randy Varga sold the property to the City  with a “Declaration of Covenants, Restrictions and reciprocal Easements” which specified the property be preserved as a park.  He also called  for the preservation of a lovely art studio which I occupied rent-free as an artist-in-residence and caretaker–though my caretaking often fell short with all the demands of creating art.

 It was a time when our last elected Mayor held a prominent position on the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council– though that detail is perhaps merely coincidental–after all, my significant other says I watch too many detective movies, and such things are only natural with all the demands of leadership and the equivocal nature of the greater good.

 Despite the prohibitions clearly spelled out in the Declarations, outcry of concerned citizens, several emails citing restrictions, heated Parks Board meetings, and a front page article in the Kitsap Sun, the studio was destroyed in 2011, just two years after it was transferred to the good, art-promoting BIMPRD–or whatever they’re called.

In February of last year, a land swap was proposed where the playground would be traded for a lot half its size on the corner of the island’s busiest intersections.  Well, you can imagine the outcry of local, island mothers over that scenario.

 Truth is, a big money developer had bought two properties adjacent the Tot Lot and wanted to realize a tidy profit by consolidation, and create a greater Wyatt Cottages.  Problem is, this is a greater good that mainly benefits said developer. .

So get this, the developer and Parks sign on as co-applicants to the Design Review Board for this swap which would grease the skids for this big money project on the homestead of Winslow’s founding father, Reilly Hoskinson, who settled it God knows when.  They fill out a legal form declaring there are no impediments to this swap, though–because of the brouhaha less than 5 years before–they obviously knew of the 1997 restrictions.

 So I give Val Tollefson a copy of the restrictions and the Council halts the swap, reminding Parks of their obligation to honor terms of the transfer.

To be continued…

Categories: Art, Musings, Paintings in Progress | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our struggle for the Varga Community Art Studio

studio exterior 3

We are involved in an effort to compel the City to abide by covenants they agreed to in the purchase in a local children’s playground called the Tot Lot.  These restrictions state that the public art studio–which was illegally destroyed for the benefit of a private developer–must be replaced on the same footprint.  This has been a lengthy struggle and the City of Bainbridge Island continues to neglect it’s obligation to see that the covenants are upheld.

See our website  http://totlotstudio.com/

Categories: Art | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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