North Bend youth serves her parks

January 6, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 12:44 p.m. Jan. 6, 2010

Every month, members of the North Bend Parks Commission convene to discuss how to better the green spaces of their city. At every meeting, the six commissioners are joined by a somewhat younger member, Mount Si High School junior Lisa Eytel.

“I was walking by the North Bend City Hall one day and saw an ad for a youth member,” Eytel said. “I thought it’d be a good service. I use the parks a lot, so I thought it would be a good way to get my voice out there.”

Lisa Eytel serves as the youth member on the North Bend Parks Commission. She smiles as she climbs up the Torguson Park climbing wall. (Photo contributed)

Lisa Eytel serves as the youth member on the North Bend Parks Commission. She smiles as she climbs up the Torguson Park climbing wall. (Photo contributed)

Youth members have the same rights as the other commissioners, meaning Eytel can vote, amend documents and speak her mind.

“She is a completely active participant. She is not shy at all and she has no reservations about sharing her opinions,” North Bend senior planner in Community and Economic Development Mike McCarty said. “She has some good ideas about sharing the parks with youths.”

Eytel already had a full plate taking Running Start classes at Bellevue College, teaching skiing at Snoqualmie Summit, playing softball and working at Kumon Math & Reading Center, but she found time to apply and serve on the commission for two, yearlong terms.

“It gets tight sometimes,” Eytel said.

She may only take one class at Mount Si, serving as the yearbook editor, but she often includes her classmates when making decisions about North Bend Parks.

For instance, Eytel has suggested involving the Mount Si High School ASB to help fundraise with North Bend Parks Foundation.

She also offers valuable input about the demand for North Bend playfields, especially the baseball diamonds at Torguson Park, McCarty said.

No wonder, since Torguson Park is one of Eytel’s favorite places to play softball, although she also spends a lot of time at EJ Roberts Park, she said.

Until she began serving on the board in 2008, Eytel said she had no idea how much work went into volunteering for the city.

“It’s definitely a lot more complicated than I thought it was,” Eytel said. “There is definitely a lot more paperwork and planning involved in what goes into the city. We deal a lot with budgets and parks over the next four years.”

The North Bend Parks Commission relies on a recent survey from the Si View Metropolitan Park District.

“We see what people want. I think that some of the stuff is a little too pricy for North Bend’s price range,” Eytel said.

Still, the city approved the climbing wall and a Tot Lot at Torguson Park. Some parts of the Tot Lot are of concern to the parks commission, Eytel said. The lot is too close to the ball fields, which means the commission might ask that safety nets be installed.

“It’s interesting how things are planned and executed,” Eytel said. “It’s a fun group of people to work with. I like helping out the community. I use the parks, so why not help improve them?”

McCarty said it was important that the parks commission have a youth member on board.

“I think the community needs to be represented by all age levels,” he said. “Without having that youth participation, we’re missing out on a significant part of our population.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434 ext. 221 or lgeggel@snovalleystar.com.

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