Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Programs
Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (FHNA) members have been instrumental in preserving O.O. Denny Park, located in Kirkland’s Finn Hill neighborhood, from being closed due to lack of maintenance funds. Its volunteers have repaired park trails, worked with King County to restore O.O. Denny Creek which runs through the park, and worked to establish the Finn Hill Park and Recreation District, which now runs the park. FHNA members also completed a comprehensive survey of the Denny Creek watershed, offering numerous zoning and development recommendations to improve water quality and fish habitat in the Finn Hill neighborhood’s streams and wetlands
FHNA also led efforts to save 40 acres of urban forest, now known as the Juanita Woodlands, about 2 miles east of O.O. Denny Park. Working with state and county officials, FHNA launched a campaign to raise half a million dollars from local residents, allowing King County to purchase the land from the state. FHNA is now involved in a large re-planting project to replace diseased trees in the Juanita Woodlands, which will create a more diverse and healthier tree canopy. Funding will be needed for future plantings as the King County Parks Department budget for this project is depleted. Additionally, other activities in concert with the Environmental & Adventure School, located nearby, are being planned to help further the education of students participating restoration programs in the Woodlands and adjacent parks.
Each year FHNA helps to celebrate the area with DennyFest, a community picnic with music, food, a dog show, exhibits, crafts, and guided tours through O.O. Denny Park. The event is held at in September beside Lake Washington O.O Denny Park’s main lawn. Volunteers are needed to help put on the event and funding helps to underwrite the costs associated with the variety of activities.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
FHNA has completed the second year of its 5-year reforestation program for the Juanita Woodlands Park. Working with volunteers and members of King County Parks, FHNA has planted 4500 new trees, with a goal of roughly 11,000 new plantings by 2014. Funds will be required to acquire the seedlings needed to complete the reforestation program and to engage professional landscaping assistance in removing invasive species from a ravine that bisects the park.
FHNA also recently launched its Vision 2050 project, designed to encourage long-term planning for Finn Hill neighborhood in Kirkland. Now that the Finn Hill area has been annexed by the City of Kirkland, the Vision 2050 initiative is designed to engage neighborhood residents in addressing a broad range of land use issues including the environment preservation, commercial and residential development, infrastructure, safety, and recreation needs. The goal of Vision 2050 is to educate residents regarding long-term development trends affecting Finn Hill and to promote planning solutions that balance demands for housing, road improvements and other forms of development with a desire to preserve and even enhance the area’s natural assets. Funding is needed to underwrite educational campaigns and projects specific to those areas.