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Friends Of Gas Works Parks Fight Summer Nights

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Friends of Gas Works Park, a nonprofit advocacy group, have filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle and producer One Reel to prevent the annual Summer Nights concert series from moving to the picturesque public park.

Promoters say that if the lawsuit is successful, the series would almost definitely be canceled for 2006.

The group is claiming the city violated a state law when the Department of Parks and Recreation opted to bypass formal analysis of the effects of holding 17 to 23 night concerts at the park during the summer. As many as 3,800 tickets are sold for each show.

The law in reference “requires governments to look before they leap and evaluate environmental impacts before making decisions and taking actions,” attorney David Bricklin told the Seattle Times. “That was not done prior to making the decision to shift the concert series out to Gas Works.”

Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter told the paper that the department performs environmental reviews on projects that result in wholesale changes to a park. Although the concert series would cut off a quadrant of Gas Works for the concerts, she said the change is temporary and does not require review.

Last summer, the concerts were located on the short of South Lake Union, but were forced to find a new venue due to construction of a new park. Before last summer, concerts were held at Piers 62/63, which needed repair.

Cheryl Trivision, a founder and boardmember of Friends of Gas Works Park, said one reason the group decided to pursue legal recourse was because of “the way this whole deal was put together, totally ignoring the community. They wanted the deal done before they let it out to the public, and that’s unconscionable.”

She told the paper that the group also opposes fencing off a section of the park for the entire summer for a commercial venture, as it restricts the use of the park for everyone else.

An initial hearing on the suit is scheduled for March 16. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers