.

The Future of Bonney Lake Parks is in our hands!

Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District.

As reported in Patch on Tuesday, November 20th, the Bonney Lake Park Board during their meeting on Monday, November 19th, voted to forward three recommendations to the City Council for their consideration. Briefly, the recommendations were:

  • Recommended that the Council move forward to put a Metropolitan Park District on the ballot for April 13th, 2013.
  • Recommended that the City Council make up the Metropolitan Park District Board.
  • Recommended that the City establish a dedicated Parks Department.

I know that many of you out there are like me and have been waiting for the City to start building trails to make it easier for us to get around the City, or you may be looking forward to having a Community Center/YMCA in Bonney Lake, or if you’re involved in youth sports, you may be looking for the City to develop a Sports Complex. Now is our opportunity, but it’s up to each of us to make our desires known. Talk to the Council and let them know you’re in favor of moving forward on a Metropolitan Park District now. Let them know you don’t want to wait another decade before we provide an adequate number of parks, trails, fields, and some kind of community center for the more than 17,000 residents of our city.

The Mayor and Council needs to hear from us. You can email all of the Council at: council@ci.bonney-lake.wa.us, or you can attend the next meeting slated for Tuesday, 11/27/2012, at the Justice Center, 9002 Main Street in Bonney Lake and tell them in person.

This will only succeed if we all work together. I’m in, are you?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laurie Carter November 22, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Well said. Parks are important for our health, an amenity to our city and homes, a fun place for kids, and a trail is a linear park that allows for non-motorized transportation throughout the city. Let the council know how you feel. Volunteer to be on the citizen's advisory committee by contacting Gary Leaf, City of Bonney Lake, at 253-447-3282. Now is the time!
Fred Jacobsen November 22, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Trails can give us an opportunity to get away from the noise of traffic and closer to nature and the real world around us. I find it interesting that one of the first features that the new community south of Bonney Lake, Tehaleh built, were trails. A feature that most cities know brings significant added value to their communities.
Winona Jacobsen November 25, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I wonder why the majority of people moved to Bonney Lake. Most of those I have spoken to indicate they were drawn here because they liked the natural amenities like our treed landscapes, lakes, streams, and open spaces. With that appreciation of the natural environment, most would expect that trails, and outdoor recreational activities would be readily available through our parks. Well, we have only one major park that draws people from all around our city as well as from other communities. Alan Yorke Park cannot and should not be expected to handle the recreational needs of a city of more than 17,000 people. We need more parks. We need a trail system that will connect our citizens to areas around town without having to jump into a car every time. We need ball fields that will provide recreational opportunities for our youth involved in organized team sports. And we need some kind of community center that can give all age groups a place to gather and celebrate events, participate in activities, socialize, inform, and educate. This could be accomplished through the formation of a Metropolitan Park District, but our Mayor and City Council needs to know that the people of this city want it. They will be making a decision no later than January 8th on whether to put this proposal on the ballot. It depends on you. Are you going to let them know if you want a Metropolitan Park District? Are you going to be one of those who is willing to express your opinion? I'm in, are you?
John M November 25, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Taking my kids Max & Mila to the park is one of the joys we share as a family. However, I oppose the creation of an MPD for reasons that extend no further than the state of our economy. I oppose raising taxes, of any sort, during this period of economic stagnation. According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, real medium income is lower today than in both 2008 and 2009 and per capita per person income is lower today than where we were in 2006. According to the Washington State Employment Security Office, Pierce County has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the state and PC's unemployment rate is higher than King, Thurston, Yakima and Snohomish Counties. Lastly, look at the revenue generating struggles of the Metro Parks Tacoma. Obviously much larger than the plan the Bonney Lake Parks Board is proposing, but the issues are relevant and are not isolated to just the Tacoma area. According to an 11/24/2012 article in the TNT, Metro Parks Tacoma is facing a $7M shortfall in its general fund budget, requiring the District to cut jobs. Because of a 9.1% reduction in assessed property values the district projects a loss of about $3.1M in property tax revenues over the next two years. With this loss of revenue, the District expects personnel cost to rise by 6%. This opposition is made with the economy in mind and nothing more. Too many of our neighbors are still struggling to make ends meet and creating an MPD requires more money from a dry well.
Laurie Carter November 25, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Tacoma has not been as fiscally responsible as Bonney Lake has. Comparing Bonney Lake to Tacoma is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, use and events in the parks are free, but the land, amenities and maintenance is not. Are you willing to spend $10-12/month to keep our parks open, in line with the population needs so their is a place for Bark in the Park, Bonney Lake Days, Tunes@Tapps and Friday Night Flix? A low cost night out with friends or a day with kids is a real budget saver with the great programs in Bonney Lake parks.
Scott W. Anderson November 27, 2012 at 12:58 AM
It comes down to this. There are a lot of people in this community who have been asking why isn't the city doing something more about parks. Frankly, there isn't the money in the budget to do anything more about parks and putting together a taxing model under the city to address Parks is not well advised. The City has the ability to move money from one "Bucket" to another depending upon need. An MPD (Metropolitan Parks District) would become a separate entity, governed with the sole intention of establishing "Park" projects, funding them, and maintaining them once built. Yes, an MPD is a method to tax a community with State restrictions, however, all money collected stays separate from City coffers and is mandated to be only used for "Park" projects and maintenance. Putting together a long term plan which addresses Parks (trails, ball parks, community center, etc.) is taking the long view on a solution which can address all needs, desires, plans, etc. for a growing city. It is not something which I or many others will actually bare witness to, in its entirety, in the near future. Remember, all things are possible given time and money. If you are not willing to pay for the things you want then you won't get them.
John November 27, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Willing to pay and able to pay are not synonymous with one another. Make no mistake, I want all the things each of you want. But the fact remains our economy is barely better off than it has been ... marginally better. I understand permit apps for the city are up, but our own mayor speaks of a "stagnant economy" in the proposed 2013-2014 budget. The County Ex for PC cautioned against a slow economy in the PC 2013 budget. This is my only argument and I think it cannot be dismissed. There is a $9M gap in our budget. Unemployment in PC is at 8% which is higher than King, Snohomish, Yakima and Thurston County. What is the opposition to waiting 2 years? It seems more fiscally responsible to allow citizens to climb out of this economic hole before asking for more of their money. I appreciate this forum to discuss this issue.
Scott W. Anderson November 27, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Why an arbitrary 2 years? Why not 3, 4, 5 or 10 years. You must have a better crystal ball then I. If we were to wait for the "right" time to do things we might not ever get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it comes down to doing what is right for the greatest good and not what is easy. The only opposition I have to waiting 2 years or any further time period is that there is no sure bet that times will be better. There has been far to much talk and far to little action in getting something done concerning Parks. Lets think about your 2 year idea. Assuming an MPD makes it's way to an April 2013 vote it wouldn't become effective for some time period past then. In order for an MPD to opperate it has to have money. This means the board of the MPD would need to come up with a plan of initial projects, determine a detailed budget for each and then determine a rate at which to begin imposing a tax. This again would take months to put together. If you also consider that there would be public input periods prior to any project detail and budgeting took place, this could drag out for another year. Lastly, there would need to be discussion with the city and a detailed organizational relationship would need to be worked out. A transitional period determined and agreed to, again all adding time to any future tax levy. So you see, an April vote would not impose an immediate tax to a Bonney Lake resident. It could take another year or so prior to anyone ever seeing any new tax.
John November 27, 2012 at 07:15 AM
Explain how/why the city would need to form an organizational relation? Am I not correct by thinking the MPD is its own taxing authority with is own budget and staff? What authority does the city have over an MPD?
Shelley November 27, 2012 at 08:06 AM
I would be in favor of a dog park. The one we have currently is a joke.
Scott W. Anderson November 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM
The city would have no authority over an MPD but there would need to be a good working relationship between the two. There would also need to be a transition period of responsibilities between the city and an MPD which would require and organized plan. Yes, you are correct, John, the MPD is its own taxing authority with its own budget and staff. What happened to your two year idea? You still haven't fully explained where you came up with the magical number. Can I look forward to greater fortune and higher standard of living by then? I want some assurances.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) November 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
The conversation here is great and I think everyone has brought up some really thoughtful points to chew on. It's interesting in many ways to follow the BL park discussion because many of us just take parks for-granted. I grew up in Tacoma and never really thought about what it would be like if those old parks were just being created... what if Tacoma said no to park creation years ago? What kind of city would we have now? Preserving green space is an essential part of a city's responsibility to its citizens, I believe. Kudos to the city council for pushing it to the April ballot. Now it's up to voters....
Winona Jacobsen December 14, 2012 at 03:03 AM
At Tuesday's meeting of the Bonney Lake City Council, a vote was taken, and a proposed Metropolitan Park District (MPD) will be placed on the April 23rd ballot. Thanks to the 5 of 7 council members who voted in favor of this measure. You allowed your constituents to exercise their right of choice. During the past few years, our community has undergone economic hardships like other neighborhoods around the country. Our city parks and the events that have been offered have provided a place for our families to gather, exercise, socialize, and be entertained. Bonney Lake has been fortunate to have a mayor and council who have been able to deal with most of our economic shortfalls with the help and guidance of a very able financial staff, but like everyone on a budget living through these tough times, some services may suffer. Since Bonney Lake does not have a dedicated Park Dept., there is not a “Park Budget” to deal specifically with the needs and growth of our communal facilities. It is an “add on” to the Public Works Department, whose primary concern is roads, sidewalks, storm water, and sewers. These things are crucial to a city, but then parks are also crucial to our quality of life. We need to have a dedicated Park Dept. that does not rely on a Public Works handout from the General Fund to install a new picnic table or repair the swings. We need to consider the advantages of forming an MPD so we will have dedicated funding for our trails, playfields, and parks.

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