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Vote YES for the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (MPD) on April 23, 2013 - Part 5

Bonney Lake needs trails and fields - vote Yes for the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013

A recap of previous blogs can be found at the following links.

Part 1 about the existing parks in the city: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/blog_posts/vote-yes-for-the-bonney-lake-metropolitan-park-district-mpd-on-april-23-2013

Part 2 about undeveloped land owned by the city that could be turned into trails and parks at: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/blog_posts/vote-yes-on-the-bonney-lake-metropolitan-park-district-mpd-part-2

Part 3 is about the park shortfall that exists in the city at this time based on standards set at a national level.: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/blog_posts/vote-yes-for-the-bonney-lake-metropolitan-park-district-mpd-on-april-23-2013-part-3

Part 4 is about why we need parks today versus what things were like 100 years ago focusing on Cedarview Park: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/blog_posts/vote-yes-for-the-bonney-lake-metropolitan-park-district-mpd-on-april-23-2013-part-4

In today’s world I like to get out and walk and prefer to walk in areas that are off the beaten path. If given a choice, I prefer to walk on a decent path through the woods rather than down a sidewalk adjacent to traffic. I like to hear the birds, and possibly see some of the animals that still hang around here on the plateau. On a recent walk near the White River, I encountered a couple of elk. I wish I’d had a camera in hand for that one. A walk in the woods is cathartic and can make you feel so removed from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. To do my walking these days I either drive to some place like Orting, Puyallup, or Buckley to  access a trail. Those drive times add cost and disadvantage. The cost  includes time and fuel expenses. The disadvantage is that I must go to another area, and to get there I had to crank up a gas guzzling, environmentally unfriendly vehicle.  While there I probably also  had a coffee or maybe grabbed something to eat following my hike.  

As Terry Reid posted in blog 4, “Where we live, learn, work, and play can have a greater impact on how long and how well we live than medical care.” – Terry, went on to say that “Easy and ready access to parks, trails and recreation facilities make a real difference in the level of physical activity for all age groups. A recent study focused on what types of things make communities more conducive to being physically active. For adults, it’s all about having good places to walk. Nearly 60% of active adults are walkers. The single factor most likely to influence them was if there were safe and pleasant places for walking”  

While we have quite a few new sidewalks adjacent to SR410 and in some neighborhoods, it’s difficult to get out and safely walk or bike in most of Bonney Lake, because as Terry also points out, “Our 17,000 residents currently have about 52 acres of developed park lands and zero miles of trails. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, a city our size should have at least 134 more acres of developed parks and 6.2 miles of trails to adequately serve our population.” This brings us to the argument that the City of Bonney Lake needs a Park Department. It’s time that the voters move to vote YES for  a Metropolitan Park District, so we will have the funding necessary to possibly develop, operate and maintain trails here in Bonney Lake for all to use.

We need more than just trails to fulfill our city’s recreation needs. When my sons were young, I was a soccer coach in the Sumner Soccer Club. At that time, and unfortunately this is still true today, there weren’t a lot of fields available for practice or games. We would try to hold our practices here on the plateau, but it was difficult even though  there were fewer teams than today, because of the limited number of fields. With an  often loaded van, and a couple of other vehicles,  we would head for one of the fields in Sumner or Auburn to practice our sport. The fields along A Street in Auburn have long since been converted to apartments. Since this was before seat belt laws, we would load as many of the team into the van as we comfortably could and head off to practice. Games were another matter because these were played almost anywhere in the state, or up in Vancouver BC. More on Vancouver in a minute.

For much of the time that I coached, even though we were a team from Bonney Lake, our home field was Sumner Jr. High. The season started in September and played through November, or December. If we were good enough, and our team was, to make it into the Division playoffs, we could play clear into January or February. This meant road trips to places like Hazel Dell, on the outskirts of Vancouver, WA, in the middle of winter. Not a fun proposition when playing a game in an ice storm with the team clad in shorts and t-shirts. Most games were shorter trips to fields in Federal Way, Maple Valley, Kent, Lake Wilderness, or Lakewood, at a time when gasoline prices were under $2 a gallon There was travel time, game time, gasoline, and food usually after the game to refuel those ravenous appetites. Although out of pocket costs back then were cheaper,  it still posed a hardship for some. I’m sure  it isn’t going to be any better in today’s economy.

Playing in Vancouver, BC, was a whole different experience. This was the annual Canadian Exchange where we may have up to 10,000 kids cross the border on two successive weekends in the fall to play a game and spend a night with an opposing team’s family.  It was not only a chance to play international soccer, but provided a rich cultural exchange, too. At the time, it was known as the largest cultural exchange to take place in the country, if not the world.  I don’t know if  it still takes place, but it was a fantastic experience with all of its challenges.  This was at a time when there weren’t seat belt requirements, no TSA, and no passport requirements. It’s doubtful that this is even possible today. Here again though, there was significant cost for parents of kids in recreational league sports for gas, food and lodging when we were in Canada and for food and entertainment when they were down here.

I don’t have any contact with the Sumner Soccer Club today, and I don’t know if Bonney Lake teams are home fielded in Bonney Lake or in Sumner, but I do know that we have  a large shortage of available fields in Bonney Lake. There are some  who point at fields in home owners associations (HOA) as being available, but unless the HOA says that their private field can be used for recreational sports by anyone, these fields are, and will remain, private for the residents of the  private development only.  This was certainly true for the Lake Jane Estates HOA Park, and I can’t imagine their policy has changed.

I have only discussed my experiences with my children playing on soccer teams. I had two sons, and each was active in sports, which meant that we had twice as many practices and games to attend. It often required my wife and I to each take a son and head off in different directions. Now multiply this by the number of sports that they played: baseball, track, basketball, soccer. Today there are even more opportunities for sports but each one exacts a toll on the pocketbook.

If Bonney Lake had adequate sports fields, a family could certainly save money by not having to travel as far or as frequently for their children’s games. Heck, they may not even have to give up those couple of lattes a month to pay for the additions that a Metropolitan Park District might provide.

For more information check out either of our web sites at www.BLParks.org or www.YESMPD.com and you should also check out our facebook site: Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (http://www.facebook.com/blparks.org?fref=ts).   

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you’ll remember to Vote Yes for the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013.

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.

PC Boy February 28, 2013 at 03:07 PM
You keep saying we have 52 acres of parks, and zero miles of trail. What about Midtown Park, right behind Fred Meyers. We spent a lot of volunteer hours manicuring the trails at BBL last year. Why do you keep forgetting about that park, Fred?
Fred Jacobsen February 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Morning PC Boy, the reason I leave the trails in Midtown off the discussion is because most of those trails are temporary and may disappear when, and if, Quadrant decides to begin development of their 100+ acres of land in the old WSU Forest. I believe the plan posed during 2009 had Quadrant building 60+ acres in high density residential with the rest becoming commercial. When Quadrant finishes the forest will have been fairly well eliminated, and the city is supposed to end up with a permanent trail around the 2+ mile perimeter of the property. If memory serves me the city will also be obligated to maintain the perimeter trail and small triangular park at South Prairie and 214th along with the 40+ acres of “diamond in the rough” land that has been deeded to the city. Within the 40+ acres that the city currently owns, there are trails that could be retained in a forested setting, or it could be ball fields, or a community center. This determination will be made by the Metropolitan Park Board, likely based on input from the residents. I encourage residents to use, and enjoy those trails while they can, but also caution that they should expect that some, or all, of the existing trails may be eliminated once development begins.

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