Vote YES for the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (MPD) on April 23, 2013 - Part 3

Bonney Lake is deficient in parks.

The first part of this blog let you know that we have 52-plus acres in existence today and the second blog told you about 122-plus acres of “Diamonds in the Rough” (possible future parklands). In this version I’ll talk about the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) guidelines, and how the City of Bonney Lake has gone into a deficit on parks.

(Read Part I: , Part II: 
Vote YES on the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (MPD) - Part 2)

To date, the City of Bonney Lake has never had a Parks Department, nor have they had a budget specifically identified as monies dedicated for Parks only. During 2004, lands were acquired for park expansion purposes, however, since there’s no specific parks budget no development monies were identified, or set aside for development. Therefore, as stated above, we have 122-plus acres of undeveloped park lands.

Per the budget for the current biennium, there is $307,752 identified for operations and maintenance for 2013 and another $305,085 for 2014. These dollars cover wages, salaries, and benefits for staff plus they also include $35,451 each year for the intergovernmental agreement between the cities of Bonney Lake and Sumner and the Sumner School District. This intergovernmental agreement provides numerous recreational activities that none of the three could provide on their own, like the recent Princess Tea and Dessert that was favorably received and sold out. The Sumner/Bonney Lake Recreation Department has been operating on a shoe string for years but is able to offer a variety of programs.

When voters approve a Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013, all revenues will be guaranteed for the exclusive use of and for the expansion, maintenance and operation of our parks and their facilities.

 Most of the following information has been taken right out of the Parks Element of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Bonney Lake, recommended by the citizen Park Board, and the city Planning Commission, and approved by the City Council in December of 2011. A link to that site follows:

http://www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us/section_business/community_development/comprehensive_plans.shtml#parks. Actually this link will take you to both the Parks Element and the Fennel Creek Trail Plan.

The NRPA guidelines are based on population. The current population of Bonney Lake is 17,730. However, the information on this chart is based on the population during 2010, which was slightly less.

The following information is from tables 6-15 and 6-16 in the Parks Element and shows just those deficits identified in 2010 and does not take into account possible growth or annexations:


Typical Size


Current Example

Current Deficit (2010)

Community Park

10 to 30 acres

6.5 acres per 1,000 pop

Allan Yorke Park

-68.6 acres

Regional Park*

20, or more acres

3.75 acres per 1000


-65.2 acres



3/8 mile per 1,000 pop

Fennel Creek Trail

-6.2 miles


Youth Center


1 per 20,000 pop




Indoor Swimming Pool


1 per 20,000 pop



*Includes park and open space

While the City has 122 acres of available public land, without available funds those lands cannot and will not be developed. That’s why the voters need to approve the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013 so we can ensure that monies will be set aside for future park development. Residents in Bonney Lake have long advocated for the building of trails, a community center or YMCA, or sports fields. None of this can be accomplished unless, and until, funds are available. When built these assets could be an economic boon to our city.

These venues become a destination that brings people to watch their kids swim, run cross country, play sports, pick up the supplies they forgot at home, have a bite to eat, before or after the event, and gas up their vehicle before heading home. A Fennel Creek Trail can be a destination for young moms to reach stores without having to use the car, follow their kids on the bikes, etc. Kids will be able to use the trail to go from school to the park, the theaters, etc. Rental of a venue for activities like the aforementioned Princess Tea and Dessert can bring revenue to the city and its businesses. A swimming pool can be used to teach our kids how to swim and possibly reduce the number of accidents and drowning’s in the lake.

Now if Bonney Lake had a hotel, we might even be able to get overnight business from people coming long distances to attend events here in the city which could also mean that they’d have dinner and breakfast here. Revenue that this city needs more of. With special occasions, team sports, competitions, or just to have some fun in a location away from home, Bonney Lake could be the recipient of overnight business if a hotel became a reality. This just contributes even more to the vitality of a city.

These venues also draw people to Bonney Lake to live. It makes for a much more livable community, just as shopping districts, schools and city services do. It adds value to the home you buy or sell. If there is a shortage of homes for sale, it will create a need that developers will fill in and around our city. This will create jobs for the construction phase and new residents who will move here and bring business to Bonney Lake. As the population grows, business increases and more employees are hired. It seems short sighted to oppose more business created by destination park amenities.

We hope we can count on your YES vote on the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013. If you’d like more information please check out our web pages www.blparks.org and www.yesmpd.com or you can check out our facebook site at: http://www.facebook.com/blparks.org?fref=ts#!/blparks.org and while you’re there, we’d appreciate it if you’d “like” our site.

Thanks for your consideration and support.

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 February 03, 2013 at 04:24 AM
The chart says it all. If the 122 aces of undeveloped park land was developed it would just about wipe out the deficit and bring it to 2010 standards. But what about future growth and needs? The city requires revenue to develop, maintain and operate parks for today and futue populations. Fred, your link to the Park Element, chart 6-16, indicates that homeowners association parks and school facilities were used in the inventory using NRPA standards and there is still a park deficit. I hope everyone will please vote YES April 23 for you, your kids and your grandkids!
Winona Jacobsen February 06, 2013 at 07:07 AM
Part I In response to one of Fred’s previous blogs on the 80 acre parcel of land Pierce County owns south of the city,planning for the proposed Buckley-Bonney Lake Regional County Park began ten years ago. A lot of public input was part of the process of creating a Master Plan. While many advocated for ball fields, trails, and a swimming pool, the plan finally emerged with three phases of proposed development. Phase I was for site development and the construction of a 60,000 square foot maintenance facility, including a caretaker’s residence, paving the main park road and parking area, basketball court, landscaping, and storm drainage facilities. Phase II would see a Sheriff’s substation built, with a garage, parking and landscaping. Phase III provided for a Community Center, parking, and landscaping. Included in this Master Plan was also a 13 acre great lawn area, picnic facilities, an off leash dog park, barbeques, bike racks, drinking fountains, and a perimeter fence. The maintenance facility in Phase I was to cover the maintenance/dispatch needs for the Zone 2 area of Northeast Pierce County. This zone is a large area which includes the Lake Tapps Regional Recreation Area (RRA), the White River RRA, the Carbon River Valley RRA, and the Foothills Trail Regional Trail. The zone system is designed by the county to facilitate maintenance and operations of the parks. You can check out the county’s 2008 plan at http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/4992
Winona Jacobsen February 06, 2013 at 07:22 AM
Part II Pierce County’s 2008 budget projected the development cost for the park to be $47 million. The 2009 budget estimated that cost to be nearly $60 million. There is no mention of the undeveloped Buckley-Bonney Lake County Park in the 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2013 budgets. There are no funds in the Pierce County budget for development of this park now, or in the foreseeable future. Although 80 acres of park land near our city poses many advantages, it belongs to Pierce County, and Bonney Lake has no control over its development. We can, however, control park development within our city limits. Parents now drive their children to sports games in other cities that have the facilities to hold competitions and tournaments. They will drive to a trailhead to begin a bike ride on a trail or drive to another city to participate in swimming lessons or a water aerobics class. The expense of transportation adds up each week, and unless you drive a hybrid vehicle, gasoline is rather expensive. And what about lunch or snacks when they drive their children to their activities? I think that $20 per week would be a very conservative estimate of cost for these endeavors. That’s far more than the $10-20 per month that might be paid to insure that Bonney Lake has the parks needed for its growing population. Vote YES for a Metropolitan Park District on April 23rd, and maybe we will finally get the trails, ball fields and community center that our residents have requested over the years.
Mark Bennett February 16, 2013 at 07:31 PM
James K McClimans Sr February 18, 2013 at 04:23 AM
It is only fair to point out that the comprehensive plan says we have a surplus of neighborhood parks and open space. Its not all doom and gloom. The difference between neighborhood and community parks is ball fields primarily. So the city council can vote to build the ball fields if they wanted to, why havn't they? Priorities? Oh, so getting an MPD changes priorities for the city? No, what it does is create a brand new TAX burden and organization living off my hard earned money. No thanks. If I wanted a big MPDs like in Tacoma I would have moved there. I like my small town, my small government, I don't want bigger TAXes. Vote NO on the MPD and we will still have parks and they will get better. They have improved since I lived here. The MPD is an "EASY" solution to a hard problem, and we all know what happens when we take the "EASY" road, we pay for it later. Vote NO on a FOREVER TAX, vote no for the MPD. When the proponents say the MPD has something for everyone what they don't realize that it is a TAX increase.
Mark Bennett February 18, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Mark Bennett February 18, 2013 at 07:05 PM
We are heading into an economic collapse and the WORST thing we could do now it to increase taxes. No society ever taxed itself into prosperity. For the CHILDREN vote NO on the Forever tax. http://www.blacklistednews.com/Retail_Apocalypse%3A_Why_Are_Major_Retail_Chains_All_Over_America_Collapsing%3F/24293/0/38/38/Y/M.html
Scott W. Anderson February 19, 2013 at 01:03 AM
James - Are you sure that the only difference between neighborhood and community parks is ball fields "Primarily". Just because you believe it so does not make it so. Show us the facts. You claim that the city should just go ahead and build the ball fields - where and with what money. Oh wait, now we are right back to having to use your hard earned money to develop the land and build, operate and maintain those ball fields. Oh wait, that is the purpose of creating the MPD in the first place. To create dedicated funds for "Parks". Please remember that when I use the word Parks I am trying to convey an all encompassing view of things including (but not limited too): sports facilities, community center, trails, dog parks, and yes parks (as in the literal sense). Lastly, trying to compare a large metropolitan city to Bonney Lake (17K+ residents) is a little like trying to compare a mountain to a mole hill. For the cost of a movie ticket or a couple lattes a month we can have lasting and sustainble parks for our kids, our kids kids and so on. Vote "YES" for the MPD in Bonney Lake come April 23rd.
Scott W. Anderson February 19, 2013 at 01:04 AM
One last note - Fred's Blog has moved on to Part 4. Take a read. Quite informative.
MB February 19, 2013 at 04:25 AM
Mark - The black helicopters are coming for you. You need to hurry and get in your bunker, crack open a can of beans and wait for the zombie apocalypse to begin. Best get your arsenal locked and loaded.


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