Vote YES for the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (MPD) on April 23, 2013 - Part 4
In an earlier blog, one comment that was made implied that we really don’t need parks because they weren’t needed 100 years ago. There is a great deal that was not needed 100 years ago as compared to today. We no longer live in a farming community, and any forests which remain have to be fought for to be preserved. We are an urban community where most of our developments have small lots with very little yard space. There are very few areas where one of our children can go for an impromptu ball game with the neighbor kids. They must go to one of our parks or maybe to a school field and hope that no organized league has control of the field.
One hundred years ago our plateau had a lot of open space. Adults and kids could run through the prairies, trek through the forest, scramble across the creeks, swim in the lakes and not worry about trespassing. Hunting for deer, elk, and bear was possible. Fishing for trout in Fennel Creek or for salmon below Victor Falls was common. The population here on the plateau numbered barely more than a hundred, but they were far more physically fit and used to an active lifestyle.
Today we have grown to more than 17,000 inhabitants within the city. Nearly every foot of lakeside property is privately owned. We might be lucky enough to see only an occasional deer, and the game fish in upper Fennel Creek have disappeared because of growth and development. The most activity that many of us now have is in our fingers and thumbs as we maneuver the controls of our iphones, tablets, computers and all things electronic. We need the parks for the health and well being of ourselves and our children and all who may follow. Parks have become the backyard that was readily available 100 years ago.
In two of the earlier blogs I talked about the two largest parks that Bonney Lake has, Allan Yorke and Cedarview. Today I’m going to focus on Cedarview. The following is from a note that I received from current Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman “When I moved into the Cedarview community they had an HOA which mainly took care of the park. The Secretary/treasurer was looking to move on so shortly after becoming a member I took over that position. We charged from about 20 bucks to around 30 a year in the end for each homeowner.
As you might think very few people wanted to help with any projects so as costs increased for the park being able to care for the park at a good level was becoming very difficult. Also as more people moved into the area more people from other places in the city were using the park. The park was known by some as “no name park.” I was on the council by that time and knew that parks were a priority for the city. The city needed more park space and Cedarview needed a way to have the park improved. After much discussion with the board and what could be done, things like selling the park to the city (not likely in my opinion at that time), selling to developers (I believe that park is about 5 lots stuck together), giving the park to the city if they improved the park.
The city worked directly with the community members to decide what and how to use the park in fact the neighbors supplied a lot of the labor required to build the initial improvements.
The latter was the choice of the membership and that also removed the need for an HOA which dissolved. Now the park has been significantly improved and is an official asset for all. I believe this was an excellent example of how a partnership between a community group and the city can be very effective working together to provide a solution which is far superior to anything that could be done separately. - Dan Swatman”
After a great deal of work the “no name” park turned into a new jewel in the City and became Cedarview as shown in the attached before and after photos. More recent photos show that with money only being set aside for operations and maintenance that things are once again deteriorating in Cedarview Park as well as in Ken Simmons Park.
The City of Bonney Lake budget for the current biennium has money identified for operations and maintenance costs and to cover the interlocal agreement with Sumner and the Sumner School District for the Bonney Lake-Sumner Parks and Recreation Department. Those opposed to an MPD have cited the portion of the city budget which states there is $1.6 million for parks. If they checked the facts, they would find that this was part of the matching funds that was required for a grant the city was able to receive in 2007 for the Safe Routes to School project, costing more than $3 million. It does nothing for any other park needs, like development or the continued operations and maintenance of existing facilities. There are no additional dollars in the budget to provide for growth work in any of the “diamonds in the rough” that the City currently owns. This is the reason that the YES MPD committee is urging all voters to Vote Yes for the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013. It’s our hope and expectation that when the Metropolitan Park District has been approved, a Director of Parks will be hired to work with the Park Commission, aka the City Council, to identify what projects will be pursued. Once projects have been identified, they’ll be able to identify a specific budget and begin the funding process. Not until then will we be able to know how much our estimated new tax outlay will be. However, the best estimate is that it should not exceed $0.44 per $1,000.00. Like any project conducted by government it will be up to us civilian watch dogs to insure that our money is spent wisely.
Thanks for your time – I hope you’ll vote YES for the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013.