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

Vote Yes on the Metropolitan Park District (MPD) - description of parks in Bonney Lake

Parks in Bonney Lake Part 1:

This is the first of a multiple part blog on Parks in Bonney Lake and why it’s time to provide a different approach to growth, operation and maintenance of the parks in the future by approving the Metropolitan Park District (MPD) that will be on the April 23, 2013 ballot. The MPD may allow us to finally construct trails through the City, a community center to give us the ability to keep active when the weather goes bad, and more and better draining ball fields for baseball, soccer, rugby, etc.

Today the city has the following parks:

  • Allan Yorke Park (AYP), a 43.31 acre regional park (including the Moriarty addition) that provides: picnic facilities; a children’s play area; a double boat ramp; swimming area and dock, 4 baseball/soccer fields; 2 tennis courts; a basketball court; a skate park, and a short forested trail. Allan Yorke is the City’s primary park and is where most of the major event activity occurs. This park is being well maintained, however, the work is now being handled by Public Works. Before June 1, 2011, all functions, including operations and maintenance for parks and recreation were handled by the Community Services Department. On June 1st, 2011 the Community Services Department was reorganized with park operations and maintenance moving to Public Works and functions and planning moving to the Executive Department. Bonney Lake has never had a Parks Department.

The Moriarty addition is a 12.42 acre extension to Allan Yorke Park that was condemned and purchased in 2004. Costs on this addition run about $5.75 million dollars and are still being paid off. To date the City has approved no Park plans for this land. While waiting for funding for planning and development the city has utilized space at the Moriarty site for storage and Public Works equipment, which is supposed to end soon. There has also been some clearing and grading to allow for overflow parking for AYP. The only improvement that’s been undertaken thus far has been by a small garden enhancing the City’s first Heritage Tree. The garden was created under the auspices of Beautify Bonney Lake (a non-profit all volunteer group that holds their annual event on the 3rd Saturday in September and a smaller event associated with Arbor Day in the spring).

  • Cedarview Park, a 2.73 acre neighborhood park in the Midtown area of the City. Cedarview Park was deeded to the City by the Cedarview Homeowners Association (HOA) about 2004. It has gone through some upgrading and remodeling at a cost of about $300,000 to provide us with the park that consists of: a play area, ball field, ½ basket ball court, and picnic facilities. This was an excellent addition to the City and the Park Board and HOA are to be commended for their great work in bringing this park into the City. 
  • Viking Park, a 3.7 acre neighborhood park adjacent to Bonney Lake Elementary School was purchased from the Sumner School District in 2004 and has cost about $310,000. The park is equipped with: picnic tables and a 1.0 acre free run Dog Park. Most of the improvements for creation of the Dog Park have been undertaken by volunteers and donations.
  • Ken Simmons Park, a 1.7 acre neighborhood park, equipped with: picnic tables, children’s play area, and a boat ramp (on adjacent State of Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife land).  The City has spent about $90,000 on Ken Simmons park. The park has been taken under the wing of the Lake Bonney Conservation Association (comprised of homeowners living around Lake Bonney), with much of the work in park improvements, along with some maintenance being pushed by this group with help from the City, Pierce County Stream Team and from Beautify Bonney Lake.
  • Madrona Park, a .37 acre pocket park on the site of a former water tower on water utility land, is equipped with: a ½ basketball court, a children’s play area, and a picnic table. Cost to create this park was about $30,000. Beautify Bonney Lake and neighborhood volunteers have provided much of the installation and maintenance on this park over the past couple of years.
  • Ascent Gateway, is on private land adjacent to SR410 that is leased on a long term basis from Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to provide a “Welcome to Bonney Lake” gateway sign and a beautiful sculpture (designed by Bonney Lake resident artist Larry Anderson and placed at the site in 1992). Although listed as a mini-park, it is merely a gateway and is not open to the public. During 2007 the City did a major redesign and added a new “Welcome to Bonney Lake” sign, rock wall, lighting, plants and a waterfall. The overall site design was undertaken and managed by Carol Wells-Reed, former board member of Beautify Bonney Lake, Bonney Lake Branch Manager at Columbia Bank and founder of Lions4Kids House. It is now maintained on an annual basis by a team from Beautify Bonney Lake with the City mowing and providing general cleanup throughout the year.

As you look through this list of parks you’ll notice that most major purchases or work were completed in 2004 when we had surplus funds and a Council that was interested in developing and expanding the park system. There have been no, or very limited, purchases of land for park expansion since 2004 and development has been almost nil with exception of work done by volunteers. Since that time, we have experienced an economic downturn which caused funds to be channeled into other projects. Park development by the City was minimal, and work that was done by Beautify Bonney Lake volunteers was geared more at maintaining rather than creating any capital improvements. How much of this is due to the fact that Bonney Lake doesn’t have a Park Department and therefore no specific budget for our parks? It’s my belief that until such time as we have a dedicated Park District we will have no monies set aside for park growth and development. This is why I urge all of you to vote YES for a Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013.

Following is a link to the City web site that also talks about the current parks: http://www.citybonneylake.org/section_community/parks_recreation/city_parks.shtml#cedarview

I’m also attaching a link to the City website talking about the Metropolitan Park District in case you’d like more information on that: http://www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us/section_government/park_district.shtml

In the next blog I’ll talk about other City maintained properties that are discussed in the Park Element of the Comprehensive Plan. 

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.

James K McClimans Sr January 10, 2013 at 04:01 AM
I have reviewed the the material on the City's park page and I have read the discussion above. I have the following questions about this proposal. A bond of $20Million would provide adequate funding for requested capital improvements. Why not post a bond that only lasts for 20 years instead of growing government?
Mark Bennett January 10, 2013 at 05:10 AM
It seems to me that the proponents of the MPD want to use a sledgehammer to kill a fly. A bond measure to fund specific park improvements or acquisitions seems to be a much more responsible strategy that creating a whole new bureaucracy with its requisite employees who all draw salaries, benefits and pensions. If the city truly needs funds to develop existing land, why not a bond that will expire after the goals are met, rather than burdening future generations with a perpetual forever tax? For the children, say NO to the forever tax.
Mark Bennett January 10, 2013 at 05:25 AM
Winona wrote: "A family in its most financially vulnerable state will benefit more by having a park system that provides opportunities for recreation..." So you think it is better for a family to lose their house to foreclosure if they have a nice park they can enjoy? I think that most families in a "financially vulnerable state" would disagree with you. Also, I think that you are using a different definition of the word "necessary" than than what most people use. Your definition seems to be synonymous with "wanted." Lastly, both the tax rate and the tax base has radically increased in Bonney Lake over the past twenty years. It seems to me that the proportion of city tax revenue going towards parks twenty years ago should be the same as it is today. Why should the percentage of people's income going towards government continue to go up as a function of time? The reality is that some people do not like individuals to keep and spend their own money they way they want. These government growing people think that government is better suited to spending people's money than those who earn it. I am not one of those big-government worshiping people.
Scott W. Anderson January 10, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Mark - It seems that you have neglected to include the cost of O&M in both of your comments. While tax rates and the tax bases have increased in Bonney Lake so have the costs for everything having to do with the running of our city. In fact those costs for operation, maintenance, replacement and labor have gone up faster then the pace by which money has come in. "Sledgehammer to kill a fly". Really? I think your being just a bit dramatic. Once again you seem to forget that a bond, while useful for a set number of projects to construct, does nothing to bring in the necessary dollars to operate and maintain them once they are in place. This then saddles the City with having to come up with the money to do so. As we are well aware the money is not there so what is the City to do but to go back to the citizens for yet another vote for increased taxes for O&M. Remember though, money coming into a City through taxes, while budgeted for one line item, can, and is often moved into other areas based upon need. Therefore you are left with bare necessity or subsitance maintenance of park facilities or worse, no maintenance at all.
Scott W. Anderson January 10, 2013 at 06:22 AM
One additional comment - an MPD is not designed or intended to contend with a finite set of projects like a bond. It is designed to develop an ever evolving list of projects that have been vetted through public comment/suggestion, research, budgeting, forecasting, and designed. As projects are completed and drop off the list through completion the MPD is there to manage the operation and maintenance of these resources until such time the MPD is dissolved or changed through voter approval. It is the essential function of an MPD to evolve the project list, adding new projects as others drop off due to completion or through the ever changing needs, wishes and desires of the citizens of Bonney Lake for today as well as well into the future. For my children, your children and there children in the future - vote "YES" MPD
Mark Bennett January 10, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Part 2) Remember that $0.46 out of every dollar the federal government spends is BORROWED! That fiscal insanity cannot continue much longer. Either scenario will be catastrophic for Bonney Lake and at that time, we will look back at the depression of 2012 as the good old days. Too many people see taxpayers as an endless source of “fun money” that they want to take to spend on luxuries they WANT. Well, regardless of the delusions under which some people operate, parks are a luxury. I have lived in Bonney Lake since 1992 and have NEVER heard anyone complain that there are too few parks, except for government employees and former government employees who want to find yet another way they can reach into the pockets of the taxpayers. How on earth did people 100 years ago manage without copious parks? With several new federal tax increases coming into effect this year, the financial bind too many Americans find themselves facing will get worse as their paychecks get smaller and now some people in Bonney Lake want to throw gasoline onto the fire buy taking even more of their money. That is simply irresponsible. Lastly, if capital expenditures were financed with a bond, are you telling me that the $600,000.00 budget for parks would not be enough to maintain the parks? If so, we need to clean house and get some council members who understand fiscal responsibility. For the children, say NO to the forever tax.
Mark Bennett January 10, 2013 at 06:49 AM
Part 1) Scott wrote: "In fact those costs for operation, maintenance, replacement and labor have gone up faster then the pace by which money has come in.." Thanks Scott for making my point. The problem is that the government has not done a responsible job with its finances. If it had, its costs would not have gone up faster than the rate of growth in the economy. Your solution to poorly managed government is more poorly managed government. How about if the city reduced all city employees' salaries and benefits by 20%? I bet then there would be more than enough money available to fund parks. How about contracting-out to private corporations many of the functions the city now provides such as road and park maintenance? I would be willing to bet that private companies could provide just as good or better service for a lower cost. The taxpayers have had to tighten their belts in the current depression, so why shouldn't the government? There are folks out there who think that there will be an economic recovery soon; however anyone who has seriously looked at the national economy realizes that the dollar will very soon collapse, the federal government will either monetize the debt which means hyperinflation or default on its loans.
Mark Bennett January 10, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Scott: My children were brought up to believe that theft is wrong. For that reason, they too do not want to be forever burdened with the FOREVER TAX.
Todd January 10, 2013 at 07:34 PM
We tried to incorporate part of Piece County into Bonney Lake, namely the newly developed area surrounding the intersection of Rhodes Lake Road/198 Ave E and 120th St E, including Falling Waters, So. Prairie and Timber Ridge Developments, to name a few. But Pierce County wouldn't give up all that new and future tax revenue. The is a planned community park that was surveyed, but has yet to be developed just south of 128th St E at 198th Ave E. I thought that park was to be 16 acres, and include lighted ball fields, a small concert dome, walking trails, off leash dog park and police station. This park was to be developed in three phases. Can you comment on the timeline for this park and it's possible relief of the park shortage in BL?
James K McClimans Sr January 12, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I have some serious questions: 1) What is the city going to do with the current revenue being spent on parks, 2) Why not a bond. If the city council and proponents want to give citizen a choice why not sponsor a bond and a MPD? 3) Why did they wait until after the November election: The answer is in the power point charts: The November ballot would have lost because of high turn out. 4) Will the Y be free or will I need to pay to be a member? 5) Why can't the soon to be vacant City annex be used as a community center. 6) Why will the MPD be administered better than the Interim Justice Center was. See http://www.blscourierherald.com/news/186086711.html. I see lots of information here but no answers. We can do better!
Fred Jacobsen January 12, 2013 at 09:41 PM
This will not be a “Forever Tax” unless the majority of the voting public supports the tax "forever". At any time that voters want to eliminate a tax, they have the ability to get others of a like mind together, file a referendum, have it put on the ballot, and get a majority of their fellow voters to agree with them. This is part of the democratic process that is being used to create a Metropolitan Park District. Bonney Lake became a town in 1949 with about 300 residents at the time of incorporation. In order to provide water to the residents, a taxing district needed to be formed, but in order to do that, they needed to incorporate. Our city has now grown to more than 17,000 residents with slightly more than 10,000 voters.It has gone from just providing water, to providing police, sewer, streets, sidewalks, parks, and more. To date, the City has never had a Parks Department, so the employees that have worked in our parks have also had other Public Works jobs to do in the City. When budgets got tight, their efforts were focused on maintaining those things that a majority of voters would have screamed about if they’d run into difficulty in providing, such as clean, fresh water. A Metropolitan Park District will fund the growth that residents have been requesting for the past few years to build trails, community center, sports fields, and at the same time provide the necessary funding to adequately operate and maintain those new additions
Mark Bennett January 12, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Well Fred, I don't know how long you have lived in the USA but having a tax go away here is a rarity. Once these taxing authorities get created, they are nearly impossible to eliminate. Taxation is theft. Taking money without the owner's permission is stealing. How about making the tax to fund the MPD optional and those who chose to pay it will receive colorful lanyards they can wear around their necks that has a MPD issued photo ID attached so that they can use it to gain access to the new parks they are buying. Those of us who pay for private parks like Lake Jane park could still continue to use the existing parks and if we want to use a new park, pay a use fee much like when we use the national forests and national parks? That would be fair to everyone.
Mark Bennett January 13, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Well, those of you who are still employed are now seeing a smaller take-home paycheck because of the increase in payroll taxes. The average increase will be $1635.00 per year. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-01/senate-passed-deal-means-higher-tax-on-77-of-households.html This does not include the Obamacare tax increase. On top of these tax increases how many people want to have even less of their hard-earned money taken for the luxury of more parks? My guess is that it will not be many. I was raised to be a compassionate sharing person who cares about the less fortunate members of society, those currently living on the brink, those who have dodged the foreclosure bullet by perhaps working overtime or taking on a second job, those who want their children to have a better life than they did. I am trying to defeat the creation of this new bureaucracy that would have the ability to squeeze Bonney Lake residents for even more money. FOR THE CHILDREN, SAY NO TO THE FOREVER TAX.
Mark Bennett January 13, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Correction: I typed: "..how many people want to have even less of their hard-earned..." but meant "..even more..." Sorry. Mark
Laurie Carter January 13, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Part 1 of 2 James, visit the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District Facebook page, you will find a number of links gathered together in one place by the PRO BLParks.org group. And the city has set up an MPD information page. #1 the budget link is on the city website under Finance. #2 the link is under the Special Notices Proposed Park District on the city website home page. #3 No one said a bond was ruled out. It was discussed at the park summit in May 2012 and at park board meetings. That is why the city included that option on the MPD information page on the city website. The MPD can pay the debt service on a bond and the O&M. Two for one, not double tax. #4 Please ask the mayor or council if there is a letter of understanding to build a YMCA. The feasibility study about a YMCA in east Pierce County was done in 2008. #5 AB12-168 Resolution 2257 was passed at the December 11, 2012 council meeting you attended and spoke at, although you did not speak on that topic. Your testimony is in the January 15, 2013 council packet. Also read this week’s Courier Herald story to get the details. Basically, nothing is forever. The council made a decision to go from Plan A to Plan B with regards to the Justice Center that provides savings. #6 Please direct your question to the council and mayor.
Laurie Carter January 13, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Part 2 of 2 Now, James, it is my turn to ask a couple of questions of you. Your address is in the minutes on the city website in this week’s council packet. #1 How much do you pay per month (or year) for your Lake Jane Estates assessment to pay for your private park with pool and many nice amenities? I have been to that park for National Night Out and it is amazing. It is one of the largest and best HOA private parks in the city. It is a role model for parks, public or private. #2 Why did you choose to buy a home in a neighborhood with such a wonderful park? #3 Is it worth it to you to pay extra for the amenities your HOA park offers? #4 Does it add value to your home to live in such a nice community? #5 Do you and your extended family use that beautiful park? #6 Is that the double tax you refer to on your website against the MPD, paying for taxes for city parks and your HOA dues? I am just trying to see things from your perspective.
Shawnta Mulligan January 15, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Laurie, It’s true, that Home Association’s park is beautiful. Their pool is a great asset to the community—as they offer swim lessons to Bonney Lake citizens at a very reasonable price. I know several people in my neighborhood who have benefited from their pool. How much do the members of the home association pay to manage and administer the park? Do they get paid the prevailing union wage? I would venture to say: No. Do you think that the members pay for the health and retirement plans for the maintenance company or administrators? Again, I would say: No. If their maintenance company is doing a sub-par job, do you think the association can replace the company with another contractor who performs better? This answer is definitely: Yes.
Shawnta Mulligan January 15, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Part II: I know, from experience as a home association director, that when you see your neighbors every day, you will spend their money frugally—maximizing service while minimizing costs. I would venture that the home association you refer to comprises volunteers—there are no administration costs. The decisions are made by volunteers who are connected with their neighbors. Moreover, the decisions can be made quickly and inexpensively. Thank you for highlighting that beautiful park—it illustrates perfectly that private citizens manage their resources better than government can. When another layer of administration is added and citizens are removed from the process, the quality of services is decreased and money is wasted. An MPD is not the answer, let’s find another way.
Shawnta Mulligan January 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Families for a Responsible Bonney Lake will also register with the PDC. I home school two children and run a business, so my time to file government paperwork is minimal. See us on http://www.facebook.com/FamiliesforaResponsibleBonneyLake and NoNewParkTax.com
PC Boy January 15, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Fred, what about "Midtown Park", formerly the WSU forest? I didn't see that one in your original inventory of Bonney Lake Parks, yet there are trails in there... I personally would love to see Bonney Lake have a MPD, and develop the existing parks. There should also be an "Art Commission", associated with it. These are both things that all ages can benefit from... :)
Laurie Carter January 15, 2013 at 03:25 PM
So, Shawnta, by your address in this week's council packet, you also live in an HOA called Naches Terrace at the other end of Bonney Lake. Perhaps you are related to James or speaking from your own HOA experience. What about those of us who do not live in an HOA, or the HOA doesn't have a private park? Or live in the area south of SR410 with undeveloped Midtown Park and Fennel Creek Trail? I now understand your perspective that you are against unions and for the privatization of the public works department. Think of this from the perspective of union members or municipal workers in your immediate circle. What is your proposal for an alternative to an MPD?
Mark Bennett January 15, 2013 at 05:43 PM
I have a question for Fred, Scott and Laurie. Do any of you or members of your immediate family now work for or have ever worked for a branch of government? I am curious as to your motivations. It has been my experience that those of us in the productive private sector who work and pay taxes to support governments which hire workers are more thoughtful and frugal concerning throwing more money at a problem. We understand that lack of revenue is almost never the cause of budget shortfalls regarding government, that the problem is almost universally too much government. Understanding your employment background may shed some light on your perspective.
Fred Jacobsen January 16, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Following is in two parts: Top will provide answers to three issues that have come up: : PCBoy – Midtown Park will be covered in the next blog, and I hope it answers your questions. Mark Bennett – your question isn’t pertinent to the discussion at hand, but we’re a diverse group with lots of different backgrounds. End of discussion. The recent decrease in paychecks wasn’t due to a payroll tax increase. In an effort to stimulate the economy, workers have had a tax “vacation” or roll back of 2% the last 2 years. Check out the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/prog._highlights/RatesLimits2013.html Click on all the editions, 2005 to present, and you will see that you have always been paying 6.2% except in 2011 and 2012. Our vacation is over. Rollbacks don’t last forever.
Fred Jacobsen January 16, 2013 at 05:07 AM
Part 2: The following stories were in the TNT the past few weeks. The recession is over and we are moving forward. Median home prices in Pierce County rose 13.95 percent to $205,000 from $179,000 in the past year. Pierce County’s economy will grow by nearly 3 percent in 2013. Unemployment will fall, home sales will rise, hotels will open, personal income will rise and retails sales will improve. That news comes from to longtime University of Puget Sound economists who presented their analysis at the annual Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Horizons Forecast Breakfast. November’s 7.9 percent jobless rate was still at the multi-year low for Pierce County, and was much improved over the 8.8 percent jobless rate reported in November 2011. There have also been stories specific to Bonney Lake, like the fact there was a building permit increase of 41 percent over the previous year in single-family residential permits the city that brought in a 46 percent increase in building permit revenue, with indications that 2013 should continue a positive trend for the city. It is time to close out this blog and move to the next in a multipart series on parks. It’s been fun, but we have a lot more ground to cover, folks. Next blog will be up in a couple of days.
Winona Jacobsen January 16, 2013 at 05:35 AM
Hmmm, Mark, it appears that you are casting doubt upon anyone who happens to favor the formation of a dedicated funding source for our city parks. You would question the motives of any policeman, fireman, military person, as well as any city, county, state, or federal employee, just because they may support a Metropolitan Park District? Any parent who chauffeurs their child to a little league or soccer game, or the family that must transport their bicycles to a trailhead in order to have a safe place to ride, or any person who must travel outside the city to be able to swim or exercise in the facility of their choice has a huge motive to support an MPD. It boils down to economics. It’s far less expensive to spend the possible $10-20 per month to do those things in your own hometown rather than have to pay the expense of transportation, and any associated costs when spending time away from home. I will vote yes for a Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District, and anyone who uses the parks and is interested in saving money will also vote yes.
Mark Bennett January 16, 2013 at 06:33 AM
BINGO Thanks, Mark
Shawnta Mulligan January 17, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Hi Laurie, City Government is very useful and necessary for certain purposes—this is the same for unions. So I am not anti-government or anti-union. Let’s stay on-topic—why won’t you use a bond measure for park improvements? Also, you are correct: I am related to James and my HOA has a mini private park—one that all of the members pay for and help to maintain. Several times I have asked our members to donate $20—a one time fee—to install swings. Each time they have told me no, “the park we have is sufficient.” As a Board Member of the Association, I could have levied a “Special Assessment” to force all of the members to pay for park improvements. If a member didn’t pay the “Special Assessment,” I could have put a lien on their home. This tactic is legal; however, it is wrong to create a “Special Assessment” for park improvements because parks are not a necessity. I would have had to look my neighbors in the eye, every day, knowing that my iron-fist wishes (of which I knew they would benefit from) would put an extra burden on their families. I could not do that. So, do you think my members, who couldn’t give $20 (total, not per month or per year) to pay for our park improvements will be excited to pay $200 per year—forever—for your park Nirvana? No.
James K McClimans Sr February 09, 2013 at 05:23 AM
I am not sure Laurie answered my questions, this is my interpretation: 1) The city is going to keep the 600,000 and spend it on something... 2) The link does not answer the question if the city wants to give citizens a voice about how to fund parks, why not post a bond and an mpd. The link i think you refer to implies that a bond would fail, but an mpd during a low turn out may pass. 3) Again, the link implies the timing was selected to increase the possibility that the mod would pass, a bond requires more voters, and votes. 4) You don't know if the Y will charge me, and I suspect we won't know until all is said and done, but most reasonable people understand that the Y will charge for membership like the do everywhere else. 5) That is not an answer. 6) I will ask and let you know what they say, but this was rhetorical to point out that everything the city plans does not happen as planned. To Answer your questions: 1)$351, 2) I liked the house, I could careless about the park, 3) Yes I like the value, 3) Of course, 4) Yes 5) no. BTW if you want a great park their are lots of houses for sale in my HOA, we would love to have you. That way you get your park and we all can save our money.
Laurie Carter February 09, 2013 at 03:39 PM
This blog on Part 1 ended 1/15/13 per the author. We are now on Part 3. See above.

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