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Vote YES on the Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District (MPD) - Part 2

Vote YES on Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District - Diamonds in the Rough

Parks in Bonney Lake Part 2:

In the first part of this blog I talked about the existing 51.81 acres of parks. This segment will talk about other City owned properties that are listed as Parks which some refer to as “Diamonds in the Rough”. These properties have had little, or no, work done:

  • Fennel Creek trail/trailhead. The Fennel Creek Trail Plan was approved by the City in 2005, and since then multiple pieces of property amounting to slightly more than 57 acres have been purchased, or deeded to the City. Due to a shortage of funds over the past 8 years, no work has been identified or is being planned for most of these sites. However, work will begin soon on a one mile section of the trail from the Fennel Creek Valley to Victor Falls Elementary as part of the Safe Routes to Schools grant that was awarded to the City in 2009 by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Our neighbors in Buckley, Orting, Puyallup, Sumner and even our new neighbor to the south, Tehaleh, realize the value of trails and have provided an extensive network for their residents. Bonney Lake needs trails to provide safe routes for residents to bike and walk from Victor Falls on Fennel Creek all the way to Allen Yorke Park without having to worry about cars.
  • Midtown Park, a 47.8 acre natural open space was deeded to the City by Quadrant Corporation (a Weyerhaeuser company) in 2010 and is the site of the former Washington State University (WSU) Demonstration Forest. During the 2009 negotiations there was discussion about bringing a YMCA into the City, so 10 acres of this land was set aside as a future Community Center or YMCA. To date, no plans have been developed for the Midtown Park parcel. When the City negotiated with Quadrant, they agreed to maintain the trails that already exist on the property. Maintenance is being done twice a year by members of, and volunteers for, Beautify Bonney Lake, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
  • Brookside Neighborhood, a 17.70 acre storm water pond which may be converted to a community park. There are no immediate plans for this property.

This provides a total of 122.50 acres of unfinished park land. When added to the 12.72 acre Moriarty property – the City has a total of 135.22 acres of land that they own but haven’t developed any plans for how to best use the property. When the voters approve the Metropolitan Park District on April 23rd these lands will receive the long overdue focus they deserve. Long range plans could be made on how best to utilize these public “diamonds in the rough”.

If you look around the City of Bonney Lake you’ll find other parks interspersed throughout the City that are privately owned Home Owner Association (HOA) controlled parks, e.g., Lake Debra Jane Park. These parks are private and not available for use by other citizens of Bonney Lake. The only guarantee that one of these parks can be accessible by all residents is if an HOA deeds their private park lands to the City. That did happen with Cedarview Park in 2004 and look what the City has been able to do with this park.

Some that are opposed to forming a Metropolitan Park District have proposed contracting out maintenance services for the Parks, in order to eliminate the need to pay salaries, health benefits or pensions. Park maintenance is currently being done by Union Employees of the City, most of whom are also valued residents of the area. Although they are part of the Public Works Department with multiple duties, I believe that a dedicated staff of Park Employees will be able to do an outstanding job of operating and maintaining the parks in Bonney Lake.

There's also been discussion about funding this work with a bond, or bonds, if more than one project will be undertaken at the same time. Since rates are still low this is an ideal time to go out for a bond. However, what the opposition is not addressing is how the city will be able to pay for the operations and maintenance that will be necessary if the city solely seeks bond funding. Example, if the voters approved a bond to build a Community Center, once built it will take staff (operations costs) and then maintenance for the long term (maintenance).  That money is simply not in the current maintenance only city budget. If you vote YES April 23, 2013 for a Metropolitan Park District, the MPD can pay the debt service on the bond AND pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance costs for major park improvements.  

 

"For more on this subject and a summary of additional information pertaining to Bonney Lake's current Park status, please visit Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District on Facebook or follow this link http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bonney-Lake-Metropolitan-Park-District/232646786868082. You can also visit www.BLParks.org."

 

 

Thanks for your time and consideration. Vote YES for a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) 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.

Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Well I have looked at the national parks and pay the user fees when I visit them. I wonder how children of 500 years ago managed to be "active and fit" without an abundance of parks? Why hasn't the city set aside the $600,000.00+ that was budgeted for parks and used it for parks? If the MPD measure passes, will the city stop collecting the $600,000.00+ that it had budgeted for parks and refund that money to us, the wealth creating segment of society? Ya, right! The April MPD measure is just another way to make government bigger, another way to burden future generations with more endless taxes when the problem isn't too little revenue for the city but irresponsible spending by the city. Piling a Forever Tax onto the backs of struggling households in the middle of the greatest depression (Yes, the real unemployment rate is higher now than it ever was in the 1930s) is truly irresponsible. I hope that the grownups in the community will act like adults and simply say NO to the MPD. For the children say NO to the Forever Tax.
Fred Jacobsen January 25, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Another reason to vote YES for the Metropolitan Park District on April 23, 2013: 2. The Park Board has developed a long term plan identifying needs and requirements out to 2025, and beyond, and the City Council concurred and included it in the Comprehensive Plan in 2011. Those proposed park improvements are unfunded; the 2013-2014 biennial budget is once again just providing for operations and maintenance of the current parks and this money is not guaranteed to be spent on parks. If something urgent comes up somewhere in the City those monies may be reallocated to and expended elsewhere.
Mark Bennett January 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Thanks Fred for agreeing that parks are a luxury and not needed. Your position was made clear when you wrote: "If something urgent comes up somewhere in the City those monies may be reallocated to and expended elsewhere." This means that if necessary expenditures come along, that the money originally budgeted for the luxury of parks would get diverted to the non-luxury necessities. Reading of the planning through 2025, I get the feeling that Fred has not been keeping apprised as to the current economic situation facing our nation. Things will never go back to the way they were. The USA is bankrupt worse than is Greece. We as a nation are about to go through an upheaval like we have never faced before. The USA will not repay its debts. It is a physical impossibility without monetizing the debt which means hyper-inflation. Burdening struggling families with an unnecessary tax now to fund luxuries is irresponsible in my book. For the children, say NO to the Forever Tax.
Mark Bennett January 26, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Here is a proposal to everyone who thinks that Bonney Lake “needs” a youth center and more athletic fields. If there is indeed such a “need” then why don’t these folks band together, form a corporation, sell shares in your enterprise use the money obtained from the selling of stock, buy a parcel of land and build a youth center and some athletic fields? Stockholders could use the facilities for free or for a nominal cost and the various athletic associations that use soccer fields etc. could rent the facility they want. Young people who are not stockholders could be charged an admission fee. That way everybody would be satisfied. Those who think that they “need” to have these facilities available can participate in the endeavor and those who don’t will not have guns placed to their heads and money extracted at the threat of being shot. That is a win-win situation. If there are enough people who feel they “need” these facilities and the proponents keep claiming that there is a huge “need” for this and therefore many people who feel likewise, the proponents will not have a problem getting the funding and will not, at least over this issue, feel the need to use threats of violence to get their way.
Laurie Carter January 28, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Read the facts at: http://www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us/section_government/park_district.shtml Take a look at the park element of the comprehensive plan for the studies conducted to determine the park deficits. Then for some balanced discussion, visit www.YESMPD.com, www.BLParks.org and then jump over to the Facebook page Bonney Lake Metropolitan Park District and "like" us. Fred, I can't wait for the next part of your wonderful multipart series.

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