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.