PART I: Bonney Lake Summit to Gauge Citizen Investment in Future Parks and Recreation

Bonney Lake is ready to invest $38 million in parks and recreation, but it's up to voters to decide if they're willing to pay for it.

On May 7, Bonney Lake will host it’s first ever Parks Summit, an opportunity for citizens to voice what kind of future they want to invest in, when it comes to parks and recreation.

The City Council is considering putting a parks bond on the ballot in 2013, asking citizens to approve a $38.5 million plan for a future sports complex, park development, trails and a recreation center. Out of that $38.5 million, $32 million is needed to pay for it. Before any measure hits the ballot, city leaders want to hear from citizens whether or not a bond would be popular and approved.

Mayor Neil Johnson came up with the idea for a Parks Summit after the latest city council retreat.

“This will be the first time we’ve asked for something like this and it’s for the common good,” said Johnson. “We are at the point where the plan has been approved and it’s time to start finding out what is really needed in our system, where it's wanted and who is behind it.”

Facilities and special projects manager Gary Leaf helped develop the Bonney Lake Park Plan, a study into the options of future parks and open spaces in Bonney Lake. He will present the findings of the Park Plan in his presentation during the Summit.

“The reason for the summit is to gauge what kind of interest in out there in the public for parks,” said Leaf. “But I don’t want to give the wrong impression, that we have $10 or $15 million in the bank to do it. This isn’t about finding out what people want [in future parks], it’s to find out what kind of support is out there for a voter measure.”

of our series examined what that really means for the city, in terms of a recreation center/YMCA, ball fields and Fennel Creek trail development. Part III examines how the city would use taxpayer dollars to fund the project. Read Part III .


Last year, the Bonney Lake City Council approved an official Parks and Open Spaces Plan, which examined the city’s existing supply of parks and identified future needs through 2025.

The Park Plan included the results from a community survey that over 500 residents responded to.

Based on the survey and existing standards of the National Recreation and Parks Association, the plan identified the top four greatest community needs:

  • A YMCA or community center with a swimming pool
  • A sports complex (including ballfields and sports courts)
  • Walking trails
  • Playgrounds

Trails were rated highest in their category but a future YMCA had the highest weighted average of votes, said Leaf. The study concluded that either a YMCA or community center could meet Bonney Lake’s recreation needs for the next 20 years.

Mid-town Park (WSU Forest) has been designated as the site for a future facility. However, more land would be needed to build it and could cost the city approximately $200,000 an acre.



The Park Plan identified a need of $38.4 million for park facilities over the next 15 years. The council is considering asking voters for a $32 million parks bond to fund park development.

Estimated Cost Breakdown of Proposed Parks Projects:

  • A YMCA or community center: $14.5 million
  • Community parks, including a sports complex, picnic areas and playgrounds: $12.75 million
  • Trail development: $11.179 million

Funding sources over the next three years include:

  • Park Impact Fees (approximately $2.7 million)
  • Real Estate Transfer Tax ($1.7 million)
  • Secured Grants ($1 million)
  • General Fund ($1 million)
  • Voter Measure ($32 million)

If the bond passes, to Bonney Lake homeowners, the tax assessment would be $0.36/$1,000 AV per $10 million bond, or 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value. The current assessed value of the average Bonney Lake citizen is $225,000.

This chart shows the projected impact on the average homeowner, which may be subject to change depending at the time of the bond:

Tax Impact on the Homeowner of: $300,000 $10 M Bond $20 M Bond $30 M Bond Annual Increase
$97.85 $195.68 $293.53 Monthly Increase
$8.15 $16.31 $24.46 Tax Impact on the Homeowner of: $200,000

Annual Increase
$65.23 $130.45 $195.69 Monthly Increase
$5.44 $10.87 $16.31

Stay tuned for Part II, where we will take a deeper look at the city's ideas for parks and recreation, the probablility of a YMCA and the Fennel Creek Trail development. In Part III, we will examine the different options voters could have when it comes to paying for and organizing the parks projects.

Eileen May 01, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Trails! Kid stuff like a wading pool that can turn skating rink in the winter! Sheltered picnic area with ample lighting at night. Sign with the history of Bonney Lake for tourists.
Lindsey May 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Yes Trails !!! My kids can't ride their bikes safely in Bonney Lake and for walking my one year old in her stroller it's in the middle of the road. There isn't enough sidewalks in this city. It's pathetic
Lesli Ashley May 03, 2012 at 02:22 AM
They definitely need things and facilities for all ages of children including teens. There is even less to do now, that there is no transportation except car. We also need trails there is nowhere safe to run or rode bikes.
Kathleen May 03, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Oh be still my heart! An actual community effort to benefit the community! Don;t forget how Parks have always increased area worth....Look what Central Park did for NYC! You rock, Bonney Lake!
Brian K Cebe May 04, 2012 at 02:02 AM
We have a great opportunity to invest in our community and keep our family's on the plateau.With proper vision and planning we can combine services into our own recreation department and also create many new programs that will benefit our children and keep tax dollars within our community for years to come .We must not ignore the future growth that will happen on plateau area.It is best to help plan our future recreational needs and get what we want PLEASE EVERYONE GET INVOLVED and attend the Park Summit


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