May 8, 2012
Park bond should include new museum
Voters last passed a park bond six years ago.
The city will soon launch a public opinion survey to gauge residents’ interest in what the bond might include. The survey should reach residents by late spring or early summer.
The city certainly will want to include some funding for later phases in development of its proclaimed crown jewel, the 15.5-acre parks site along Issaquah Creek, assuming that survey respondents are in favor of proceeding. Funding of $1.6 million from the 2006 bond is enough to get Phase 1 started this summer. It will include a picnic shelter, a community garden, paths and infrastructure.
Certainly the survey will hear from those who want a new swimming pool. There is no doubt that the aging Julius Boehm Pool needs to be replaced. But as private fitness clubs become more competitively priced, the need for a city pool may not be as urgent. Local swim teams do need a place for meets, however, and that may mean revisiting a partnership with the Issaquah School District to build a pool.
And then there will be those who want more ball fields, more playgrounds, more tennis courts and other places for recreation. Some ideas, like a public golf course, will have land constraints too large to overcome. Other ideas, like a picnic shelter near Tradition Lake, might require more creativity when the landowner is not the city.
A city-owned dog park and future land for community gardens are desires sure to come up in the opinion survey.
One idea not likely to be broached is a new history museum. We have long believed it should be included on a park bond.
The Issaquah History Museums is housed at the Issaquah Train Depot and the former Gilman Town Hall, but the two combined facilities are not big enough to showcase the extensive collections from Issaquah’s 120-year history. The nonprofit organization does an amazing job of keeping historical artifacts intact and on display, and is poised to do so much more.
The city should own a new museum building with a lease arrangement to the Issaquah History Museums. A city park bond, or a separate museum bond, is the way to preserve our past for today, and tomorrow.