Park bond goes to November ballot

July 9, 2013

By Peter Clark

Almost 50 people turned up at the Issaquah City Council’s regular July 1 meeting to witness the consideration of a long-deliberated park bond, which passed with a 6-1 vote.

“You can see we’ve gone through quite a process getting to tonight’s hopeful vote,” Councilwoman Eileen Barber said. As chairwoman of the Services & Safety Committee, she fostered the bill through a long fact-finding process. “The idea to delay this any longer is not something I would like to see happen.”

The decision follows Park Board recommendations to the City Council regarding how a $10 million park bond, including $5 million for “life support” for the Julius Boehm Pool, should be spent.

During the past year, numerous information gathering tactics were employed by the board and the Parks & Recreation Department to ascertain whether citizens would favor a bond and how they would like to see it used. Phone surveys, public meetings and a citizen’s advisory board were used to gauge Issaquah’s opinion.

The bill passed the council 6-1, with Councilman Joshua Schaer casting the single nay vote. He had spoken previously about how the bond might not go far enough, and during the July 1 meeting again expressed his wish for more consideration. With residents still paying for the 2006 park bond, he said he felt the new bond was a half measure that could be improved with more time.

“This feels like ordering a bunch of stuff from your Amazon wish list just to get the free shipping,” Schaer said. “I would contend that we can do something different and something better.”

While other council members also shared concerns, in the end they resolved that the bond would be good for the parks and for residents.

“Perfection really isn’t the goal with a list,” Councilman Paul Winterstein said, adding he was convinced by the similar concerns that were expressed from the many citizens polled. “It’s amazing the meeting of the minds who all want the same things.

Council President Fred Butler agreed the city should not continue waiting for an ideal list of bond projects.

“It’s always going to be a moving target,” Butler said. “I believe that we need to make a decision and support our citizens, and form a bond that supports the things they care about.”

 

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