$10 million park bond will renovate pool, upgrade parks

October 29, 2013

By Peter Clark

City voters face a $10 million bond to fund parks and recreation improvements in the November election.

$5 million would go to renovations to Issaquah’s Julius Boehm Pool.

The Park Bond Commission which studied the issue looked at a number of different uses for the bond and ultimately decided that half should be spent on large improvements to the public pool.

Many community members expressed a desire for a new pool to be located in the highlands when the city did a recent survey. Parks and Recreation Director Anne McGill considers the improvements included in the bond request a stopgap.

“We call it life support,” she said. “We know it’s not perfect, but we’re just trying to keep the pool alive until we come up with a better plan.”

The pool would get an improved reception area and expanded staff area. New windows and exterior insulation are included in the renovation plans, along with expanded locker rooms, including conventional and family changing rooms. An elevator will be installed for access to the upper level. The actual swimming pool would get re-plastered. Improvements will also include the pool mechanical system, continuing the lifespan of the pool for another 20-30 years.

The other half of the bond request would go to open space acquisition and park upgrades.

  • $2 million for acquisition of open space
  • $1.55 million Central Park Pad 1 artificial turf and sport lighting
  • $200,000 for improved field drainage at Tibbetts Valley Park
  • $900,000 for phase two of Confluence Park, to include a pedestrian bridge over Issaquah Creek and additional landscaping
  • $100,000 for Meerwood Park playground replacement
  • $100,000 for Gibson Park playground replacement
  • $150,000 for bond and attorney fees

If approved, the bond will add 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to property taxes for the next 20 years. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay $40 more per year.

The bond needs 60 percent of the vote to pass. It comes only six years after the last one, where the city asked citizens for $6.25 million.

City voters approved a $6.25 million park bond in 2006 with 76 percent of the vote. The money was used to acquire creek side and hillside open space, improve sports field turf, build a Talus neighborhood park and develop phase one of Confluence Park. The city Parks & Recreation Department realized all of these goals with the help of leveraging bond money into extra funds. With this year’s proposed bond, the city is confident they can repeat that success.

“In the last park bond in 2006, staff was able to leverage additional funds of approximately $9 million to purchase lands as they became available,” the Park Board recommendation reads. “The City has a history of successfully obtaining matching grants with seed money to leverage funds to purchase creek side lands, open space and other ecologically sensitive areas.”


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