$10 million Park Bond receives voter OK

November 12, 2013

By Peter Clark

Julius Boehm Pool and the city’s parks received a healthy dose of voter support Nov. 5 as the park bond passed.

Needing 60 percent of the vote to pass, initial reports from King County Elections show 77 percent of voters decided to support pool maintenance and a number of other park projects to the tune of $10 million.

“It’s amazing to see this continued support from our community,” City Communications Manager Autumn Monahan said. “Once the results are finalized, all of those projects will go through the regular process, which will involve public input.”

With the approval, Issaquah property owners will see their taxes go up by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the next 20 years.

The Julius Boehm Pool will see $5 million of this year’s proposed bond for improvements. While it will take the city years to spend the entire amount, Parks and Recreation Director Anne McGille expects some pool improvements to occur in 2014.

“We’re trying to do that next year,” she said. “We’re looking at maybe a six-month closure, so we have to time that right. It really all depends on the bidding process.”

Citizens passed the last park bond in 2006 for $6.25 million. The city managed to take that money and further leverage more than $9 million through grant funding. McGille expects the same can be done with this year’s bond.

“We would again try to leverage that to get more,” she said. “$900,000 is allocated for phase two of Confluence Park and we would try to write a grant to get that matched.”

Additionally, the bond contains money for open space acquisition as the city hopes to expand its ‘green necklace’ of connected park space.

“We’ve had a couple landowners call us with creekside land they would like to sell,” McGille said, without giving specific information. “They know about the green necklace and we have their phone numbers.”

Finance Director Diane Marcotte cautioned patience for the bond’s goals. She said once the results are finalized, the department will have to gauge the bond market for the best time to acquire the funds.

“This $10 million will not be spent in one year,” Marcotte said.

Still, McGille welcomes the extra work for her department over the next few years.

“We’re really excited about this,” she said. “What’s really exciting is the support we got from the community.”

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