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Park bond would upgrade, fix parks citywide

MONROE — The East County Parks District is asking voters for new funding for the first time in a decade.
Mike Farrell, Monroe’s parks and recreation director, describes the bond on November’s ballot as an “opportunity to invest in the community’s park system and access to parks and trails for current and future generations.”
If passed, the new bond package would cost taxpayers 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the first three years, and 26 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value from 2023 onward.
If you own a $300,000 home, the bond would add $48 to your annual property tax bill for the first three years, and then about $80 a year in 2023 “after which the rate would steadily decrease each year thereafter,” a city of Monroe fact sheet says.
The jump in 2023 is because a second portion of bonds, backed by taxpayers for repayment, would be sold onto the market.
The boundary line for the parks district roughly matches that of the school district, which includes the communities of Maltby and Echo Lake.
The total ask is $26.5 million for bonds that will be due 21 years after they are issued, Farrell said. The funds are slated to revamp and expand parks options for residents in and around the school district.
Specific improvements detailed in the East County Parks District bond include replacements and upgrades to Blueberry Children’s, Cedar Grove, Currie View, Hillcrest, Park Meadows, Stanton Meadows, Wales Street and Rainier View parks. All eight parks are slated for options that match the features and materials of Lake Tye, Sky River and Lewis Street parks.
Phase one includes improvements to Maltby and Lake Tye parks and phase two includes an acquisition in North Hill, as well as design and construction of that park space.  
Maltby alterations would include swapping out grass for all-weather turf and an update of fields for multi-sport use. Restrooms would be updated for better sanitation and water conservation. Also planned is completion of a walking path and reclamation of a wetlands area alongside it, for an estimated expenditure of $8.5 million.
Lake Tye Park would have athletic fields renovated and grass area converted to all -weather synthetic turf. Multi-purpose athletic fields would be constructed to allow for year round use, and other improvements would also be made. That project would draw $2 million.
The Evergreen State Fairgrounds would get a splash pad park that will be free to the public, as well as trails paralleling U.S. 2 and a 34,000-square-foot community center for a cost of $9 million.
The East County Parks Bond requires a supermajority of 60 percent “yes” votes for passage. It requires a minimum of 40 percent voter turnout. 
The district’s last measure was a 20-year bond for $2 million, which was paid off in 2008, Farrell said. That bond funded both Maltby and Sky River parks, and both are listed for renovations if voters approve new funds.
Over time costs continue to rise, Farrell said, so if the bond does not pass, improvements may cost more later.
The parks projects were selected by a citizen’s advisory committee with representation drawn from city and county residents, as well as businesses and individuals from the local soccer association and the Fair Grounds Foundation.

More information
An extensive description of the bond is available at 



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