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County exec calls for levy to keep King County Parks ‘clean, safe and open’
Acting on recommendations from a citizen task force, King County Executive Dow Constantine on Thursday, Feb. 21, sent the King County Council a proposed a six-year, $360 million Parks Levy for the August primary that would enable voters to replace two parks levies that will expire at the end of this year.
“This measure is essential to taking care of the extraordinary network of parks and trails our parents and grandparents have left us, and keeping them clean, safe and open,” said Constantine.
“Preserving our last, best places has been a priority for this region for several decades,” he added. “This measure would help us protect areas nearly the size of Discovery Park every year for the next six years.”
If approved by voters, the measure would fund maintenance and operation of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 26,000 acres of open space. It would also:
• Acquire or protect about 450 acres of critical open space per year – or 2,700 acres over the six-year levy period – for protection of forests, habitat and water quality for fish and wildlife, and improvement of opportunities for public recreation.
• Fund planning and design work with nine South County and Eastside cities for two major, long-term trail corridors – the Eastside Rail Corridor and the Lake to Sound Trail in South King County– which will ultimately add more than 20 new miles of public trails.
• Repair or replace 14 historic bridges and trestles in the trails system to avoid safety hazards or closure that could disrupt more than 40 miles of trails.
• Complete missing links in the regional trails system and connections to transit and civic hubs.
• Develop trailheads and parking lots to improve public access to up to 8,400 acres of existing parks and 140 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, including such locations as Cougar Mountain and Pinnacle Peak.