Opinion

Parks bond protects vital Snoqualmie Valley resource

For three generations, the Si View Community has provided Snoqualmie Valley residents with a place to play, exercise and unwind.

Its stones and timbers have witnessed countless swimming lessons, hundreds of ball games, recreation classes, festivals and egg hunts. Hundreds, if not thousands, of locals learned to swim there. It its one of the architectural and community gems of our Valley.

Yet, in the seven years since the Si View Metro Parks District was created by Valley voters, there has not been a single bond vote for upgrades and fixes to the center—until now.

Inheriting the center and park from King County, the district also inherited years of deferred maintenance. That’s why it’s important now for residents of the district, which encompasses North Bend and parts of rural Snoqualmie, to step and support this month’s parks bond.

The Aug. 17 measure carries a tax rate of about 21 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value. To the average Si View household, that means about $6 more per month in property taxes.

In return, the district will preserve and protect the community center, fixing leaky roofs, crumbling siding, aging gutters and windows, and replacing and upgrading outdoor play equipment and bathrooms.

Si View playfields get a much-needed makeover. Talk to parents whose children play on the fields, and they’ll describe them as ankle-twisters. The bond will create multi-use fields for baseball, soccer, lacrosse and other sports.

It’s hard to find any frills in the bond measure. About the only thing that can be described as a “want” is the creation of a new Tollgate Park. Still, the Tollgate creation is in response to demand and is in partnership with the city of North Bend, preserving views while adding trails.

In essence, the bond calls on district residents to put their money where their mouths are. In 2008, the district surveyed residents’ desires for the future of the park district. Most requested needs included walking and biking trails, natural areas and wildlife habitats, and large community parks.

The bond also pays off about $1.1 million in councilmatic bonds used for the recent parking plaza upgrades. By paying off those bonds, the district saves some $20,000.

Admittedly, this is a tough economy to be going out for a bond. But repairs to Si View’s venerable fields and building shouldn’t be deferred any longer.

The center, which has doubled use in the last three years, will soon embark on a strategic plan to determine to future of parks and recreation in the North Bend area. Work needs to be done to stabilize the roof and walls of the center before the district can ponder future upgrades, like a better community kitchen, pool or locker rooms.

As residents enjoy the Festival at Mount Si this weekend, we encourage them to explore the community center, walk the fields and talk to neighbors, parents and parks district staff about the bond, the center, and what it means to them. A thriving community center and parks benefits all North Bend residents, from the parents and children who use the many district programs to the residents whose property values benefit from local quality of life.

Tuesday, Aug. 17, is the final day to vote for the measure. The Snoqualmie Valley Record joins the North Bend City Council, the Mount Si Senior Center, and numerous other community groups in calling on Si View Metro Parks District residents to vote “yes” on Proposition 1.

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