Si View Metro Parks' 75-year legacy rolls on | Opinion

It doesn’t take long for the children to find the zip line.

Any given day of the week, most afternoons, the newly installed thrill ride at Si View Metro Parks is hopping. So is the new playground. It’s no surprise to find the amenities busy during the weekly North Bend Farmer’s Markets. But how do you explain the crowds that show on other days? What were they doing before this place opened?

Questions of Si View Metro Parks’ role in the community, and its future, are worth asking at this moment. This year marks not only the park and community center’s 75th anniversary—check the bronze plaque in the timber-and-stone lobby that marks that New Deal-era occasion—but also Si View’s 10th anniversary as an independent park district.

In 2003, North Bend residents started the district to keep the legacy of recreation in the community, and to provide and grow programs. To date, they’ve done a remarkable job, considering the economic bumps over the past five years.

With last weekend’s Festival at Mount Si, the park was in the spotlight. Everyone who attended the festival had a chance to see Si View’s exterior face lift, from the new band shelter and restrooms to the building’s clean new timber facade.

So, what’s next for the park district? Quite a bit.

This week, Si View gets the bids back for construction of North Bend’s first new major park, Tollgate Farm. A working pasture with a live-in herd of cows, Tollgate is being transformed with playfields, parking and trails. The cows, by the way, stay. In a word, this project means access.

Leftover bond money from 2010 (which is also paying for the Tollgate transformation) will go into the next phase at Si View—interior improvements.

Fixes to the plumbing and the floor are needed, and Si View has been salting away funds from its levy to tackle them for a while.

Bounce a basketball in the gym, and you’ll find the dead spots that show what age does to an old, soft-wood floor. The pine has had its last sanding. Now, it needs to be replaced. Condensation under part of the floor took a toll. As for the pipes, there’s a reason Si View started installing flushless toilets a while back—not enough pressure.

To be sure, no 75-year-old building sees the kind of daily, 16-hour-a-day activity like Si View does without needing repairs now and then.

The doors open here at 6:30 a.m. and close around 9 or as late as 10 p.m.

From the early-morning children’s breakfasts, to the tots and art and fitness programs at midday, to the after-school programs and the evening classes for adults, and finally open gym at night, this place is booked. Importantly, it houses a number of activities for children and families that are affordable and flexible, such as the Sno-Valley Indoor Playground, aimed at Valley families that are truly on the go.

The financial picture at Si View, despite the recession’s blow to a junior taxing district, is optimistic. Residents went to polls and overwhelmingly passed the measures that allowed this district to keep its levy funding. Annual levy aside, half of Si View’s public funding is safe for another four years, and if property values still don’t rise in that time, administrators say they’re ready to make another push in Olympia.

This place still has a grand future ahead of it. Happy birthday, Si View. There will be many happy returns.


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