Let's maintain what we have

I'm involved with a group of people that's working to "save" Si View Community Center, pool and park. As some of you know, and some of you will learn soon enough, King County will CLOSE Si View Community Center, pool and park on Dec. 31 of this year.

I am thrilled we will have a chance for our community members to vote on Feb. 4 to re-open our community center, pool and park by creating a metropolitan park district (MPD). This is a taxing district that will be run by five elected park commissioners. This MPD is its own entity and is completely unrelated to King County or the city of North Bend.

The opportunity for potential partnerships with nonprofit organizations (i.e. Northwest Center or Friends of Youth) and their possible expanded usage and programs at Si View is encouraging and exciting. Many park users and program instructors feel that the current multi-age programs could be much better marketed and expanded; and that the center could be better used for an event-rental facility with a few improvements and use-permit changes that could be made.

There are many cities seeking to build community centers and pools to create and establish the very thing that we already have in place. It would be a real shame and disservice to our growing community to let this historical and important gathering place remain closed.

My family moved to North Bend from Seattle six years ago, seeking a town with a strong sense of community for our family. I learned of the Sno-Valley Indoor Playground at Si View through word of mouth. My young children and I met other parents and children looking for a safe, dry and friendly place to play, ride trikes and climb - especially during the rainy and dark months of the wintertime in the Valley! We also began attending "Family Fun Nights" and other functions offered at the community center, as well as swim lessons and public swims offered at Si View Pool. We have met a huge and truly invaluable network of friends, parents, families and teens (regular swim teachers) by participating and using Si View Community Center over the years.

How can you help? We currently are seeking contributions to help fund a mailer campaign to spread the word to save and reopen Si View. Donations can be mailed to: "Friends of Si View Community Center" at P.O. Box 575, North Bend WA 98045. You can also learn more and support our efforts by attending our open meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Red Oak Residence, second floor, in North Bend.

Again, I'm very optimistic, excited and grateful to have this important issue on our ballot in February. I encourage all voters to support our community center, park and pool by telling others how important this effort is and by voting "Yes" for a park district in February.

Susan Kelly

North Bend

For all this week's letters, pick up a copy of the Valley Record

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