Do city parks, pipes make the grade?

What kind of a grade would you give your street? How about your local park? Would you see it the same way as your neighbor?

The city of Snoqualmie put the power to rank local infrastructure in the hands of residents this month during annual Town Hall meetings. Instant polling devices, just like the ones used in local schools for interactive quizzes, were handed out to people in attendance. Then, they twice ranked local parks and streets — once from the hip, and again, after city officials showed where the fabric of infrastructure is starting to fray.

Snoqualmie held the two meetings to prepare citizens for future capital costs. Streets, pipes and parks are aging, both downtown and in the now decade-old Ridge.

The town hall polling concept is worth applying Valley-wide. Cities — and citizens — should know how their local infrastructure measures up.

Results from the polls aren’t statistically binding. The 100-or-so attendees were asked to filter the values of their friends and neighbors to bring a wider community into play.

Mayor Matt Larson asked participants to think like city council members do. Sometimes, council members act like thermometers, gauging the community’s will. At other times, they are more like thermostats, making decisions that affect the whole.

Snoqualmie’s council will soon take action on ways to pay for the capital costs of streets, parks and sewer fixes.

Residents who attend the final Town Hall meeting next Wednesday, June 30, can get in on the ground floor and have their views polled at a time when the council is still in a listening mode.

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