Last week we reported the City of North Bend was looking at options for Tollgate park. Turning over Tollgate is the right thing to do. Local control of parks and open space allows local stake-holders to influence how the park is to be used. The initial planning for Tollgate reflected both passive and active recreation elements.
I am slightly concerned that the city is potentially negotiating with the Si View parks district for management. The selling of the parks district was predicated on the re-opening and maintenance of Si View. While I think the parks district is a great option for management, it will be important for negotiations to include a funding element and well-developed plans for the park.
The entire 98045 zip code benefits from Si View and Torguson Park, and will benefit from a new Tollgate Park. My biggest concern is the creation of a behemoth taxing district in support of parks while relieving municipalities and the county from any funding obligation. We are King County’s open space with areas protected on a consistent basis at a county level. But we shouldn’t have to bear all the funding at the local level for creation and maintenance of these open spaces.
In negotiations with the county, I hope the city is also asking for development funds. I also hope that, if the Metropolitan Parks District is to manage Tollgate, they ask the city for a fair level of funding.
As most people know, I am a “build ballfields” kind of person. We need more options for all ages for active recreation around the Valley. North Bend is on the right track in moving all control of Tollgate to a local level.