Bothell’s big parks plan on ballot

BOTHELL — Voters here are weighing in on Proposition 1, which would allow up to $42 million in bonds for improvements to parks and public spaces.

If approved, it would raise the annual property tax bill for a home valued at $300,000 by an estimated $116 per year.

Among other things, the money would be invested in projects to revamp the city’s downtown and conserve the North Creek Forest. Both ideas have been in the works for more than a decade.

Bothell’s vision is to renew the downtown core and the area along the Sammamish River. The aim is to increase outdoor recreation and boost business at shops and restaurants.

Without passage of a bond, it could take the city a long time to come up with the money to finish those projects and others, assistant city manager Peter Troedsson said.

Proposition 1 includes $1 million for completing the conservation of 64 acres at North Creek Forest north of the University of Washington Bothell campus.

In addition, the measure dedicates $4.6 million to build a park in north Bothell. Of the city’s 22 parks, only four are in Snohomish County. Troedsson said there are fewer parks on the Snohomish side because those areas were annexed in the 1990s. Bothell was founded in 1909.

Proponents urge voters to support parks and public spaces before the available land is gone. But opponents contend that the measure is deceptive, with much of the bond money going toward streets instead of open spaces.

Proposition 1 includes $7.3 million for extending and enhancing Main Street. It earmarks $20.7 million for finishing a project called the Multiway Boulevard, which would turn a 2.5-mile section of the Bothell-Everett Highway into a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare with pedestrian walkways and bikeways.

It includes another $6 million for new amenities for the Park at Bothell Landing along the Sammamish River. The park has increased in size to just over 20 acres due to the realignment of Highway 522. The bond would pay for improvements to the expanded area, a new bridge to the Sammamish River Trail and more parking to accommodate for concerts there.

The bond also dedicates $1.3 million for new turf at a North Creek Field, which would allow for year-round sports, and $800,000 for improvements at East Norway Hill Park. Bothell annexed that area earlier this year.

Bothell is a growing suburb of about 40,000 people. The downtown core boasts new apartment buildings. Highway 522, a major route through town, has been improved, shifted and widened.

McMenamins is opening its first major resort in the Seattle metropolitan area in Bothell. The McMenamins Anderson School project, which is expected to open in 2015, includes a hotel, restaurant, brewery, movie theater and pool.

Though the city is already seeing some success, its projects are far from finished. The money from Proposition 1 could help further Bothell’s ongoing efforts so economic development isn’t thwarted, Troedsson said.

To pass, the measure requires 60 percent of a minimum turnout of 3,663 voters to approve it. The bond is limited to 25 years.

City voters last approved a tax hike to pay for public infrastructure in 1997, when they OK’d a measure for a new police station.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @AmyNileReports

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