Lake Stevens to vote on parks bond

By Kate Reardon

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — This community could see two new community centers, two parks, ball fields and a skate board park in coming years if voters approve a multi-million dollar bond proposal in the spring.

Voters living in the Lake Stevens School District will have the chance to vote March 12 on a $8.4 million bond issue that would help pay for five projects in the Lake Stevens area.

"What’s important about it is it’s something the citizens suggested," said Marc Krandel, Snohomish County Parks planning supervisor.

There will be two issues on the ballot. One is to create a park and recreation service area that would match the Lake Stevens School District boundary. That measure needs a simple majority to pass. The second is the bond issue, which will take a supermajority to pass.

The bond money would help pay for park amenities, the construction of ball fields, the purchase of the Mitchell Community Center, construction of a community hall and construction of a skate park

Based on current interest rates, the measure would cost taxpayers an extra 46 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation over the next 20 years. That means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $92 a year.

The total price of the project is $11.7 million, and the county already plans to contribute $3.3 million.

Maintenance on the various projects would be divided among the county, the Lake Stevens Junior Athletic Association and the city of Lake Stevens

The proposal started with folks at the athletic association, parks director Ron Martin said.

They need more fields, he said.

"We’ve known for years the huge demand for athletic facilities," Martin said.

A task force was created in the early 1990s to identify the demand. Since then, the county has acquired land near Lake Stevens and other locations including Cathcart, the Martha Lake airport, 22 acres near Snohomish and 84 acres in Darrington.

An unrelated project the county is also considering is the purchase of 12 acres from the Paine Field airport that is being used as a Little League complex.

"We’re going to buy that to make sure it stays there forever," Martin said.

Martin imagines the projects for the Lake Stevens area could be built in 2003 if voters approve the bond measure.

Dennis Kaiser, treasurer for the athletic association, said the organization has a challenge.

"We’re doing our best to get the word out and make people aware of the facts and why and how much it would cost you as a homeowner," he said. "I feel the ones that need to be reached are the new families that have moved to Lake Stevens. Their chlidren are the ones who are going to benefit the most."

He said the ball fields would help serve the 800 families in the area that have kids in sports. He also imagines the fields could be used for sports tournaments that are having a hard time finding a place to play.

"It will bring up the capacity that we’ve been missing for sports and activities for the kids," Kaiser said. "That’s the nuts and bolts of it."

City Council member Glenn McLoughlin said the projects will create a place for families.

"It provides something for everyone."

You can call Herald Writer Kate Reardon at 425-339-3455

or send e-mail to reardon@heraldnet.com.

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