The Finn Hill Park & Recreation District asks area residents for ideas on how to use excess tax levy funds
What park project on Finn Hill would you choose to complete if you had $185,000 to spend? That is the question the Finn Hill Park & Recreation District (FHPRD) Commissioners have asked residents of Finn Hill. The park district has $185,000 that it wants to designate for Finn Hill park and open space projects by November 7th. The Commissioners have identified uses for the money, but they would like to give the public a final opportunity for suggestions. The public will have the opportunity to identify and discuss potential projects at a public meeting starting at 7:00pm on Wednesday, November 6th at Finn Hill Middle School.
Since 2003, the FHPRD has maintained O.O. Denny Park with funds paid by Finn Hill residents through a special property tax assessment. The vote for the Kirkland park levy in 2012 gave the City the financial resources to take over O.O. Denny Park maintenance in 2013. As a result, the park district has stopped collecting the property assessment and is dissolving itself at the end of 2013.
The Commissioners, who are all elected volunteers, have kept the park in good shape since residents formed the district in 2002, and during that time have managed to build up a reserve fund that they plan to transfer to the City for improvements to Finn Hill parks.
The fund is $185,000 and the Commissioners invite final input on how the leftover tax levy funds should be spent. They plan to provide a presentation at the November 6 neighborhood meeting and welcome suggestions by the public.
By law, the park district is unable to hand over the funds to the City without restrictions. The Commissioners want to ensure that the money is spent in Finn Hill for parks and for the benefit of the residents who paid the property tax assessments. The Commissioners want the money to be spent:
- On Finn Hill parks or open space. This excludes Big Finn Hill and Juanita Woodlands, which are King County parks.
- For capital projects, like land acquisition or park amenities. So that the money does not “disappear” into ongoing park maintenance costs, which are already covered by the Kirkland parks levy.
- On stand-alone projects that can be completed, or at least launched, quickly. So that the money does not “disappear” into a long-term capital project that has to be funded from a variety of sources.
The Commissioners have determined that two good uses for the funds are the installation of a sprinkler system for the main lawn in O.O. Denny Park, to keep it green in the summer, using Kirkland’s rights to Lake Washington water, and the construction of a second picnic shelter north of the existing shelter. The remaining funds then can be used to improve access to the newly expanded Juanita Heights Park.
To offer your ideas, attend the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (FHNA) meeting on November 6th at 7:00pm to hear from the Commissioners directly. Suggestions are also being solicited online at www.finnhillalliance.org.
The meeting begins by the election of FHNA board members and a review of the organization’s annual report. The elections are immediately followed by a Juanita Drive Corridor Study status report by City of Kirkland staff members to review which project recommendations will be submitted to the City Council for approval.
The FHNA works with an active community of residents and regional partners to preserve, protect, and restore the natural environment of the Finn Hill neighborhood of Kirkland, and to promote the welfare of the Finn Hill community by engaging in civic issues. For more information, visit www.finnhillalliance.org and search for Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance on Facebook.