Following tonight’s unanimous Kirkland City Council decision to place a $2.35 million annual parks maintenance, renovation and enhancement levy on the November ballot, a citizens’ group has officially launched a campaign to support the measure.
“We’re encouraged and excited that the City Council recognizes the value of parks to Kirkland’s residents,” said Jay Arnold, co-chair of YES! for Great Kirkland Parks, the citizens’ group supporting the measure.
“With this parks levy we are investing in Kirkland’s quality of life, protecting and enhancing our parks, beaches and natural areas, and improving public safety. This will also keep our home values strong,” said Scott Morris, campaign co-chair and board president of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Association. “It just makes good economic sense.”
An updated parks levy was envisioned and developed by the Kirkland Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC), a group of 50 citizens representing city neighborhoods, business, education, sports and civic organizations. In March the committee presented its recommendations to the City Council on the short- and long-term maintenance and capital needs of Kirkland’s acclaimed parks and open space system. Based on the recommendations and significant public input, voters will be asked in November whether to approve the investments in Kirkland’s parks and open spaces.
“The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee spent six months looking at the needs for Kirkland parks,” said Arnold, who served on the PFEC as Chair of the Planning Commission. “This resulting ballot measure focuses on maintaining what we have now and investing for the future.”
The measure includes funding to preserve, maintain and enhance Kirkland’s parks and natural areas. The maintenance and operations levy will provide funding to:
·Restore and ensure funding for maintenance to ensure Kirkland parks retain high standards
·Provide lifeguards at Houghton, Waverly and Juanita beaches to help ensure safety
·Restore and provide healthy forests and habitat areas through the Green Kirkland Partnership
·Maintain O.O. Denny Park, assuming responsibility from the Finn Hill Park District
The capital improvements funding will support important renovation and enhancement projects for Kirkland’s parks and trails system. High priority projects include:
·Dock and Shoreline Renovations.
·Edith Moulton Park improvements
·Waverly Beach Park Renovation
·City-School District Playfields Partnerships
·Interim development of Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail
·Open space and park land acquisition
·Juanita Beach bathhouse replacement
The Kirkland Parks Maintenance, Renovation and Enhancement Levy would provide $1.1 million annually for parks maintenance and operations, and $1.25 million annually for parks renovation and enhancement. The levy would cost an owner of a median home ($349,000) in Kirkland approximately $56 per year, or less than $5 per month.
The measure is already endorsed by community leaders, former mayors and council members, and members of the Kirkland Parks Board.
“It’s been a decade since the last parks funding levy. Those careful investments made since 2002 have strengthened local neighborhoods, improved property values, and made healthy places to play at Juanita Beach, Carillon Woods, North Rose Hill Woodlands Park, and facility improvements at Kirkland Junior High, Juanita, Rose Hill, and Franklin Elementary Schools, to name just a few places. Now is the time to make new thoughtful investments in park priorities that help define the healthy city we have become. This will maintain city parks and improve their safety, with strong accountability,” Morris said. “It will ensure the great quality of life we enjoy here in Kirkland.”