The Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation urges islanders to Vote Yes for Parks, to restore the operations levy for the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. This is an all-mail vote, and ballots must be returned by Aug. 3.
At the Parks Foundation, we raise private funds for specific capital projects and stewardship programs for parks and trails. But supporting the Bainbridge Metro Park District’s day to day operations – facilities, maintenance, programming and management of 1,500 acres of public parkland – falls to island taxpayers, to all of us.
Working so closely with the Park District, we see firsthand their dedication, skill and efficiency in providing a first-class park system for all residents. Islanders enjoy more park services every year, even as the District contends with limited resources.
Consider: Since the last Park District levy lift in 2008, nearly 40 new park facilities, active sports courts and fields, playgrounds, dog parks and community gardens have come online. Our trails network has nearly doubled, from 23 to 42 miles. Bainbridge park use is at an all-time high.
Yet revenues to support parks have not kept pace. The system is strained.
Why? The Park District cannot increase its tax revenue by more than 1 percent per year without a vote. Yet the demand for new park services for our growing island population – fewer than 23,000 of us in 2008, more than 26,000 today – plus the simple fact of inflation for labor and materials means that each year, the Park District must do more with less. Park District staffing is the same today as 13 years ago.
The Aug. 3 levy will restore Park District’s revenues to pay for essential operations and maintenance now and for the future. We think this is a great investment.
As if there was any doubt, the past year has brought into clear relief just how central our parks and trails are to our health, our well being, our quality of island life.
When we needed them most, our parks were there for us. Now let’s be there for our Park District – Vote Yes for Parks. Please return your mail ballot in time for the Aug. 3 election day.
Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation
Board of Directors