Lake Forest Park Council supports King County Parks levy

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lake Forest Park City Council endorsed the August 6 King County Parks Levy during its regular meeting Thursday.

Councilmember Sandy Koppenol moved the resolution and said that both direct allocations and competitive money received from King County Parks have been important in leveraging other funds to build and improve the City parks.

“Parks are difficult to fund for a small city like Lake Forest Park,” Koppenol said. “We typically have to piece together the funding from several sources. Often the Parks Levy money we receive is the last piece of the puzzle.”

After holding a required public hearing, the City Council deliberated and approved a resolution in support of the King County Parks Levy, which is Proposition No. 1 on the primary ballot. The hearing was lightly attended, with one citizen speaking in favor, one speaking against, and the other registering concerns but not stating a position.

The proposed levy would replace an existing levy approved by the voters in 2007 that King County has used to supplement entrepreneurial proceeds from its concerts and events, such as Cirque de Soleil.

The new levy contains an increase over the current parks levy, with a portion of proceeds to be used for operations and maintenance, capital improvements and new park acquisition for the County regional park and trail system. A smaller portion of the levy proceeds is distributed to cities for local park uses. Lake Forest Park would receive about $28,000 a year in direct money, approximately the same amount it has received under the current levy.

The action was taken on a 3-0 vote, with four members in attendance. Councilmember Don Fiene abstained and did not participate in the discussion, citing a potential conflict of interest from his involvement with an non-governmental organization that has received funding from King County Parks.

Councilmember Bob Lee spoke in support of the measure, saying that Lake Forest Park’s participation in many regional committees and has brought lots of funding back to the city for its projects. He also said that maintaining an excellent parks system is important for the regional economy.

“The outdoors attracts new residents to the Northwest. I cannot imagine King County without its large parks”, Lee said. “They are part of its identity.”

Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford, in supporting the resolution, said King County made a significant investment in upgrading the Burke Gilman Trail through Lake Forest Park and we need to make sure there is funding to maintain it. She also stated that she is aware that many of our citizens regularly use King County parks and trails.


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