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SEPTEMBER 29, 1997

Local News

Parks Board recommends 1998 bond

  by Andrew Walgamott
   BOTHELL--At a joint meeting with the city council last week, the Bothell Parks Board recommended sending a $9 million-plus parks bond to voters next spring. Such a measure has been identified as a local need by the city council and parks board for some time.
   Money would go for a proposed community center at the King County pool, development of area parks, and to improve sports fields at local schools in coordination with the Northshore School District among others, according to Manny Ocampo, assistant city manager. He called the community center at the Northshore pool the "heart" of the proposal, citing the opportunity to remodel and expand the pool to an activities center as well as develop teen and meeting areas there. The county is considering divesting itself of city pools, Ocampo said.
   He added that when Bothell first annexed into Snohomish County in 1993, the area had "zero acres of parks." Now that the city has acquired Thrasher's Corner Regional Park and Cedar Grove Park on the Snohomish County side of Bothell, funds could be set aside for developing those areas into parks, Ocampo said.
   The 53-acre undeveloped Thrashers Corner park was acquired at no cost to the city from the county, which funded the purchase with $2.93 million in conservation funds. The park consists of rolling, partially treed uplands, and wetlands along North Creek. Plans call for trails, interpretive displays and picnic shelters.
   The city has plans to build sports fields at Cedar Grove park near Canyon Park. Recently, an adjacent land owner donated 4.5 acres of wetlands to the park.
   By way of a sneak preview, Parks Board member David Hall estimated the parks bond would be between $9 and $9.5 million and would come up for a vote in April or May, 1998.
   Ocampo said a citizens committee would be formed with the Parks Board soon, and meet with members of the Police Bond committee who successfully steered the $9.7 million public safety facility bond to approval last May.
   Ocampo said both the police and parks bonds were issues the city council had considered high priorities, but admitted selling citizens on bonds was an "uphill battle." "We recognize that people will take a close look at this," Ocampo said.
   Hall extolled the council to support the bond. "Your leadership is critical if this is to succeed," Hall said. In January, the city council will finalize the proposed parks bond project list, and set the bond amount and voting day, according to Ocampo. He said there was a possibility the vote would be by mail-in ballot, like the public safety bond vote.