Riverview will try again to pass athletic fields bond
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL--"If we build it, they will come," was the consensus among observers who watched a presentation last week on a reworked Riverview District athletic field proposal at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Twice last year the school district placed a $5.5 million bond issue for sports facilities at Cedarcrest High School on the ballot-in the September primary and November general elections.
In September, officials were encouraged when, although the measure failed to garner the 60 percent required to pass, 56.4 percent voted in favor of the bond. Then in November only 54 percent voted in favor.
The 20-year bond would have paid for a new soccer/football stadium, an all-weather track, bleachers and storage buildings.
"It's discouraging," said Superintendent Jack Ernst after the November election. "The District has grown from a 400-student high school to an 800-student middle school and and 800-student high school. The field at Tolt cannot handle all the use."
But at last week's Chamber meeting those working on the new plan generated nothing but optimism, saying changes included improvements to other school fields, which would help children who don't live near Cedarcrest.
Ernst said that after last year's elections, vote studies indicated strong support for the plan nearest the high school, and less at precincts farther away.
"Communities near Fall City apparently didn't see any benefit, so this plan spreads the facilities out more," he said. "And some of the changes are to the scope of the Cedarcrest project. We cut one utility field and some covered stands and lighting."
Wally Costello, Chairman of the Citizens Design Committee for Riverview Fields Development, told Chamber members there is a dire need for new facilities at Cedarcrest. Costello had approached the district this last spring offering to help develop a plan using input from residents.
"We asked the Board to run the bond again," he said. "The Design Committee came up with this design, so the Board just voted to go ahead and run it. They don't know yet whether to recommend it for November or February since we are still soliciting support and ideas from the public and the leagues."
The plan unveiled at the Chamber meeting showed fields at Cedarcrest for football/soccer, baseball, combination baseball/utility, softball, and combination softball/utility, track and field facilities, seating, multipurpose room for wrestling, weightlifting, dance, etc., and storage under the seating area, restrooms/concessions/tickets/press box facilities, parking and tennis courts.
At Tolt, six acres on the northeast field would be filled and graded, a new field would be created by moving and installing an existing unused backstop to the northeast corner, and a tennis practice wall and exercise trail with fitness stations would be added.
At Cherry Valley, Stillwater and Carnation Elementaries, improvements would add trails with fitness stations, Big Toys and regrade fields.
"The Cedarcrest design will probably change," Costello said. "But it offers a feel for the scope of the proposal."
Costello said the design group thinks that the number of new residents should support the bond.
"More teams are developing, and the variety of fields should add to the benefit," he said. "These will be high quality fields and there never seems to be enough of them."
District 45 Fire Chief Bud Backer noted that athletic facilities bring in more competitive events and generate money for the local economy.
Costello also stated that over 160 community and school district athletic teams compete for fields and that the Cedarcrest track, baseball, soccer and football teams have to be transported to Tolt or other areas for practice or games.
The estimated cost of all improvements (estimated for 1999/2000 construction) is approximately $6,500,000. At $0.38 per $1,000 value, a $200,000 home will be assessed $76 per year or $6.34 per month.
Subject to the bond passing in November, design and permitting will be complete within approximately six months allowing for construction to begin during the second half of 1999, with completion of all facilities in approximately the fall of 2000.