Despite getting a levy of more than $600,000 passed last year, the Redmond Parks Department and Parks and Trails Commission stated their case to the Redmond City Council at a joint meeting as to why they may ask for another bond as early as next year.
And this one could be for a lot more money.
The Parks Department and the Trails Commission presented a preliminary estimate to the City Council, asking for a $40 million bond for the fall 2009 ballot, which was met with “surprise” by several council members.
But several members on the Parks and Trails Commission, including chair Sue Stewart, reiterated the price was just preliminary and there hadn’t been any serious discussion about that price between the Parks Department and the Parks and Trails Commission.
“Ignore the number and think about the vision,” Stewart told the Council at the end of the night. “Think about the plan.”
That vision could change drastically whether the city wants to pursue greatly improving the neighborhood parks. The Redmond Parks Department has a master list of approximately $100 million worth of projects, according to Parks and Recreation Director Craig Larsen. The department has approximately $2 million in its capital improvement budget.
Last year’s bond has already paid dividends, Larsen said, including helping to pay for maintenance and after school programs. But if Redmond wants to start tackling some of the bigger issues, the money will have to increase.
“There’s no ignoring the fact that it’s going to be a big number if you want to do it,” Larsen said.
Larsen said $40 million was a reasonable starting point, but it is also negotiable.
“It’s going to be a long conversation to get to a final number and a final strategy,” Larsen said. “I think it’s a fair marker out there but it’s not the final number.”
The reason for the increase is a combination of new improvements as well as rising maintenance costs.
“Projects are 35 to 40 percent more expensive than three years ago,” Larsen told the Council. “And going up.”
One of the projects includes new and improved ballfields because the city is turning away many recreational youth and adult teams due to lack of space. Larsen conservatively estimated that includes up to 50 softball teams a year, 20-25 adult soccer teams and “the list goes on and on.”
There are also new amenities, like developing the Northeast Neighborhood Park at 176th Ave. NE and 124th St. and upgrading the senior center to include a “playful, yet mature” playground among other projects.