Olympia has an excellent history of preserving parks and open space. Priest Point, Watershed, and Grass Lake Parks are a great legacy from the past. In recent years, Olympia’s park system has faltered. Even with enthusiastic community support for parks, the system has been in decline. Our population continues to grow, open spaces continue to be converted to commercial and residential purposes, and the parks system is static. Much of the park system is not being maintained to current standards.
What is needed is a dedicated source of funding for parks — including our trail network, habitat lands, and open space. The creation of a Metro Parks District will do just that. As proposed, new district revenue cannot be diverted for other purposes and existing parks funding cannot be reduced. Voters can be comfortable knowing that their support for parks will not be used to fund other things.
To manage sprawl, we need green spaces in a more compact city. As our population grows we will need more recreational opportunities inside Olympia. Olympia has lost 30 percent of its habitat areas over the past 20 years. We can stop this loss by protecting our remaining resources. Our bike and pedestrian trails are excellent, but we need greater connectivity if they are to meet their potential. And our children and our families need space to play, to relax, and to soak up the beauty of this lovely city.
Please join me in supporting the creation of an Olympia Metropolitan Parks District.
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