Council evaluates funding options for new parks and trails

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Bellevue residents love their parks, trails and recreational facilities. And they want more. The city is now considering how new parks, open spaces and recreational facilities would be funded. Residents have the opportunity to intervene by responding to a online quizwhich will be open until Tuesday, July 5.

Feedback from residents will help City Council consider funding strategies such as a voter-approved levy or bond or an impact levy paid by developers of new residential and/or commercial projects.

Community feedback collected for the latest long-term parks and open space plan, which is expected to be adopted this summer, showed that people want to see Bellevue invest in:

  • new multi-use trails and nature trails
  • more open space
  • more parks, including neighborhood parks and beach parks
  • some indoor and outdoor recreational facilities such as pickleball courts and an aquatic center

The Parks and Open Spaces System Plan is the primary tool for shaping the future of Bellevue Parks through identified capital project needs over the next 20 years. Outreach for the 2022 plan, updated approximately every six years, identified the most popular uses in the current parks and recreation system and capital project priorities to meet the future needs of Bellevue Parks.

The draft plan’s 20-year list of projects would require between $500 million and $1 billion to complete. Current funding sources for the parks would cover only about 34% of project needs.

Voter initiatives have already funded the expansion of Bellevue’s parks and open space system, with 10 separate measures passed since the city’s incorporation in 1953. The 2008 Parks and Natural Areas Levy has helped fund new parks and major park improvements, such as the downtown parkway circular walkway. , the new Bellevue Youth Theater and the synthetic sports fields at Wilburton Hill and Newport Hills parks.

Council can decide on a parks funding option or a combination of funding mechanisms by mid-summer.

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