News

County votes yes on south Plateau park

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The Pierce County Council approved the creation of an 80-acre park March 21 on the southern edge of Bonney Lake near the Cascadia subdivision.

Councilman Shawn Bunney said he has allotted $1.9 million in the county budget for the park's design and development.

“I want this park to be in operation as soon as possible,” Bunney said.

According to county officials, the proposed land deal was drawn up by Pierce County Executive John W. Ladenburg and the White River School District.

The park land is at 128th Street East and 198th Avenue and is part of a 560-acre timber parcel that Pierce County deeded to the school district for $1 in 1945.

The district used the property for forestry classes and the timber as a source of revenue. The agreement contained a provision that if the district stopped using the property for educational forestry purposes, the parcel would revert to the county.

Bunney said the design process will begin immediately and include community and Bonney Lake representatives to ensure a blend of fun and safe recreational opportunities.

“I was pleased to hear it was going to be 80 acres,” City Councilman Mark Hamilton said. “I think it is about time the county came through for the people considering all the development down in that area.”

Hamilton added he hoped to see ballfields built on the site.

Mayor Neil Johnson said he thought the park land was “great to have, but with all that development and congestion out there, will the county be able to put $300,000 to $400,000 in each year to maintain the park.”

Johnson said he did not think the council would warm to the idea of directing money into a park serving Cascadia, Falling Water and other southern Plateau developments.

Along with the park, the school district is giving a right of way totaling 15 acres for expansion of 198th Avenue East. The road is being expanded due to the development in the southern area of the Plateau.

The remaining 465 acres will be deeded by the district to Homeland Ventures, a development company.

Homeland acquired 3,065 acres south of Wilkeson and 480 acres in Kittitas County, near Lake Easton, and will swap those properties to the school district in exchange for the 465 acres.

The county-school district agreement states the 3,065 acres will be protected from development.

“This agreement is a win-win for Pierce County and the White River School District,” retired White River School District Superintendent Jay Hambly said in a county-issued press release.

Hambly started working with the county three years ago on a possible property exchange.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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