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Council picks up land for new park
By Dennis Box
The Bonney Lake City Council added another parcel to the city's park system, but not without some controversy.
The council approved the purchase of 3.8 acres of undeveloped land next to Bonney Lake Elementary School for $225,000 on a 5-1 vote.
Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman voted yes as did council members Cheryle Noble, Phil DeLeo, Mark Hamilton and Jim Rackley.
Councilman Dave King voted no and Councilman Neil Johnson was not present.
The plan is to convert the area into a city park. Because of the terrain and trees, it may be used as a nature park with trails for walking and riding bikes.
The Sumner School District intends to use the proceeds from the sale to convert the Bonney Lake Elementary playfield into a soccer and baseball field.
"I don't see why we don't pick this piece up," Swatman said at the meeting. "This adds one more park to the city."
King stated there were other park improvements and areas where the city could more effectively spend $225,000.
"I'm saying it is fiscally irresponsible to purchase this property," King said. "It has limited use as a community park. The school informed us it was trash strewn and there were problems with illegal drug activity. This will become the city's responsibility. The city needs ball fields and larger areas."
Rackley noted the parks board was behind the purchase.
"We did task the parks board to come up with a plan," Rackley said.
Hamilton noted if the park bond on the November ballot does not pass, payment would come out of the general budget. He also pointed out the limited use of the park due its rugged terrain.
"I will hold my note and vote yes," Hamilton said.
Mayor Bob Young also voiced his disagreement with the purchase, but after the meeting, he declined to veto the ordinance.
"It's a stupid purchase, but I'll will pick my battles," Young said. "I won't sign the ordinance so it will take 10 days for the purchase to go through. That's my only protest. This doesn't fit with the parks plan and citizens should be aware of it."
The city is also in the process of purchasing or condemning 12.55 acres next to Allan Yorke Park.
According to Young the city has received one appraisal and a second was has been started.
"The council approved purchase or condemnation of this property," Young said. "We need to exhaust the possibility of purchase first. The attorneys are dealing with it."
Dennis Box can be reached at email@example.com.