Mayor scaling back parks proposal, citizens asked to weigh in at second parks summit

Bonney Lake’s government is scaling back its proposal for a metropolitan parks district package after council members balked at a $6.5 million proposal for a new sports complex to be located on the Reed Property, just outside city limits.

“The mayor is revising his proposal, scaling it back a little bit,” said Projects and Facilities manager Gary Leaf, who has been working with the Park Board on the project.

The city is inviting residents to weigh in on the plan during what is being called Parks Summit II, Thursday at the Justice Center.

The second summit is a follow-up to a similar summit in May and Mayor Neil Johnson will once again preside over an agenda that includes a review of possible park and field options, potential sites and the cost involved.

Following the first summit, the mayor put forth a list of projects to include in a vote for a park district and bond, tentatively scheduled for April.

Johnson’s $15.8 million proposal included several projects at the Reed Property, including the sports complex, which consisted of multiple fields and bleachers and would be designed to host tournaments.

But following discussions in August, the city council and the parks board were not high on the idea for myriad reasons, primarily that the Reed Property, though owned by the city, is located in unincorporated county land, meaning the county would have control of the design and zoning of the projects.

Other possible issue included the potential for archeological sites on the property as well as the potential for costly traffic mitigation, as the only route to the property is across two small county roads.

Instead, Leaf said the mayor’s revamped proposal is set to include money to convert some of the city’s current fields to turf and expand other fields, such as Ballfield Four, located behind the overflow parking lot across from Allan Yorke Park, and “multipurpose grass field” at the Moriarty Property, a city-owned parcel adjacent to the park.

Leaf said converting present fields costs approximately $700,000 each as opposed to $1 million to build new ones.

And while placing the complex in the city’s part of the former WSU forest was briefly discussed, Leaf said such a project would take up nearly all 23 acres and was therefore dropped from the plan.

But while some projects have come off the list, at least one new proposal has been added: a ropes course and playground at the forest.

Leaf said a display at Bonney Lake Days that included a mock-up of a ropes course drew heavy attention from attendees at the event, drawing praise and excitement from nearly everyone. Council members were also excited by the course.

Leaf said the ropes course and playground were added to the proposal at a cost of approximately $500,000.

According to Leaf, the administration’s new proposal – with all Reed Property pieces removed – will total approximately $10.6 million, well below the original proposed cost of $15.8 million.

Leaf said the parks district, if passed by voters, would add approximately $100 per year to tax bill of the average home, down from $122 as originally proposed.

Parks Summit II is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Justice Center.

For more information, Leaf at 253-447-3282 or leafg@ci.bonney-lake.wa.us.