Letters to the Editor

How much money is needed to finish fields?

I am concerned about the vague plans for “finishing” the Vashon Park District’s VES Fields project.

Last year’s insistence that a big part of the district’s tax revenue be spent on VES to try to avoid losing the last of the state Recreation and Conservation Office grant money, has been replaced by the urgent demand to move quickly on King County’s clearing and grading permit, which expires in 2015. In the budget they approved in December, before one new commissioner could weigh in, the board penciled in about $134,000 for VES in 2014.

The district is already spending enormous monies for the fields project — $100,000 plus interest in 2014 and again in 2015 to pay off the project’s bond, monthly payments on the $40,000 loan for the temporary toilet facilities and the maintenance department’s costs to keep the fields groomed, watered

and fertilized. A third of VPD’s 2014 tax revenue could be going directly into this still-unfinished project.

What would be the end? Each current commissioner needs to tell us, clearly and completely, what constitutes “finishing the VES Fields project.” Will they consider the project to be “finished” enough to turn our tax monies to other parts of the park system if they:

• Finish a real, permanent restroom — hooked up to the sewer — which will satisfy the health department requirements?

• Finish the roofs over the dugouts?

• Finish the court-mandated fence that separates the playing fields from the neighboring house a few feet to the east?

• Finish some walkways so that people other than sports teams might occasionally use the park and justify the claim that it is a park for everyone?

• Finish paving some parking lots and driveways?

• Finish the imagined food-selling stand and picnic tables?

• And, finally, the biggest one of all: Finish installing lighting for night games (estimated on the 2014 budget addendum at $175,000 of future spending).

— Mary O’Brien



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