The citizens of Olympia will soon vote on the most important local parks measure in half a century. Proposition 1 would establish a municipal parks district with a stable and protected source of revenue for the acquisition, development, and maintenance of parks and trails.
The measure designates specific funds for land acquisition, but it does not dictate which projects are funded. It protects the percentage of general fund revenue spent on parks, while still giving a six vote super-majority of the City Council fiscal flexibility in case of emergency. It is well thought-out (yesolympiaparks.org/accountability.html).
Currently, the Olympia parks department is so underfunded that existing parks and trails cannot to be properly maintained. New acquisitions are rare. At this pace, the per capita amount of irreplaceable parkland will decrease as population growth outpaces park acquisition and development.
Local economic growth increasingly depends on attracting highly-mobile “knowledge workers.” They bring cash into local economy by bringing their good-paying jobs with them. They can also leave at will.
Our parks and trails are an economic investment, because a place with a high quality of life attracts and retains people who can do their jobs anywhere they can connect to the internet.
Parks and trails are places to get healthy exercise while enjoying our great natural heritage. They are investments in our health, our well-being, and our economy.
Join me in voting for the formation of municipal parks district in Olympia.