Voters support Olympia parks district

Olympia residents could soon see new parks, with about 56 percent of voters supporting Proposition One, a measure to create a metropolitan parks district in the city.

With 7,580 votes counted, Proposition One supporters declared victory Tuesday night. Allen Miller, co-chairman of Yes Olympia Parks, said voters made the best decision for the community.

“We’ve got to think about our children and our grandchildren,” Miller said. “We’re going to have a lot more people in Olympia, and we need to make sure our parks are keeping up.”

His co-chairwoman, Cristiana Figueroa-Kaminsky, said that, with the new tax revenue, she hopes the city will be able to purchase the area known at the LBA Woods.

“I see that area as being like Priest Point Park,” Figueroa-Kaminsky said. “All those years ago, the city made that investment, and I think the same should be done with the LBA Woods.”

The parks measure needs only a simple majority to pass, and would take effect in 2017. The measure is expected to raise about $3 million a year, with about $2 million going toward park maintenance and $1 million going toward park acquisition.

Property owners in the city would be charged 54 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — about $108 a year for a $200,000 house. The new tax does not expire.

The Olympia City Council recently approved options to buy two undeveloped parcels for future parks, and city officials are counting on the parks district to help with those purchases.

In July, the council approved an option to buy 74 acres next to LBA Park in southeast Olympia — known as LBA Woods — at a price tag of $5 million. In August, the council approved an option to buy the 75-acre Kaiser Heights property near Ken Lake on the city’s west side for $1.1 million.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445