Letter | Vote Yes for the Si View Metropolitan Parks District Aquatic Center

[Letter by Chris Lodahl– North Bend, WA. Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters of support for your candidate or issue to info@livingsnoqualmie.com]

Your August 2nd ballot has a Bond Proposal for the Si View Metropolitan Parks District Aquatic Center. I have voted for and firmly support the new pool center and the public process with the Feasibility and Evaluation Study. 

Consultant studies are important to the public process, especially when public dollars are being spent. My personal feeling is Si View Metropolitan Parks is the best “elected” board of commissioners in the valley. 

Projects are planned with just the facts; the vision of the board is high; transparency to the public is 100%; your tax dollar is spent prudently, and the staff is superb at running the day-to-day operation.

This last week I have talked with several of you about the new Aquatic Center and noticed some confusion on different issues pertaining to the new Si View District Aquatic Center. Some of the issues were:

  1. I have lots of time to decide as we will vote again in November on the Aquatic Center Bond. Sorry, this is just a one-time Bond vote with your ballot due on August 2nd – so don’t delay.
  2. I can sell my house for $ XXXX, so I would pay $ XXXX on the Bond. The Bond is based on “assessed value” and not “market value.” Assessed value is lower or behind than market value. The Bond is based on your “2021” Assessment, not your 2022 – then using the “2021,” it would be $1.62 per 100,000.
  3. The city parks commission put this bond proposal on the ballot. No, the city parks commission are appointed residents as an advisory board to the city government. The Si View Metropolitan Parks District is a “separate government entity” with an “elected” board of commissioners granted powers under state law, including Bond Proposals.
  4. What are the boundaries of the Si View Parks District? The District includes the entire upper valley, except for the City of Snoqualmie. 
  5. I will have to pay for those who do not live in the District. The District has a non-residency fee policy:  “The District welcomes all Snoqualmie Valley area residents to participate in our programs. Residents living within the boundaries of the Park District directly support the operations of the District programs and services through property taxes. The resident/non-resident fee structure provides an equitable contribution towards District operations by all patrons.”
  6. Tell me again how the YMCA is involved with the pool. The YMCA is “not” involved with this Aquatic Center Bond. The City of Snoqualmie was attempting a private/city partnership with their YMCA to build a city pool, also to be operated by the YMCA. To date, Snoqualmie has not conducted a consultant Feasibility and Evaluation Study. Also, the Si View Metropolitan Parks District is a public entity with an “elected” board of commissioners to oversee the public interest ( vs. private) and operation of the Si View District Aquatic Center.
  7. So the pool is located in North Bend or Snoqualmie? Land has been purchased across the street from the playground at Si View Park. North Bend city sewer is right there, so that will not be a cost factor.

The King County Assessor Localscape is a tax tool — King County WA – Analytics (localscape.property) for what a property would pay for this Bond Proposal. Click on the “TAX” tab on the far right and zoom in with your mouse on the county map to any property. For example, my house in Old Si View is $110, which would be my yearly amount – the website further states, “The tax estimate for this ballot measure is based on your 2021 property value (which was used in calculating your 2022 tax bill).” 

Also, remember as more new business/houses are built from downtown North Bend to Truck Town over the years – those new structures assessed values are added onto the tax rolls. Therefore, the effect on the Bond amount will be lower over time.  

The Aquatic Center is off to a good start; the land has been purchased; another 4-million-dollar Grant from King County; plus 1.7 million dollars in Capital Improvement Funds. The old pool is 84 years old, built in 1938 for 600 residents; high maintenance costs; unable to provide multiple uses at the same time; lived a good life.

The Aquatic Center is achievable for all of us, old and young alike. Time to vote yes for the present as well as the future.

Respectfully,

Chris Lodahl,  North Bend Mayor 1992-1995, Councilmember 1990-1991

Comments

  1. Patrick and Leann Stewart says

    Living in an area near lakes and rivers it’s imperative that the children in the Valley learn how to swim. We support this bond not only for the safety of our students and children but also for the lifelong recreational benefits that the aquatic center will provide to its residents.
    Vote yes!
    Patrick and Leann Stewart
    MSHS Physical Education Teachers
    MSHS Boys and Girls Swim Coaches

  2. Jessica Stevens says

    Having been born and raised in Snoqualmie Valley, and currently residing in North Bend with my own family, including two children, Snoqualmie Valley is in need of this aquatic facility. Si View Pool has served us well for many, many years but it is time for a new facility that can better support our growing community. My husband and I will be voting to Approve this proposition.

  3. Jack Kennedy says

    Having lived in North Bend since 2014 with a family of 4 who are heavy very active aquatic users, I am still voting NO to this project as drafted. Our community 100% needs a new pool. But this spending and project that doesn’t include a standard lap pool until a “projected” phase two that will require additional funding, on top of this approval, at a later date is unacceptable. If and when the larger pool is prioritized first, I will vote to approve this project.

    • Chris a Lodahl says

      Hi Jack, Your point was discussed, and the professional outcome was the Phase 1 offered more to a wide range of users AND programs than Phase 2. With the current pool this was an immense problem as only one type of use/program at a time. With Phase 1 several uses/programs can be multitasked at the same time. Phase 2 is also a deep pool. Phase 2 is also achievable – one example is where growth (building new houses and businesses over the coming years) will pay off bonds faster to include Phase 1 and later when Phase 2 is voted upon. The community can already see the results of the state’s 1990 Growth Management Act forcing growth into cities where utilities are more readily available, as well as regulated. Mainly water and sewer regulation were of great concern to a growing state. In North Bend’s case the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) voted on by the city council went on the flat land to Truck Town. All this area over the coming years will be new construction. Current buildings along North Bend Way will be razed and new businesses built, and housing will be like Snoqualmie Ridge – we are ready seeing this. Just to mention in regard to the UGB in the 1990’s – the other option was to include the hillside on the mountain across I-90 from McDonalds – there were already plans (developers) for another Snoqualmie Ridge there. This was voted down by the city council and the area stayed in the county where zoning was very high. As more building structures are added to the tax roll each year the lower the Bond cost – Phase 1 and Phase 2 can both be attainable winners. Of course, another option is to just vote for Phase 2 next year – I am all for paying to get Phase 2 done now. I can see the benefit and vision to do it all now and save money in the long run – but others may not – this is why we plan, prioritize and then vote. The one thing Citizens have great power in – is their vote. Regards, Chris

      • Jack Kennedy says

        Chris, thanks for the reply. You simply cannot compare the problems of the current tiny awkward little pool to new full size pool. Again, I don’t think this project needs to be as big as it’s become. We want a pool that everyone can use now. Not 3 lanes, a lazy river and bunch of other things. My vote is still no. And I’ve spent the last 3 days driving and back and fourth twice a day for my daughter to swim at KCAC. No one wants a new pool here more than me. I just don’t want to pay more in taxes for things we don’t need. Build a full size pool that can be used by everyone first. Then ask later for the specialized expensive things that can’t or won’t be used by everyone. I don’t want to pay for excess items that I can’t use until “phase 2” which may or may not happen 10 years from now. But thanks for your comment.

    • Unfortunately, if it doesn’t pass this year, they won’t pursue it again. If it’s voted down, Si View Parks will lose the critical grant money needed for the project. From what I understand, it’s now or never. If this isn’t built, the Snoqualmie YMCA may end up being the only future option, which will be very pricey for non-members and won’t take into account the needs of the wider community.

  4. Erin Siebert says

    My husband and I will adamantly vote yes! A bigger pool designed with our growing community in mind is essential, and this is a well-planned project. It had been researched, the community has given input, and Si View staff are exceptionally capable of running programs that will help the pool recoup much of the cost. We have been lucky to get into swimming lessons this summer, but the waiting lists are long. I would love for my children to swim for MSHS someday, but right now they have to drive to Issaquah for practice. We need to have a decent pool here in our community. Please vote yes!

  5. Disjointed community (Snoqualmie vs North Bend) is a problem. Common sense would think a coordinated effort would apply but this is not the case. Building a pool for all of Snoqualmie Valley should only be undertaken if it has broadbased support.

    • Bruce J Sullivan says

      I think most people would agree with you on this. Unfortunately, the former mayor of Snoqualmie has felt differently. It is no secret that a community pool on Snoqualmie Ridge has been his pet project for at least 15 years. He’s not backed any kind of feasibility or practicality study. Where we needed community leaders to come together and work out what’s best for the entire valley, he has verbally undermined the idea of any pool outside of the ridge, as well as the work of the SVMPD which has an excellent track record going back nearly 20 years. SVMPD commissioners are publicly elected. Every bond they have submitted was the result of many rounds of citizen input. The entire process has always been fully open to the public. There were no pet projects, secretive conversations, or muddled private operation of publicly funded facilities. SVMPD has always delivered upon what was promised, and they have run their facilities professionally and within budget. The citizens have rewarded their professionalism and success with great confidence, passing every bond submitted since 2003 by a wide margin.
      I’m not besmirching the YMCA at all. But IF they build a pool it will be on the ridge, generally targeted at ridge residences, and will absolutely fall short of this proposed facility, but also of the needs of valley residents. The valley doesn’t need nor can it support two pools. Either one or none will be built. This one has been planned for some time, openly and professionally, along with feasibility studies. There is an opportunity to ensure that it happens, and it’s right here. There are no card tricks with this proposal.

  6. This project and the proposed costs fails to provide a reasonable benefit for living in the Si View district and paying the additional taxes. The assesment says that for my family of 5, I would be paying more per year ($800+$240 phase 1 tax+unspecified phase 2 tax) than someone outside the district ($960) after phase 2. There is no reason I (or the thousands that will never touch the pool) need to subsidize the City of Snoqualmie’s residents (or others in the service area) use of a community pool with this tax. This is going to be used heavily by everyone in the valley and without everyone paying a fair share, this proposal is a No from me.

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