What is Metropolitan Park District? …and why we support it

What is Metropolitan Park District? …and why we support it

Owl_Great Horned copyIn November 2015, City of Olympia voters passed the Metropolitan Park District ballot measure with more than 60% of the vote. The Black Hills Audubon Society supported this measure as it is considered critical to the effort to preserve the LBA Woods. Revenue generated from the Metro Park District property tax will help the City of Olympia acquire the 74-acre “Trillium” property that makes up half the 150-acre LBA Woods parcel.

Thanks to the timing of the passage of the Metro Parks District measure, the draft 2016 Olympia Parks, Arts, and Recreation Plan could include funding for many of the priority parks projects, such as the Capitol Center building site, Percival Landing, Woodland and West Bay trails, the protection of wildlife habitat, and the development of much-needed athletic fields. The District will have a citizen advisory committee that will report yearly to ensure that funds are spent as voters intended. The tax is expected to be around $100 per year for a $200,000 property within Olympia city limits. Without the MPD, Olympia’s parks would not have been able to fund the $4-million maintenance backlog or to acquire future parkland to meet the needs of Olympia’s growing population.

Thanks to all our BHAS members who supported this ballot measure in the general election. The City of Olympia hopes to complete the purchase of the 74-acre future park by June 30, 2016. After that time, the established walking trails through this beautiful upland forest will be accessible to the public. These woods are a refuge for many species of birds. BHAS birder Bob Wadsworth has observed 58 bird species in these woods over the past several years.

The LBA Woods Park Coalition, which has spearheaded the efforts to save all of the LBA Woods, is partnering with the Parks Department to organize an Adopt-A-Park program to organize volunteer work parties to assist with the maintenance and restoration of this park and to plan future educational programs. The Coalition is continuing its efforts to acquire the adjacent “Bentridge” parcel to fully protect this last, largest wooded parcel in the City of Olympia as parkland.