November is just around the corner, and most of our neighbors have received their 2020 ballots. There are many ways we can as a community come together to make our wishes known, and one of those ways is with our vote. We hope you will vote this season and support your friends, neighbors, and family in also casting their ballots. Your vote matters!
On the ballot you will find the Columbia Valley Park and Recreation District has a six year limited levy request to help create pocket parks in our community. These parks would be located according to which properties were available within the budget as well as where the community would like to see a park first. The plan is to have 4-5 small parks where community members can easily walk to within 5-10 minutes. You can read more about this in the Columbia Valley Park and Recreation District Comprehensive Plan Draft. It is currently available on our website (click here) and physical copies will be available at the North Fork Library and at the EWRRC after October 26th, 2020. Here is an excerpt from the Comprehensive Plan Draft:
The Benefits of Parks: The 2006 article, “The Benefits of Parks” by Paul M. Sherer (2006), released by the Trust for Public Land, outlines the many benefits associated with parks. Several of these benefits include:
- Health Benefits: Research shows that people exercise more when they have access to parks. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes, amongst other physical diseases. Exercise also promotes mental health by relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing psychological well-being. Time spent connecting with the natural world improves both physical and mental health.
- Property Value: Evidence suggests that parks and open space increase the value of neighboring residential and commercial property.
- Environmental Benefits: Parks provide many environmental benefits. For example, trees and other landscaping reduce air and water pollution.
- Social Development: Parks provide important social and community development benefits. They make neighborhoods more livable, offer recreational opportunities for all community members, including youth and families, and provide places where people can feel a sense of community.
- Crime Reductions: Research supports that access to public parks and recreational facilities can lead to a reduction in crime. Shared park spaces increase residents’ sense of community ownership and stewardship, provide a focus for neighborhood activities, expose youth to nature, connect community members, and clean up and increase visitation to previously vacant lots.
The levy is 60 cents for every $1000.00 of assessed value of a property in the district according to the Whatcom County Assessor. You can go here to search for your property and discover the assessed value. Assessed value is often quite different from market value. The levy, if approved, would be based on the value assessed by the county. Also on the Whatcom County Assessor you can learn when there is an exemption or tax relief.
The way to calculate the maximum amount which could be added to your property tax by this levy is to divide the assessed value by 1000 then multiply by .6. to discover the annual cost.
Once funding is secured it is estimated the CVPRD will be operating on an approximately $85,000 annual budget with 63,000 going toward building parks and 20,000 going toward two part time local positions with the district. Please note: no compensation is allowed according to the law for the volunteer commissioners and their work.