Voters overwhelmingly approve Bellevue parks levy

Bellevue voters have overwhelmingly approved a new parks and natural areas levy by a margin of two to one.

With more than 95 percent of precincts counted, 66 percent of Bellevue voters had approved the measure. Final results may vary slightly as remaining votes are counted.

"I am so pleased that our citizens voted to continue Bellevue's long-standing commitment to enhance our award winning parks system and to preserve open spaces,” said Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger. “The City Council is looking forward to delivering these great new amenities to our community. Our legacy of environmental stewardship is something that all of us should look upon with pride.”

The levy, which replaces one due to expire this year, will provide $40.5 million to protect water quality in Bellevue's lakes and streams and preserve additional natural areas throughout the city. Key projects the levy will fund, include:

Trail and natural area improvements in Coal Creek Park and Lewis Creek Park;

Completion of the circle around the waterfall and reflecting pond at Bellevue Downtown Park;

Upgrades to synthetic turf for Wilburton and Newport Hills soccer fields;

Expansion of Crossroads Community Center;

Improvements to the Bellevue Botanical Garden;

The addition of neighborhood parks in Bridle Trails and along West Lake Sammamish Parkway;

Redevelopment of Surrey Downs Park; and

Development of a new 27-acre community park in the Eastgate area along 156th Avenue Southeast.

The measure also includes funding to ensure that new parks are maintained and operated consistent with Bellevue standards.

The council voted in July to place the replacement parks levy before voters on the Nov. 4 ballot. The levy tax rate is 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $71 per year for a typical home in Bellevue. That is less than the average tax rate associated with the expiring 1988 levy, which had an average tax rate of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

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