Keep the vision of Bellevue parks alive

More than 50 years ago, the citizens of Bellevue had a vision for the community they were building. They wanted a place for families, where people were welcome and welcoming, filled with plenty of green spaces and natural areas that calm and refresh us in our daily lives and keep our air and waters clean. In short, they wanted a place where people could live.

Our community has supported this vision through regular, voter-approved levies that have created our amazing system of diverse parks and pristine natural areas. Today, our community enjoys special parks and public spaces like Kelsey Creek Farm, Downtown Park, the Botanical Gardens, Robinswood turf fields and Tennis Center, Crossroads Water Park, and Mercer Slough, plus public beaches, miles of hiking trails, sports fields and neighborhood parks for our children and families.

The last park levy was approved 20 years ago and is coming to an end. On November 4, Bellevue residents have the opportunity to continue the vision that has made Bellevue a “City in a Park” by once again voting “yes” to support Bellevue Parks and Natural Areas. The cost of the Parks and Natural Areas Levy – 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value – is actually less than the expiring levy and amounts to less than $6 per month for the typical homeowner. I hope you agree that the value to be gained from this measure is priceless.

Bellevue’s population is growing at an unprecedented rate. We must act now to address this growth and to preserve our natural areas before they are lost forever. To maintain our quality of life, this measure will preserve natural areas from development and protect the water quality in our lakes and streams. It will enhance existing parks including Downtown Park, Surrey Downs, Crossroads Park, and the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. Funds also will expand trails, provide safer, all-weather sports fields, and enhance neighborhood and community parks throughout the city.

Please join me in voting “yes” for Bellevue’s Proposition 1, the Bellevue Parks & Natural Areas Levy. It’s the last item on your ballot. I hope you agree that it is vitally important to the quality of life of our families and future generations.

Connie Marshall is a former mayor of Bellevue.

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