Parks overcrowded, vote yes on parks bond

Saturday mornings at Lake Wilderness Park are lovely and crowded from spring through the end of fall

Parks overcrowded, vote yes on parks bond

Saturday mornings at Lake Wilderness Park are lovely – and crowded – from spring through the end of fall. This one of the many reasons I implore Maple Valley residents to vote yes on the parks bond that will be on the Feb. 14 ballot hitting your mailboxes soon.

When you visit Lake Wilderness Park, you will find youth sports such as Kidz Love Soccer classes, tee ball, peewee soccer, happening in the meadow near the lake or the outfield of Patrick’s Field. You will find boaters on the lake, and once fishing season opens, folks with poles in the water from the dock or boats. There are often church services on the shore of the lake. You will also find weddings happening at Lodge, tennis players on the courts, families on the walking paths, groups celebrating birthdays or reunions in the shelters or around the barbecues scattered around the facility and youngsters sliding, swinging or running around the playground.

Then visit Tahoma Junior High after you’re done at the park. You will likely find me watching Lyla, my 7-year-old daughter, playing micro mod soccer. She is one of about 1,000 children ranging from 6 to 18 in age playing under the auspices of the Maple Valley Soccer Association. The grass field behind the school is teeming with small soccer players. You would also find those youth playing there many weekday afternoons and evenings. When it rains – which is often, given our particular climate – the field is sloppy. In the fall, several practices and a game, were canceled because of the field conditions caused by the rain. When we’re lucky enough to get time at Ravensdale fields, it’s a great place to play. Unfortunately, the demand is so great, our micro mod team only got one game there in the fall. This parks bond, if approved, would allow construction of turf fields which would allow for better playing conditions in our rainy weather.

Youth athletes in Tahoma Bears junior football, Tahoma Lacrosse, MVSA, Maple Valley Pony baseball as well as Little League softball and baseball are also competing for field space at Tahoma School District facilities because there aren’t enough facilities to go around among the school, city and private organization teams. There are more than 3,500 children in our city of 25,000 playing in private sports. There are many more playing in city parks and recreation leagues. There is also growing interest in the city’s adult athletic offerings, which comes as no surprise given how active our community is in general.

What the city currently offers is well below the minimum experts consider necessary for a city of our size for recreational needs. The proposed bond would fund two parks, which would bring many athletic fields for young people, but it would also bring a dog park, trails, a skate park and a playground. I will benefit from all of this as a parent and as a runner. I will also benefit from increased home values thanks to added amenities, which will enhance our community as a whole.

There are those who oppose this parks bond because they do not see a direct benefit to themselves. Parks facilities and recreation programs are a benefit to everyone in a community even if they do not always use them. There will be opportunities to attract visitors as well as allow our families to stay in Maple Valley for practices during the week and games or tournaments on the weekends, which will pump money into our local businesses when people buy dinner at a restaurant or snacks at the grocery store. This could in turn make us more attractive to other types of businesses. There are those who oppose this proposal because they do not wish to pay more in taxes. I would pay about $9 more per month, which is about what I pay for a bag of Java! Java! Coffee at Ristrettos once a month. The investment in our community is worth it. When you make it possible for families to play where they live, you create something greater than the benefit to any individual and it has far-reaching impact s which far outweigh, in my opinion, the small increase to my property tax bill.

I have lived in Maple Valley for more than a decade. The city continues to grow and our parks facilities have not kept up. It is time to catch up when the price is reasonable and before demand pushes out anyone who is interested in spending time playing in the city they live in during their free time. I encourage you to vote yes as an investment in this wonderful community.

Kris Hill

Maple Valley

Thank you for the help during sickness

I am still recovering from a combined attack of pneumonia and influenza which sent me to the hospital for 6 days, but wanted to thank everyone who helped me in some way.

I will not mention names, as I know it would embarrass my friends and neighbors, but they will know who they are.

The one who took me to Multicare ER on Christmas night, and waited for over 3 hours. The one that took me back to ER 2 nights later, and stayed until she found out I needed to be hospitalized.

The wonderful nurse who made me as comfortable as possible that night, because I had to sleep on a gurney – no hospital beds were available anywhere.

The medics who transported me the next morning to Tacoma General Hospital, and were so thoughtful and kind.

My fantastic friends and neighbors who took care of my house, mail and laundry while I was in the hospital, who brought me personal items I needed, who sent flowers, and who visited me.

And when I got home, again my “special” people did so much – picked up prescriptions, shopped for groceries, brought my mail in, brought cords for my Kindle as I had forgotten mine in the hospital, made me homemade soup, and took out my garbage and recycle bins.

I have tried to remember every nice thing that was done for me, and if I missed anything, I apologize.

And last, but certainly not least, the firefighters and EMTS who responded so quickly to my 911 call the day after I got home from the hospital, and was running out of oxygen. What a great group of guys they were!

I am so lucky that I have you all around me – thank you again.

Anne Fee


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