The Maple Valley City Council approved the $9,369,000 Summit Park project during the July 9 council meeting. They also approved a $700,000 contingency fund, according to Maple Valley City Manager Laura Philpot.
Summit Park, a new park near Four Corners, was proposed in 2010 and approved by the council to be built. The park is intended to include playing fields for softball/baseball and soccer, a skate park and other features.
According to Philpot, $4 million of the park fund will be coming from bonds. About $2.3 million will be coming from the Real Estate Tax (REET 2) and then a little over $1 million will be coming from Park Impact Fees.
Philpot explained that the REET tax is a restricted fund and will never expire. She said this tax is to be used toward planning, construction, repair and other necessities for the park. Park Impact Fees are another restricted fund and are collected during development. Philpot said each new residential unit constructed within in Maple Valley is charged $2,754 and that money can only be spent on Park Capitol projects.
The $700,000 contingency fund is available if “unforeseen” problems come up during construction, the city can pay that extra amount without delaying the contractor, according to Philpot.
“Our hope is that we don’t touch any of it, but there’s often things that happen that we couldn’t have anticipated during design,” she said.
If the contingency fund is not used, Philpot said the money will go back into their REET and park impact fees, that way the money is available for other park capital projects in the future.
During the council meeting, the council members discussed the funds that they had already anticipated using for Summit Park and were trying to see where they were on revenues that the city has seen over the last 18 months. This is because the bids for the park came in hire than they thought they were going to, according to Philpot.
“When the council originally authorized the $10.7 million to construct the (Lake Wilderness) playground, the Beach House and Summit Park, they anticipated a certain amount of revenues to come in over through to the end of 2018 to fund those. They (the council) were conservative, which we are always conservative when we anticipate revenues, but they also anticipated bonding for $4 million — general obligation bonds — to be paid back by our real estate excise tax,” Philpot explained. “When we re-looked at that we said that if we held that bond to $4 million like they originally had authorized, then where were the rest of the funds? Have we collected enough additional revenues to cover that gap? We have (the funds) so that’s why they made they (the council) approved the project last night (July 9).”
By the end of 2024, Philpot said the city will have all of their debts paid off for previous projects, meaning the Summit Park debt will be their biggest debt moving forward.
Construction for Summit Park should begin in August 2018, according to Philpot and then will be completed Spring of 2019.
“I think this is going to be great for the city. We hear over and over from citizens that we’re lacking in ball parks and I think it’s a real need that the council is filling,” Philpot said.