Pullman residents to vote on ‘Parks and Paths’ Bond

Bond would fund projects, like new parks, without raising property tax rates


RACHEL SUN | Daily Evergreen File

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Pullman voters will decide on a replacement bond to improve city parks and pathways when they fill out their ballots.

The League of Women Voter’s Pullman chapter held an open house Monday night at Encounter Ministries, which is the location of the other City of Pullman bond, Proposition No. 1. In an unusual move, the nonpartisan group endorsed the bond for approval.

City of Pullman Proposition No. 2, which is the official name for the bond, would allocate $2.4 million in bonds to be used for repairs and upgrades to parks, as well as improvements and the creation of city paths.

“This is the third time the city has ran this bond,” Recreation Superintendent Kurt Dahmen said, “the first time was in the ‘90s and funded the city walkway project.”

He said that a survey is given to city staff and citizens every five years, where they can voice their concerns and what they think needs to be built or repaired around town.

The bond would fund projects without needing to raise property tax rates, Dahmen said. This means that owners of a $200,000 home would continue to pay the current levy rate of $33. The bonds, for which the city consults with Northwest Municipal Advisors in Bellevue, would be required to be repaid within 10 years.

“This would be a very successful bond in addressing some of those bigger capital issues,” Dahmen said.

The largest portion of the bond would be $675,000 to complete the Mary’s and Emerald Pointe Parks. Mary’s Park would contain restrooms and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant playground, according to a City of Pullman pamphlet. Emerald Pointe would provide a place for kids in the residential area on Sunnyside Hill to play, Dahmen said.

The second largest project that would be funded by the bond are improvements to Reaney Park, including the Reaney Park Pool. This portion of the bond allocates $450,000 for the improvements, which include replacing the pool liner and upgrading the restrooms and shower building.

“The liner part for the pool is about at the end of its usable life,” Dahmen said, “so we need to get in and get that replaced before we ultimately would have to close the pool.”

Overall improvements and additions to paths around town would cost the same as the improvements to Reaney Park. This would include paving the path from Center Street to Sunnyside Park, as well as creating paths from the Copper Basin area, near Pullman High School, that would end at Harrison Street, passing through Darrow Street on the way. They would also make paths leading to the new Kamiak Elementary School as it is developed, according to the bond pamphlet.

ADA compliance improvements are a large theme, being included in over half of the proposed projects. This includes making the restrooms and shower area at the Reaney Park Pool, the paths and shelter at Sunnyside Park, the Kruegel Park Shelter and the two new proposed parks ADA compliant. This is in part due to the City’s ADA Transition Plan, Dahmen said.

In addition to the upgrades and additions to the parks and paths, the smallest part of the bond would be allocated to purchase a band shell or portable staging for event use. The gazebo in Reaney Park has issues, Dahmen said.

“We don’t have [summer] performances anymore in the gazebo,” Dahmen said, “because that time of year is so hot, the sun is beating down on them, and the people that come to the concert like to sit in the shade, which creates a large gap between the audience and the performer.”

The city has been renting temporary staging from WSU to combat this issue, but this takes man hours and money, he said. Their hope is that the purchase of a temporary stage or band shell would eliminate these costs in the long run and would be useful for many events, including concerts and Fourth of July celebrations.

City Supervisor Adam Lincoln said that the bond has a good history of approval, as this is the third time it has appeared on the ballot. The two previous times, the bond passed, and Lincoln said that he thinks it should pass this time as well.

Ballots should be mailed out this Friday, Lincoln said.