This is simply a once-in-a-generation opportunity to continue investment in the parks

Growing up in Lake Oswego during the '70s & '80s we had it pretty good. There was swimming, the big city (Portland) nearby and plenty of open space to fill our days until hunger and exhaustion drove us home.

Your YES Vote supporting the 2019 Parks Bond will ensure a future of open spaces and fields key to Lake Oswego's youth sports and youth activity programs. This parks bond renewal will generate $30 million, be repaid over a 20-year period, and at 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed value renews at the same rate as the previous parks bond. This is simply a once-in-a-generation opportunity to continue investment in the parks and open spaces on which youth sports and positive outdoor activities rely.

It is more important than ever for our kids to get outdoors and be physically active. Recent research shows that physically active children are one tenth as likely to be obese, have up to 40% higher test scores, higher self-esteem, stronger social bonds, live healthier lives and are more likely to raise active kids of their own.

Youth sports participation rates are highest between ages 7-12 and providing ample field space for our youth requires forward thinking like that of the parks bond renewal and the newly prioritized list of Capital Improvement Projects. The Lake Oswego Youth Sports Coalition, representing youth softball, baseball, soccer, football and lacrosse, relies on fields purchased and/or developed by the people of Lake Oswego primarily through parks bonds. Previous parks bonds have helped our city to acquire land or develop fields such as Hazelia, Waluga(s), Westlake, Rassekh, and perform major upgrades to George Rogers.

Year after year, one of the highest priorities communicated by the Lake Oswego Youth Sports Coalition, Lake Oswego School District and our Parks Department is the critical need for more field space and practice times. Our current fields are being used longer hours and demanding more maintenance than ever. In the movie Field of Dreams, we heard, "If you build it, they will come." In Lake Oswego, we hear, "Build it, they are already here." We need additional capacity and our youth sports programs are waiting to put it to immediate use.

Participation in youth lacrosse alone has increased nearly 30% over the last decade. Many dedicated Lake Oswego parents, leaving home at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday headed to Silverton, Clackamas, West Linn or even Bend have asked themselves, "Why doesn't Lake Oswego have this type of facility?" The fact is that Lake Oswego is behind other communities when it comes to field space, especially the type that can host the youth sports tournaments that brings families to our community rather than sending us to theirs.

Without a new parks bond, there will be little opportunity to discuss new parks or youth sports fields. The new parks bond will support a list of prioritized projects that includes athletic fields and other youth sports facilities.

Please vote YES by May 21 for the Lake Oswego Parks Bond Measure 3-548.

Scott Bullard is the co-chair of the Lake Oswego Parks Board.

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