Tualatin residents will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed parks bond this November.
If passed, the measure would authorize up to $25 million in bond funds to be used on various parks improvements throughout the city. It would be one of the largest recent parks improvement initiatives in Tualatin.
"The majority of our parks system was built in the '90s," said Tualatin City Councilor Christen Sacco, "and our parks have not really evolved with the times."
There are three signature projects the initiative would finance, Sacco said — one being a new pedestrian trail to connect the east and west sides of town, which are divided by Interstate 5.
The bond would also pay for the creation of new athletic fields and updates to the current ones, and it would improve waterfront access to the Tualatin River.
These signature projects are expected to cost $4 million, $7 million and $4.5 million, respectively, Sacco said.
If passed, it's estimated that property taxes will increase by about 29 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value.
"This means that if a house has an assessed value of $300,000, then the bond will cost just over $7 per month, or approximately $88 per year for our average homeowner in Tualatin today," Sacco said.
The new east-to-west trail corridor will offer a safe way for pedestrians and bikers to cross the freeway, Sacco said. By connecting to a lower-income portion of the city, it will also help residents without reliable transportation to access grocery stores and other city amenities.
"This is an easy access way to connect that part of our community to the grocery store, which is really important," Sacco said.
Sacco said the need for new athletic fields is long overdue, as the current ones are often overcrowded and have drainage issues. New fields will also bring in visitors from other cities during sports tournaments, which will help feed the local economy, she said.
"Tualatin currently doesn't have enough athletic fields to meet demand," Sacco said.
From Tualatin, waterfront access to the Tualatin River is limited to a concrete boat ramp in the Tualatin Community Park that is in need of repairs. New funding toward that area will enhance access and create a place for people to gather and relax.
"We really want to accentuate our river access to have a place where people can easily put in kayaks and paddleboards, and to sit along the river," Sacco said. "And right now, there's just not a place to do that."
The bond will also cover a few other projects, such as the completion of the long-anticipated Veterans Plaza in the Tualatin Commons and much-needed updates for Stoneridge Park, which has been neglected, said Sacco.
"We've been maintaining, but we haven't really been keeping up with the demand that people in the Pacific Northwest expect of their outdoor spaces," she said. "We really need this in order to bring that level of service to our community members."
Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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