2016 Election Guide

Eastmont Community Park is a gem, a treasure. It is both creator and storehouse of memories for generations, for East Wenatchee and beyond. We should be grateful community leaders had the foresight to set this land aside for parks so many years ago. What began as greenspace beyond the city limits has become a community focal point and outlet, a commons, a place to gather or expend healthy energy, for young and old.

At the north end, the Eastmont Aquatic Center is vital, the only broadly accessible, full-size year-round facility for aquatic sports and exercise in the area. Like the park, it is immensely valuable but aging rapidly. The pool management collaboration with the YMCA appears to work very well, but that does not help equipment.

Click here to read the news report about the proposed bond.

To preserve and improve these assets the Eastmont Metropolitan Park District board has placed on the coming ballot a proposal to issue $4 million in general obligation bonds, repaid in 20 years. If 60 percent of voters approve, the bonds will provide $3.5 million to modernize the Eastmont Pool, and $500,00 to upgrade playground equipment at Eastmont Park. It will cost property owners an estimated 8 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, or $24 a year for a $250,000 home. Such bargains do not come around often.

The swimming pool upgrades are not glamorous, mostly nuts and bolts: new high-efficiencyHVAC, locker room, restrooms, handicapped access, weatherization and exterior improvements, lighting, administrative offices, acoustical treatments and more. The equipment to be replaced was installed in 1973 and has outlived its expected lifespan times two. Replacing that equipment is an investment well beyond the cash flow of a parks district, but possible with bonded debt. The changes give the pool a new lease on life, and a more comfortable and efficient facility.

The playground upgrade removes the surviving structures left from the original installation of 1969. New will be a splash pad, an aviation-themed play structure, and space for adult fitness activity.

All these improvements genuinely match the priorities gained through several rounds of public comment. The Park Board has done its homework, found out what is important to its constituents and reacted in kind. This modest proposal will do well for us now, and build for the future. That is good public policy, worthy of a yes vote.

This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Managing Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.