We love our parks! The challenge for this campaign is helping voters understand why they should pass two funding measures to continue making progress. Passage of the Bond provides necessary funds to underwrite projects that ensure proposed Parks and Recreation Facilities are built and and existing facilities are updated to serve a growing population. Passage of the Operating Levy is necessary to provide funds that will operate and maintain parks and recreation facilities in Eugene and improve safety in parks.
While these are separate ballot measures, full implementation of the bond measure depends upon passage of the local-option levy to fund maintenance of proposed new and enhanced facilities.
The parks, trails, and recreation opportunities in Eugene improve our quality of life and are an important investment in our future. The longer we wait to restore and maintain our parks, trails, and recreation facilities, or to address homeless encampments, the more it will cost us in the long run. By making investments today, we can avoid more costly problems in the future, and will leverage millions of dollars in matching funds. Our parks, trails, playgrounds, community centers, and pools provide affordable recreation for everyone. These measures can improve equal access to safe recreation close to home.
Currently, the Eugene parks maintenance program has a $2.4 million operating and maintenance gap and our facilities are aging. We are falling behind. These measures are the culmination of a 3-year effort by the Parks & Open Space and Recreation Services divisions, with input from more than 12,000 individuals, to create a plan for the future of the Eugene parks and recreation system.
For typical home owner home value
The 5-year levy will fill that maintenance gap and add funding for park safety and security, homeless encampment clean-up, graffiti removal, improved general park cleanliness and maintenance, enhanced habitat and natural area maintenance as well as future park, pool, field and community center maintenance. The increased maintenance funds allow $24 million of matching funds to be used to build eight new and enhanced parks. Click here for a list of specific levy-based improvements.
The Eugene park and recreation bond will be used exclusively for park renovation, trail and habitat projects, safety/lighting improvements, pool and recreation facility renovation. Two-thirds of the bond funds will be used to rehabilitate existing pools, senior center and parks. Click here for a list of specific projects proposed for bond funding.
All areas of Eugene will see improvements. 70% of the bond and 96% of matching funds will be spent on projects North of 11th avenue. Seven new parks will be constructed in underserved neighborhoods: Striker Field, Mattie Reynolds, Santa Clara Community, Ferndale, West Bank, Riverfront and Phase I of a Sports Complex in Bethel. Bathrooms will be reopened along with lighting and irrigation improvements citywide. Habitat restoration will occur in the Ridgeline trail system and West Eugene wetlands. New trails and trail and habitat restoration will occur in nine of Eugene’s natural areas around the city.
Bond funds must be spent only on the projects listed in the city council resolution unless funds are left after all projects are completed. Additional accountability is ensured by an annual written report by an outside auditor on the use of the bond proceeds that will be publicly available, with additional oversight by a citizen advisory board and its own annual report. Levy funds will be budgeted and accounted for in separate funds easily identified, and a citizen advisory board will review spending for compliance to levy intention.
The current $50 million capital repair backlog on our parks and recreation facilities will worsen, and the $2.4 million operations and maintenance gap will widen. The longer we wait to restore and maintain our parks, trails, and recreation facilities, or to address homeless encampments, the more it will cost us in the long run. By making investments today, we can avoid more costly problems in the future.
Eugene Parks Foundation, former Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, Eugene Civic Alliance, League of Women Voters, Eugene Kidsports, among many others.