Park land purchase on ballot Tuesday

"Polls open TuesdayThe polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Tuesday for people voting in the presidential primary as well as in the local elections for the South Whidbey School District levy and the Parks District bond proposal. For polling place information or other election questions, call the Island County Auditor's Office at 321-5111.On Tuesday, South Whidbey voters will give a yea or nay to spending $1.45 million in bond money to purchase and improve land for the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.If the district gets 60 percent of the voters' blessings in the election, it will spend $336,000 to purchase 30 acres of farm and forest land on Langley Road.Parks director Jerry Cole said the purchase could save the district as much as $400,000 in land development costs when it starts developing new soccer and baseball fields over the next few years. Last fall, the district purchased a 40-acre parcel adjoining the park and planned to develop 20 acres into ball fields. However, the property is so wet the district would have to put several hundred thousand dollars into earthwork even before it started building fields. The 30 acres the district is considering now is largely flat, is on high ground, and is close to the park's water system hookup.The bond will be used for a number of purposes, if it passes. The district will purchase the new acreage, develop soccer fields on the new land, convert soccer fields on current park land into baseball fields, develop new trails, and install restrooms, concessions, and parking facilities to service the new fields. The bond will cost property owners 7 cents for every $1,000 of their property value. The duration of the bond is 20 years.The district could also triple the size of its woodland trail system if it purchases the Langley Road acreage. Two or more miles of new trails could developed for all trail users."

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