No matter if you are a frequent park user or one who benefits from the parks system in a more passive way, parks are for everyone! They keep us mentally and physically fit, increase our property values, preserve natural areas and wildlife, increase tourism, and offer a safe space for community connections. Join us in shaping the funding priorities for Tualatin’s parks.
As we have navigated the complex and challenging landscape of the last two years, it has been especially apparent to us how vital having safe parks and outdoor spaces for recreation is to our community’s health and wellbeing. There is a wealth of evidence that supports this, too: communities who participate in physical and mental wellness activities see a reduction in depression (McEachan et al. 2016; South et al. 2018), type 2 diabetes (Astell-Burt et al. 2014), symptoms of ADHD (Kuo & Taylor, 2004), cardiovascular and respiratory illness (Tamoslunas et al. 2014). In addition, these communities see improved cognitive development and brain function (Dadvand et al. 2015; Dadvand et al. 2016), longer life expectancy (Jonker et. al. 2014), and enhanced overall wellbeing and happiness (MacKerron & Mourato, 2013).
Given the positive impact that parks make on our entire community we are eager to support an investment in our parks and recreation system as a way to answer the physical and emotional needs of our community.
The Tualatin City Council is considering placing a funding measure for our parks on the November 2022 ballot. If voters approve it, the measure would support some of Tualatin’s most needed projects such as repairs to the Tualatin Community Park boat launch, additional sports facilities, and trail connectivity.
Parks have been getting a lot of attention recently, and for good reason! You have likely noticed the $5 monthly parks utility fee on your water bill. The utility fee created a funding source for ongoing maintenance and repairs to keep our parks safe and accessible. Before the fee, routine care of our system was funded from our city’s general fund which meant that dollars spent at parks equaled dollars not spent on other city programs, such as the library. With the park utility fee we can fund basic upkeep of our parks system.
You may have also heard about the system development charges (or SDC’s) that were adopted for new commercial buildings as well as residential new builds. SDC’s exist to provide additional parks or expand current amenities specifically based on growth. When the commercial SDC was added it simply included our commercial community partners in our plans for growth.
Why a bond too? The bond allows for larger projects that support the community’s recreational needs as well as the replacement of high dollar items. With it we can provide funding for larger projects that our community has voiced a need for including access to the river, improved sports facilities, and an enhanced trail system. Tualatin does not currently have a separate funding source for large parks projects. As a result, larger parks projects continue to be deferred.
We are asking fellow residents to weigh-in on bond measure priorities. Please take a moment to share your views by participating in the survey accessible through the QR provided. Be aware there will also be a phone survey this spring to gather additional feedback from the community – if you are one of the randomly selected participants, please take the call and share your voice.