Faced with increasingly distressing economic news, many Islanders may conclude that it is the wrong time to be approving the parks and recreation levies that are on the November ballot. What we need to remember is that while these difficult times will pass, the damage to our parks and the loss of recreational opportunities that will result from our failing to approve these levies cannot be reversed.
Shoreline that is lost to erosion in Luther Burbank will never come back. The dozens of days each year that we and our children cannot use ball fields due to mud and pools of water will never be returned to us. The unsafe playground equipment that needs to be replaced will go unused or even worse could happen. The trees that are dying in Pioneer Park will never be brought back to life.
The parks and recreation levies offer us an opportunity to make improvements to Mercer Island now that will last for generations to come at a net cost of less than $100 per year for a home assessed at $1,000,000. I do not minimize the value of $100. At the same time, I recognize that even in difficult economic times, this is a good price to pay in order to protect our environment and our quality of life.
Our green spaces help define our community. I encourage all Islanders to use this opportunity to show what we value by looking beyond the immediate economic problems and toward a future that will include preserving our parks, improving our recreation spaces and keeping Mercer Island the great community we all value.