County Executive Dow Constantine announced his plan to renew the King County Parks Levy on Feb. 21.
The current King County Parks Levy — approved by voters in 2013 — is scheduled to expire Dec. 31. Constantine’s proposal for the August primary election ballot would generate an estimated $738 million over the next six years.
The proposed 2020-25 King County Parks Levy would expand King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space.
“My plan delivered to the council today, ensures that we manage and maintain our today, 28,0000 acres of parks and trails,” Constantine said at the Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center. “And that we persevere, protect and restore the natural beauty that makes this place so special.”
Constantine added that the proposal is not just about access to parks and recreation — it’s about the generational investment “in our environment.”
His proposed plan includes building and designing regional trails, improving trailheads by adding parking and signage, replacing 11 ball fields, rehabilitating play area equipment in six parks, repairing trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, and maintaining park infrastructure (pathways, roofs and fencing).
“This parks levy advances my environmental priorities,” Constantine said. “To preserve and protect rivers and forests, and to do our part to tackle climate pollution.”
The renewed levy could cost 16.82 cents per $1,000 of assessed property values. An owner of a home valued at $500,000 would pay about $7, which is about $2 more per month.
$60 million would be allocated to King County cities to support local parks and recreation and $35 million would go to cities to protect and obtain open space. Woodland Park Zoo would receive $36 million for conservation and environmental educational programs for under-served youth. And $8 million would be provided to Seattle Aquarium to construct its new Ocean Pavilion.
The proposed levy would also continue providing funding for the Community Partnerships and Grants Program. And about $1 million per year would go toward equity-focused grants.
Some regional trails investments in the proposed levy include opening about 12 miles of the 16-mile-long Eastside Corridor to the public (making accessible the Wilburton Trestle and connecting the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville), paving the final part of the East Lake Sammamish Trail to complete the 11-mile long corridor to connect the cities of Redmond, Sammamish, and Issaquah.
“The parks, trails and open spaces we create and care for today are smart and, I believe, essential investments in the future of our communities,” said executive director of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Jon Hoekstra. “[The levy] proposal [will be] ensuring that people in all communities have access to green places and wild spaces in King County.“