Bend parks likely to ask for bond

The Bend Park & Recreation District Board is likely poised to ask voters in November to approve a $29 million bond for park improvements.

If the board goes forward with the bond proposal, it will be a downgrade from its initial discussions of a $31 million bond. The board discussed bond options at a work session Tuesday night and will vote on a bond proposal and recommendation at its July 3 meeting.

Don Horton, the district’s executive director, recommended the board eliminate one project — a study that would have explored ways to get rid of silt at Mirror Pond.

That study’s cost was estimated at $400,000.

Horton told the board the Mirror Pond situation is a polarizing issue, with some people thinking the pond should be dredged and others questioning the district’s involvement. As a result, the item would consume a lot of time to explain to people, he said.

“I think the community’s still struggling on what ought to be done and who should be responsible,” Horton said.

Board member Dallas Brown said leaving the Mirror Pond project off is a good idea.

“I don’t think it’s our issue exclusively and I don’t think it’s the best thing to have on the bond,” he said.

And based on low support in a poll, the bond proposal will no longer include a skate park, a project estimated at $500,000.

The district is still crunching numbers and hasn’t fine-tuned where the rest of the cuts — about $1.1 million from the original bond proposal — will come from. The proposal calls for about $11 million of property acquisitions along with another roughly $18 million in projects.

But Horton said savings will be found throughout the proposal process and costs are only estimates at this point.

Board Vice Chairman Scott Asla called the proposal a “golden opportunity,” noting it asks the community for a smaller investment than what the cost would have been five years ago.

The goal is to keep the proposal’s tax increase at less than $50 a year for the average homeowner, Horton said.

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

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