County looking at helping North Whidbey Park and Recreation District

The Board of Island County Commissioners is interested in pursuing a one-year agreement with the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District for maintenance of its facilities after the park district’s replacement levy failed.

Commissioner Jill Johnson asked Public Works Director Bill Oakes to bring a cost estimate to the board’s work session on Wednesday. The maintenance on the Clover Valley dog park and ballfields would cost roughly $19,500 for the year, Oakes said at the meeting.

“I would hate to see the loss of the assets or see them go into disrepair,” said Commissioner Rick Hannold.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson showed interest in a potential agreement but was hesitant given the significant cost and obligations to other parks. Before making a decision, she wanted more information and a more exact figure for the cost.

“I just want to make sure we’re looking broad enough around our county parks projects and our facilities, because there are other needs across the whole county, and this may raise expectations in other areas,” she said.

Johnson disagreed about the need for a broader conversation. She said her district doesn’t ask for much park funding typically, and this would be a short-term fix until the park district could either pass a replacement levy or create a new plan for funding.

“I don’t want this to be a big picture conversation,” she said. “what I want to do is meet a need for a year.”

The county used to maintain the Clover Valley dog park per an agreement with the district, until the recession occurred and the county ended the agreement, Oakes said, but the county has never maintained the ballfields at the facility.

The majority of the board agreed to allow Oakes to continue looking into the feasibility of an agreement, including seeking out potential volunteers or community fundraising efforts to help.

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