Grant for park to cancel property tax

Property owners in the South Whidbey Parks and Rec District won’t have to continue paying off a bond.

Thanks to a federal grant, property owners located within the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District won’t have to continue paying off a particular bond in 2023 and 2024.

In 2019, voters approved a five-year, $379,000 bond to go towards the purchase of 40 acres of land formerly known as the Waterman Property. The land, located off Maxwelton Road near South Whidbey School District property, has an existing network of trails. A grassroots effort to save it from being logged and developed caught the attention of the parks and rec district.

The Waterman Property was renamed to Maxwelton Trails Park in 2021. The parks and rec district is weeks away from adding its first trail to the property, which will provide access from Maxwelton Road to the trails already on the land.

Doug Coutts, executive director of the parks and rec district, explained that the district was waiting to hear back about a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant that it had applied for around the same time that the district decided to ask voters for the bond issue. The district told the community that if it ended up receiving the grant for the project, it would reimburse property owners.

The district has been awarded $221,000 in grant funds, which is good news for those who pay property taxes in the district. This amount will cover the remaining $156,270 that needs to be paid on the bond, negating the need for property owners to pay it over the next two years.

“We’re very happy to have this paid off early and relieve the taxpayers of that burden,” Coutts said.