Metro parks receives money, begins intense work


Irene Torres, KP News

The Key Peninsula Parks and Recreation District (KPPRD) and the newly formed KP Metropolitan Parks District (KPMPD) are working together, and quite well, despite a number of hurdles yet to be crossed, according to commissioners who are on both boards. The two boards are in the process of transitioning park assets from the old organization to the new one according to the law.

The KPMPD budget projections for the next year, for a total of $90,000, have been submitted to Pierce County, and the county has turned over KPMPD’s share of the collected per capita zoo/trek excise tax. KPMPD had $27,000 in its treasury as of mid-August, and projects an annual collection of $90,000 over the coming year.

KPMPD, already functioning, has signed an interlocal agreement with KPPRD for a $10,000 purchase of Home Park. “Under an obscure law, the KPPRD cannot gift its assets to a metropolitan park district. The sale of the property to the KPMPD will enable KPPRD to pay off its election expenses and pay its utility bill. When the property is transferred in late August or early September, there will be a symbolic ceremony to mark the event,” according to Kip Clinton, KPPRD commissioner and clerk of the KPMPD.

Ed Taylor, the KPMPD representative to the Land Acquisition Committee, will be involved in negotiations for interlocal agreements for acquisition of Rocky Creek Conservation Area and other future park land. Other volunteers are needed to participate in master planning/design of the park system, to negotiate interlocal agreements with entities such as the school district, and to write grants.

KPMPD board members hope to reach agreement with the KPPRD by year’s end, to allow KPMPD to take over ownership of KP Sports Center and Fairgrounds (Volunteer Park). Any major capital expenditures at that location will be applied as payments toward the purchase price, against the asset value. The expense of lighting the parking lot, the addition of security lighting, and improvement to the water system at the KP Sports Center are examples. The water system is being upgraded with a larger pump and lines extended to the edge of the property, thanks to a generous donation by former KPPRD Commissioner Fred Ramsdell. Insurance companies require ownership to be clearly established before they will issue a policy, so both groups are moving the interlocal agreement along.

Early on the agenda for next year will be an application for matching funds through the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), funding for which KPMPD qualifies, if they can raise up to $150,000. That money will be used for capital improvements and park land development at the sports center.

KPMPD plans to add staff next year; but this year, the current park maintenance employee and volunteers worked overtime to get ready for the fair, Clinton said.

These efforts follow the original plan for the KPMPD when it was formed, she added. “The plan, all along, was for the KPPRD to go out of business,” Clinton explained.

The three current commissioners who serve on both park boards see no need to resign before dissolving the KPPRD. “It doesn’t make sense to replace three commissioners on the KPPRD for the one or two months it might take to complete the transition,” she said.