King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski helps lead the Council’s budget process, secures major investments for community sports and recreation access and facility improvements in North King County
King County’s 2017-18 biennial budget, adopted this week, includes significant investments in sports and recreation facilities for north King County. Metropolitan King County Council Vice-Chair Rod Dembowski, who helped craft the final county budget, was able to secure more than $1 million in new sports and recreation funding for Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and Woodinville area residents.
“Our community’s kids and adults need places to play and recreate. North King County sports and recreation facilities are not adequate to meet today’s demand,” said Dembowski. “I have heard the concerns and am pleased that King County will be able to partner with North King County cities and non-profits to provide expanded recreation opportunities for both youth and adults in north King County.”
The grants will support programs in North King County that help both youth and adults become and stay active, including:
• $611,000 for Saint Edward State Park to upgrade ballfields in partnership with the City of Kenmore
• $325,000 for the Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area to start a new program to help fund future youth recreation facilities in North King County
• $25,000 for the City of Lake Forest Park to fund park improvements
• $20,000 for the Northshore YMCA to fund afterschool youth programs, including its successful “Hang Time” program
• $10,000 for the Northshore Senior Center to fund senior fitness programs
• $150,000 in countywide funds for bicycle-related infrastructure in the regional trail system, including the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River and Tolt Pipeline Trails.
The funds secured by Dembowski originate from King County’s Sports Facilities Grant Program which is funded by a one percent tax on rental cars. Since 1993, King County has allocated 25 percent of the car rental tax collected to fund the Youth Sports Facilities Grants Program, with the remaining 75 percent of the tax used to service the debt on the former Kingdome. This year, due to the retirement of the Kingdome bonds, all of the rental car tax collected will be allocated to youth or amateur sport activities or facilities.
The County will bond a small portion of this expanded revenue stream to jump start the expanded program. Competitive grants will be available in future years for similar programs and projects. The expanded program includes new ongoing scholarship support for youth who are not otherwise able to afford fees and other costs associated with organized sport programs.
Community Leader Quotes:
“The City of Kenmore thanks Councilmember Dembowski for this significant investment in the new ballfield project at Saint Edward State Park,” said Kenmore Mayor David Baker. “These dollars are a major boost to our plans to revitalize currently unplayable ballfields at Saint Edward State Park, for youth and adults, and ensure Kenmore continues its designation as a “Playful City.”
“Having been in the Y’s Hang Time program during my time at Kenmore Junior High School, I know how valuable it is to have an afterschool program that keeps teens active as well as focused on academics said Shachaf Zahavy-Mittelman a Senior at Inglemoor High School and teen member of the Northshore YMCA Board of Managers. “I extend my appreciation for these investments in North King County’s youth. From all the teens benefitting from this and the members of the board, thank you!”
“Our shared goal is to help our young people to reach their full potential – especially those in most need,” said Bothell City Councilmember James McNeal. “The grant will enable our Northshore communities to build a strong youth program serving the families across Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville. We are excited to be creating a youth program that includes a safe place to learn and participate in life-enhancing programs like character and leadership development, life skills, the arts and sports and recreational activities facilitated by caring adults.”
“The Northshore YMCA is excited to receive this grant from King County,” said Andy Sharpe, Associate Executive Director of the Northshore YMCA. “These funds will allow us to continue our partnership with the Northshore School District and offer fun, after school activities at junior high schools. Students have a safe place to connect with mentors, complete homework, participate in physical activity and have a healthy snack. We look forward to deepening this partnership in the coming year with these funds.”