Updated April 2014
Q. What is the Greater Clark Parks District?
A. The Greater Clark Parks District was created in February 2005 when voters in the unincorporated urban area outside Vancouver passed Proposition 1.
The result was a property tax-based metropolitan parks district, overseen by the Board of County Commissioners, to pay for maintenance and some construction for 30 neighborhood parks, five community parks, seven miles of walking trails and 41 sports fields.
The remaining property acquisition, planning, design, permitting and construction costs are paid by park impact fees, real estate excise taxes, grants and donations.
Q. Why are you changing the parks district program?
A. The economic downturn and specifically the depressed housing market has significantly reduced the amount of real estate excise taxes collected in Clark County. From 2006 to 2010, real estate tax revenue dropped by 70 percent.
With such a sharp decline, the Board of County Commissioners decided in early December 2011 to use the remaining real estate tax revenue to make debt payments on the Public Service Center and other county facilities instead of on park projects.
As of April 2014, county budget officials projected that available real estate tax revenue would continue to be needed for debt payments on county buildings and not be available for park construction.
Q. How many park development projects will be affected?
A. The county has completed construction on 25 parks and 26 sports fields since the Greater Clark Parks District levy was approved by voters in 2005. The county will proceed with construction of Chinook Neighborhood Park and Dogwood Neighborhood Park in 2014, but development plans for eight remaining parks and 15 sports fields remain on hold until funding is available.
Q. What is the status of the trails portion of the program?
A. Volunteer trail building may move forward in established trail corridors if resources are available. Staff will assess the trail corridors for potential trail building opportunities.
Q. What is the outlook for sports fields?
A. A number of sports leagues have been supportive of the Greater Clark Parks District. They have fields at existing parks and at Luke Jensen Sports Park, which opened in 2012. As funding and partnerships become available, Clark County will consider how to move the remaining sports fields forward. For more information, please contact Eric Christensen at Clark County Parks by calling (360) 397-2285 ext. 1680, or emailing Eric.Christensen@clark.wa.gov.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. For more information, please contact:
Jeff Mize, Clark County Public Works
Phone: (360) 397-6118 ext. 4398