12 Months of WWRP: Local Parks

November 30, 2017

Each month in 2017, we have highlighted one category for our “12 Months of WWRP” feature, and this month we close out the year with the Local Parks category!

WWRP Local Parks grants upgrade community parks and create new ones, helping to build vibrant communities, providing places for families to gather and play, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle in today’s technology age. The WWRP is the largest source of local parks funding in Washington, helping communities fund the acquisition, development, and renovation of vital recreation areas and green spaces.

Our featured Local Parks project is the proposed Kiwanis Methow Park Revitalization project in South Wenatchee. The project sponsor, the City of Wenatchee, has applied for a $500,000 grant from the WWRP and was highly ranked by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. Unfortunately, that money has not been dispersed due to the legislature’s failure to agree upon a Capital Budget.

It is vitally important that the Capital Budget is funded so that projects like this one can move forward, ensuring that communities like South Wenatchee can meet their residents’ needs.

South Wenatchee is a historically underserved community and is predominantly low-income, with 43 percent of households below the state median household income of $62,108. It has a high rate of obesity and lacks enough outdoor spaces for people to walk, run, bicycle or play.

And although the 1.26-acre Kiwanis Methow Park serves more children any other park in Wenatchee, it is sorely lacking in amenities and does not currently meet the community’s needs.

The singular picnic shelter is too small for family events or larger gatherings, and the park itself does not have enough restrooms or amenities to support its weekly farmer’s market or other community events.

The playground has no shade, making the surface of the play structure too hot to touch during summer months, and there is no comfortable shaded seating available for parents.

Finally, the soccer field is worn thin from overuse, and lacks one of its goal posts, which was stolen.

Along with the WWRP funding and the matching funds submitted by the City of Wenatchee, the project will receive LWCF funding, and various donations of cash and labor.

The Trust for Public Land is also partnering with the City of Wenatchee to fully renovate and improve the park to meet the unique needs of this growing urban community. They want the Kiwanis Methow Park to be part of South Wenatchee’s urban revival and plan to remake the park as a cultural hub that pays homage to the Latino roots of the community and the city’s agricultural heritage, and hope to recreate the park as a center for recreation, health, arts, and culture.

The new kiosk, designed by community members, will be a multipurpose venue for family gatherings, mariachi shows, baptisms, picnics, community events, and more.

The park will include walking paths, community gardens, nature play areas, a basketball court, and a multi-use sports field.

This park is sorely needed in this community, and its revitalization depends fully on the passage of the Capital Budget so that it will receive funding and the City can begin renovating the space. With the current lack of a Capital Budget in place, this highly-ranked project is stuck in limbo and cannot move forward.

The Coalition strongly urges the legislature to come to a bipartisan agreement as soon as possible, so that vital projects like the Kiwanis Methow Park Revitalization can move forward and benefit communities in need across the state.