Commitment to three parks on Nov. 5 ballot

LYNDEN ­— Voters will see on their Nov. 5 ballots a $3 million bond proposal to help develop and improve parks for the community’s future.

The idea is brought by the Lynden Regional Parks and Recreation District, worked out closely with the City of Lynden. The recreation district is identical in its boundaries to the Lynden School District.

Elected officials of those entities cannot themselves promote a benefiting money measure, so a citizen promotion committee has been formed to get the word out. Chair Ryan Van Driel spoke to the Lynden Noon Kiwanis Club last week on basics of the plan.

He said that the property tax amount asked of a $400,000 home owner is about $2.50 per month, or $30 per year, over a 20-year bond term.

The money distribution is threefold:

  • $1 million for development on about half of the 40-acre Benson Road former farm of the Heusinkveld family. A barn needs to be reconditioned to be usable for events. Water and sewer service need to be extended, parking space and restrooms created. Paths, shrubbery and a Benson Park entrance are envisioned.
  • $1.8 million for initial development of the city’s acquisition of about 9 acres in the center of Lynden along Fishtrap and Pepin creeks. The wooded acreage between Double Ditch Road and North 17th Street will be called Dickinson Park, after its longtime owner Roland Dickinson. It is “a hidden gem,” Van Driel said. The main first goal is to create connections to existing city trail, which will have to include two bridges over the streams. 
  • $200,000 to aid the overall community campaign to buy the Glenning Schoolyard property surplused by the Lynden School District. The four acres is in central Lynden bounded by Glenning, Edson, Sixth and Eighth streets. More than $535,000 has already been given by community members toward $1.45 million to be raised over the next two years.

Van Driel noted that money toward an extension of the Jim Kaemink Sr. Trail along Fishtrap behind the former Lynden Middle School is not included in this bond package. The city has been planning this trail segment and continues to apply for state money to help make it happen.

To be approved, it’s estimated the bond proposal will need about 3,000 Yes votes from Lynden district voters.

“A lot of this is big-picture thinking for the future and for kids,” Van Driel said.

The Lynden Regional Parks and Recreation District has now paid off the 20-year $1.1 million bond that was passed by Lynden voters in 1998 to pay for buying the northern 21 acres of today’s Bender Fields.