When the Fire Marshall identified fire safety issues at the Congregational Church and the Grange Hall, capacity was suddenly dropped to a maximum of 49 people at either location. Now the Island is woefully short on large events.
Max Capacity: 49
Max Capacity: 49
The Beach School gymnasium can handle larger crowds, and the Ferndale School District has been generous allowing island organizations to use it when it is available. But there are restrictions because of the kids. More problematic, the school lacks kitchen facilities for large events.
Where to confer, debate and celebrate?
A volunteer committee made up of Janice Holmes, Tamia Sorenson, Bob Auld and Randy Smith has been meeting to try and come up with a plan that would provide a mechanism to make a community center a reality.
Looking at Park & Recreation
They have concluded that the best way to accomplish this long term is by forming a Park and Recreation District as provided for under Washington State Law (RCW 36.69). A Park and Recreation District is a municipal corporation—a taxing district—that can be formed by the voters of Lummi Island. Under RCW 36.69 the district could collect $.60 per $1,000 of assessed property values. This addition to the property tax could raise approximately $140,000 per year. For example: a home assessed at $300,000 would pay $180 per year. The tax levy must be voted on every six years. All property owners, not just full time residents, would have this levy added to their property tax.
A Park & Rec District can include:Parks
Other recreational facilities
A Park and Recreation District is empowered to acquire real estate and construct or reconstruct buildings. It can also partner with other governmental entities (such as the school district or county) in shared use or joint venture agreements.
On the same ballot where the island would vote on a district, five commissioners would be elected to manage the Park and Recreation District. They would receive no compensation and the Whatcom County Treasurer would collect and disburse funds accruing to the PRD at the direction of the commission. A Park and Recreation District would also be eligible to apply for grants and other tax funds available to municipal corporations.
Planning for the 2017 Election
To form a district we need to collect signatures of 15% of registered island voters. The proposal would go on the next general election ballot along with an election of the five commissioners. Fifty percent plus 1 vote must vote in favor to create the district; to pass the levy, 60% of those voting must say “yes” and the turnout must be 40% of the last general election. If the vote for the Park and Recreation district fails, the vote on the levy is null and void.
Lummi Island needs a facility that could be home to a variety of activities and events such as senior programs, before school, daycare and after school care, community classrooms, visiting nurses, and YMCA programs. A Park and Recreation District would provide the mechanism to build and maintain such a Community Center.
By creating a Park and Recreation District Lummi Island will be prepared to take advantage of any opportunity that might present itself. If we begin now, we can get this on the 2017 General Election ballot. This would give us the flexibility of buying a piece of property and building, acquiring or remodeling an existing property or partnering with another governmental agency.