On April 26, University Place voters will decide whether to create a metropolitan park district. As executive director of the state’s oldest independent park district, I would like to express my support of such an institution.
More than a century ago, Tacoma citizens created Metro Parks Tacoma to provide sustainable revenue and ensure that parks and recreation services would be around for their children and grandchildren. I applaud their foresight.
These citizens elevated the importance of recreational services by treating them as vital to a community’s long-term health. Independent park districts are a way of investing in the future.
Recreation programs keep kids safe and off the streets. They encourage youth development and expose children to opportunities they might never otherwise have. Most important is access. Our district ensures everyone in Tacoma – regardless of age, ability, skin color or income level – has access to recreational activities.
Positive recreation programs are at the heart of any thriving community. They contribute to economic well-being. They make cities more attractive to employers. They revitalize communities, create safer neighborhoods and improve public health.
I encourage voters to weigh the merits and vote their conscience.
(Wilson is executive director of Metro Parks Tacoma.)