The City of Monroe is looking into taking a bond out to support its parks.

The Monroe City Council will be asked to adopt policy that starts the process during an upcoming meeting. The council will need to approve a resolution that reinforces the intent to collaborate with two other agencies.

City staff have already had talks with the East County Parks and Recreation District and Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism department about the partnership and potential goals.

“We have some very serious needs,” said Monroe’s finance director Becky Hasart.

The city estimates the ask will be for about $18 million. Hasart emphasized nothing is set yet, and won’t be until all three agencies enter an interlocal agreement. 

That will likely happen early next year, according to a timeline laid out in council documents. The city, district and department will need to account for elections costs, bonds sales and cost recovery in the agreement.

Staff will begin to research specifics in the upcoming months.

An informational packet should be developed by April, and a committee will be formed by next August, to determine what projects to fund with the bond, according to council documents.

The public and other stakeholders would have a chance to weigh in with recommendations, said Monroe parks director Mike Farrell.

“So, it wouldn’t be coming solely from staff,” he said.

Farrell said the projects could include those outlined in the city’s recent master plans for Lake Tye Park and the Cadman site. The city has capital improvement projects and goals set through policy that could also be referenced, he said.

In Monroe’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space plan, language specifies that the city should look into taking out a bond to pay for adopted plans, according to council documents. It is also recommends more aggressive funding be pursued.

If the bond is issued, one option would be to start putting money aside specifically for neighborhood parks, Hasart said, as renovations can be costly.

The Lake Tye and Sky River park playgrounds were renovated in the last two years, and cost around $300,000 to complete.

“We have a lot of jewels just located in a lot of different neighborhoods in town, but some of the equipment is starting to get aged, as we know,” she said.

Members of the East County parks board, an independent taxing district formed in the 1970s, said they are in favor of the bond. The groups would need support from the public, and Monroe contains a significant number of voters, board members said.

Councilmember Patsy Cudaback liked the idea of working with outside agencies. Thinking regionally could be a positive approach to improving the area’s parks, she said.

Evergreen State Fairground manager Hal Gausman said it also would be a good collaboration for the fairgrounds. A bigger project is coming down the pipeline to build a community center on the property, he said.

All three agencies would have to agree on plans at each step in the process. The timeline suggests starting public outreach and education in June 2019, according to council documents.