Aquatics, Parks, and Recreation 2023 Ballot Measure

Collage of parks and recreation programs - trails, lifeguards, pickleball, restrooms in parks, teen programs and KTUB

Post-Proposition 1 Updates

While the November 2023 parks ballot measure did not pass, the City Council and staff continue to hear that expanding swim opportunities is still important to the Kirkland community.  The City is working to understand and balance community needs and priorities for community pools in Kirkland.

Share your feedback with the City:

Take the Community Survey

Participate in a Small Group Feedback Session:

All sessions will be held in-person at Kirkland City Hall.

  • Monday, February 26, 2024 from 5:30PM - 6:30PM: For those opposed to Kirkland's ballot measure - Register to attend
    Did you oppose the City of Kirkland’s Parks Prop 1 in this past November 2023 election?  Then we’d like to talk to you!  The measure didn’t pass, but the City has heard different reasons from folks as to why. Please share your perspective in this small-group session facilitated by Deputy City Manager James Lopez.

     

  • Tuesday, February 27, 2024 from 6:00PM - 7:00PM: For those supportive of Kirkland's ballot measure - Register to attend
    Did you support the City of Kirkland’s Parks Prop 1 in this past November 2023 election?  Then we’d like to talk to you!  The measure didn’t pass, but the City has heard different reasons from folks as to why. Please share your perspective in this small-group session facilitated by Deputy City Manager James Lopez.

     

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2024 from 6:00PM - 7:00PM: For those neutral on Kirkland's ballot measure - Register to attend
    The City's Parks Proposition 1 was on the ballot this past November 2023 but didn’t pass. The City has heard different reasons from folks as to why. Please share your perspective in this small-group session facilitated by Deputy City Manager James Lopez.

     

 

About Proposition 1: Expanding Aquatics, Parks, and Recreation

Ordinance O-4857

During its July 18, 2023, meeting, the Kirkland City Council acted on the recommendations of the Parks Funding Exploratory Committee and placed before Kirkland voters the option to expand aquatics, parks and recreation facilities, operations, and programs through the adoption of Ordinance O-4857.

Ordinance O-4857 responds to the needs and priorities identified by the community for accelerated investment in expanded aquatics, parks, and recreation facilities. Ordinance O-4857 submits to the voters for the November 2023 ballot a levy lid lift proposition to expand aquatics, parks, and recreation facilities, operations, and programs. If approved, this proposition authorizes an increase in the City’s regular property tax levy by approximately $0.28054/$1,000 of assessed valuation (AV), generating approximately $10,800,000 for these purposes in 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Ordinance O-4857 include?

During its July 18, 2023, meeting, the Kirkland City Council acted on the recommendations of the Parks Funding Exploratory Committee and placed before Kirkland voters the option to expand aquatics, parks, and recreation facilities, operations, and programs through the adoption of Ordinance O-4857 which submits to the voters for the November 2023 ballot a levy lid lift proposition to expand aquatics, parks, and recreation facilities, operations, and programs.

If approved, Proposition 1 would complete all associated capital construction projects by 2028 and achieve the following in the first five years:

  • Indoor aquatic and recreation center operations (center to be constructed separately)
  • Add nine year-round restrooms
  • Additional park rangers and enhanced park safety
  • New sport courts for sand volleyball and pickleball
  • Increase beach lifeguard hours and new water safety programs
  • Expand teen programs and teen center operations
  • Green loop trail networks
  • Park operations, maintenance, and improvements

Ordinance O-4857 also describes the City’s plan to construct a new 86,000 square foot aquatic and recreation center at the former Houghton Park & Ride to be funded separately through the City's General Fund. Ballot measure revenue would fund operations and programming at the facility.

This new facility would include:

  • indoor pools for swim lessons, swim teams, and lap swim and would help address the documented waitlist for swim lessons, which totaled over 10,500 in 2022,
  • family friendly warm water pools with lazy rivers,
  • spray and play fun,
  • opportunities for senior programs, exercise classes, and more.

In addition to more aquatics opportunities, the new center would offer new recreation spaces to help address the community’s demonstrated need, such as:

  • fitness rooms and equipment for aerobics, cycling, kickboxing, yoga, weight training, and other fitness programs,
  • gymnasiums for youth sports, sports leagues, clinics for basketball, volleyball, and pickleball, and drop-in use,
  • multi-purpose space for dance, youth and adult art classes, and youth camps after school and over school breaks.

What is the text of Proposition 1?

Here is the title as printed in the November 7, 2023 General Election ballot and also available on the King County Election website.

City of Kirkland
Proposition No. 1
Levy Lid Lift for Expanded Aquatics, Recreation, and Parks Facilities, Operations, and Programs

The Kirkland City Council adopted Ordinance No. O-4857 concerning funding for expanded aquatics, recreation, and parks facilities, operations, and programs. This proposition funds aquatic and recreation center operations, parks maintenance, year-round restrooms, park rangers, beach lifeguards, sports courts, teen services, and green loop trail networks by increasing the City's regular property tax levy to a maximum rate of $1.38386/$1,000 of assessed valuation (generating approximately $10,800,000 for these purposes) for collection in 2024. The 2024 levy amount will be the basis to calculate subsequent levies (RCW 84.55). Qualifying seniors, disabled veterans, and others would be exempt (RCW 84.36).

Should this proposition be approved:

Yes

No

What will Proposition 1 fund?

If approved, the City expects the capital construction projects funded by Proposition 1 would be complete by 2028, including the following in the first five years:

Indoor aquatic & recreation center operations

  • Initial design for an 86,000 square foot indoor aquatic and recreation center, to be constructed separately
  • Operations and programming of all center spaces, including warm water recreational pool, lap pool, a two-court gym, fitness rooms, classrooms, a multipurpose room, and more
  • $4.4 million design; construction to be funded separately; $2.08 million annual operations to start in 2027

Add 9 year-round restrooms

  • Winterize restrooms at: Crestwoods Park, Edith Moulton Park, Juanita Bay Park, Marsh Park, O.O. Denny Park, and Waverly Beach Park
  • Build new restrooms at: McAuliffe Park, North Rose Hill Woodlands Park, and Terrace Park
  • $7.7 million construction; $390,000 annual operations

Additional park rangers & enhanced park safety

  • Hire one additional park ranger – doubling current coverage
  • Add 2,400 part-time seasonal park ranger hours – tripling current part-time coverage
  • Automatic locking gates at key parks across the community, including: Crestwoods Park, Everest Park, Houghton Beach Park, Juanita Bay Park, Juanita Beach Park, and O.O. Denny Park
  • $600,000 construction; $260,000 annual operations

New sport courts

  • Sand volleyball court at O.O. Denny Park
  • Outdoor pickleball complex with 3 courts
  • $1.3 million construction; $20,000 annual operations

Increased beach lifeguarding & new water safety program

  • Expand Kirkland’s beach lifeguarding season – from the middle of June through the middle of September – and add an additional hour to daily lifeguarding at Houghton Beach, Juanita Beach, and Waverly Beach parks
  • New comprehensive water safety education program including life saving devices at all waterfront parks, water safety signage, and outreach activities
  • $130,000 annual operations

Expand teen services & Kirkland Teen Union Building operations

  • 7-day a week operation of the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB) as a teen center for Kirkland youth with drop-in after school programs
  • Year-round outdoor recreation, life-skills activities, and mental health support for Kirkland teens
  • Daytime usage of KTUB building for adult and preschool programs to meet community needs
  • $460,000 annual operations

Green loop trail networks

  • Acquisition, easements, and development of key segments of the Green Loop trail in the Finn Hill neighborhood
  • $4.4 million capital costs (acquisition and development)

Park operations, maintenance, and improvements

  • Hire necessary staff to support all projects as well as additional operations, maintenance, and improvements
  • $370,000 annual operations in 2024

*NOTE: all costs estimated in 2024 dollars.

When will these projects take place?

If approved, the City expects the capital construction projects funded by Proposition 1 would be completed by the end of 2028. Below is a chart showing the proposed timeline of projects. Final dates are subject to change. Operating costs are ongoing and continue after construction projects are completed. 

graphic showing ballot element sequencing

Note about Aquatic and Recreation center construction: Levy lid lift funds would pay for Aquatic and Recreation Center operations and part of the 2024 Design costs. In Ordinance O-4857, City Council committed to using Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) Bonds to pay for remaining Center design and construction expenses, with debt service paid from the City’s General Fund (listed in the chart as orange bars with diagonal stripes).

How would Proposition 1 affect Kirkland property tax rates?

Kirkland uses property taxes to fund City services. Kirkland’s levy is the total amount of property tax revenue the City can collect in one year. The King County Assessor determines the assessed valuation (AV) of your property. The property tax levy rate is determined by taking the city’s total levy amount and dividing it by the total property value in the city. The rate is then applied to every $1,000 of a property’s value, which determines the individual amount of property taxes paid. Washington state law limits increases in annual City levy revenue to 1% per year plus new construction regardless of changes in property values. The exception to this rule is a levy lid lift, which allows the City to ask voters to increase the property tax levy rate to meet the community’s needs.

Learn more about property taxes in Washington in this video:

What would this measure cost a Kirkland homeowner?
The ballot measure proposes an ongoing property tax levy of approximately $0.28 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation (AV). If approved, the measure would generate approximately $10,800,000 annually for these purposes starting in 2024. In Ordinance O-4857, acknowledging current fluctuations in AV, the Kirkland City Council committed to collect only what is needed for these projects, should AV change at a different rate than predicted. The 2024 incremental increase continues after 2024 to fund ongoing programming and service increases.

Using information available from the King County Assessor’s Office in July, City staff estimate that Proposition 1 would cost the owner of a $1,000,000 valued Kirkland home about $280 per year, or approximately $23.38 per month.

To calculate the impact this measure would have on a home’s property taxes, please visit the King County Assessor’s Office Tax Transparency Tool. The Tax Transparency Tool uses the Assessor's latest data which currently predicts a lower levy rate needed to generate $10,800,000 for Proposition 1. The final levy rate would be finalized before the end of the year. Once on the page, click the far-right tab labeled, “Tax” and input a home address. The “Proposed Tax Changes” section shows the impact of the proposed measure’s tax rate for that home. The tool also shows a breakdown of the home's current 2023 property taxes. 

King County Assessor’s Office Tax Transparency Tool

2024 Home Value Estimated Annual
  Levy Cost
Estimated Monthly
  Levy Cost
 $800,000  $224  $19
 $1,000,000  $280  $23
 $1,200,000  $336  $28

*note levy costs rounded


What is the difference between the two figures of $1.38386/$1,000 and $0.28/$1,000?
The City is required by law to list a maximum rate of property tax for all City levied property tax that would result from a successful levy. Therefore, the ballot title states that Proposition 1 would increase "the City's regular property tax levy to a maximum rate of $1.38386/$1,000 of assessed valuation (generating approximately $10,800,000 for these purposes) for collection in 2024." The maximum rate includes all other existing City property taxes which pay for Police, Fire, previous voted levies, and other General Fund services (estimated $1.10332/$1,000 AV), plus the incremental rate increase that property owners would see for Proposition 1 if it were to pass, which is estimated at approximately $0.28054/$1,000 of assessed value (AV) to generate $10,800,000. Using the $0.28054/$1,000 AV, staff estimate that a $1,000,000 valued home would pay $280.54 for Proposition 1 in 2024.

Would the $10.8M levy revenue (in 2024) be fixed (plus the 1% rise allowed) so that it would be spread over a greater number of residents as time goes on?

This is a complicated question that has many possible answers depending on the scenario. There are three main factors that determine the levy Property Tax Rate and impact how much an individual property owner would owe in taxes – Assessed Value, New Construction, and Total Assessed Value

  • Each individual property in Kirkland is assigned an Assessed Value (AV) each year that is determined by the King County Assessor. 
  • New Construction is the assessed value of all new construction for each year that was not included in previous years. Taxes from new construction start the year after the building is completed. 
  • The city’s Total Assessed Value (TAV) is found by adding together the AV of all properties in Kirkland, which includes the AV of each individual existing property and the AV of new construction properties. 

Kirkland’s property tax levy is the amount of property tax revenue that the City can collect in one year (for Proposition 1 this would be $10.8 million in 2024). Each year the City is allowed to increase the property tax levy by 1% plus the total amount of tax that all the New Construction properties would have paid the previous year if they existed. The property tax levy rate is determined by taking this new total levy amount and dividing it by the Total Assessed Value (TAV) in the city. 

Below are some possible scenarios, but it is not always this simple.

  • If the TAV, New Construction, and the AV of an individual property all increase at the same rate from one year to the next, the cost of the tax levy would increase by 1% for the property owner. For example, if all three increase by 5% between year 1 and year 2, the amount of tax owed by a single property owner would increase by 1%.
  • If a property owner’s individual AV increased by more than 5% while the TAV and New Construction each increased by only 5%, then the amount of tax owed could increase by more 1%.
  • If the property owner's individual AV increased by less than 5%, while the TAV and New Construction increased by 5%, then the amount of tax owed could increase by less than 1% or even decrease.

The video above explains how property tax bills are calculated and provides a similar example. 

It is important to consider that the rate of inflation is generally more than 1%, so while the tax owed might increase by 1%, the increase could be less if accounting for the change in worth of a dollar due to inflation. 

What about people on a fixed income?
Seniors and persons with disabilities may qualify for tax exemptions. For more information, contact the King County Assessor’s Office at www.kingcounty.gov/assessor or Tel: 206-296-7300 or TTY: 206-296-7888.

Questions about the proposed indoor aquatic and recreation center

How will the City staff the indoor aquatic and recreation center?

If Proposition 1 is approved by Kirkland voters, the City expects to start the hiring process for the indoor aquatic and recreation center in 2026, so that the center is ready for use when construction is completed. The City would approach hiring and staffing the center in a manner consistent with its current practices. Learn more about City of Kirkland hiring and benefits at www.kirklandwa.gov/Government/Work-at-the-City

Staffing recommendations for the indoor aquatic and recreation center were evaluated as part of the 2023 Recreation and Aquatic Center Feasibility Study. A minimum of 18 full-time staff were recommended for a facility of this size, including six aquatics staff, as well as over 45,000 part-time staff hours. Learn more on the Recreation & Aquatic Center Feasibility Study website.


Where is the City getting funds for the construction of the aquatic center? How much will the aquatic center cost to construct?

If approved, the levy lid lift funds from Proposition 1 would pay for Aquatic and Recreation Center operations and part of the 2024 Design costs. In Ordinance O-4857, City Council committed to using Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) Bonds to pay for remaining Center design and construction expenses, with debt service paid from the City’s General Fund.

Potential cost estimates were included in the 2022 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study.  The estimated construction costs for an 86,000 square foot facility at the Houghton Park and Ride location were estimated $108,500,000 in 2025 dollars. This estimate includes all costs related to design and permitting, construction, furniture, fixture, and equipment procurement, and making the building ready to open. Learn more about costing on the Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study website


Will there be membership fees for the aquatic and recreation center?

The City anticipates that an indoor aquatic center would charge fees to help offset the operational costs of the center. Membership would not be required to access the center. There would be drop-in fee options, punch pass fee options, or membership fee options to meet a variety of community interests. Some fees were modeled in the 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study. Any fees would be determined by City Council based on extensive community outreach and engagement. The City also intends to pursue partnerships and other options to lower fees. Discussion on fees would be guided by the cost recovery policy adopted in 2019. Non-resident fees and memberships are anticipated to be 20% great than any Kirkland resident fees.

Modeled Daily Fee (without Membership)

Level Kirkland Resident Non-Resident
Under 2 Free Free
Youth (2-17) $12 $15
Adult $14 $17
Senior (65+) $12 $15

 

Modeled Membership Option

Membership Level Kirkland Resident Annual Non-Resident Annual
Youth (2-17) $540 $648
Adult (18-64) $900 $1080
Household (2 adults & multiple youth) $1,560 $1,872
Senior (65+) $600 $720
Senior +1 $720 $864
  • Fees are for drop-in use of most areas of the center (aquatics and dry-side amenities).
  • Membership rates would likely include basic fitness class and childcare/watch services.
  • Low-income memberships would be available based on a sliding scale.

[Source: 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Center Feasibility Study Appendix


Did the City consider an operating model for the aquatic and recreation center where an outside partner would provide daily operations instead of the City operating internally? 

The operating model of the aquatic and recreation center was discussed at Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) meetings, by staff, and by City Council. PFEC toured the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center operated by the YMCA as an example of a similar-sized facility to what the City of Kirkland might have and then PFEC members asked about an option for Kirkland where the YMCA or another group provided operations. 

Ultimately, after discussions the preference was for the City to both own and operate a facility with City staffing. Some reasons for this decision include: 

  • Having an outside operator in control of operations limits community access to the facility. Having City operations would ensure community access to elements of the facility such as the multi-purpose rooms and community spaces.
  • The City already manages recreation and aquatic programs at existing community centers and the seasonal Peter Kirk Pool, and contracting out operations of a new aquatic and recreation center would add unnecessary complexity to existing operations.
  • City staff would be more able to respond to changing community needs and add new programming or shift programming options more easily than an outside operator. 
  • The City learned through the COVID-19 pandemic and KTUB that having City operations at City facilities provides much better flexibility in times of emergency. When the City owns and operates a building, staff can shift to using it for warming centers or cooling centers or mass care in earthquakes or catastrophic events. These are fortunately rare, but as the pandemic taught the City, they do happen. So, if the City is going to invest over $100 million dollars in a facility, the City wants the facility to be available to help the community when they need it most. Leasing out operations hampers those options significantly.  
  • The City of Kirkland is a Full-Service City, which means that nearly all services (parks, police, fire, court, jail, planning, etc.) are operated by City departments and staff. It would be aligned with current City operations for the City to directly operate a potential aquatic and recreation facility.  The City of Sammamish is a Contract City, meaning they contract with King County and other outside providers for many services such as police and fire, therefore their contract with YMCA to run the aquatic and recreation center is aligned with their city's typical operations.

How large will be pools be in the proposed indoor aquatic and recreation center?

At this time, no final designs have been completed for the proposed indoor aquatics and recreation center in Kirkland. If Proposition 1 is approved by Kirkland voters, the design process for the proposed facility is expected to start in 2024. Final center designs would be approved by City Council based on extensive community outreach and engagement.

The aquatics concepts explored in Kirkland's 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Feasibility Study included a 25-yard pool with 6-8 lanes and a warm water recreation pool with various features. Reference Link: 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Feasibility Study


If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov

Questions about the former Houghton Park and Ride location

Has the City purchased the former Houghton Park and Ride site?

The former Houghton P&R property is currently (as of September 2023) owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). On March 16, 2022, WSDOT notified the City that it was surplussing the Houghton P&R property and asked if the City was interested in receiving additional information regarding the surplus. The City immediately responded indicating strong interest. Purchasing surplus property from other governmental entities without competing with the private market makes it more affordable for the City of Kirkland to purchase land for future use. In preparation for this potential acquisition, the City Council included $10 million for the purchase of the site “for potential aquatic and recreation facilities and/or affordable housing partnership project” in the 2023-2024 biennial budget.

In February 2023, WSDOT determined the fair market value price of the site to be $9 million. The City continues to be in dialogue with WSDOT, and the City and WSDOT signed a letter of intent regarding the purchase of the property on July 5, 2023. The City and WSDOT are in the process of finalizing the sale.

UPDATE 10/18/2023: City Council approved a resolution to acquire the former Houghton Park and Ride lot at their October 17, 2023 meeting.



What is the size of the former Houghton Park and Ride site?

The size is approximately 5 acres.


Why was former Houghton Park & Ride selected?

The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) considered both the NKCC site and the Houghton Park and Ride site and both were also evaluated along with other sites in the 2023 Recreation and Aquatics Facility Feasibility Study. The majority of PFEC members voted and recommended the Houghton Park and Ride site as their preferred location. Ultimately City Council selected the Houghton Park and Ride site as the location for an indoor aquatic and recreation center based on PFEC’s input and for these reasons:

  • The topography of the NKCC site is quite sloped and the site has soil conditions that would require significant and costly sitework (estimated around $22 million) whereas the Houghton Park and Ride site is mostly flat and would require less sitework (estimated around $8 million). The construction cost per square foot at the Houghton Park and Ride site is therefore lower than at NKCC.
  • Another consideration is that constructing a 74,000 square foot or larger facility on the NKCC site would take up a significant portion of an existing park, therefore reducing total park land in Kirkland.
  • Adding a facility at the Houghton Park and Ride site would be an addition to our inventory of parks and recreation spaces instead of displacing an existing park.
  • Building a new center at the Houghton Park and Ride balances out public pool facilities in Kirkland. Juanita High School, located in the northern part of Kirkland, has a public pool but there are no public pools for central and south areas of Kirkland.
  • Many PFEC members, neighbors and community members raised concerns about increased traffic and its impact to a residential neighborhood if placed at NKCC, whereas the Houghton Park and Ride site is immediately adjacent to I-405 and not located in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Why is the former Houghton Park and Ride site no longer used as a park and ride?

Due to low ridership/use, King County Metro made the decision to phase out the Houghton Park and Ride location effective March 18, 2023. See: King County Metro Blog


If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov

Questions about restrooms, park rangers, trails and other elements

What is approximate cost of a new year-round restroom in a park?

The cost estimates for new year-round restrooms in Kirkland parks vary from $2,280,000 to $2,670,000 in 2024 dollars depending on the site location and conditions.


Will the nine park restrooms be open 24 hours a day for every day of the year?

The proposed park restrooms, to be located at Crestwoods Park, Edith Moulton Park, Juanita Bay Park, McAuliffe Park, Marsh Park, North Rose Hill Woodlands Park, O.O. Denny Park, Terrace Park and Waverly Beach Park, would be open all days of the year, but they are planned to open and close according to park operating hours. Park operating hours vary by park type:

  • Waterfront parks open at sunrise and close at 10 p.m.
  • All other parks open at sunrise and close at 11 p.m.
  • Off-leash dog areas open at sunrise and close at sunset.

See also Kirkland Park Rules and Kirkland Municipal Code 11.80.250 


What does a Kirkland park ranger do in a typical day?

Kirkland’s full-time park ranger makes daily rounds throughout the park system, but there are more parks than they can visit in a single workday. During the busy summer season when Kirkland’s parks see higher usage, the existing one full-time ranger is currently supplemented with up to 1,200 hours of part-time seasonal ranger staffing.

Park rangers help protect and enhance our parks while ensuring the safety of park visitors. They respond to customer service issues in parks and answer questions. They educate park visitors regarding park rules and safety practices. They are not law enforcement officers but do provide limited enforcement of off-leash regulations and boat launch and moorage violations. They are another set of eyes keeping watch over the park and open space system.


Where are the green loop trail networks? Is there a master plan?

Proposed Green Loop Trail Network

The image above shows a proposed general map of the green loop trail. The City has been working on acquiring land for this trail network and the next steps is creating the master plan for the Green Loop Trail, which is a funded project in the City's 2023-2028 Capital Improvement Program. The City expects to begin the master plan process in 2024 and will guide future acquisitions and easements. Capital funds from Proposition 1 (approximately $4.4 million in 2024 dollars) would be used for land acquisition, easements, and development of the trail guided by this master plan. 


If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov

Questions about current facilities and parks


What is the future of the Peter Kirk Pool?

At this time, there are no plans to demolish the Peter Kirk Pool or change current seasonal operations. Staff are currently evaluating smaller maintenance improvements for the pool to be implemented over the next few years.


Are there plans to remodel Peter Kirk Park or the Peter Kirk Community Center?

Creating a master plan for Peter Kirk Park is currently an unfunded project in the City’s Capital Improvement Program.  There are no current active plans to remodel the park.

The Peter Kirk Community Center will continue to operate as a community center.


What about covering the Peter Kirk Pool?

The idea of covering the Peter Kirk Pool was considered and evaluated by Park Board and City Council in late 2016. At the time Council opted to apply funding elsewhere and to maintain current seasonal operations at the Peter Kirk Pool. See City Council's November 1, 2016 Meeting Agenda item 10d, page 30.


What is the future of the North Kirkland Community Center?

NKCC building will reach the end of useful life* in 2029. City Council made a commitment to fund a site assessment via the Facility Fund to identify potential repairs and/or renovations to extend the building’s useful life and improve its usefulness for Kirkland residents.

* “End of useful life” is a term used to identify points in time during which it is strongly recommended that sizable and considerable investments be made to sustain the building’s operation. City of Kirkland uses the US Department of Justice standard for useful life of 55 years.


If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov

Additional frequently asked questions

If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov


I’ve heard about the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center with a building owned by the City of Sammamish but operated by the YMCA. Can you tell me more about that?

Sammamish Community & Aquatic Center is a 2-story 69,000 square foot facility opened in 2016. The building includes a 6-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a 3,300 square foot leisure pool, a spa, two gymnasiums (three gym courts total), a jogging track, fitness space, group fitness rooms, a break room, a family center room, two meeting spaces (maximum capacities 42 and 52), child watch areas, and administration offices. The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) toured the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center as an example of a similar-sized facility to what the City of Kirkland might build.

The facility is owned by the City of Sammamish who contracts with the YMCA to operate the facility. The YMCA is responsible for determining what programming to offer and all expenses related to programming, maintenance, repairs, and building operations. The YMCA of Greater Seattle sets membership fees, which are the same across all YMCA locations in their service area. A family membership for a family of two adults plus dependents is $1,848/year + $125 joining fee and an adult membership is $1,092/year + $100 joining fee. Membership dues can be paid monthly, and the Y offers Affordable for All pricing to provide access to all. City of Sammamish residents receive a 75% discount on the joining fee. There is also a 10% discount for all youth facility-based programs.

The project was bid in 2014 with the following budget (see project materials here):

  • $32,900,000 total ($55,812,500 in 2023 dollars)
    • $29,700,000 construction costs ($50,383,929 in 2023 dollars)
    • $3,200,000 soft costs ($5,428,571 in 2023 dollars)
  • Additional Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) paid by YMCA: $500,000
  • Sitework: in-kind donations from volunteers
  • Total cost (including construction, soft costs, FF&E): $33,400,000 ($56,660,714 in 2023 dollars)

The YMCA paid $5,000,000 of the total construction + soft costs and the City of Sammamish paid $27,900,000 of total construction + soft costs covered by a portion of the city’s financial reserves and the Parks CIP funds.

Comparing actual cost of Sammamish center to estimated cost of Kirkland center, using 2023 dollars for comparison:

Costs in 2023 dollars for comparison Sammamish (2014 bid budget in 2023 dollars) Kirkland Center (2025 estimate in 2023 dollars)
Square Foot 69,000 86,000
Construction Costs (in 2023 $) 50,383,929 64,459,982
Pre-construction Sitework in-kind volunteers 6,621,582
Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment 848,214 644,082
Subtotal Construction Cost (Construction + Sitework + FF&E) $51,232,143 $71,725,646
Construction Cost / sq ft 742 834
Soft Costs (permits, project management, contingency funds, etc.) 5,428,571 22,015,022*
Total Costs $56,660,714 $93,740,668

* Projected contingencies tend to be significantly higher than actuals. The Kirkland amount is projected while the Sammamish amount is actual. 


Will future city councils be required to fund the activities as described in Proposition 1? How can the City guarantee that the funds from the levy will be used as described?

According to state law, revenues from a levy lid lift (which is what Proposition 1 is) can only be used for the purposes as described in the ballot measure title. These purposes are further described in Ordinance O-4857. The City will make a Park Levy Fund to receive the Proposition 1 revenues and will not be able to spend Proposition 1 revenues on items or services that are not outlined in Proposition 1. For example, the Proposition 1 funds are directed to be spent on levy investments including aquatic and recreation center operations, year-round restrooms, park rangers, beach lifeguards, sport courts, teen services, parks maintenance, and green loop trail networks, and they would not be able to be spent other City services such as Fire and Police since the ballot measure title is focused on expanded aquatics, recreation, and parks facilities, operations, and programs.


How many people are on the waitlists for City of Kirkland aquatics programs?

At the end of the 2022 season, there were 10,850 waitlist entries for aquatics programs including swim lessons. Many individuals were waitlisted for multiple programs and there were 1,475 unique individuals on the 2022 aquatic waitlists.

At the end of the 2023 season, there were 10,107 waitlist entries for aquatics programs made by 1,449 unique individuals.

Note these numbers were run after the aquatics season ended each year. The total number of waitlist entries for an entire season is higher because individuals are removed from waitlists when they are offered a registration spot and either accept or decline it.


What percent of City of Kirkland recreation program slots are used by people who live in Kirkland?

In 2022, about 80% of total registered recreation program participants resided in Kirkland.


Are Lake Washington School District middle and high school gymnasiums in Kirkland currently available to the public for recreation?

Lake Washington School District does not open middle school and high school gymnasiums to the public on a regular basis for recreation. However, community organizations and groups can submit building usage requests to use school buildings including gymnasiums for one-time or regular use so long as the use does not conflict with the district’s mission to educate children. Fees are charge for the use of LWSD facilities. See the Building Use webpage on lwsd.org for more information about community use of district facilities.

The Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department works with individual schools to reserve school gymnasiums for various programs such as youth basketball, pee wee basketball, and adult volleyball. As of 2023, the department currently uses Kamiakin Middle School gymnasium on Sundays from 5-8pm to host an Open Gym for adults. During Open Gym, is open for drop-in use for recreational volleyball and basketball. The department must re-apply for LWSD building use annually.


Why aren’t dog parks included in Proposition 1?

Adding additional off-leash dog areas or parks was a priority identified in the 2022 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. Following this a project to expand off-leash dog areas was added and funded in the City’s 2023-2028 Capital Improvement Program. The 2023-2028 Capital Improvement Program was adopted by City Council at their December 13, 2022 meeting. The funding for this project would begin in 2026.

The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) considered accelerating the development of permanent off-leash dog areas as part of park redevelopment at Juanita Beach Park and Snyder’s Corner but ultimately recommended that City Council accelerate other projects.

Learn more about dog parks in Kirkland at www.kirklandwa.gov/dogparks.


If you have an additional question not covered here, please email parksballot@kirklandwa.gov

What is the Parks 2023 Ballot Measure Initiative?

During the 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan update, thousands of Kirkland community members told the City how much they love Kirkland’s parks system, trails and recreation programs and that they desire more park facilities and recreational opportunities. Kirkland's 2022 PROS Plan together with the City's capital improvement plan, outlines a path for the City’s continued investment in parks and recreation.

However, City Council has heard that many in our community want the City to accelerate the timeline on delivering on what the community is asking for. Therefore on March 1, 2022, Council adopted Resolution 5514 at its March 1, 2022 meeting directing staff to explore potential comprehensive Parks ballot measure options to be placed before Kirkland voters in 2023. In August 2022, City Council re-stablished a Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC), made up of representatives from across Kirkland, to lead the community input process and provide recommendations to the City Council in March 2023 on whether and how to best proceed with ballot measure(s) in 2023.

This project consists of many phases and include opportunities for community engagement.

  • Summer 2022: Staff and consultants kicked off facility feasibility study and costing analysis for potential ballot measure investments
  • Summer 2022: City Council established a Parks Funding Exploratory Committee made up of representatives from community groups and at-large community members
  • September 2022 - March 2023: Parks Funding Exploratory Committee met twice a month to learn and review information about potential investments
  • March 21, 2023: Parks Funding Exploratory Committee final report presented to City Council
  • Summer 2023: City Council to decide what ballot measure options to bring to voters and to pass a resolution to initiate the public voting process
  • July 18, 2023: City Council adopted Ordinance O-4857 to submit to Kirkland voters for the November 2023 ballot a levy lid lift proposition to expand aquatics, parks, and recreation facilities, operations, and programs
  • Fall 2023: City to provide educational information about the ballot measure
  • November 7, 2023: General election

Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC)

About PFEC

Parks Funding Exploratory Committee Group Photo - January 12, 2023

The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) was re-established by City Council at their Special August 3, 2022 meeting to lead the community input process and provide recommendations for a potential ballot measure(s) to Kirkland City Council by 2023 including:

  • Recommended capital investments
  • Recommended operating investments
  • Recommended funding mechanism(s) to cover increased costs

PFEC met approximately twice a month from September 2022 through February 2023. The committee's results were present to City Council in March 2023. Based on community input, City Council will make a final decision on ballot measure(s) by the summer of 2023.

PFEC is chaired by Councilmember Kelli Curtis and comprised of over 44 diverse stakeholders that have an interest in Kirkland’s parks and recreation services. PFEC members come from all walks of life and reflect the diversity of Kirkland, including with respect to race; ethnicity; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability; status as a homeowner or renter; neighborhood; family composition; languages spoken; policy perspective; and age.

Watch the PFEC Recommendations Video

PFEC Meetings and Updates

Date Meeting Highlights
 June 13, 2023

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Additional Input for City Council

PFEC reconvened as requested by City Council to receive an update about potential drop in Assessed Value and provide feedback to Council.

June 6, 2023

PFEC Report
City Council accepted the full PFEC Report at their June 6, 2023 meeting.

May 16, 2023

PFEC Addendum Report
Staff presented the PFEC Addendum Report at City Council’s Study Session on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

 May 1, 2023 PFEC Meeting Topic: Community Survey Results, Feasibility Study Updates

PFEC reconvened to receive an update on the community survey, the facility feasibility study and discuss potential additional recommendations to City Council.

March 21, 2023 PFEC Report

Staff presented the PFEC results at City Council’s Study Session on Tuesday, March 21.

March 2, 2023 FINAL PFEC Meeting

PFEC members held several votes regarding ballot elements and funding mechanisms. Staff will share PFEC results with Council in a report at their March 21 Study Session.

February 23, 2023 PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Collaborative Discussion toward Recommendation

At their 12th meeting, committee members participated in group discussions regarding ballot measure sizing, scope and funding mechanisms. PFEC members continued to evaluate what they want to recommend to City Council.  

February 13, 2023 

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Collaborative Discussion toward Recommendation
At their 11th meeting, committee members participated in group discussions regarding ballot measure sizing, scope and funding mechanisms. PFEC members continued to evaluate what they want to recommend to City Council.  

February 9, 2023 PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Collaborative Deep Dive into Major Components

At their 10th meeting, the committee participated in a World Café style exercise. All PFEC members visited topic tables to ask questions and have conversations with one another as a step toward decision making. There were plenty of thoughtful questions related to equity and economics.

January 26, 2023 PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Investment Element Options

At their ninth meeting, the committee received the results of the recreation facility feasibility study and continued its discussion of potential parks ballot measure elements. 

See also: Recreation and Aquatic Centers Feasibility Study

January 12, 2023 PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Investment Element Options

At their eighth meeting, the committee reviewed potential ballot elements including related capital and operating cost information. These elements build on priorities identified in the PROS Plan and significant community input.

January 9 or January 21, 2023

PFEC Event: Facility Tour

Rescheduled from December 1, 2022.

Committee members will tour the Sammamish Community and Aquatic Center on either January 9 or January 21, 2023.

December 8, 2022

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: WA State Property Taxes, Ballot Funding Mechanisms, Kirkland Budget, & Ballot Measure History

At their seventh meeting, the committee learned about the City of Kirkland budget, ballot measures history, and funding mechanism options.

November 10, 2022

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Parks & Rec 101: Current Operations & Future Possibilities: Recreation and Administrative Focus 

At their fifth meeting, the committee learned about what goes into the City’s recreation programs, classes, and community events. They dug deeper into recommendations from the 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. The committee also received an overview of population projecting and city planning. 

October 27, 2022

TOPIC: Facility Feasibility Study Update  

At the fourth meeting, PFEC received an update from Opsis Architecture on the facilities feasibility study.

See also: Recreation and Aquatic Centers Feasibility Study

October 13, 2022

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Parks & Rec 101: Current Operations & Future Possibilities: Maintenance Focus 

At the third PFEC meeting, the Committee received an overview of the 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan and an introduction to what it takes to maintain parks in Kirkland. The committee dove into the findings and recommendations of the PROS Plan related to park operations and maintenance. 

September 29, 2022

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Peter Kirk Park and Community Center Tour, PFEC Roadmap, Benefits of Parks & Rec, and Aquatics in Kirkland

At the second meeting on September 29, 2022, the committee reviewed the PFEC Roadmap and toured the Peter Kirk Community Center, Peter Kirk Pool, and Peter Kirk Park in small groups. They also received a high level overview of the Parks and Community Services department structure and funding, learn about existing aquatics in Kirkland and consider future aquatics possibilities.

September 15, 2022

PFEC Meeting TOPIC: Welcome, Overview and Park Tour

The Parks Funding Exploratory Committee held its first meeting on September 15, 2022 at Juanita Beach Park. At this first meeting the committee received an overview of the process including why City Council established the group. The group also toured Juanita Beach Park which was recently renovated in 2020.

Background & Milestones

2021-present

2015 and before

Kirkland Aquatic, Recreation, and Community Center Background(PDF, 39KB)

  • 2015: The ballot measure for a Metropolitan Park District and Aquatics, Recreation and Community Center (ARC) failed in November.     
  • 2014: The Lake Washington School District Capital Facilities Bond Measure failed, leaving no options to repair or replace the Juanita Aquatic Center.
  • 2013: Lake Washington School District announced potential to close the Juanita Aquatic Center. City Council approved pursuit of an indoor recreation facility on the work plan and potential sites were identified.
  • 2012: Community approved the 2012 Parks Levy to provide for parks maintenance and capital investment.
  • 2011: Parks Funding Exploratory Committee recommended investments in park maintenance and capital improvements. An indoor recreation and aquatics facility was tabled.
  • 2007: Indoor Recreation Feasibility Study recommended a 93,000 square foot indoor recreation and aquatics center
  • 2001: Indoor Recreation Needs Survey indicated community need for an indoor recreation and aquatics facility.