Every two years, Arlington's voters determine the county's future by considering a set of bond issues.
Among the proposed bond issues this year is $5,950,000 for parks and recreation facilities. The total is the smallest in 18 years, in recognition of downsized municipal budgets. Consistent with the County's Public Spaces Master Plan, the County's FY2011 – FY2016 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes four bond issue budget items:
$ 1,000,000 Parks Maintenance CapitalArlington's population is anticipated to increase by 10% in the coming decade. Arlington maintain its park facilities well, but some of the facilities are reaching the ends of their initial life cycles, and it's cheaper to maintain facilities timely or replace as needed rather than to defer maintenance, to avoid greater cost in the future. Our parks are extensively used, especially evenings and weekends.
2,000,000 Land Acquisition and Open Space
1,675,000 Rocky Run Park Master Plan Implementation
1,300,000 Herndon and 13th Street Park
$ 5,975,000 Total
In the current economic environment, interest rates are at historic lows. Arlington recently completed its 2010 bond issue sales at 2.7%.
Arlington is one of the most densely-populated counties in the nation. Over the last 28 years, Arlington's voters have recognized the importance of parks and open space for our growing, diverse population and have approved bond proposals to develop and maintain the county's parks and recreation facilities. These bond issues enabled Arlington to acquire land for nature centers, soccer fields, running and biking trails; to preserve historic sites such as Fort C.F. Smith; and to build facilities such as Thomas Jefferson Community Center and Barcroft Recreation Center. Park bonds also helped to support public art and cultural activities, and to improve and enhance our existing parks. Arlington's triple-triple A bond rating means the lowest available municipal interest rates apply to Arlington's bond issues
"Maintenance Capital (MC) is a broad program that seeks to achieve a long-stated capital goal to “maintain what we have.” MC goes hand-in-hand with building new infrastructure — all assets should be properly maintained from when they enter our inventory until they are deconstructed or decommissioned. Arlington’s Maintenance Capital program is designed to protect assets from premature failure, minimize unnecessary risks and loss, and achieve the optimal useful life of assets. An effective MC program ensures that existing capital assets are maintained in reliable, serviceable condition without significant variations in annual capital appropriations. MC focuses on non-expansion projects — those projects that do not change a footprint of a building, expand a current asset, expand services or increase the operating budget once complete. To qualify for funding in the MC program, projects must significantly extend the life of the asset and meet the criteria for a capital project."
The CIP (pages 11-12) explains how this year's budget differs from past years' by adding a Parks Maintenance Capital Program:
"A major change in this CIP is the funding of maintenance capital
with bond funds. In the past, maintenance capital was funded entirely
with Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG). Bond funding is programmed throughout
the 6-year program to be combined with PAYG to address growing
maintenance capital needs where projects meet useful life and project
size criteria ...
"The Parks Maintenance Capital Program funds the replacement or major renovation of different types of outdoor park and recreation facility assets including athletic fields and courts, lighting, playgrounds, picnic shelters, restrooms, site amenities, parking and specialty facilities such as the skate park or outdoor amphitheatres. The program also addresses accessibility, safety and storm water improvements that are complementary to renovating or replacing assets. The Parks Maintenance Capital program also funds the costs to re-sod the baseball fields. However, the Synthetic Turf Program (referenced in the Parks and Recreation Summary under General Government) covers both the conversion and replacement of synthetic turf on the affected playing fields ...
"In the FY 2011 – 2016 adopted CIP, maintenance capital is funded from a combination of Pay-As-You-Go, as well as Bond financing. Bond funded items include parks equipment with 20 year useful life. In contrast, equipment with a shorter useful life continues to be funded from PAYG."
The CIP includes a sum total for parks maintenance as subtracts PAYG funding to derive proposed bond funding.
$ 214,000 Architecture and Engineering (A&E)
$ 2,136,000 Subtotal
less 1,136,000 Pay-as-you-go funding
$ 1,000,000 Bond issue funding
(page 24) defines the goals of the parks and recreation CIP.
"The program consists of key projects that will provide for the construction of new park facilities and major upgrades or renovations of existing park facilities that are beyond the purview of the Maintenance Capital Program. The program represents an implementation plan and strategy based upon sound planning to ensure that capital funding is invested strategically for the benefit of the County and its residents.
"The parks and recreation projects focus on completing or furthering parks that have Board-adopted park master plans or significant community planning efforts. The FY2011 projects would complete the final phase of 13th & Herndon Park and the major renovation of Rocky Run Park ..."
Land Acquisition and Open Space funding allows Arlington to expand existing parks, create new parks, buy unique parcels and conservation easements for open space as they become available, and fund purchases of real property and required ancillary activities (appraisals, surveys, environmental reports, relocation, demolition, and site restoration.
What You Can Do
Elected officials: County Board members Barbara Favola, Mary Hynes, Jay Fisette, Walter Tejada, and Chris Zimmerman;
Arlington residents: Dean Amel, Brian Armstrong, Ellen Bartlett, Hans Bauman, Richard Epstein, Bill Gearhart, Carrie Johnson, Jamie Lockhart, David Haring, Juliet Hiznay, Inta Malis, Michael Nardolilli, Peter Owen, Ann Rudd, Neal Sigmon, Stacey Whyte, and more.
|Please send to VOTE YES FOR PARKS
611 South Ivy Street · Arlington, Virginia 22204 · or e-mail to · Jay.Wind@att.net