An $810 million King County Parks levy was headed toward approval Tuesday, with 67% of voters approving the new funding.
The six-year levy would pay for the maintenance and upkeep of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 28,000 acres of open space. About 80% of King County Parks’ operating budget comes from levy funding.
The measure requires a simple majority to pass.
A King County homeowner would pay 18.32 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value if the measure is approved. The owners of a home valued at $500,000 would pay about $92 in 2020, about $27 more than they do under the existing levy, which expires at the end of the year.
The largest portion —$319 million, about 40% of the funding — would go toward parks, trails and open-space maintenance. The second-largest segment — $193 million, about a quarter of the levy — would pay for programs focused on parks and recreation accessibility. That funding would also go to the Woodland Park Zoo for its educational programs and Seattle Aquarium to build its ocean pavilion on the waterfront.
About $166 million would go toward improving more than a dozen regional trails, including the East Lake Sammamish Trail; Green to Cedar Rivers Trail; and Lake to Sound Trail. The rest of the funding would pay for efforts to grow and connect regional open spaces.
There was no formal opposition to the measure, but critics have questioned the proposed levy’s high dollar amount compared with the existing $396 million levy that passed in 2013. Parks officials said the increase accounts for increases in inflation, population and park visits.
About 70% of voters approved the levy measure in 2013.