VIDEO: King County announces plan to triple land conservation investments

On Thursday, June 27, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a plan to triple land conservation investments to protect open spaces and parks throughout the county, including the White Center area.

According to the county, the goal is to “protect the remaining and most vital green spaces and trails – for everyone – within a generation (30 years)”:

“We live in a place of spectacular natural beauty. Access to nature and open space is the foundation to our collective quality of life, yet our region is changing quickly. Being outdoors is a way of life for us all; it helps us to de-stress, it brings us peace of mind, and makes us healthier and our neighborhoods more livable – and these benefits are ever more important as our cities grow and densify. If we act now and accelerate our investment in open space and access, we can protect the livability, health and ecological integrity of our region – for everyone.

“A regional collaboration between King County, cities, businesspeople, farmers, environmental partners and others has created a strategy to preserve our last, most important natural lands and urban green spaces in 30 years.

“Open spaces are shrinking as land prices are climbing. By finishing the job in a single generation, we can save $15 billion over what it would take under our current land preservation trajectory (75 years) and protect many of these lands before they are lost.

“Open space throughout our cities, towns, and rural areas has been funded using the Conservation Futures Property Tax Levy (CFT) since 1982.

“As first steps, King County has proposed new legislation that would accelerate investment and improve equity area green space access by:

  • Increasing the use of bond financing with the existing Conservation Futures Tax, pulling forward nearly $148 million over the next 2 to 4 years to protect open and green space.
  • Eliminating match requirements for equity area acquisitions.
  • It limits the reduction of available buildable lands to less than 3 percent.
  • It will eliminate disparities in access to parks and open space for communities with the greatest and most acute needs.
  • Investing in our natural infrastructure will yield dividends well beyond its up-front cost, just as investments in utilities, affordable housing, and transit.”

Here’s video of a press conference that was held at White Center Heights Park:

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