An Outsider’s Perspective
Editor, the VOICE:
I was invited to write an op-ed about the Maple Valley parks bond vote, taking place on February 14th. I don’t do politics well. I’d rather dislocate an appendage, then run 3 miles in order to have a doctor reset it, instead of discussing politics. Yes, I’ve done both. And, to make matters worse, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. Even though I’ve lived in Maple Valley since 2004, the last six have been spent outside the city limits. I won’t be able to vote on the measure. However, it occurs to me, that an “outsider’s” voice with an “insider’s” view might be appreciated by some – or just a few. So if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a stab at this.
Since moving to Maple Valley all those years ago, I’ve come to renew my fondness for a small town and all it may have to offer. I grew up in a small town, one now known as the Spokane Valley. Believe me, in the early ’70’s it was a small town. Later, I graduated from high school in Wallace, Idaho. Still, to this day, a small town.
Maple Valley, surrounded by Hobart, Ravensdale and Black Diamond with Covington to the West, is still a small town at heart. We, the people, the ones who make its heart beat, are struggling with her growing pains. Being small means being independent, yet communal with one another. Therein lies the struggle.
Our fair city lies along an ever growing corridor. Highway 169 has become and will continue to grow as an arterial from the city life to the country life. As fictional author, Terrance Mann once said “People will come…. for reasons they can’t even fathom”. We’re growing Maple Valley and we can’t stop it. All we can do is prepare.
I don’t want to preach but I will ask you to do this. Especially those of you with kids or who plan to one day have them; Why are parks and recreation important to you and more importantly to them? What will they learn? What might they accomplish? How will those things help them as they grow to become competent, contributing adults? And in order to be fair, please, also make a list of possible negatives. How will these parks negatively affect your child’s growth? For instance they may………. I got nothing here. I will leave this up to you.
I was asked a couple weeks ago to write an opinion piece about this vote. Not to endorse or to speak out against it. Just, write an opinion. I promised I would and I cannot tell you how many hours of thought I have devoted to this essay. Finally it came down to this for me. People are coming, we can’t stop them and Maple Valley only has so much room. Further, parks and recreation are necessities in order to maintain an organic, small town community.
The space is currently available and that may not always be the case. The current need for communal gathering has made itself present. The specific parameters for funding and maintaining the parks are clearly written. Were I citizen of Maple Valley, I would vote FOR this bond and I hope you do as well.