By Spencer Pauley
(The Center Square) – King County is awarding the City of Bellevue $9.2 million to acquire and conserve 18 acres of land adjacent to the Coal Creek Natural Area south of the city.
Funds stem from the King County Conservation Futures Tax Levy, which has a rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The owner of a median priced home pays about $50 per year into the conservation futures fund.
Bellevue’s Cougar Mountain Connections project would make trail connections in the Lakemont trail system, Lakemont and Lewis Creek Community Parks, and to over 35 miles of trails in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, according to a press release from King County. The city would also be able to expand the capacity of the Red Town trailhead, including more parking for hikers.
“Thank you to King County for the significant Conservation Futures contribution,” Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson said in a statement. “We are always looking to bolster our image as a ‘city in a park,’ and we also wish to preserve our mining heritage where we can. This generous funding could make it possible to do both.”
The citizen group Save Coal Creek encouraged the City of Bellevue to consider purchasing the property to protect the wildlife corridor between Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Bellevue’s Coal Creek Natural Area. King County Councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Claudia Balducci backed the effort to dedicate the $9.2 million to Bellevue.
“The Cougar Mountain Connections project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to conserve our green space, fill in a critical wildlife corridor, and preserve local history while also adding more trails to one of our region’s most popular hiking destinations,” Dunn said. “Thank you to Save Coal Creek for highlighting the need to conserve these lands for generations to come and to the City of Bellevue for working to make this project a reality.”
Spencer Pauley is a staff reporter at The Center Square.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
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