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Voters asked to approve levy for maintenance at Washington’s largest senior center

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BOTHELL, Wash. -- Communities in north King County and south Snohomish County will see a property tax levy proposal on their Nov. 5 ballots to invest in aging adults and people with special needs/disabilities.

The proposal calls for a levy to fund necessary maintenance at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell. The center is owned by Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area.

Northshore Senior Center CEO Brooke Knight said none of the major repairs at the facility have been fixed in 30 years.

“On the surface, this building may look mostly pretty good. And we’ve worked really hard to try to make sure that it does look good and is welcoming for people. A lot of the problems are really hidden problems—things that are mechanical, structural,” said Knight.

On the ballot, a maintenance and restoration levy is listed as “Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area Proposition 1.” Knight said she's concerned about voters disapproving or ignoring the proposition because it doesn’t specify that it would directly benefit the senior center.

“The language of the ballot is very confusing because it does talk about just the Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area. And many people will not associate that with the senior center,” said Knight.

The language of the proposal is printed on ballots as follows:

Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area
Proposition No. 1

Maintenance and Restoration Levy

Shall the Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area be authorized to impose regular property tax levies of four cents ($.04) or less per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for each of six (6) consecutive years?

Yes

No

Knight said center members are campaigning leading up to election day to educate people about the levy and encouraging them to vote yes.

“Obviously they have a really vested interest in making sure that this building remains a safe and welcoming place for them and for people who come after them,” said Knight. “We’re really trying to ensure that we get the word out and that people know when they see Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area on their ballot, that is really referencing the repairs needed here at the senior center.”

If approved, the long list of repairs at the center would be fixed during a 10-year period, totaling $4.7 million. The proposal would impose a property tax levies of four cents or less per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for each of six consecutive years.

Knight said the repairs would include replacing a severely rusted sky bridge that connects both of Northshore’s buildings. She also said the funds would pay for a new roof, new siding and windows.

"Our HVAC system is so old that they don’t even make the replacement parts for it any longer. So, it’s pretty extensive—the list of repairs that we have here," Knight said.

Northshore Senior Center is the largest facility for aging adults in Washington, serving more than 5,000 people. Knight said the center is also one of the largest in the country.

98-year-old Lloyd Ness said he started coming to the center 25 years ago. He said he likes to spend his time at the center’s coffee bar cracking jokes.

He's involved in the maintenance program, sweeping the front entrance, trimming bushes and other landscaping projects.

“If you want variety and variety is the spice of life, this is it,” said Ness.

Ness mentioned he visited five other senior centers prior to joining Northshore. He said the senior center in Bothell was his favorite because it kept him active.

“It extends your life and you also meet a lot of nice people. And I can hardly wait to get out of bed in the morning so I can come down here,” said Ness.

Voters are asked to cast their ballots for the November General Election by Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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