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Bethesda voters asked to support new park levy

Photo Provided Epworth Park in Bethesda is seeing more use during the coronavirus pandemic and voters are asked to consider a new levy for further improvements.

BETHESDA — The Epworth Park Board of Directors is asking voters to consider supporting a new, continuing 1.5-mill park levy that appears on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Park board member Debbie Mason said members are getting word out to all of Bethesda’s registered voters.

“Epworth Park is a unique and beautiful park tucked inside the village of Bethesda. It is often referred to as a ‘Hidden Gem.’ It provides our residents a combination of outdoor opportunities,” she said.

This levy would help with the maintenance, insurance and upkeep of the village’s park facilities and reservoir ballfields, which accounts for nearly 75 percent of the park’s annual budget.

Expenses include mowing and maintaining the shelters and restrooms.

Mason said the park continues to offer a site for family reunions, service group meetings or other events for area organizations. She said many of these events are held annually at the park’s three shelters.

In addition, board members point out that the park features a multi-purpose walking trail and the opportunity for young and older residents to enjoy fishing, basketball, baseball, playground activities and picnic spots.

“It is important to keep up our park in order for it to be a safe, nice, maintained place for people to enjoy,” Mason said. “The money will be used for some improvements but primarily maintenance of the park and the reservoir ballfields. We are asking voters to please consider investing a few dollars in our park. … We feel it is well worth it.”

In terms of how much the proposed levy would raise a property owner’s tax bill, a home with a market value of $90,000 has a taxable value of $31,500, and the homeowner’s increase would be about 13 cents per day, or $47.25 per year.

“The park has seen increased usage this year due to COVID and the installation of the paved walking trail. There have been many upgrades and improvements to the park within the past year,” Mason said.

Some other recent improvements include installing walking trails and bridges and extensive landscaping to provide more space for visitors.

“All of these improvements were done with monetary donations from private citizens, businesses, fundraisers and grant money. Many community members have volunteered endless hours to make our park a source of pride,” she said.

Mason commended volunteer community spirit, particularly in the recent landscaping of 3 acres this summer, accomplished with the help of local businesses that lent the use of their equipment.

“We had many volunteers that helped us,” Mason said. “We’re grateful that they generously gave back to the community and the park board wishes to continue the spirit of community involvement, asking our Bethesda residents to support the village park levy.”

Should the levy fail to pass, the park board will continue fundraising efforts.

“Doing what we can with the money that we have,” he said. “Some of the larger projects we wanted to get done sooner rather than later. The parking lot should be asphalted. The fence around the park needs some work.”

Other projects include maintaining the ballfields and new roofing on the dugouts.

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