Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) Receives Bond Rating Upgrade Rated AA with Low Interest Rate

S&P Global recently upgraded Peninsula Metropolitan Park District’s (PenMet Parks’) credit rating from “AA-” to “AA”. The rating upgrade helped to secure a favorable interest rate for the $16 million Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds that will fund a portion of the costs for the initial phase of the future Community Recreation Center. The project will provide indoor recreation opportunities including a turf field, multi-purpose courts, a walk/jog track, and community spaces. The Cushman Trail will be extended through the property, which is located on the site of the former driving range adjacent to Highway 16, as part of the project. PenMet Parks anticipates using an additional $10 million from reserves funds, a community-wide fundraising campaign goal of just over $3 million, and grants, to complete the project financing.

“The District’s Bond rating has been upgraded from AA- to AA. This is a great accomplishment for the District and its citizens!” said Park Board President Amanda Babich. “The AA rating reflects that the District is well-managed and has strong financial policies and practices in place for the benefit of our citizens. The higher the rating, then the lower the interest cost.”

As part of the bond financing process, PenMet Parks staff and Commissioners, accompanied by Bond Underwriter Jim Nelson of D.A. Davidson & Co., presented information, and answered questions detailing topics of management, finances, economic growth, long-term planning, and the Community Recreation Center to the national rating agency of S&P Global Ratings.

According to Executive Director Ally Bujacich, “The upgrade to a AA rating is based on the following key factors: 1. Demonstrated track record of strong financial reserves; 2. Strength of the local economy; 3. Financial management policies and practices; and 4. Experienced management in efficiently operating the District.”

The Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds were priced on April 8th in Seattle at the offices of D.A. Davidson & Co., serving as Bond Underwriter. The 30-year Bond financing achieved an All-In True Interest Cost of 2.57%.

Park Board Clerk Kurt Grimmer noted “The District looked at various bond structures to achieve a lower borrowing cost and lower annual payment. The District selected a bond structure with a bank-qualified tax-exempt bond series with a taxable bond series. Based on market conditions, our Bond Underwriter estimated this bond structure lowered our annual payment by approximately $30,000 per year. We also lowered our annual payment as a result of the rating upgrade.”

For more information on the S&P Global rating upgrade, please email info@penmetparks.org.

Peninsula Metropolitan Park District names permanent Executive Director Ally Bujacich to take the helm of the maturing park district

GIG HARBOR, WA – March 22, 2021 – The Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) Board of Commissioners has selected Ally Bujacich as their new Executive Director. Please join them in welcoming Ms. Bujacich into the PenMet Parks family. Bujacich is a local, long-time resident who is intimately familiar with Gig Harbor and the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Ally’s caliber and experience step up to lead the PenMet Park District,” said Park Board President Amanda Babich. “We are at a critical moment and we need skilled, vetted leadership to successfully take PenMet Parks into a new era of operation.”

Bujacich has worked with the University of Puget Sound as their Director of Capital Development, the Gig Harbor Boat Shop as Community Development Director, and most recently as Project Manager with Absher Construction. Bujacich brings a unique background spanning project management, facilities management, and community development that provides her a distinct perspective and understanding of a wide range of organizational and work functions, including strategic planning, master planning, capital project and major maintenance planning, operations, budget development, emergency response, community outreach, community partnership building, and a commitment to excellent customer service.

Babich adds, “Ally is a strong communicator who is customer-focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a Project Management contractor for PenMet Parks for the last six months, Ally has gained a solid understanding of our overall operation and Board expectations. Exercising due diligence, she has made an immediate positive impact on how we approach and manage our capital assets, address project management, and financial oversight.”
Bujacich is a graduate of Peninsula High School and received a B.S. in Construction Management with a Minor in Business Administration from Central Washington University. She has also earned LEED AP, Associate DBIA, and AIC Associate Constructor professional designations and is an APPA Leadership Academy graduate.

“As a resident of Gig Harbor, I am inspired by the vital ways that PenMet Parks positively impacts the place where we live, work, and play. I am honored to lead the organization in its mission to enhance the quality of life by providing parks and recreation opportunities for our community, and excited for what lies ahead” stated Bujacich.

Following the conclusion of a temporary loaned employee agreement with Metro Parks Tacoma for Interim Executive Director services, the Board will finalize the selection of Bujacich at its regular meeting on April 6, 2021. Bujacich will begin the position on April 12, 2021.

PenMet Parks Seeks Community Input

PenMet Parks moves to the next phase of building Community Recreation Center

Recognizing the need for both indoor and outdoor passive and active recreation, plans are underway to build a regional sports and recreation complex in the Greater Gig Harbor community following approval of initial funding by the PenMet Parks’ Board of Directors. As of July 21, 2020 PenMet has chosen the Architect and Engineering Firm of BLRB Architects of Tacoma to move to the next phase of developing the PenMet Parks Community Recreation Center.

“This is a monumental step in providing the community much needed indoor and outdoor space for both passive and active recreational activities. Community input will imperative to developing what the future use of this facility will be.”

In the next phase of this signature project, PenMet Parks is seeking vital input from community user groups, local businesses and individuals. This input will come in the form of PenMet assembling a Steering Committee to contribute their knowledge and feedback of community needs. The Steering Committee, made up of a diverse representation of the Greater Gig Harbor community, will be presented with the project details, goals, and preliminary design elements. This process will include information on project funding, timing, and regulations that impact the project. Once familiar with the project, the Committee will conduct multiple public meetings to discuss the project elements and give the design team input.

Learn more or apply to serve on the Steering Committee or email us at: info@PenMetParks.org

“For many of the residents in this community, even the closest Community Recreation Center is still too far away and that’s about to change. We’re building a new state-of-the-art facility that will serve our community far and wide. At PenMet Parks, our sports and recreation programming really focuses on life-long activity, and I cannot wait for residents of all ages to have the opportunity to enjoy new features that will enhance the quality of life in our area. The planned Community Recreation Center will be an important and much needed recreational facility for both the incorporated and unincorporated Gig Harbor community.” We thank the community for their support of our District. We are all PenMet Parks and look forward to seeing you soon!

PENMET PARKS SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT

PenMet Parks Braces for Budget Impacts

PenMet Parks tightens budget but ready to spring into action

Following the issuance of Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay home, stay healthy” order, PenMet Parks had to make some quick adjustments to the ways parks and recreation opportunities are provided to the community. Following best practices provided by leading local and state authorities, PenMet Parks adjusted procedures to ensure the safety of our patrons and employees. The District has been prudent in reviewing impacts on our operating budgets and has placed cost-saving measures into effect to neutralize real and potential revenue losses. We have implemented a varied approach that includes hiring and spending freezes, tightening of expense budgets, temporary staffing reductions, and restrictions to external program funds. We understand the potential consequences these measures may cause both internally and externally, and will make every effort to restore, or assist in the provision of, our mission-led services.

To help in the fight against COVID-19 a variety of park amenities and recreation services were closed, postponed, or canceled. Our dedicated Recreation Team members were quick to pivot from the originally planned Egg Hunt in the park to a drive-up delivery service in the way of goodie bags filled with eggs and activities for at-home fun. Now, more than ever, we all realize that parks, trails, and recreation services play a vital role in our community’s health and well-being. PenMet Parks will remain steadfast in our efforts.

While trails and dog parks have remained open through the duration of the Governor’s ordinance, beach access has been closed to reduce the potential of large gatherings. Following the relaxing of the Governor’s restrictions, PenMet Parks will open beach access on May 5th, to include the following locations: Sunrise Beach, Narrow’s Beach, Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve (aka Bella Bella Beach, Fox Island) and the Fox Island Pier. The District reminds visitors to recreate responsibly, and to keep in mind that crowds close parks. Please follow the recommended safe physical distancing practices issued by health authorities.

Reminders also include:

  • Only visit a park or trail with those you have been quarantining with.
  • Pack trash and belongings in, and pack them out.
  • Go before you go. Use the restroom prior to your visit.
  • Do not gather in groups. Maintain the recommended 6-foot distance, step aside if a person needs to pass. Keep in mind that crowds close parks.
  • Allow others to spend time by limiting your time.
  • Playgrounds, ballfields, bathrooms, and sports courts remain closed until further notice. Do not participate in organized training/practices.

PenMet Parks staff are working hard to plan alternative means to recreate for summer and fall. We are also working diligently to maintain parks to keep visitors safe, active, and healthy.

We thank the community for their support of our District. We are all PenMet Parks and look forward to seeing you soon!

PenMet Parks COVID Update press release (PDF)

PenMet Parks Finalizes Purchase of Performance Golf Center

PENMET PARKS FINALIZES PURCHASE OF PERFORMANCE GOLF CENTER PROPERTY

The Pierce County Hearing Examiner has granted a conditional use permit approval and site plan review approval to allow the establishment of a Community Recreation Center on the 17.16-acre site located at 2416 14th Ave, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. This conditional use permit approval provides PenMet Parks Board of Directors the opportunity to move forward with the purchase of the current Performance Golf property. PenMet Parks will assume possession of the property as of December 13, 2019.

The golf operations currently being offered at the facility have been suspended to make way for the next phase of planning and development of PenMet Parks Community Recreation Center. Fox Island Brewing will vacate its current location at Performance Golf Center at the end of 2019. PenMet Parks extends great appreciation to Fox Island Brewing, Performance Golf, and Harbor Soccer for their service to the community. The District is committed to remaining diligent in working with our neighbors, user groups, and community partners to further the District’s mission and vision of providing diverse recreation opportunities to the Greater Gig Harbor Peninsula community. PenMet Parks Executive Director, Doug Nelson, is excited to announce the project is moving forward. “The District’s vision is to enhance the quality of life by providing parks and recreation opportunities for our community and building a dedicated Community Recreation Center is key to making that vision become a reality,” says Nelson. “PenMet Parks is committed to planning, prioritizing, and investing in projects to continue meeting the community’s needs. We are looking forward to fulfilling an important need within the Greater Gig Harbor Peninsula community.”

Project design features of the new facility include indoor recreation space, multi-purpose learning spaces, community activity spaces, indoor walking track, and event rental space. For more information about this or other projects, please visit www.penmetparks.org or contact us at
253.858.3400 for more information.

PenMet Parks is committed to creating, improving, and maintaining high-quality parks and park facilities. PenMet Parks takes the responsibility of prudently managing district funds seriously, which means planning, prioritizing, and investing in projects to continue meeting the community’s needs.

FINAL Media Release – CRC Final Purchase (PDF)

Executive Director Announcement

The Peninsula Metropolitan Park District announces Executive Director Join us as we welcome our new Executive Director for PenMet Parks.
The Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) Board of Directors and staff welcomed their new Executive Director,
Doug Nelson, to the organization. Nelson succeeds Interim Executive Director Glenn Akramoff. Nelson will lead District efforts in enhancing the quality of life by providing parks and recreation opportunities for our community. These opportunities will be accomplished through support to Capital Projects, Staff Development, Communication, and Transparency.

Mr. Nelson has more than thirteen years of experience in recreation management, including serving as Recreation and Community Center Manager for the City of Federal Way. Nelson has been part of the Parks and Recreation Profession Since 1991. “It was very important for the Board of Commissioners to take time to carefully consider our District needs when selecting our next Executive Director. We believe Doug is the right person to lead the District during this unprecedented growth period,” said Maryellen “Missy” Hill, President of PenMet Parks Board of Directors.

“We are very excited for the future of PenMet Parks working in concert with Doug,
staff, and community!” stated Hill.

Mr. Nelson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University with a minor in Exercise Science. “I am honored to serve as the Executive Director of PenMet Parks, an organization that epitomizes my passion to work, live, and play in parks and recreation,” Nelson said. “For 15 years, PenMet has served the children and families of the greater Gig Harbor Peninsula and surrounding areas, providing the highest quality programs, events, leagues, and services available anywhere. I am so proud of all the district has accomplished and excited for the future ahead!”

Nelson’s date to begin the position is December 9th, 2019.

Media Release – ED arrival (PDF)

PenMet Builds Community with Recreation Center

The Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) board of commissioners has approved plans to develop a new state-of-the-art community recreation center on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

Following the completion of a detailed feasibility study to include need, impact and fund management, PenMet Parks Board of Directors approved plans to move forward with the purchase & sale agreement for the current Performance Golf property, located at 2416 14th Ave, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. The anticipated close date is December of 2019.

Board President, Maryellen “Missy” Hill said, “After a thorough due diligence period, PenMet Park Board of Commissioners and staff and are immensely excited to move forward on this project. The Community Recreation Center will address many of the needs citizens requested in a recent survey including active space for seniors, programs for special populations, indoor recreation opportunities year-round and an additional opportunity, supporting the continuation of the Cushman Trail system through the property. After our levy lid lift was approved by voters in
2017, restoring the District’s regular property tax levy rate to $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed value for 2018 we now feel well-positioned to manage the expenses of the project via a Board initiated bond,” said President Hill.

Project design features of the new facility include indoor recreation space, multi-purpose learning spaces, community activity spaces, indoor walking track and, event rental space. As the design process advances, the provisional usage of the current facility is currently in development. The District commits to remaining diligent in working with neighboring communities.

PenMet Parks Interim Executive Director, Glenn Akramoff believes the project will bring the community together providing both active and passive recreation. “The Community Recreation Center will aid in the advancement of the District vision to enhance the quality of life in our area.” Says Akramoff, “We are excited to build community by developing this project as the Greater
Gig Harbor Community.”

Please look for future opportunities to be involved in the planning of the Community Recreation
Center Further project details can be found at www.penmetparks.org/recreationcenter

Community Recreation Center – Media Release – CRC (PDF)