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Tell Commissioners This One Is A Keeper

If you live in a home valued at $150,000, you’ve paid $9 a year since 1994. This $9, less expensive than a fancy bottle of wine, less expensive than a fast-food dinner with the family, has helped keep our county beautiful for your children and grandchildren.

This $9 ensured that in years to come, your heirs will be able to spy some wildlife at Liberty Lake, canoe on Long Lake, throw rocks into the Spokane River.

Your $9 a year (and you paid even less if your house is less expensive) covered the Conservation Futures Tax. Three years ago, Spokane County commissioners opted to be part of this statewide program, which provides funding to preserve open space for natural areas, parks, trails and river access.

County commissioners, who had the power to approve the tax without a vote, opted to place the tax on the ballot this fall for a binding advisory vote.

So far, conservation futures money has bought an 87-acre Liberty Lake parcel filled with old growth cedar trees, and 410 acres at Long Lake, 1.5 miles of it shoreline property. Other, smaller purchases have preserved Spokane River frontage and added an eight-acre wildlife corridor to Palisades Park.

The need for open spaces, for places to be in nature close to the city, has never been more pressing. Housing and business developments are rapidly filling up our woods and waterside vistas.

Even developers understand the need for open spaces. So the futures tax is not only supported by the usual suspects - environmental, wildlife and outdoors groups - but by developers and business interests as well. The Spokane Association of Realtors and all area chambers of commerce are backing the futures tax.

If you value nature, this is a no-brainer. Vote for conservation futures and for the healthy future of the community.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL, ENDORSEMENT - Our View CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi For the editorial board