Seattle voters will be deciding in August whether to create a Metro Park District, similar to one in Tacoma. The district would raise about $48 million a year for park maintenance needs and to plan for the future.

The Seattle Times reports citizens of Tacoma faced a similar question at the turn of the 20th century, when the city was growing rapidly. It has taken Seattle more than 100 to follow Tacoma's example.

Mail ballots for the August election go out this week. The parks proposal has both supporters and critics, including those who object to having Seattle City Council members serve on the parks board, rather than choosing an independent committee.

Under the current system, Seattle parks are supported by dedicated money in the city's general fund. The fund is supported by a parks levy.