Seattle Parks and Recreation and Mayor Murray’s proposed budget

On Sept. 26, Mayor Murray presented his 2017-2018 Proposed Budget to City Council, and I am pleased to inform you of a few items related to Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) programs and services. The Mayor’s budget makes critical investment in expanding access to our community centers and maintaining our parks as the gems of our city.

Seattle Park District              

In 2017, the Seattle Park District will be in year three of its first six-year spending plan. This voter-approved permanent funding to support parks and recreation services is the single biggest change to SPR operations in 100 years. In 2017, we will continue to carry out the initiatives in the spending plan and to report to the Oversight Committee and the public on our progress. By the end of 2017, we will be at the halfway point of this six-year planning cycle – time flies.

Community Center Operations

The proposed 2017 budget shifts $1.3 million in Park District funding from the capital side to the operating side to meet community needs by increasing hours of operation and staffing at centers in neighborhoods with fewer resources to pay for programming. This shift is a recommendation of the draft Community Center Strategic Plan The increases will result in improved participant-to-staff ratios, more capacity to pursue community partnerships, and increased access to the centers for the community. You can learn more by reviewing the Mayor’s press release at http://murray.seattle.gov/mayor-unveils-new-strategic-plan-for-citys-community-centers/.

Non-District Related Changes

Park Rangers

As our approach to enlivening downtown parks has evolved, the proposed budget includes the elimination of 1.5 vacant Park Ranger positions. With Park District funding for the Urban Parks Partnership Initiative, we have entered into contracts with downtown entities to provide physical improvements and public programming in downtown parks. Following a pilot project conducted in 2015-16, we entered into a five-year contract with the Downtown Seattle Association to continue to activate Westlake Park and Occidental Square through food trucks, plantings and colorful furniture, games and active play, classes and events, and much more. In 2016, similar agreements were negotiated with Cascade Playground Activation Committee, Jim Ellis Freeway Park Association, InterIm Community Development Association and Friends of Belltown Parks to activate Cascade Playground, Donnie Chin International Children’s Park, Freeway Park, Hing Hay Park, Kobe Terrace Park, and Bell Street Park.

Capital Improvement Plan:

SPR’s 2017 capital budget is growing significantly – from $21 million in 2015 and $59 million in 2016 to $75 million in 2017 and $84 million in 2018. The capital budget maintains a strong commitment to asset preservation. In addition to the almost $37 million worth of projects funded by the Seattle Park District, the projects proposed for REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) revenues are prioritized consistent with SPR’s asset management criteria. Ongoing major maintenance projects, such as environmental remediation, landscape and forest restoration, irrigation system repair, pavement restoration, and replacing major roof and HVAC systems, address basic infrastructure needs across the system. The 2017 budget also provides REET funding for remediation work at Lake Union Park and Victor Steinbrueck Park.

Lake Union Park

The 2017 budget includes $3.6 million to correct problems with settling at Lake Union Park, including the walkways, pedestrian bridge and the park’s pond. After a regular inspection showed movement on the east abutment of the bridge, SPR commissioned a geotechnical assessment that revealed continued settling, which will be corrected through the removal of soil and use of lightweight geofoam.

Victor Steinbrueck Park

A current project funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy is now in the planning phase at the park and includes improving sight lines into the park, renovating seating, renovating the former children’s play area, improving and expanding lighting, and upgrading landscaping. The park sits atop a privately-owned parking garage, and the waterproof membrane between the westerly portion of the park and the parking garage below is failing. The Mayor’s budget includes $3.5 million over two years to make major repairs to, or replace, the membrane.

Athletic Fields Projects

As mentioned below, revenues from increased athletic field use fees will support investments to expand athletic field capacity. By 2018, $600,000 per year in fee revenues will be collected to improve or expand athletic fields. In addition, there is $2.6 million of REET funds to help fund improvements at three fields in 2017-2018: Brighton Playfield, Soundview Playfield and a third field planned to be improved in partnership with another agency.

Fees

The Mayor’s proposed budget includes increases in fees for scheduling athletic fields, park event permits (both last increased in 2011) and swimming pools (last increased in 2013). The fee revenues, along with the General Fund, support increases in inflationary costs necessary to provide these amenities and services to the public. The fee increases for athletic fields will also support investments in our fields. By 2018, these athletic field fee increases are estimated to raise an additional $1 million annually. Of that, $600,000 each year will be transferred to the capital budget in order to support field improvement projects.

Overall, the 2017 Proposed Budget is a good news story with the Park District in full swing along with additional investments to help us meet new technology mandates and to expand our operational capacity. The investments outlined in the Mayor’s Proposed Budget will allow Seattle Parks and Recreation to continue to provide exceptional services to our growing community; this is truly an exciting time for SPR.

Please let City Councilmembers know that you support these budget changes by emailing the Council through the Council website or by attending one of the two Council budget hearings scheduled for the following dates:

  • October 5, 2016 at 5:30 p.m., Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers; and
  • October 25, 2016 at 5:30 p.m., Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers.

Many thanks to you for your continued support of and involvement with our programs and services, and to Mayor Murray for including these proposals as part of his 2017-2018 Proposed Budget.

 

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Jesús Aguirre
Superintendent
Seattle Parks and Recreation

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Seattle Parks and Recreation invites community to participate in design of Smith Cove Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to participate in the Smith Cove Park project on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, 3801 Discovery Park Blvd. This meeting is an opportunity to learn about the project, meet the design team from Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) and provide input on the design of Seattle’s new waterfront park. Smith Cove Park is located just west of Pier 91 at the foot of Magnolia Hill on Elliott Bay at 1451 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.

This project will develop the recently acquired 4.9 acre easterly waterfront property and make improvements to the playfield at Smith Cove Park (west of 23rd Ave. W). The expanded park will provide opportunities for active and passive recreation for all ages and abilities, increase environmental-sensitivity, and make the park inviting and usable for more people. Amenities may include pathways, landscaping, waterfront access, a play area, and related improvements.  Improvements will also be made to the existing part of Smith Cove Park used for youth sports to enhance the playability.

In early 2016, Seattle Parks and Recreation hired GGN as the design consultant. GGN and Seattle Parks and Recreation will use the outreach and concept completed by the Friends of Smith Cove Park (FoSCP) as the starting point for the design of the park.

Established in 2014, FoSCP, is a committee of community members and park users. In 2015, FoSCP received a grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to undertake the initial public outreach and conceptual design for the expansion of Smith Cove Park. Find out more about FOSCP at their website www.SeattleSmithCovePark.org.

For more information on the park and the project, please visit

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/smith-cove-park-development or contact David Graves, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 684-7048 or david.graves@seattle.gov.

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Seattle Channel videos feature Seattle Park District

It’s been just over two years since Seattle voters approved Proposition 1 to create the Seattle Park District, and projects and programs funded by the District are in full swing.

Recently, Seattle Parks and Recreation teamed with the Seattle Channel to produce three 30-minute videos that highlight some of the work being accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city. The videos, collectively entitled “The Seattle Park District: Investing in People and Parks,” first aired on the Seattle Channel in September and are available online at the links below.

Hosted by veteran television reporter Brian Callanan, the three shows feature different aspects of the Park District, each one beginning with a TV news-like report, followed by a discussion panel with Callanan, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre and two community members:

  • The first episode focuses on Maintaining Parks and Facilities, including maintenance of community centers, forest restoration efforts, playfield resurfacing and the enforcement of leash laws for dogs.1
  • The second episode features Programs for People, including a summer camp for youth with disabilities, the Arts in the Parks Program, the Get Moving Program, which encourages physical activity for people of all ages, and the Senior Food and Fitness Program. 2
  • The third episode highlights projects in the Building for the Future initiative, including parkland acquisition, park improvements, and partnerships to activate downtown parks. 3

Approved by voters in 2014, the Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation. 2016 was the first full year of implementation and has included funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog; and funds the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of the urban forest; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.

For more information, please visit this web page.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation invites community to participate in the Brighton Playfield improvement project

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to provide input on design options for Brighton Playfield renovation. Please join us at a public meeting for the Brighton Playfield improvement project on Wed., Oct. 5, 2016 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Aki Kurose Middle School, 3928 S Graham St, Seattle, WA 98118. Seattle Parks and Recreation encourages the community and field users to attend and provide input on the project.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, project manager, and D.A. Hogan, consultant, will provide backgroundbrighton-pic information, present schematic design options and gather information on how the renovation can provide the best field.

This project will replace the existing lighted natural turf playfield with a new lighted and renovated 200,000 square foot synthetic turf field. We will be looking at new/upgraded accessible pathways, spectator areas, reuse of existing seating/bleachers and connections with other existing park features.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is leading the way to find alternate synthetic turf field design systems/materials and deliver a safe, durable and playable athletic facility and experience. We have met with the manufactures and will move forward with an innovative infill material for the Brighton Playfield.

The lighting upgrade will demolish the existing, outmoded lighting system and replace it with a state-of-the-art system. The goal of the lighting project is to enhance play ability with safe and efficient lighting for field users, and to limit light spill from the field edge, greatly reducing glare offsite.

Brighton Playfield is located north of Aki Kurose Middle School at 6000 39th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118.

The Seattle Park District funds provides the funding for this renovation. Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. 2016 is the first full year of implementation and will include funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog; and will fund the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of the urban forest; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.

For additional information or for translation of invitation please visit. http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/brighton/. For additional question or to request an interpreter please contact Jay Rood, Project Manager, Seattle Parks and Recreation at 206-733-9194 or jay.rood@seattle.gov.

 

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Board of Park Commissioners to hold a Public Hearing on the Community Center Strategic Plan

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The Board of Park Commissioners will hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the Community Center Strategic Plan. The meeting will take place at Van Asselt Community Center (2820 S Myrtle St.), on October 13, 2016 at 6:30pm.

The Community Center Strategic Plan is available here. The Community Center Strategic Plan will lay the foundation for both operational and facility decision-making for the community center system in the future. The 2014 Parks Legacy Plan established two general goals for community centers:

  • Ensure community centers are the focal points in our neighborhoods and serve as places where people can connect, foster relationships, build community, and enhance their health and well-being by offering programs, activities, and events to Seattle’s changing population.
  • Ensure community centers are physically and emotionally safe and welcoming places for individual enrichment and community growth.

The Board of Park Commissioners will receive oral and written testimony, and will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent based on the feedback they receive from the public. Those who want to give input on the plan but are not able to come to the public hearing can send written comments, which bear equal weight to oral testimony. Please email comments to rachel.acosta@seattle.gov.

Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. 2016 is the first full year of implementation and there is work going on in every corner of the city. This year includes funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog, and will fund the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of urban forests; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners is a nine-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Four members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; four members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is a young adult appointed by YMCA Get Engaged. The Board generally meets twice a month, normally on the second and fourth Thursday, to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor, and the City Council on parks and recreation matters.

 

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Your Seattle Parks and Recreation Fall Bucket List!

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Leaves are falling. There’s a crispness to the air. Pumpkin lattes are back on the menu. And Seattleites are starting to bundle up in scarves and mittens. All clear signs that summer has ended and the fall season has officially arrived. But don’t let the cooler weather and darker skies prevent you from continuing to enjoy our 465 parks and countless recreational offerings! Throw on a sweater and welcome the season of changing colors with our Seattle Parks and Recreation Fall Bucket List!

Take in the changing colors

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Our parks are turning into a fiery palette of red, orange and yellow hues. Experience the breathtaking sight of maple trees ablaze in the colors of fall at the Seattle Japanese Garden’s annual Maple Viewing Festival, Oct. 15-16. This is one of the best times of the year to visit the Garden! You can also enjoy a spectacular color show at Kubota Garden. Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20-acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest Plants.

Enjoy the crisp air

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With temperatures in the high 50s to mid-60s, now is the perfect time to enjoy the cool crisp air on a forest hike or urban walk. The 534-acre Discovery Park offers miles of trails through forest groves, open meadows, tidal beaches, active sand dunes, thickets and streams. For those preferring a flatter surface, order a cup of coffee or hot cider to go, and head to Green Lake Park, where you can sip your hot beverage while strolling the 2.8-mile path, all while taking in views of maple trees and numerous species of birds and waterfowl.

Get crafty!

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Let us help you get in touch with your crafty side! From parent-child holiday pottery-making classes, to drop-in adult water color classes, to youth piano lessons and more, our community centers have countless activities to help you build community and have fun while connecting with your artistic side. Sign up for our youth “Birds of a Feather Make Art Together Class” at Laurelhurst Community Center from Oct. 26 to Dec. 7. In this fun five-week class, youth will explore nature and return to the studio to create sun catchers, clay birds, natural beads, and other items found in nature. Find details on this and other offerings in our Community Center brochures: NorthwestNortheastSouthwestSoutheast

Get festive at our Fall and Halloween Festivals

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Seattle Parks and Recreation is ready to celebrate the season of changing colors! From trying your hand at making fresh-pressed cider, to dressing up in your spookiest costume, our community centers are full of festive fall activities for you and your family. Join us for the Fall Fest at Ballard Community Center on Oct. 8 where you can try your hand at the apple press, make your own scarecrow (bring old clothes) and of course, play games. Or put on your scariest costume for the High Point Community Center Haunted House on Oct. 20. We will have Halloween games, booths, face paintings, and arts and crafts activities. Visit our Fall Festivals page for more information on all the celebrations happening around Seattle this season.

Cook with us

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When the weather’s cool and the skies are gray, there’s nothing better than enjoying a warm, home-cooked seasonal meal. Our Junior Chef “Around the World Treats and Eats/Holiday Cooking” class at Delridge Community Center is designed to teach kids 8-12 years old new cooking techniques and recipes from different regional cuisines. Adults can also take part in a “Cooking from Around the World” class at Montlake Community Center focused on Korean cuisine. The smell of cooking kalbi (marinated short rib beef) will make your mouth water as you learn how to cook jap chae (vermicelli noodles with sautéed vegetables) and make your very own cucumber kimchee. Find details on these and other offerings in our Community Center brochures: NorthwestNortheastSouthwestSoutheast

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Community invited to participate in Victor Steinbrueck Park renovation project

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to participate in the Victor Steinbrueck Park renovation project by providing input on Tues. October 4, 2016 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Waterfront Space, 1400 Western Ave. Seattle, 98101. This meeting is an opportunity to learn about the project, review design options and provide input on the renovation.  Seattle Parks and Recreation staff and Walker Macy, design consultant will present the proposed design options, gather input and answer questions.  lmerc52011

The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy allocates funding to improve Victor Steinbrueck Park public safety including but not limited to improving sight lines into the park, renovating seating, renovating the former children’s play area, improving and expanding lighting, and upgrading landscaping.  In addition, the park partially sites atop a privately owned parking garage. The membrane between the westerly portion of the park and the parking garage below is failing.  A complete replacement of the membrane will be necessary as part of the renovation.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s design team will continue to work with the community to prioritize park improvements and anticipates presenting a final design for the park in early 2017. Seattle Parks and Recreation has been and will continue to be engaging organizations including the Chief Seattle Club, the Friends of Market, surrounding residents and business and homeless advocates regarding the park renovation. We encourage the community and park users to attend and participate in the design process.

For more information, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/victor_steinbrueck/ Visitors to this site may also access an on-line Open House starting Friday, Sept 30, 2016.  For additional question please contact David Graves, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 684-7048 or david.graves@seattle.gov

 

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Celebrate Seattle’s beautiful trees

Trees are not only beautiful, they clean our air and our water, calm traffic and help us conserve energy. As Seattle continues to grow, our urban trees and vegetation are critical to keeping Seattle a healthy, livable city.

Join Mayor Ed Murray and City of Seattle urban forestry staff to celebrate all that our city’s beautiful trees do for us at this year’s Arbor Day festivities! Arbor Day will be a fun, family-friendly celebration with activities such as facilitated tree climbing for kids of all ages, apple cider pressing, volunteer tree planting, an ask-the-arborist booth, a neighborhood Tree Walk, and more!

Saturday, October 15
9:00 a.m. – Noon
Virgil Flaim Park
2700 NE 123rd St, Seattle, WA 98125

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celebrate

 

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Urban Nature Guides provided hands-on learning at parks across Seattle this summer

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Classifying animals. Bird walks. Working with science tools. These might sound like activities that are part of a college biology class, but thanks to our Urban Nature Guides, these hands-on activities were available to youth and families at parks across Seattle this summer.

Urban Nature Guides are trained volunteers with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) who help enhance, promote and foster appreciation of nature by leading educational activities in a variety of settings from playgrounds to beaches. This summer, the Guides teamed up with our Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning Unit to provide a wide variety of educational activities to young people across Seattle.

Summer Food Service and Extended Recreation Program

summer-foodSeattle Urban Nature Guides offered activities to 131 young people participating in our eight-week Summer Food Service and Extended Recreation Program at Othello Playground and Roxhill Park. The activities promoted an awareness of and connection to the natural world, and provided the opportunity for young people to practice observation and classification skills, work with science tools, and participate in a craft.

World School Summer Science Academy

world-schoolSeattle Urban Natures Guides worked with the Seattle World School’s Summer Science Academy to provide environmental education over the course of five weeks to 348 youth on the importance of water to the city’s culture and economy. The Seattle World School is composed of English-language learners who are immigrants and refugees. The school offers free or reduced lunch to 96% of students, and ten languages are spoken amongst the student body.

Special events

special-eventsSeattle Urban Nature Guides offered activities at SPR special events such as the Duwamish River Festival, where Guides helped 193 people create natural history prints, and the Big Day of Play, where Guides assisted 200 children in assembling kites. Activities promoted environmental appreciation and connection to the natural community in local parks.

Public programs on natural history

special-events-2Seattle Urban Nature Guides provided programs at various Seattle parks that foster awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Salish Sea intertidal life and the marine environment. Guides led a family beach walk and a bird walk for seniors at Carkeek Park, two family beach walks at Me Kwa Mooks Park, and one family beach walk, one beach clean up and one tot trek at Discovery Park, serving 80 adults and 28 youth in total.

Natural and cultural history information stations

natural-programsDrop-in stations on urban wildlife, Salish Sea beaches, and the history of Discovery Park were staffed by Seattle Urban Nature Guides at parks across Seattle. These stations engaged 749 park visitor and helped to foster awareness, knowledge of and appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest, and promote environmental stewardship of our communities.

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Construction of Washington Park Arboretum Loop Trail temporarily closes south end of Arboretum Dr. E

Community encouraged to visit Looptrail.seattle.gov and sign up for construction updates

On Monday Sept., 26, 2016, Ohno Construction will begin to tear up and replace the south end of Arboretum Drive E. This Arboretum access point will be closed through October 15, 2016 to build a key connection for the new loop trail. Bicycle traffic will be detoured to Lake Washington Boulevard E and pedestrians detoured to cross at Wilcox Bridge at Lynn Street to access the Arboretum. This short notice is a response to a scheduling opportunity with a subcontractor that will allow the contractor to complete a key section of the trail and help get sections open to the public ahead of schedule.

The Arboretum remains open during construction and visitors are asked to follow detour routes. Seattle Parks and Recreation and the contractor appreciate your patience and cooperation as we construct these improvements at the Arboretum.

The Arboretum Loop Trail is a 1.2-mile trail that will connect to Arboretum Drive, creating a 2.5-mile path through the Arboretum and provide improved access to the flagship public garden. Safety for visitors, contractors, volunteers and staff is the priority during construction of the Arboretum Loop Trail. To receive construction updates please visit LoopTrail.seattle.gov.

In June 2013, City Council approved $7.8 million from WSDOT to fund implementation of the Arboretum loop. This project, as outlined in the Arboretum’s Master Plan, is key in mitigation effects of the upcoming replacement of the SR 520 Bridge. It fulfills the Master Plan’s three primary goals: conservation, recreation and education. It will also improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists visiting the Arboretum. Additionally, the project restores portions of Arboretum Creek and nearby wetlands.

For more information about the project visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/washington-park-arboretum-loop-trail For additional questions please contact project manager Garrett Farrell at garrett.farrell@seattle.gov or 233-7921.

 

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