Seattle Parks and Recreation reduces 2020 investments in capital projects, temporary staffing, and administrative supports

As the City moves to reopening and rebuilding, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) must turn our attention to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 on both the city’s budget as well as SPR’s budget.

The City is also looking across all city departments and city services to reallocate General Fund resources to support the rebuilding of our communities along with providing essential services.

During this pandemic crisis, SPR has significantly shifted to better serve our communities where it was needed most. Seattle Parks and Recreation has stood up three temporary shelters in community centers, quickly opened and increased service to over 100 restrooms across the city, continued to operate our free shower programs at four sites, operated 9 childcares for essential worker families, and created a new program to support social distancing in our public parks.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic the City is proposing budget adjustments to City Council for consideration and approval on June 23.

In summary the savings from SPR that will help the city’s budget shortfall include:

  • Leaving current staff vacancies unfilled, and reducing consultants and training budgets
  • Reducing seasonal temporary employees in Park maintenance and facilities
  • Pausing several capital projects including:
    • Battery St. Portal Park Development
    • Reduction in park acquisition budget
    • Landbank site development (48th and Charlestown, Ernst Park Addition, Morgan Junction, Wedgwood, West Seattle Junction)
    • Greenway connection projects
    • Athletic field conversion (Soundview, Ballard, and Queen Anne)
    • Municipal energy efficiency program
    • Park upgrade work through Seattle Conservation Corp

Additionally, SPR anticipates continuing to capture savings throughout the summer due to the closures of facilities and reduction in summer programming (Teen Summer Musical, wading pools, spray parks, summer pools, and other summer programs). 

As a result of unfiled vacancies and reducing temporary staffing budgets, park and facility maintenance will have a decreased level of service (reduced mowing and park maintenance, along with slower response to fixing broken park amenities).

These reductions do not include layoffs or furloughs currently, however, SPR is holding approximately 10% of our regular positions vacant. 

We are committed to keeping you informed about our operational and budgetary changes as we move through this difficult time.