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Parks Department to begin converting classrooms and toddler play space into offices

What do you think? (10 Comments) October 19, 2010 at 11:30PM

On Nov. 4, the Parks Department will begin converting the entire second floor of the Green Lake Community Center (7201 E Green Lake Dr N), including the large room occupied by the Toddler Play Space, into offices.

The Toddler Play Space is closing on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010.

On Sept. 27, Mayor McGinn presented his 2011 City of Seattle budget recommendations to City Council.  If the Council accepts his recommendations, the Green Lake Community Center will lose six FTE staff and will operate under “Limited-Use Status.” 28 Parks Department staff members will be moving into the Green Lake Community Center.

Although final decisions about the 2011 city budget have not yet been voted on by City Council, the Parks Department needs to begin converting the space now, should offices be needed in January 2011.  Katie Gray, Parks Department North Recreation Manager, says that if the City Council’s budget does not necessitate moving offices into the Green Lake Community Center, the work will be reversed and the second floor rooms will once again be available for classes and the Toddler Play Space.

Gray says that no permanent structural changes will be made to the rooms on the second floor.  The office spaces will be created using removable cubicles, and the wood floors will be covered in order to protect them from damage.

Even if the mayor’s recommendations are accepted by City Council, drop-in play for toddlers will not disappear entirely from the community center.  Jeff Skinner, Green Lake Community Center Coordinator, says that play equipment will be available in the community center’s gym.  However, the equipment will only be available for a few of hours a day, probably between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  This will be a huge reduction from the current opening hours (10-7 Monday-Friday and 10-4:30 on Saturdays).

According to Jeff Skinner, classes that are currently being held on the community center’s second floor, such as the popular classes offered by early childhood music teacher Katy Webber, will be moved to the teen room on the first floor of the community center until the end of the year.  In Jan. 2011, the teen room will become a meeting space for parks employees, and many of Green Lake’s classes will be run out of the Northgate Community Center and the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center.

Early today, I asked Mayor McGinn about the cuts to Green Lake Community Center under his proposed budget.  “We had to make hard decisions,” he said.  “Fortunately, we were able to keep most services at Green Lake, including the pool and open gym.”

You can use this form to send your thoughts about the budget to City Council.


Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Green Lake Community Center Advisory Council.

10 Responses to “Parks Department to begin converting classrooms and toddler play space into offices”

  1. That’s insane. Although I live south of Seattle area, I do care about what’s happening all around Seattle area. That’s insane they are closing down the play area for more office space.


    I’m the new kid on the block with Northwest Parentings Magazines.

  2. Dreamindotty (Dorothy Richey) says:

    I doubt that there is a park anywhere in Seattle that gets more use than the Greenlake one. There are activities for every age. I am a grandma and I love walking by the play area and it is always busy. I didn’t even know there was a kids play room inside at the center. I don’t know how much it was used and if many people used it. It just seems it is taking something vital like a safe play area for todlers and replacing it with office space. Surely there are more city buildings elsewhere, not on a lake that could be used…Just my opinion….

  3. Joneysy28 says:

    they do not know if we will have the toddler play space in the gym or what the hours will be that is the hope still need to write city council!

  4. Sam says:

    I am just so bummed about the play area-I have 2 year old twins and the play area is a GREAT space to play, especially as winter approaches. So many children and parents use this space, I can’t believe they’re going to take it away for offices. This is a great local resource for families–cheap, safe, and accessible. Very sad. Have sent an e-mail to the city council, though I wonder if I’ll hear back. You’d think that as the biggest city park, Greenlake/Greenlake Community Center would be the best one in the city, or at least one of them.

  5. Sam says:

    PS I think there will be a playtime available in the gym, but for a couple of hours a couple times a week. Nothing close to what is currently being offered with the playroom.

  6. Sam says:

    If you want to right to councilman Rasmussen, here is his e-mail. Please write!
    He chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee and is the Vice-Chair of the Parks and Seattle Center Committee.

  7. Sam says:

    Oops, embarassing typo–”write”! Need more sleep…!

  8. Teresa says:

    Yoga classes in the second floor are also proposed for elimination; many people value these classes for their physical and spiritual health.

  9. [...] Tuesday (Oct. 19, 2010), My Green Lake reported that the Parks Department planned to begin converting the entire second floor of the Green Lake [...]

  10. [...] the signs that were posted in the community center last week which indicated that construction would begin on Nov. 4 [...]