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Move of offices into Green Lake Community Center described as “permanent”

What do you think? (4 Comments) October 26, 2010 at 12:55PM

As we have reported previously, Mayor McGinn’s proposed 2011-2012 city budget would transform the Green Lake Community Center into a “Limited-Use” site.  Offices would be moved to the top floor of the Green Lake Community Center, displacing many classes and programs.

However, until now, we have not heard it said that this change would be permanent.

Yesterday (Oct. 25, 2010), the Seattle City Council’s Budget Committee met. The Seattle Channel has made video of the meeting available:

At 98:12, Councimember Nick Licata asks: “The offices that are moving to Green Lake Community Center – those are on a temporary basis, or those are on a permanent basis?”

Legislative Analyst Kieu-Anh King responded: “Those are permanent moves.”

Licata then pointed out that the drop-in numbers at Green Lake Community Center are “phenomenal, twice as high as the next one.”

King responded that he felt that the Parks Department was collecting data in an inconsistent manner.  “Class data is easy to track,” he said, “because you register online and you pay for it.  Drop-in is collected by a once-a-month count by the person at the front desk with a clicker, and that actual methodology doesn’t necessarily result in the most consistent figures being drawn from year-to-year.  Green Lake does have a lot of drop-in visits.  That may be because they count every person who walks in the door, to ask where one of the other facilities is, as a drop-in user.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that that a person came, used the service, and stayed at the center.”

King then confirmed that drop-in hours at the Green Lake Community Center would shrink from 46 hours a week to 15-20 hours a week.

Beth Goldberg, Director of the City Budget Office, followed up by explaining that Green Lake “was selected in part because it has a different utilization.  It is the center of a large park that draws a lot of people.  It does not have the same level of programming as the other facilities.  People are dropping in, using the restroom, things of that nature.  They will still be able to do that as it forms into a Visitors’ Center.”

Moving staff into the Green Lake Community Center, Goldberg said, “would have less programmatic impact than other facilities around the city.”

Final decisions about the 2011 City Budget are now in the hands of City Council.

City Council has held two public hearings about the budget and Councilmember Rasmussen hosted a community discussion in Green Lake.  There will be a third and final public hearing tonight.   You can find more details here.

Until tomorrow at 5 p.m., you can share your thoughts with City Council via the online tool IdeaScale.

Contact information for individual City Council members can be found hereJean Godden, Finance and Budget Committee Chair, confirmed today that the City Council will continue to accept written and e-mailed comments on the budget up to the date that they adopt the final budget, which is anticipated to be Nov. 22.

If you would like more details about the 2011-2012 budget, you can read previous My Green Lake stories about local politics here.

4 Responses to “Move of offices into Green Lake Community Center described as “permanent””

  1. Gayle Garman says:

    Amy, Thanks so much for taking the time to watch the video and report to the community. Citizens should not have to go to this much trouble to get straight answers from City officials. Your heads-up that over 1.5 hrs into the hearing, City staff finally admitted to the City Council that the conversion of the entire upper floor of the GLCC and part of the first floor to offices and meeting rooms is PERMANENT is contrary to what Parks Dept staff told the GLCC Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on Oct 19. I have DPR reports from 2008 that evaluate each of the 26 Community Center facilities (not programs), Green Lake rates dead last. I also have the detailed facilities analysis of Green Lake Community Center. Architects and structural engineers hired by the City estimate costs of $3.6 million to bring GLCC up to code, and $12 million to replace it with a facility similar to the Queen Anne CC (which would increase floor space by 25%). Last, I have a map that shows the locations of the 26 Community Centers. There is a cluster of 3 in the south end that are much closer together than GL, Ravenna & Northgate. I am not arguing that another CC should be closed, only that I am dismayed that the reason we were given for selecting Green Lake is clearly not true. I’ll ask Ellen to post these three documents on the Friends of Green Lake webpage, so anyone interested can download them there.
    Thank-you for excellent, unbiased, reporting.
    Gayle Garman, President
    Friends of Green Lake http://www.friendsofgreenlake.org

  2. Michael Oxman says:

    Please see my comments at 7:40 into the video.
    Michael Oxman

  3. Anonymous says:

    King responded that he felt that the Parks Department was collecting data in an inconsistent manner. “Class data is easy to track,” he said, “because you register online and you pay for it. Drop-in is collected by a once-a-month count by the person at the front desk with a clicker, and that actual methodology doesn’t necessarily result in the most consistent figures being drawn from year-to-year. Green Lake does have a lot of drop-in visits. That may be because they count every person who walks in the door, to ask where one of the other facilities is, as a drop-in user.

    The problem with the reasoning above is it’s filled with nothing but pure conjecture: “felt that the Parks Department was collecting data in an inconsistent manner”; “doesn’t necessarily result in the most consistent figures being drawn from year-to-year”; “That may be because”; “It doesn’t necessarily mean . . .” The fact of the matter is, it could be that on average 10% of the traffic coming through the door at GLCC is to use the restroom or for some other brief need, or the number could be 50% . No one – certainly not Mr. King or Ms. Goldberg – has any idea what the actual data is because it simply hasn’t been accurately collected.

    That’s really all that Mr. King has managed to tell us with his response DESPITE what he would apparently like to conclude about drop-in numbers. We can only hope that the council asks a little harder questions as they look at this issue more closely.

  4. LindaL says:

    Thank you so much for the information. The park department’s proposals need to be opposed.

    I have written letters today to all the city council members, the mayor and the Seattle Times. Essentially what is clear here is that the parks department is using the budget issues as a smokescreen to turn public facilities into administrative offices. In addition to downplaying the huge loss of space available to the community, the department is avoiding a complete discussion of costs for adapting the current spaces to offices. The proposal does not address full future building maintenance costs and it is not addressing the adjunct costs of the sites, i.e., whether the thousands of people who now use the community center will be displaced because of transportation and other issues, whether security will remove even more access for people using the center, whether employees of the parks department will take over the current parking lot, whether it will expand into all of the current community space and whether, in the long run, it intends to remove Evans Pool and the community center and build a completely community-free office building. Despite all the statistical information and assurances provided by the parks department, it seems like, in fact, the one basic issue is being ignored … should a public use facility be converted to bureaucratic office space. I believe it should not.