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Seattle Parks Foundation seeks your input about Parks Department funding

What do you think? (2 Comments) February 25, 2011 at 6:28AM

Seattle Parks Foundation and their partners are asking for your input on a how to address the chronic funding shortfall faced by the city’s park system.

Seattle Parks Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that works to improve, expand, and create parks, trails and green spaces. In January, the foundation released a report which revealed that the Seattle Parks Department lacks a sustainable source of ongoing operations and maintenance funding and faces an annual $25 million shortfall.

As a result of this lack of funding, according to Parks Foundation Executive Director Thatcher Bailey, there is a backlog of major maintenance projects in excess of $200 million, increased user fees, and reduced community center hours.  ”Left unaddressed,” Bailey said in a press release, “the problem will only worsen over time.”

The Parks Foundation has launched an online community survey to get input from the people of Seattle about the city’s parks system. “In the coming months,” Bailey said, “we will use these perspectives to help shape a set of community recommendations about how we will work together to address this challenge.”

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes, and those who complete it can opt to enter a drawing for a $50 REI gift certificate.

2 Responses to “Seattle Parks Foundation seeks your input about Parks Department funding”

  1. Gayle Garman says:

    I encourage everyone to take this survey. You may want to comment on some things that aren’t asked:
    1.) Green Lake Park (& Community Center?)serves a much broader population than just the neighborhood.
    2.) The survey doesn’t ask whether you think savings from increased efficiency and strategic planning within the Parks Dept. should be part of the solution.
    3.) One proposed option is increased commercialization of our Parks. Because Green Lake is the most visited Park in the City, commercial users would probably be very interested in Green Lake. We already have the pitch & put, the paddleboat rental & vending machines, and the summer concession stand at west beach.

  2. Rickbarrett says:

    Dear Seattle Parks advocate—

    Many of us have seen a message from the Seattle Parks Foundation with a “survey” on parks financing that unfortunately is written to encourage premature endorsement of a number of “solutions” that would do real harm to our parks by removing them from the public’s control through unaccountable new entities. The survey refers to a seriously flawed report (at http://www.seattleparksfoundation.org/Sustaining_Parks.html).
    While there are good things in the report (especially its analysis of the financial needs of our parks and how the Mayor and City Council have increasingly starved them of funds), its rosy picture of the parks under future special districts and privatization is a dangerous distraction from getting our Mayor and City Council to better protect parks in their budget decisions.

    I suggest that the survey be avoided until the options are better analyzed in a revised report and more fairly described in a future survey. The report’s most serious flaw is its advocacy for a Seattle “Metropolitan Park District,” a state chartered entity that (like the ill-fated Monorail Authority) wouldn’t be bound by the Seattle City Charter, ordinances, regulations, City boards (including the Park Board), or any of the other protections for our parks that Seattle has built up over more than a century. I’ve put together an analysis of the report for Parks and Open Spaces Advocates that you can find at http://seattlefederation.blogspot.com (web site of the Seattle Community Council Federation). If you have trouble locating my analysis, would like it e-mailed directly to you, or have questions or suggestions, please contact me. Let’s all work toward a future for our parks that is financially secure but also does not undermine the public’s ability to access and protect them!

    Chris Leman
    cleman@oo.net or (206) 322-5463