How Our Projects Are Funded

Seattle Park District

On August 5, 2014 voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1 which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District will provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

The Park District will be governed by the Seattle City Council acting ex officio as the District Board. As established in an interlocal agreement between the City and the District, Seattle Parks and Recreation will provide services on behalf of the Park District. This web page is intended to provide information related to Seattle Parks and Recreation services funded by the Park District. For complete details, see our Seattle Park District website. For more information about our budget, explore our Seattle Park District Budget tool.

Parks and Green Spaces Levy

Community groups and citizens helped pass the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy with the support of 59% of Seattle voters.  The levy awarded $146 million over 6 years,  from 2009 through 2014. City Council created a Parks and Green Spaces Citizens' Advisory Committee in April 2008, and asked the Committee to propose options for parks, open space, boulevard, trail, green infrastructure, and recreation projects and to identify strategic funding options for these potential improvements and acquisitions. In addition, an Opportunity Fund was created. This $15 million fund was allocated to projects identified by neighborhood and community groups.

The Parks and Green Spaces levy funded projects relating to:

  • green spaces - open spaces and greenbelts, and other open areas
  • neighborhood parks - existing parks, new parks identified in neighborhood plans, new parks identified in the Seattle's Parks and Recreation 2006 Development Plan, boulevards, and other properties purchased by the City for open-space and recreational purposes
  • playfields - existing or new athletic fields, open play spaces, and similar areas, including spectator enhancements such as seating

A 16-member Citizen Oversight Committee reviewed expenditures, advised on allocations for budgets, made recommendations on Opportunity Fund expenditures, and performed other duties.

Maintenance Levy

The Parks and Green Space Levy established an inflation adjustment for development projects intended to ensure that, should there be inflation in the construction industry, projects built in the later years of the levy would have sufficient funding. To date, levy projects have not experienced inflation and have benefited from a competitive bid climate. Based upon the absence of construction industry inflation, the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee recommended re-allocating these funds to a specific list of high priority major maintenance projects at Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Seattle Parks Foundation

The Seattle Parks Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and expanding Seattle's parks and green spaces. Seattle Parks Foundation makes it easy to directly support the health and beauty of Seattle's parks and green space through fundraising, donations, and volunteering. Visit their website seattleparksfoundation.org to learn more.

Cumulative Reserve Fund

The Cumulative Reserve Subfund of the General Fund is a reserve fund authorized under Washington State law and is used to accumulate money until it is spent, primarily for maintenance and development of City capital facilities.

Neighborhood Matching Fund

This program provides matching dollars for neighborhood improvement, organizing, or projects that are developed and implemented by community members. Learn more about this on the Department of Neighborhoods page.