Seattle Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan

Since the publication of the Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) Parks Legacy Plan in September 2014, Seattle has transformed. Seattle's population has grown by more than 60,000 people, our transit system has expanded, our economy has grown and shifted, and our residents are grappling with challenges around affordability, livability, climate change, and more.

Given these changes, it's time to get together with community and partners and have a holistic discussion about where we've been and where we are going. Through this strategic planning process, SPR is seeking community input to reflect on our challenges, our success, who we are serving, and who we are missing. We want to think big about what our city might need in the next 12 years and how to establish a strategic direction that drives SPR's work toward meeting those needs. SPR's Strategic Plan will also inform the allocation of future park and recreation resources, including the next six-year cycle of the Seattle Park District, which begins in 2021. 

Parks, open space, recreation facilities, and programs contribute to Seattle's physical, mental, and environmental health, and support the city's economic vitality. Well-managed stewardship of the City's park land ensures the long-term viability and availability of parks and open space. Continuing to provide relevant recreation programs means providing Seattle's young people with more opportunities to become future leaders of the community and enables people of all ages to lead healthy and connected lives. 

Upcoming Events

  • October 24 - Park District Oversight Committee/Park Board Joint Meeting: 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Seattle Parks and Recreation HQ, 100 Dexter Ave N., Seattle
  • November 19 - Park District Oversight Committee/Park Board Joint Meeting: 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Seattle Parks and Recreation HQ, 100 Dexter Ave N., Seattle

Past Events


(Click graphic for larger view)

timeline between 2018 and 2020 for strategic planning milestones

Mission, Vision, Values

SPR's vision and mission serve as the backbone of all our work. All our programming and services support our vision of promoting healthy people, a healthy environment, and strong communities. We work to achieve this vision through our mission of providing welcoming and safe opportunities to play, learn, contemplate and build community, and promoting responsible stewardship of the land. This vision and mission, in addition to our established values of equity, opportunity, access, and sustainability, will serve as the foundation upon which we build goals and strategies in the Strategic Plan.

Get Involved

The strategic plan will serve as a roadmap for Seattle Parks and Recreation. It's a tool that encapsulates SPR's vision, mission, values, and priorities. It's a reflection of who we are, sets the course for who we want to become, and is ultimately a reminder that our work today influences our tomorrow.

Engagement done well does not have a starting and stopping point; it is ongoing. This is why SPR is continuing conversations, relying on our established relationships and existing data to help shape the Strategic Plan. Outreach over the next few months will focus on visions and values. We'll embark on a concentrated effort in telling our story, sharing our findings and promoting available resources, while asking for innovative ideas. This kind of public engagement in crucial to shape and validate goals and strategies to advance SPR's vision, identify the mechanisms for implementation, and influence the allocation of resources to pursue the strategies we will identify.

As we look forward to the next twelve years, we want to know how parks and recreation users are engaging with the system and what opportunities there are to innovate, to solve tough problems, and to think big! Through this outreach effort, we want to know...

  • How are Seattle parks, centers, and pools serving you, your family, and your neighbors?
  • What park amenities really excite you?
  • What park events and community center programs interest you?
  • Seattle's got a lot on its plate (booming economy, ambitious transportation plans, increasing population, affordability challenges, homelessness, and more). How can Parks and Recreation help?

Over the next few months there will be many ways to get involved, have your voice heard, and have some fun! Key opportunities to engage with this effort include:

  • Parks & Rec Fest: SPR hosted two city-wide community events that gathered neighbors and friends to learn about our parks and recreation system, our commitment to healthy people, a healthy environment, and strong communities. This will be a chance to connect with and learn about SPR services and help create a vision for the future. These events will be held on June 1 at Green Lake and June 9 at Yesler Terrace Park.
  • Social media: Check out our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for weekly posts, and look for monthly e-newsletter articles (sign up here!) and bi-weekly Parkways blog posts for updates about our Strategic Planning process and inviting you to share what matters most to you about parks and recreation.
  • Email: Share your thoughts by emailing 
  • Statistically Valid Survey:  A survey will be conducted in May 2019 to gauge the public's opinions about Seattle's parks and recreation system.  Look for a postcard in the mail with instructions on completing the survey online or by telephone. Your opinions matter!


Planning is ongoing at Seattle Parks and Recreation.  We hold many different types of meetings, such as meeting in a community center, or pop-up at a farmer's market, or conduct an on-line survey.  Planning for capital projects is underway year-round, and those meetings center on design and site issues such as ADA access.  In recent years, SPR has planned for projects including play areas, community centers, and athletic fields.  SPR also does long range plans that ask questions such as how much parkland is needed, what types of recreation facilities are needed, and what projects are a high priority for funding.  Long range plans have focused on parks and open space, community centers, trails, and recreation demand:

  • Replaced Rainier Community Center and Pool
  • Eliminated drop-in fees at all community centers during operating hours
  • Increased summer activity camp program access with scholarships in central and southeast Seattle 
  • Provided over 4,000 scholarships for licensed childcare programs, recreational programming, and donations
  • Offered programs for all ages
  • Added fiber to 38 Parks and Recreation locations for WiFi connections
  • Added two new software systems for class registration and asset management/work orders
  • Hosted the "Big Day of Play" community event every summer
  • Improved our ADA access to SPR facilities and programs
  • Reduced the backlog of major maintenance needs by completing projects that included renovated and/or replaced park comfort stations, play areas, and converted athletic fields to synthetic turf for year-round play
  • Increased opportunities for gardening and healthy food education by developing Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Beacon Food Forest
  • Developing 16 new parks throughout the City  

Previous Plans

SPR has conducted numerous plans over the past five years, each of which included outreach to park and recreation users and generated recommendations, goals, and policies that will inform the 2019 Strategic Plan goals and strategies. Some of the major plans and evaluations conducted since 2014 include:

2014: Parks Legacy Plan

2016: Community Center Strategic Plan

2016: Recreation Demand Study

2017: People, Dogs & Parks Plan

2017: Parks and Open Space Plan

2017: Soft Surface Trails Management Plan 

2018: City of Seattle Legislative Department Recreation Division Evaluation