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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View From Denny Park
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent


No. 31. November 22, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter
about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events
from Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds

The View from Denny Park: News and Views from the Superintendent

CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS BUDGET

The City Council passed the City’s 2003-2004 budget on Nov. 18. The total budget is $2.85 billion for 2003 and $2.61 billion for 2004. The General Fund (derived from tax revenues) is $638 million for 2003 and $655 million for 2004.

But these numbers tell only part of the story. The key figure all along has been the projected $60 million shortfall in General Fund revenues, which grew to $63 million when 2003 revenue estimates were updated in early November. Seattle Parks and Recreation and other City departments were forced to cut spending and increase fees. Please see the Oct. 2 edition of The View from Denny Park for a detailed summary of the Department’s budget reductions as proposed by the Mayor and submitted to City Council in late September.

In its review of the biennial budget, the City Council made additional changes to the Department’s budget, including $500,000 in ongoing service cuts. This is in addition to the $4.4 million in cuts included in the proposed budget. The most significant Council adjustments are summarized below.

Expenditure Reductions

  • Close one north end swimming beach for a savings of $41,000.

  • Reduce funding for the Late Night Recreation Program by $25,000.

  • Delay opening the Sand Point Community Center from spring to fall 2003, saving $50,000.

  • Reduce seasonal grounds maintenance spending by $75,000, representing about 2,500 hours.

  • Eliminate a carpenter apprentice and a warehouser position for a savings of $75,000.

  • Reduce a full-time capital planning position to half-time and reduce the property management unit budget, for a combined savings of $64,000.

Revenue (Fee) Increases

Service 2002 Adopted Fee Mayor's Proposed
2003 Fee
Mayor's Proposed
2004 Fee
Council Adopted
2003 Fee
Youth swimming lessons $3.50 $3.75 $4.00 $4.00
Ballfield lighting $5.00 $10.00 $10.00 $15.00
Youth field game fee $2.00 $3.00 $3.00 $4.00
Ballfield scheduling (grass) $22.00 $25.00 $25.00 $40.00
Ballfield scheduling (all-weather sand) $22.00 $25.00 $25.00 $25.00
Ballfield scheduling (synthetic) $22.00 $55.00 $55.00 $40.00

Changes in Capital Improvement Plan

  • Add $579,000 in funding for the Olympic Sculpture Park waterfront connection project to Lower Queen Anne, for a total 2003 allocation of $1.26 million. The total project cost is $2.15 million.

  • Eliminate $150,000 in funding for the minor ballfield capital program in 2003, and resume the program in 2004.

Changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund

  • The Council decided that Neighborhood Matching Fund grants can no longer be used for property acquisition or for operations and maintenance costs. The Council also established a funding cap of $100,000 for any one large project (including all phases).

COLMAN PARK TREES

Earlier this month, I sent a letter to King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng urging full prosecution for the destruction in August of more than 100 large trees and related habitat in Colman Park. “As Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, it is my duty to protect the property of the City,” I wrote. “The illegal acts committed in Colman Park are a direct challenge and affront to this duty. The Department and the citizens of Seattle cannot allow such wanton destruction and obvious lack of concern for public property to go unpunished. Without strong prosecution in this case, the ability of our agency to protect our property will be significantly weakened.” Like the rest of you, we still await word from the Prosecutor’s Office.

RAVENNA CREEK DAYLIGHTING DECISION

In mid-October, I directed the Ravenna Creek Daylighting Project team to make improvements to the creek without costly retaining walls or the removal of trees. This option “daylights” the creek (brings it to the surface), around the existing ballfield and leaves the baseball field where it is. In the future, this option allows the creek to be fully daylighted if the ballfield is ever relocated. My decision was a departure from the project option recommended by the Board of Park Commissioners that would have relocated the baseball field to the east; however I did follow the Board’s policy direction to both daylight the creek and honor current uses. For more information about this Pro Parks Levy project, please contact project manager Virginia Hassinger at (206) 233-7936 or virginia.hassinger@seattle.gov

HOMER HARRIS PARK DONATION

It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving man. A generous and anonymous benefactor donated $1.3 million to the Seattle Parks Foundation this month for the purchase and development of a park in the Central Area to be named after Dr. Homer Harris, a retired Seattle dermatologist and star football player at Garfield High School and the University of Iowa. On Nov. 13, we were delighted to honor Dr. Harris with a community celebration of the donation attended by Mayor Greg Nickels, park neighbors, and friends and family of the accomplished and humble doctor. Once the transaction is complete, the Parks Foundation will transfer the funding to the City for the creation of a neighborhood park at the 24th and Howell St. location. For more information about this park, please contact public information specialist Catherine Anstett at (206) 615-0386 or catherine.anstett@seattle.gov

KALAKALA DECISION

Last month, I denied a request from the Kalakala Foundation and the Maritime Heritage Foundation to temporarily moor the historic ferry Kalakala at South Lake Union Park. The proposal was not consistent with a City Council resolution, adopting the park’s master plan. Temporary moorage is intended for such special events such as the Tall Ships Festival or the Festival of Wooden Boats. I pledged to work with the Kalakala Foundation to find a permanent home for the Kalakala on the Seattle Central Waterfront, once the vessel is restored.

NAME FOR NEWEST COMMUNITY CENTER

Earlier this month, I announced that the name of the new community center in the International District will be the “International District/Chinatown Community Center.” Located at 8th Ave. S. and S. Dearborn St., the new center will be part of the International District Village Square (IDVS) Phase II project that is being developed by the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority. Phase II will also include a branch of the Seattle Public Library, family housing, offices, retail space and parking. Project construction broke ground in a colorful ceremony on Nov. 15 and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2004.

The Parks Naming Committee was unanimous in its recommendation to me after careful consideration of the neighborhood’s recent history and other facility names in the area. We appreciated receiving the many thoughtful suggestions for names, and we are excited about being part of this vibrant and vital development. The community center portion of the facility is funded by the 1999 Community Center Levy, the Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund, and funds raised by SCIDPDA. For more information about the project, please contact project manager Toby Ressler at (206) 615-1482 or toby.ressler@seattle.gov

NORTHGATE DESIGNERS NAMED

Northgate Community Center is another new community center funded by the Community Center Levy that will be co-located with a branch library. Last month, the Library Board and I jointly selected ARC Architects as the design consultants for the project. Located at the old Bon Tire site on 5th Ave. NE across from Northgate Mall, the 3.5-acre site will also include a new park, land purchased with funding from the Pro Parks Levy. We anticipate completion of the site plan in March 2003 and opening the park in the fall of 2005. For more information, please call project manager Tim Motzer at (206) 684-7060.

ARC OPPORTUNITY FUND GRANTS

In these lean budget times, every dollar is precious, and 11 grants recently awarded by the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) were especially welcome.

ARC is a coalition of 37 citizen advisory councils that supplement programming in Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers and citywide recreation activities like rowing, senior programs, and athletics. With funding support from member advisory councils, ARC recently established the Advisory Council Opportunity Fund to provide one-year grants. The 11 awards, totaling $83,327 will fund a variety of programs and activities, including computer literacy, computer labs, teen programming , environmental education, summer day camp, playground program and support for senior programs. Many thanks to the ARC and all participating advisory councils for this innovative and much needed boost for programming! View a list of award-winning projects.

For more information about the Advisory Council Opportunity Fund, please contact Bill Keller, ARC Executive Director, at (206) 684-7083 or bill.keller@seattle.gov

WEEK WITHOUT VIOLENCE

What could be more relevant and timely than a series of events that provide positive experiences for young people while directly addressing the issue of violence? Leading off with a kickoff concert at Golden Gardens “Brick:House” (newly renamed by the kids), this year’s annual Week Without Violence, from Oct. 19 to 25, featured nearly 40 events that drew hundreds of teens from all over the city to enjoy themselves and talk about violence—how it permeates our neighborhoods, schools, and homes, and how we can recognize its early symptoms, and reject messages that glamorizes violence.

IN MEMORIAM

Finally, we were saddened by the loss of three special members of the Parks and Recreation family--all in the space of one week in late October. Roger Peter, a 38-year Parks employee most recently the beloved coordinator at Montlake Community Center, passed away after a long illness. A youth scholarship fund at Montlake has been established in his name. Also passing away were longtime Parks volunteer and advisory council member Fabiola Woods (Rainier Beach and Van Asselt community centers) and martial arts teacher and youth mentor Guy Kurose (Rainier Beach Community Center). In their own inimitable ways, Roger, Fabiola and Guy each made extraordinary, lasting contributions to the life of their communities. We will miss them dearly.

I will be in touch soon.

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