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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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


No. 36. May 9, 2003
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

TOPOFF ANTI-TERRORISM EXERCISE

From May 12 to 16 Seattle fire and police staff and other top City officials will participate in the “Topoff2” anti-terrorism exercise. To repeat, this is an exercise; there is no known threat to the Seattle area. Please see our web site for more information: www.seattle.gov/parks

Mandated by the federal government, Topoff2 is the most comprehensive terrorism response exercise ever untaken in the United States. The exercise will be a simulated or fake, multi-point attack. On Monday the 12th, there will be a simulated explosion in Seattle’s south downtown neighborhood (near the Tully’s Coffee roasting plant) of a radiological dispersal device or "dirty bomb." The exercise involves more than 100 federal, state, King County, City, private sector, and Canadian agencies and organizations. Several Parks directors and public information staff will be participating.

The exercise will help the city and region practice and coordinate our emergency responses and better prepare ourselves in the event of a real attack or natural disaster. One of Mayor Greg Nickel’s goals is to make Seattle the most prepared city in America.

FACTS ABOUT KING COUNTY PARKS LEVY

I wanted to pass along some facts from King County Parks and Recreation about the upcoming ballot measure.

  • On May 20, 2003, voters throughout King County, including Seattle, will be asked to vote on a proposed four-year levy that will support the maintenance and operation of King County’s parks, open space and regional trails.

  • The levy of 4.9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value would cost the owner of a $250,000 house $12.25 per year. The levy will raise $48 million over four years.

  • Funds from the levy will not be spent on any Seattle city parks.

  • In the past six months, King County Parks and Recreation has cut $9.1 million from its 2003 budget. It has a goal of earning 39% more on existing facilities through higher user fees and increased usership.

  • According to the King County Budget Office, King County’s budget deficit is expected to continue with shortfalls of at least $25 million in each of the next two years.

  • $35.3 million of levy funds will support operations and maintenance of 16 regional parks and 17 trails outside of Seattle such as Marymoor Park, Cougar Mountain Park, the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, and those portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail owned by King County.

  • $4.6 million of levy funds will support 32 rural parks. The Growth Management Act calls for all parts of King County to help maintain rural areas.

  • The levy will also support 67 resource and ecological lands, such as Hazel Wolf Wetlands.

  • Activities that would be funded with levy revenue at the parks listed above include: trash pick-up, restroom cleaning and litter pick-up; and maintenance of trails, playgrounds, ballfields and sport courts, including mowing, prepping and washing. These activities have been curtailed as a result of recent budget cuts. Levy funds will not return maintenance to pre-budget cut levels.

  • The levy is based on the recommendation of the County’s Metropolitan Parks Task Force, a citizen group appointed by King County Executive Ron Sims to make recommendations on how to bring financial and operational stability to King County parks. The Task Force examined three funding options: the property tax levy lid lift, creation of a special purpose parks district, and the sale of some park assets.

  • King County manages more than 25,000 acres of parks and open space and more than 100 miles of regional trails. In 2003, King County Parks and Recreation has a budget of $16.4 million.

For more information on the levy, please visit http://dnr.metrokc.gov/parks/levy/

I will be in touch soon.

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