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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 54. September 28, 2004
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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Mayor Greg Nickels has made his final decisions regarding the 2005 proposed budget, and I'd like to share with you some of the implications for Parks and Recreation.

For the last several years, the City's budget has been in decline. Revenue shortfalls have forced the City to cut nearly $120 million from the General Fund since 2002. This year alone, revenue shortfalls will force a cut of an additional $20 million. For Parks, this has meant General Fund reductions of more than $4.7 million.

That said, there is reason for optimism. Thanks to the generosity and faith of Seattle voters, the 1999 Community Centers Levy and the 2000 Pro Parks Levy have enabled us to reopen two expanded community centers and open one new one, as well as to acquire new park properties and develop parks identified in neighborhood plans that will total almost 100 projects by the end of the levy's life.

We've kept all our community centers, pools, environmental centers, small craft centers, and the Tennis Center open, and have kept our summer beach, playground, and wading pool programs afloat, albeit with some reductions.

We also increased the amount of funding available for summer day camp scholarships for kids who need them.

In 2005 we will take the next steps to improve downtown parks and make them more inviting to the people who live, work, and play downtown.

There are still cuts, however, and we will continue to look for creative ways to do more with less, and to do it in a way that has the least possible impact on park and recreation facility users.

In 2003, despite the reductions we have experienced since 2001, I heard more kudos about how the parks look than in any year before. We took second place and a gold award at the International Awards for Liveable Communities, we lead the city in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, and our press coverage continues to show how much people care about their parks and recreation facilities.

Throughout the budget process, the mayor focused on the four priorities of his administration. These are priorities that I think we all share: Get Seattle moving, create jobs and opportunity for all; keep our neighborhoods safe; and build strong families and healthy communities. By focusing on these priorities, the mayor has preserved the city's core services and invested wisely in the future.

More information will follow.

I will be in touch soon.

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