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THE VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 78. October 2, 2006
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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HIGHLIGHTS OF 2007-2008 PROPOSED BUDGET

Mayor Greg Nickels announced his proposed 2007-2008 City budget on Monday, Sept. 25. The budget includes several new initiatives for Seattle Parks and Recreation that will help us carry out our mission and move the Mayor's priorities forward.

Here are a few of the highlights:

City Center Parks Initiative
Freeway FountainThe 2007-2012 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget includes funding to implement the Mayor's Center City Parks Initiative, including $2.5 million for Freeway Park to restore the fountains, improve sight lines, make connections between areas of the park, develop a comprehensive plan to manage and renovate the plant collection. In addition, we will invest in improvements at Westlake and Hing Hay parks. The initiative also creates a unit within Parks that coordinates the maintenance, security, and programming needs of Center City parks. We will be hiring and training "Park Rangers" who will work with the Seattle Police Department to increase Center City park security, and we will be partnering with civic groups (such as the Downtown Seattle Association) to increase positive programming and activity in the parks.

Aquarium Expansion
A new Seattle Aquarium exhibit funded by the Seattle Aquarium Society - "Window on Washington Waters" - is scheduled to open in July 2007. This will expand the Aquarium's exhibit space by almost one third. This budget forecasts additional revenue from the expected 10% to 20% more visitors and adds new staff to serve these new customers and take care of more space and animals. The budget also increases for utilities, equipment, supplies and other costs including advertising and promotion or the new exhibit.

Environmental Stewardship
A number of initiatives in the 2007-2008 Proposed Budget continue Parks' emphasis on being a good environmental steward.

Utility Conservation Proposal: Parks will hire a Resource Conservation Manager to shepherd the department's many conservation initiatives. This position is partially supported by the Pro Parks Levy and partly by Puget Power and Seattle Public Utilities. In addition to working with Parks' staff on behavioral changes and establishing a database on utility use, this manager will work with Parks project managers on the $776,000 in the CIP for conservation projects.
Green Equipment: Parks continues to buy "green" vehicles and maintenance equipment, especially electric rather than gas-powered machines that are quieter and do not pollute the air.
Urban Forest Management Plan: To begin to implement the Urban Forest Management Plan, we will add a fourth tree crew to help care for the trees in Seattle's developed parks. This will bring the pruning cycle down from 18 to 13 years. The CIP also includes $500,000 over the biennium to implement the City's 2-for-1 tree replacement program and $1.5 million over the biennium to improve Parks' natural areas by removing invasive plants and planting native vegetation

Post-Levy Strategy
The Community Centers Levy ends in 2007, and the Pro Parks Levy ends in 2008. This budget takes steps to prepare Parks for the end of these levies. We will reduce staff in the planning, development, and acquisition areas because of the declining volume of capital work. The City will begin to use General Fund dollars to pay for the operation and maintenance costs associated with new Pro Parks facilities. By stepping in to meet this obligation before the actual end of the Pro Parks Levy, the City is able to spread the transition over a five-year period. Finally, this budget includes funds for work on a Strategic Business Plan that will help us prioritize all our programming in the post-levy era.

South Park Initiative
Mayor Nickels' South Park Initiative is a comprehensive approach to revitalizing this important Seattle neighborhood based on the South Park Action Agenda developed by the South Park community and the Mayor's Office. As part of this initiative, Parks will add a new staff person to coordinate and support efforts for youth and teen programs, expand operating hours at South Park Community Center, add a Late Night teen program on Friday night, and add capacity to the Steps Through Environmental Partnerships youth job readiness program providing for 20 additional youth each summer.

Southeast Seattle Playground Program
The budget will restore summer playground programs at five sites: Othello, Brighton, Maplewood, Judkins, and Pratt. Parks piloted a new model for summer playground programs in 2006. The new model aligns activities with academic achievement to help reduce summer learning loss, builds self efficacy, and promotes cross-cultural experiences.

Graffiti Removal
Parks is especially concerned about graffiti that is vulgar and offensive in nature, and a new position in Parks' Paint Shop will enable us to respond to every graffiti report within 48 hours.

2007-2012 Proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
In the next two years, Parks will work to complete projects funded by the 2000 Pro Parks Levy and the 1999 Community Center Levy. Regarding the latter levy, we have completed eight of nine community center projects and are working with the Low Income Housing Institute to complete the Belltown Community Center project by 2008.

Other significant projects in the CIP include pier renovations, the renovation of Building 27 at Magnuson Park, ballfield improvements (mostly lighting and turf conversion), and various major maintenance projects at our facilities.

For details about the Mayor's 2007-08 Proposed Budget, including the Capital Improvement Program, please see www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/budget.

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