VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 78. October 2, 2006
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs,
projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken
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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
Here are a few of the highlights:
City Center Parks Initiative
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.
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.
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
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.
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.