THE VIEW FROM DENNY
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 87. September 24, 2007
J. Nickels, Mayor
Christopher Williams, Interim
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news,
programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Interim Superintendent
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In this issue...
Summer in the City: 2008-2009 Proposed Budget |
Pro Parks Levy | Keeping Seattle Moving
| City Center Parks Initiative | Supporting
Neighborhoods | Sustaining Culture of Arts
| Seattle Climate Action Now (CAN)
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2008-2009 PROPOSED BUDGET
Mayor Greg Nickels announced his proposed 2008-2009 City budget
on Monday, Sept. 17. It demonstrates recognition of the importance
of Parks and Recreation to the citizens of Seattle and his deep
appreciation of the work our staff does every day.
The Mayor's proposed budget will now be reviewed and changed
by City Council. There will be a public hearing on Wednesday,
Oct. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 600 4th
Ave. Written and verbal comments will be accepted. Please visit
this web page for more information: www.seattle.gov/leg/pdf/071010budgetpublichearing.pdf
We won't know the final outcome until just before Thanksgiving.
If the Council retains most of what the Mayor has proposed, we
will all have much to be thankful for.
Here are a few of the highlights:
PREPARING FOR THE END OF THE PRO PARKS LEVY
The Pro Parks Levy ends Dec. 31, 2008. This budget takes major
steps to prepare Parks for the end of the levy. The Mayor's proposed
budget contains $7 million to ensure continued support for nearly
all the programming and services formerly funded by the Pro Parks
Levy. This includes costs to support all our new park and open
space maintenance, recreation programming and environmental stewardship.
Beginning in 2008, these services will no longer be funded by
the Levy, but rather by the General Fund. Our Strategic Business
Plan can now focus on how to use our resources most effectively
to meet the needs of the Seattle citizens, and not on how to weather
the storm of the end of the Pro Parks Levy.
This action creates $7 million in savings from Levy programming,
and the Mayor has proposed to use these savings to create an opportunity
fund that allows us to develop some of the wonderful new park
properties we've acquired - or other worthwhile projects. This
will extend the Pro Parks capital program a bit past the end of
the Levy and ease the transition for our staff who work on our
Capital Improvement Program.
KEEPING SEATTLE MOVING
The Mayor has included $1 million for a new urban trail -- a
continuous, navigable trail around Lake Union. This area is an
important place for our city because, in many ways, Seattle grew
up around Lake Union. Our past and our future meet on its shores.
This funding will provide an opportunity to celebrate our heritage
and create a bit of history. A new seven-mile trail, like Boston's
Freedom Trail, will celebrate important moments and people that
shaped our city's history. It will connect the Fremont, Eastlake,
South Lake Union, Queen Anne and Wallingford neighborhoods - not
to mention two incredible waterfront parks, Gas Works and Lake
It will be a place for walkers, bikers, and anyone looking for
a beautiful place to get some exercise. Above all, it will be
uniquely Seattle, a place to watch boats and seaplanes, see the
downtown lights and enjoy many of the things we love about our
If we make this vision a reality it will be a gift from our generation
to the future.
CITY CENTER PARKS INITIATIVE
The Mayor continues to make our urban parks a major priority.
His budget includes $462,000 for six park rangers. Park rangers
will work with the Seattle Police Department to increase security
in our center city parks or other parks with similar security
issues, and will be tasked with keeping our parks safe and accessible
The capital program also includes $850,000 for electronic park
monitoring and other physical changes to parks that will make
them feel safer and more welcoming.
The proposed budget includes money to add staff to manage the
Neighborhood Matching Fund projects that involve Parks and Recreation
and to support the Neighborhood Plan update process.
There is also $1 million set aside to support the purchase of
surplus school property at the old Webster school.
The new budget has $243,000 to carry out capital improvement
projects at Pratt, Jefferson, Ravenna and Solstice parks, as well
as at Dahl and Meridian playgrounds. These projects were nominated
by the community and evaluated through a prioritization process
by the District Community Councils.
The newly cast Statue of Liberty at Alki will receive $50,000
to begin funding additional improvements, and there is $25,000
to install shuffleboard at Freeway Park.
The Mayor has responded to an increased desire for skateboarding
facilities by providing $365,000 for skateboard facilities. The
budget will fund a "skate spot" at Dahl Playfield, and
up to 10 "skate dots" throughout the City.
SUSTAINING A STRONG CULTURE OF ARTS
The proposed budget also includes $318,000 for the Seattle Chinese
Garden. The garden, located at South Seattle Community College
and operated by the Seattle Chinese Garden Foundation, will be
one of the largest Chinese gardens outside of China.
Designed and built in conjunction with architects and artisans
from Seattle and our sister city, Chongqing, the garden will be
the first in the United States to authentically represent the
Sichuan style. It will feature Sichuan horticulture and the massive
rock formations inspired by China's Yangtze River gorges. Where
possible, its formal halls and pavilions will be fabricated in
Chongqing using traditional materials and methods, and skilled
artisans from China will supervise their installation in Seattle.
The iconic Hat 'N' Boots structures that were relocated to Georgetown's
Oxbow Park will get $192,000 to restore the hat, which will complete
restoration of these historic and whimsical pieces of art.
At Magnuson Park, the Mayor has added $2.7 million for the renovation
of the west wing of Building 30 for redevelopment as artists'
studios and to make seismic upgrades.
SEATTLE CLIMATE ACTION NOW (CAN)
Seattle Climate Action Now is a program designed to give average
citizens the tools they need to start making a real difference
at home, at work and on the road. The Mayor's budget supports
CAN by allocating $199,000 for an outdoor recycling pilot project
in Seattle's parks. This means you will see more recycling containers
at beaches, shelters and athletic events.
Reducing our impact on climate change is at the heart of CAN,
and maintaining our urban forests will go a long way toward reaching
that goal. The Mayor's budget includes $300,000 to replace 600
trees that we lost in last December's windstorm.
For details about the Mayor's 2007-08 Proposed Budget, including
the Capital Improvement Program, please see www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/budget/.
I'll be in touch soon.