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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 87. September 24, 2007
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Christopher Williams, Interim Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Interim Superintendent Christopher Williams
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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)


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:

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:


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.


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 Union.

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 city.

If we make this vision a reality it will be a gift from our generation to the future.


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 for everyone.

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.


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 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

I'll be in touch soon.

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