Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Parks and Green Spaces Levy
Thank you Seattle voters! Community groups and citizens helped pass the new 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy with the support of 59% of Seattle voters. This is an exciting time for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Parks has become an active participant in economic development and sustainability strategies that help position Seattle as a regional, state, and global leader in the 21st century.
Recognizing the importance of creating vibrant and engaging green spaces for Seattle as it grows, Seattle Parks and Recreation moved quickly into action. We are half way through the Levy and have added over 8 acres to the park system and completed 32 development projects.
The map poster to the right lists all the named projects in the levy. Parks values the community's commitment and support and we constantly seek new and innovative ways to engage and serve the public. Again, thank you and we look forward to the completion of these improvement projects over the next six years.
What is the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy?
It is a lifting of the lid on property taxes that was submitted to Seattle voters on November 4, 2008.
How much will it take in, and over how much time?
$146 million. It will last for six years, from 2009 through 2014.
How much will it cost the owner of a house assessed at a value of $450,000 in 2009?
It will cost $80.78 per year for the life of the levy, which is 2009 through 2014. (Source: Seattle Department of Finance.)
How did it come about?
The City Council created a Parks and Green Spaces Citizens' Advisory Committee in April 2008, and asked the Committee to propose options for parks, open space, boulevard, trail, green infrastructure, and recreation projects and to identify strategic funding options for these potential improvements and acquisitions. The Council asked the committee to report back by June 30, 2008.The Committee submitted its report, and the City Council adopted Ordinance 112749, placing a levy on the November 2008 ballot, on July 21, 2008. 59% of Seattle voters supported the levy.
What kinds of projects will it fund?
Green spaces (open spaces and greenbelts, and other open areas); neighborhood parks (existing parks, new parks identified in neighborhood plans, new parks identified in the Seattle's Parks and Recreation 2006 Development Plan, boulevards, and other properties purchased by the City for open-space and recreational purposes); and playfields (existing or new athletic fields, open play spaces, and similar areas, including spectator enhancements such as seating).
Will there be citizen oversight?
Yes. A 16-member Citizen Oversight Committee will review expenditures, advise on allocations for upcoming budget years, make recommendations on Opportunity Fund expenditures, and perform other duties. Members will have staggered terms, will be appointed by the Mayor (eight members) and City Council (eight members) and will represent the community at large geographically.
What is the Opportunity Fund?
A $15 million fund allocated to projects identified by neighborhood and community groups. Projects will be approved by ordinance, and could include community-initiated acquisition and/or development projects.
The Opportunity Fund allocated $7 million to the first round Opportunity Fund projects in spring 2011. Some of the 15 projects that received funding were an acquisition on 19th and Madison, Jimi Hendrix Park Development and Rainier Beach Urban Farm. The second round allocates the additional $8 million. For more information, please visit the Opportunity Fund page.
What are Maintenance Levy Projects?
The Levy established an inflation adjustment for development projects intended to ensure that, should there be inflation in the construction industry, projects built in the later years of the levy would have sufficient funding. To date, levy projects have not experienced inflation and have benefited from a competitive bid climate.
Based upon the absence of construction industry inflation, the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee recommended re-allocating these funds to a specific list of high priority major maintenance projects at Seattle Parks and Recreation. The list of projects ranges from Garfield Community Center roof replacement to Madrona Playground Shelterhouse Restrooms Renovation to Queen Anne Pool Plaster (Pool) Liner Replacement.
On June 27, 2011, the Committee held a public hearing on the recommendation and received favorable citizen comment and support. The Committee made their final recommendation that $9,758,000 be reallocated from the inflation adjustment for development category to the Opportunity Fund for 17 high priority major maintenance projects. City Council approved the recommendation in November 2011.
The projects will be listed on the development page as they become active.
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Last Update January 7, 2016
Parks Levy Poster
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Levy Update Report 2011
Levy Update Report 2013
Levy Update Report 2014
Levy Open Houses May 2009
» Meeting notes
» 2011 Levy Report
» Cost to Homeowner
» Resolution 31073
» Ordinance 122749
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