In February the Seattle Parks Foundation released a report which reveals that the Parks Department lacks a sustainable source of ongoing operations and maintenance funding and faces an annual $25 million shortfall. This has led to a backlog of major maintenance projects in excess of $200 million, increased user fees, and reduced community center hours. Left unaddressed, the problem will only worsen over time.
To preserve our wonderful parks system, it will be necessary to find and implement solutions to this funding challenge. Sustaining Seattle’s Parks: A Study of Alternative Strategies to Support Operations and Maintenance of a Great Urban Parks System is a first step in that direction. The report outlines a range of potential solutions based on a nationwide review of best practices. Many of these solutions are only available to Parks, and not to other core city services.
The roll-out of these findings is the beginning of a community conversation. Along with the report, we have launched an online community survey to get input from the people of Seattle about our parks system. In the coming months, we will use these perspectives to help shape a set of community recommendations about how we will work together to address this challenge.
We strongly encourage Seattle residents to take this survey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QLFDK3J.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Becca Aue, 332-9900, ext. 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org.