Potential park levy: What’s proposed in it for West Seattle

June 15, 2008 at 1:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 5 Comments

With the City Council-appointed Parks and Green Spaces Levy Citizens Advisory Committee — which includes three West Seattle members (and had a recent hearing in Alki; WSB coverage here) — two days away from its final public hearing, more details are out about the projects that a levy would fund. According to the documents linked to the council’s home page, the committee is looking at two options for structuring the levy – but the difference between them isn’t what they would pay for, so much as what percentage of the money would go to the proposed projects. The committee wants to hear from you at the Tuesday night hearing — 5:30 pm at Seattle Center — and/or by e-mail, so here’s our West Seattle breakout of what’s on the list:

The levy is meant to total $120 million, and the documents break out the proposed spending between two slightly different options.

First on the list (read it in its citywide entirety here) are the proposals are somewhat more generic, like money for unspecified projects in “urban villages,” described as “To increase open space in urban villages focusing on those areas where the amount of available open space does not meet City standards in 50 percent or more of the village. Open space could be increased either by acquiring property for new parks, facilities or trail corridors and/or by buying property to expand existing parks, facilities or trail corridors.” In West Seattle, the Junction, Morgan Junction, and Westwood “urban village” areas — three of the four in WS (all mapped here) — are all labeled as not meeting those standards in 50% or more of their areas. Version A would spend $17 million of the levy money on this, Version B would spend $22 million.

Both versions propose spending $3 million on a similar project “to increase open space in single family areas that do not meet city open space standards by acquiring property for new parks, facilities or trail corridors and/or by buying property to expand existing parks, facilities or trail corridors” — and one of the two areas listed as not meeting those standards is described as “Beach Drive northwest of Morgan Junction.”

Next on the list is green space/natural-area acquisitions, with both versions proposing spending $5 million of the levy money on that — the target areas include, in West Seattle, the Duwamish Head Greenbelt and West Duwamish Greenbelt.

Then the list moves on to projects considered to be parks/green spaces “development.” The first area to mention West Seattle is “Neighborhood Parks/Playgrounds,” with $10.8 million earmarked for that category in Option A, $8.8 million in Option B. There’s a long list of parks/playgrounds that would get fractions of the money, and the two West Seattle sites on that list are Fairmount and Roxhill.

Both versions of the levy proposal call for spending 6% on developing parks at reservoir areas – and half of it would go to West Seattle Reservoir (at Westcrest Park).

There’s a little money for skatepark development — $1.6 million in Option A, $1 million in Option B. One of the three projects listed is a skatespot at Roxhill.

After that, a little money is earmarked for converting two wading pools somewhere in the city to spray parks (West Seattle has five wading pools, by the way).

Later in the “development” section, synthetic turf for Delridge Playfield made the list for both options, as did a kitchen remodel for Camp Long, and a “linear park”/bike path along the West Duwamish Trail.

The next area of the levy proposal is Environmental Restoration and Stewardship, with money for creeks and greenbelts – some money is labeled as “citywide” but specific mentions include Fauntleroy Creek and Longfellow Creek.

This category also includes “community food gardens,” aka P-Patches, with the notation “One new site will be acquired and three new gardens will be developed on public land. The focus will be on densely populated areas where unmet need is high, including Ballard, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Rainier Valley, West Seattle, and others as appropriate. Projects may also include making small plots of public land available for market gardens.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The advisory committee is scheduled to finalize its recommendation at a meeting June 24 – but first, public testimony about what it’s considering – including anything you feel is missing – is crucial, and the hearing at 5:30 pm Tuesday (agenda here) at Seattle Center is the main event. If you can’t be there, other means of contacting the committee (which includes West Seattleites Pete Spalding, Sharonn Meeks, and Bruce Bentley) and council are listed here. But finalizing a levy proposal is only part of the fight – as previously reported, the mayor and council don’t see eye to eye regarding putting one on the ballot this year, so all that has to be worked out.

5 Comments

  1. I searched all of the docs and could not find out how the levy will be assessed. Does anyone know how and how much?

    If I had one guess, it’s property taxes.

    Comment by TheHouse — 9:56 pm June 15, 2008 #

  2. Yes, it would be a property tax levy. The current parks levy is expiring and the goal stated at some of the meetings we’ve covered is for the combination of this levy and the Pike Place Market levy to result in the same tax level as the one that’s expiring, so that there wouldn’t be an end increase (or decrease for that matter).

    Comment by WSB — 12:41 am June 16, 2008 #

  3. As much as I like parks and more funding, this list seems hastily put together. I would rather wait until a list was fully vetted. To be floating drafts this late before a Nov. election seems unwise.

    Comment by westwood — 7:34 am June 16, 2008 #

  4. So what is the actual $$ figure that we’re being taxed right now for the current levy?

    My stance on just about every levy is NO and I have a feeling this one is going to fall right in line. Aren’t city parks one of the thinks that our tax $$$ should be earmarked for?

    Comment by TheHouse — 8:16 am June 16, 2008 #

  5. All of the projects that are included in the draft levy packages have already been fully vetted in some form. This might appear to be hastily put together under Seattle standards but there has been a lot of thought, work and effort put into this process by quite a few folks to date.

    It is a true statement that there will be no net new taxes under this levy. If you take the amount of this levy and combine it with the proposed Pike Place Market levy (which will be on the November ballot) it will equal the amount of the existing Pro-Parks levy that is sunsetting this year.

    If you have a strong opinion (one way or the other) tomorrow night is your final opportunity to have your voice heard by the committee that is putting the levy together. The committee will meet for the final time on June 24th to finalize the levy package that we will be sending to the Parks committee of the City Council. They will have until August 12th to make a final decision. There is no certainty that there are enough votes yet on the council to approve any Parks levy package at this time.

    Comment by Pete — 12:40 pm June 16, 2008 #

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