CITY BUDGET CUTS: 3 West Seattle park projects ‘paused’

(WSB file photo, future park site at 48th/Charlestown)

With the city getting ready to make budget cuts because of COVID-19 revenue losses- see the big picture here, in the slides from an upcoming City Council presentation – individual departments are announcing their plans today. Among them, Seattle Parks and Recreation, which says West Seattle’s three landbanked park-development projects will be “paused.” Here’s the full news release:

As the City moves to reopening and rebuilding, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) must turn our attention to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 on both the city’s budget as well as SPR’s budget.

The City is also looking across all city departments and city services to reallocate General Fund resources to support the rebuilding of our communities along with providing essential services.

During this pandemic crisis, SPR has significantly shifted to better serve our communities where it was needed most. Seattle Parks and Recreation has stood up three temporary shelters in community centers, quickly opened and increased service to over 100 restrooms across the city, continued to operate our free shower programs at four sites, operated 9 childcares for essential worker families, and created a new program to support social distancing in our public parks.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic the City is proposing budget adjustments to City Council for consideration and approval on June 23.

In summary the savings from SPR that will help the city’s budget shortfall include:

-Leaving current staff vacancies unfilled, and reducing consultants and training budgets

-Reducing seasonal temporary employees in Park maintenance and facilities

-Pausing several capital projects including:
Battery St. Portal Park Development
Reduction in park acquisition budget
Landbank site development (48th and Charlestown, Ernest Park Addition, Morgan Junction, Wedgewood, West Seattle Junction)
-Greenway connection projects
-Athletic field conversion (Soundview, Ballard, and Queen Anne)
-Municipal energy efficiency program
-Park upgrade work through Seattle Conservation Corp

Additionally, SPR anticipates continuing to capture savings throughout the summer due to the closures of facilities and reduction in summer programming (Teen Summer Musical, wading pools, spray parks, summer pools, and other summer programs).

As a result of unfil;ed vacancies and reducing temporary staffing budgets, park and facility maintenance will have a decreased level of service (reduced mowing and park maintenance, along with slower response to fixing broken park amenities).

These reductions do not include layoffs or furloughs currently, however, SPR is holding approximately 10% of our regular positions vacant.

We are committed to keeping you informed about our operational and budgetary changes as we move through this difficult time

All three of the landbanked West Seattle sites had been moving toward construction years after the city bought them. (If you’re new – the Morgan project is the fenced-off ex-commercial site north of the current park along California north of Fauntleroy, and the Junction project is in the 4700 block of 40th SW across from the Alki Masonic Lodge building). We’ll add more followup info later.

32 Replies to "CITY BUDGET CUTS: 3 West Seattle park projects 'paused'"

  • Friendly June 24, 2020 (10:39 am)

    I know parks crews are working hard with reduced staffing. I’ve seen them out and about doing good work. I’d love to see some clean up work at the Morgan Junction location to clear the garbage and weeds.   Also is there any update on the Watton family pocket park? The house was torn down in 2014 and we’ve been waiting patiently for some action. The SPR website says “this park is new and in planning stages”

  • beanie June 24, 2020 (11:37 am)

    The cuts are understandable, but really unfortunate. How sad to have these public areas sit unused for years. The land near me at 39th and Willow was donated to become a park at least five years ago, but it’s been sitting with a fence around it ever since.
    I wish there were opportunities to volunteer to make these parks become reality.

    • PDiddy June 24, 2020 (12:51 pm)

      Agreed. There are a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands that would probably pitch in to make this work. But as usual city leaders miss obvious solutions to things that need to be done.

  • Johm June 24, 2020 (11:38 am)

    I’m getting sick of West Seattle getting the short end of the stick! poor road maintenance and when they do get around to it projects take far longer than they should. whenever there’s something to cut they go after services for West Seattle. And now they’re saying there’s no money for the West Seattle bridge replacement / repair. if they cut 20 million from the police department it should go straight towards repairing the bridge

    • WSB June 24, 2020 (11:41 am)

      They are NOT saying “there’s no money.” The fact is that nothing was previously budgeted because, well, this is new. So they’ll be finding it somewhere.

      • John June 24, 2020 (11:53 am)

        I mean that’s fair but it would seem that they are as they’re scratching their heads as to where to get the money. I think in tough times like this just like the rest of us we need to make cuts and budget properly. Maybe they can take some of their nearly quarter-billion that they spend on the homeless industrial complex. Don’t think me heartless I don’t want that spending to be cut completely but the money has to come from somewhere

      • West Seattle Hipster June 24, 2020 (12:08 pm)

        If we had some sanity in DC we could ask the feds for $$.

        • WSB June 24, 2020 (12:18 pm)

          I believe that’s in the game plan so far, sanity or no sanity. Our area’s US Rep Pramila Jayapal (also a West Seattleite) has a staffer on the bridge Task Force.

    • Chen Lee June 24, 2020 (12:19 pm)

      You can always relocate to CHAZ-CHOP… They seem to be well funded!

  • MM June 24, 2020 (11:58 am)

    Do you happen to know if there are plans for environmental cleanup along Highland Park way to 99 south entrance? The areas we pass are so full of interesting wildlife and it pains me to see so much garbage and knoxious invasive plants surrounding the wetlands. Not to mention the needles and other hazards sitting in dirt next to roadside. Maybe bathrooms for the homeless or others walking around there? It could make a beautiful park/wildlife viewing area with a few safe trails or lookout points. I always feel so depressed driving be it all. When I lived in Oregon we had community service programs in lieu of jail time or fines just for projects like these. 

    • waikikigirl June 24, 2020 (4:01 pm)

      Exactly, why don’t the incarcerated do litter pick up/community service to pay off their fines or if they do it seems like not enough ?

  • susieq29 June 24, 2020 (12:16 pm)

    Wonder what will happen at Hiawatha since this was supposed to start moving/renovation Fall of this year?

    • heartless June 24, 2020 (2:31 pm)

      FWIW we got a flyer about the Hiawatha renovation in today’s mail, so seems like that stuff is still happening?

    • heartless June 24, 2020 (4:08 pm)

      Never mind, should have read it before responding–the flyer is specifically about West Seattle High School field improvements, and says nothing either way regarding the Hiawatha play area, etc.  Sorry!

  • Just A Mowin' June 24, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    Well, I guess that means I can count on dragging my reel mower around 6 blocks of West Seattle so my kid can play at the park again. It won’t be so bad if I start before it gets 2′ high! XD

    • TSurly June 24, 2020 (3:34 pm)

      My weedwacker is ready to support your reel mower. 

  • L June 24, 2020 (12:43 pm)

    I’m not sure I understand why parks service money is being utilized for homeless services which should be the responsibility of social services agencies.   I can understand putting off development of new parks due to the COVID crisis.   But the parks service shouldn’t be deferring maintenance and cleaning of our existing parks  to spend money on social services.   In the 20 years I’ve lived in West Seattle I’ve seen the parks get dirtier and become more poorly maintained.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to email to fix tennis court lights, clean up glass, replace nets, pick up trash, etc.    It has gotten noticeably worse since the COVID crisis.   The taxpayers deserve better.

    • flimflam June 24, 2020 (7:39 pm)

      good ol’ slight of hand trick…

  • Mj June 24, 2020 (1:33 pm)

    And how much did the City spend installing the innapropriate, per technical standards, speed limit signs?  25 MPH on 35th makes zero sense for example.

    • skeeter June 24, 2020 (3:45 pm)

      MJ – those reduced speed limit signs might just save your life.  There were four pedestrians hit and killed by car drivers in West Seattle alone last year.  

    • Peter June 24, 2020 (5:30 pm)

      35 mph on 35th is a wonderful thing and should have been done a long time ago. It is much, much safer for pedestrians now. They really should lower the speed limit to 20 mph citywide, ten on residential streets. 

    • KM June 24, 2020 (11:09 pm)

      Let it go, MJ. DOTs and their engineers are moving on from the outdated road standards you are holding on to.

  • R2 June 24, 2020 (1:38 pm)

    Ercolini Park looks like a wasteland already.

  • Latrell Coleman June 24, 2020 (6:04 pm)

    There is a powerful political man who lives in west Sheattle. Maybe he could help out. 

  • wsguy123 June 24, 2020 (6:22 pm)

    This park has been and is currently used as on off leash park despite leash law signage.  People who live close by probably have noticed but maybe not everyone in WS. 

  • john June 24, 2020 (6:45 pm)

    And lower the seed limit to 5mph on  PETER’s block.

  • Mj June 24, 2020 (7:37 pm)

    Skeeter numbers on a sign is not effective, the City’s own studies showed this!  

  • Brandon June 24, 2020 (11:04 pm)

    Is Madison middle school still on task?

    • WSB June 25, 2020 (12:01 am)

      That is a Seattle Public Schools project, not Seattle Parks.

  • rico June 25, 2020 (8:12 am)

    The lack of maintenance at Parks is a basic slap in the face to us all.  I will guarantee you all the Parks employees are still on the payroll, what are they doing with their time is the question.

  • Lola June 25, 2020 (8:48 am)

    Remember also the Seattle Parks Dept. did just spend almost close to $88,000 for Covid Sign’s for the Parks.  Some of them not even accurate.  One that was 4.76 saying this is what 6 feet look like.  I think the WSB had the article a few days ago.  They really need to re-think about some of the stuff that they do and really think about what they should do!

    • Rick June 25, 2020 (2:43 pm)

      But why would they?

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