Next week the City Council, meeting as the Seattle Park District Governing Board, will consider finalizing the district’s 2023-2028 funding plan. The district provides supplemental funding to the Parks and Recreation department (SPR). This week Councilmember Andrew Lewis, as governing board president, presented his version of the budget proposal, which adds more money and projects to what Mayor Bruce Harrell already had proposed. One of those added projects would be a second off-leash area (dog park) for West Seattle. Note the second-to-last line on this slide from a meeting earlier this week:
This was called to our attention by Alec Rodenhauser, who’s taken over the group that’s been lobbying for an added dog park for West Seattle, which currently only has the Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area. Where the new West Seattle off-leash area would be has yet to be determined – as we reported in February, the West Seattle Dog Park Coalition studied and proposed five sites – at four SPR locations, the West Seattle Golf Course, Hamilton Viewpoint, Lincoln Park, and inland Duwamish Head, and port-owned Jack Block Park. Rodenhauser says they’re still awaiting word from SPR on the feasibility of those possible sites.
Meantime, Lewis’s Park District counterproposal also adds funding for High Point Community Center and eight other community centers around the city, described as renovating and/or making the buildings “climate-conscious.” Here’s that slide from the presentation earlier this week:
Another key point from Lewis’s proposal – by the end of the funding cycle in 2028, all 129 city-park restrooms would be open year-round, while currently fewer than half are. His proposal also contains what the mayor had proposed, which includes funding to develop West Seattle’s three long-“landbanked” park sites, West Seattle Junction (40th SW), Morgan Junction Park Addition, and 48th/Charlestown. Like the mayor’s proposal, this plan would more than double what the Park District is costing property-tax payers and add a few dollars more beyond the mayor’s plan – the annual cost for the “median-value home” would range from $339 a year in 2023 to $446 in 2028. While the City Council/Park District Board has to approve the plan, there’s no further voter approval needed as this is within the range in what voters originally approved. Currently Park District funding covers about a third of the SPR budget.