Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reject Funding Cuts to the Laurelhurst Community Center - More Important Timely Information

Reject Funding Cuts to the Laurelhurst Community Center - that is the message that the Laurelhurst Community Club is urging the community to do.

Jeannie Hale sent us the below email on the impending closure of Laurelhurst Community Center and how the community needs to get involved right away by simply going to the Council Members web page and submitting comments. It's very quick and the more people who submit comments the more weight it will carry.

Jeannnie has outlined some very interesting points in her email about the history of the Laurelhurst Community Center, just where Seniors will park at our community center, how families who usually walk to our community center will now need to commute to other ones and other important points to submit to City Council.

Last night Mayor McGinn held a public hearing on the 2011 Budget and you can see the footage here.

Here is the email Jeannie sent to us:

Dear Laurelhurst Blogger,

Could you please encourage your readers to email councilmembers to encourage them to reject the Mayor’s proposed funding cuts to the Laurelhurst Community Center?

It’s easy to do. Just go to, cursor down the page a bit and click on “this form”. Type in your message and it will go to all councilmembers.

Numbers of messages about a budget item are extremely important.

Why should just five community centers—Laurelhurst, Alki, Ballard, Queen Anne and Greenlake (out of 26) be reduced to 15 hours a week (instead of 53 during the school year and 46 during the summer)?

Below is the message I sent to councilmembers. It’s very important for EVERYONE who cares about preserving our community center to act now. Thanks!

Jeannie Hale


Dear Councilmembers,

Did you know that in 1927 our Laurelhurst community council formed an LID (local improvement district) and purchased the four tracks of land where the Laurelhurst Community Center and playfield are located? Our community then gave that property to the Park Department "for park and playfield purposes."

In the 2000 Pro Parks Levy, we got $2.9M in funding to expand our one-room center to meet the needs of our community--adding over 4,000 square feet. Now, the Mayor proposes to transform our community center into a satellite program site for senior programs and office space. That is not what we bargained for when we gave the property to the city. We want and need a center that serves ALL of our neighbors--kids, families and the like.

The center would be closed to the public and only open 15 hours a week--either for senior programming or whenever staff from Eckstein or Magnuson are available. The center would continue to be available for private rental--but not community use.

We have been told that we can just hike the 2.2 miles to the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center or hop on the bus to go the 1.9 miles to Magnuson Park--not easy with baby strollers or kids in tow. We have many one-car families with walking as the only option during the day. Neighbors like to walk and bike to their community center. The other centers are too far away and to cross Sand Point Way is too dangerous.

Why would the Laurelhurst Community Center be transformed into a satellite program for senior programs? Transit service is poor and there is little parking.

This proposed budget cut will mean the end to our much beloved community center. And, at the Sept 29th Budget Committee meeting, we learned that the revenue shortfall will continue for many years AND that the Mayor would explore non-traditional revenue sources. Would that mean that our community center would ultimately be privatized?

I understand that you must make difficult choices with the $67M budget shortfall. But, please do all you can to restore funding for the Laurelhurst Community Center.

Jeannie Hale

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