Friday, October 1, 2010

Why Funding for Playground Can't Be Used Towards Saving the Community Center and Other Questions and Comments Received

We've received several interesting comments and questions about the possible closing of Laurelhurst Community Center on January 4th, 2011 that we'd like to share.

First, please submit your comments to the City about their proposed 2011 Budget asap on-line here which will automatically go to all City Council Members. Cursor down the page and click on “this form" then type in your message.

Numbers of messages about a particular 2011 Budget item are extremely important and effective.

Yesterday's post contains important points to think about and perhaps include in your message.

One comment we have received and that has also been discussed on NE Seattle Moms Yahoo Group is why funding for the playground can't be shifted to support the Community Center.

Here is the answer Jeannie Hale, Laurelhurst Community Club President, gave:
Funding for the playground improvements at the community center was approved already as part of the 2008 parks levy. So that can’t be changed. What can be changed is the mayor’s proposed budget. The city council has the final say and will make many adjustments in response to what it hears from residents. But, they need to hear from you and everyone. If they don’t hear from people, councilmembers will think that we don’t care about the loss of our center.

It just takes a comment to send an email that goes to all councilmembers. Tell your story—why is the center important to your family? What types of activities do you participate in (youth athletic programs, classes, the Easter Egg hunt, etc.). Why is a community center even important to a neighborhood? Why would it be hard for you to go over to the Ravenna-Eckstein center or out to Magnuson? One neighbor already had a very serious brain injury crossing NE/45th /Sand Point in a crosswalk when she was hit by a car. At 40th, on the way to the Metropolitan Market, another neighbor was killed.

And here also are comments from Karina, who is spearheading the Park playground renovation:
I wish it was that simple, but the thing is, the current playground equipment is now some of the oldest equipment in Seattle. Not only that, it is made out of wood that is deteriorating. I know that it looks fine, appears okay, but the fact is the city is planning on removing the equipment in 2012 anyway due to safety concerns. And in 2008, voters approved to a $400,000 levy for new
equipment. We can't just take that money and apply it to the community center. It's not that easy.

We could work with community center and try to get more funding or perhaps each one of us could write to the council members on why we should keep this center open. Jeannie Hale's letter is a great because it clearly says that our community owned the land and then gave it to the city with the intention that the city would use it to serve the whole community.

The park renovation is a great way to show the city that we are an involved community. And if we are smart, we could work in tandem to keep the community center open as well.

This weekend is another park meeting. (Saturday, at LCC from 1-3 pm) And, I will have a sign-up sheet for those interested in helping with the community center as well. Collectively we can share thoughts on how to open the new playground and keep our community programming at the community center.

As the chair of the "Play it Safe at Laurelhurst Park" I am learning that it's not just about dollar signs that keep community organizations open, it's about community involvement. And seriously, we need signatures and letters to get our message through to the city.

With everyones help and involvement, I believe they would have to reconsider.

Here are some more comments we have received and for answers we've been told the person is Dewey Potter, Seattle Parks Public Information Officer Dewey Potter (

I'm a little confused as to why they are continuing to host meetings and ask for community input on the Laurelhurst Park Playground when they are considering closing the community center on the grounds where it's located--why would a parent trek to a park when there will no longer be public restrooms available nearby?  Seems a little messed up doesn't it? - Concerned Neighbor

I'm a neighbor and have heard from the Body Conditioning class instructor at the LCC that it's closing as of Jan 4th. It's slotted to become a senior center. Have you heard anything regarding this matter? According to the City of Seattle's website: the hours are going to be dramatically reduced but the instructor says she has a letter that says otherwise. Confused and concerned!

Maybe we (Laurelhurst) should take back partial ownership & management of the community Center. Is that an option?

Why is laurelhurst for seniors when ida culver house is two blocks from ravenna? Also, cordryon...a senior cndo is just down 25th......i don't like their initial plan.....

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