Monday, November 8, 2010

City Council Making Community Center Decisions This Week and a Few Updates

The City Council will begin making final decisions and taking votes on the 2011 Budget at meetings on Tuesday  and Wednesay and Friday of this week. The final budget is expected to be adopted by November 22nd. 

There is still time to submit comments to and/or to individual city councilmembers, including Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair, Budget Committee, at

Dena, Recreation Coordinator at the Laurelhurst Community Center said she has not received any new information recently on the status of the Community Center. She does encourage  neighbors to still share their ideas and feedback to City Council through this month..

She did forward to us a message from Kathleen Turner, Laurelhurst Advisory Council President that does include some specfics on the Laurelhurst Community Center cuts and moving forward:

In case you were unaware of the effects of the Mayor’s proposed budget for 2011, the Laurelhurst Community Center is among several facilities that are impacted including four other community centers. The mayor’s budget proposes minimal impact to the 21 other community centers throughout the city. Laurelhurst and the four others were singled out, despite the fact that Laurelhurst Community Center received intensive remodeling and reopened just three years ago in 2007.

If the proposal is approved through City Council, our Community Center and Gym’s hours of operation will be drastically reduced as of January 4, 2011. The City Council will be deliberating and final decisions will be made and announced on November 22. As part of the plan, the Laurelhurst Community Center and Gym would be operated with very limited hours for regular programming under the supervision of one of the nearby sites.

Some programs will be re-located to Magnuson and Ravenna-Eckstein, while others including most special events (Salmon Bake, Egg Hunt, etc.) will likely be cancelled due to the absence of supervisory Parks Department staff. In addition, Senior Adult Recreation and Specialized Programs staff will move offices into some of the program space in the Center. The community center would be used to provide some additional programs to senior adults and specialized populations, but the question of access for these populations has been raised. Currently these programs take place at a variety of community centers throughout the city.

It is unclear what the full impact will be however we will be very limited in the number of programs serving adults, kids and families. Without significant volunteer effort, special events would no longer take place here. We would have some ability to offer basketball and Nerf soccer in the Gym, a few exercise classes and some pottery classes. Again, these classes would be supervised by neighboring community center staff in addition to their own programs. The community center staff positions here will be abrogated except for 15 hours of recreation attendant time. Based on each employee’s level of seniority they would either be transferred to another location or be laid off beginning January 4th.

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