Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stop By Laurelhurst Community Center Today And Be Counted

Starting this week, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, is asking customers at all city community centers, including Laurelhurst Community Center, to sign in with their time of arrival and their age group.

This is part of a pilot project lasting two weeks, which will help the Parks Department respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated as a result of the severe budget shortages facing the community centers, in which the operational costs far exceed the revenue brought in by their programs.

"Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising and partnerships," the press release says.

After two weeks the data collected (average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day) will be evaluated and then decided upon whether the project should continue for ten more weeks.

The process, also includes public meetings, one held last month, to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently.Another one is in the works for the Spring to get further input on developing options.  The City is exploring a variety of alternatives in how to more efficienlty run the Community Centers.

Community Center Advisory Team has also been set up made up of community members, representatives from the Board of Park Commissioners, representatives of employee unions, employees, the Associated Recreation Council, and City Council and City Budget Office staff.

Laurelhurst Community Center operations have been severely affected by the City Counil 2011-2012 Budget.

It is now a "limited use center" with operating hours reduced to 35 hours per week. The hours are Monday through Thursday 9:30-12:30pm and 2:30-6:15pm and Friday 9:30-12:30pm, according to a recent flier posted on the Parks website.

Dena and her staff are no longer there, having been replaced wtih a temporary staff. And the staff at Magnuson Community Center overseeing the operations remotely.

And most community and family events will no longer happen, including the Easter Egg Hunt that was so popular and well attended.

So stop by the Laurelhurst Community Center today and be counted.

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