Thursday, September 15, 2011

Laurelhurst Community Center Hours May Be Further Reduced

Mayor Mike McGinn and City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw have released a proposal for the 2012 City Budget laying out more changes to the City's Community Centers, including further reduction in hours at the Laurelhurst Community Center.

The proposal states:
In response to the continuing for budget reductions and direction from the City Council, Parks staff conducted an inclusive, data-driven analyis and process to examine alternative models for staffing and operating the centers. 
The proposal saves $1.23M, of which $784,000 is achieved through budget reductions and $446,000 comes to Parks from its nonprofit partner ARC (Associated Recreation Council) that would partially cover Community Center expenses.
Staff reductions would total 13.63 full time positions and reduce the hours of 75 people.  The preferred operating model preserves services by the greatest extent possible by keeping the centers open with varying levels of service.
Jeannie Hale, Laurelhurst Community Club President, commented: "The mayor’s proposal would further cut hours at the Laurelhurst Community center from 35 to 25 hours per week.   Any reduction in hours should be equitably distributed throughout the city.  Despite the considerable effort to explore other operation models, the proposed solution unfairly targets smaller, yet very vibrant centers—like Laurelhurst.“

The proposal would divide the Community Centers into five geographically based service areas, each with five Community Centers staffed with a team, led by a Senior Recreation Coordinator.

Laurelhurst is grouped with Magnuson, Ravenna-Eckstein, Meadowbrook and Northgate Community Centers.

The proposal says: "The staff would work with people in the community to establish operating hours and decide on programming, and will try to avoid duplication of programs within the service area."

A level of service would be assigned to each Community Center with Laurelhurst being a 2b community center open for 25 hours a week.  Magnuson would also be 2b.  Ravenna Eckstein would be a 2a facility and open 45 hours a week.

The level of serive is determined by condition of the building, cost of maintaining it,  past use of the building for drop-in use, paid use, rentals and number of patrons served by scholarships. Each community center was rated against all the others based on its performance relative to the other twenty-four Centers.

If the proposal is accepted by the Seattle City Council, the changes would take effect January 1st of next year. The City Council will vote on the proposal before Thanksgiving.

The public can send comments to  For a schedule go to Councilwoman Bagshaw's website. 

Information about the proposal is available here.

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