Thursday, June 18, 2015

Future Of Community Centers City-Wide Meeting Saturday

Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) is developing a Community Center Strategic Plan considering  options for future staffing and programs and seeking the public's input regarding what community center programs and services do  residents value most and why and how can Parks improve their programs and services.

On Saturday, neighbors are invited to a meeting to learn more and help shape Seattle Parks’ Community Center Strategic Plan. The meeting is being held at the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center from 10-noon.
The information says:

What is going on is that with voters approving the Seattle Park District there is additional funding for community centers; so yes this is coming up at budget time, but is not related to cutting budgets (YAY!). The Community Center Strategic Plan will create a vision and direction for Parks 26 centers and give guidance for spending additional funding provided by the Park District in 2016. The Plan recommendations will look at potential changes in hours, staffing, program direction, structural repairs at some centers, and other issues related to ensuring community centers serve our neighborhoods.

Community Center Meeting

What is the Community Center Strategic Plan?

The Community Center Strategic Plan will lay the foundation for both operational and facility decision-making for the community center system in the future. The 2014 Parks Legacy Plan established two general goals for community centers:
Ensure community centers are the focal points in our neighborhoods and serve as places where people can connect, foster relationships, build community, and enhance their health and well-being by offering programs, activities, and events to Seattle’s changing population.
Ensure community centers are physically and emotionally safe and welcoming places for individual enrichment and community growth.
The strategic plan sets a course for achieving and strengthening these goals that were established in the Parks Legacy Plan.

Community Centers in Seattle

  • Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) currently operates 26 community centers across the city with a total budget of approximately $11.4 million.
  • These facilities have various levels of service, staffing and hours of operation.

the good news is:

  • Voters approved the creation of the Seattle Park District in 2014.
  • In 2015, with Seattle Park District funding, a new staffing model was implemented at Seattle’s community centers, restoring staff capacity which had been reduced during the recession.
  • To ensure the Community Center Strategic Plan reflects the needs and desires of the


  • June: Conduct survey; Hold mini-summit
  • July: Evaluate current staffing and programs
  • August: Prepare draft plan
  • September: Park Board review of draft plan
The facilities run operations according to a matrix established in 2011 as a way to live within a reduced budget, and to avoid needing to close any center entirely.  The matrix assigns tiers according to the amount and kind of use each center historically received: Tier 1 centers open approximately 70 hours a week, Tier 2A centers (such as Magnolia) approximately 45 hours, and Tier 2B centers approximately 25 hours.  Because, historically, Magnolia has lower attendance numbers in the summer, we made the decision to use its available hours during other times of the year rather than spreading them more thinly throughout the entire year.  This is how Magnolia has operated for the past four years. 

The voter-approved Seattle Park District will indeed provide funding starting in 2016, but with some limited preliminary funding this year.  That preliminary 2015 funding will not increase community center hours.  Instead, we are using it to support the existing hours of coverage (which have been understaffed in a way that has undermined programming).  In addition, we are creating a Community Center Strategic Plan to develop a long-term vision for community centers and inform how the Park District funding should be used.  Specifically, the Community Center Strategic Plan will examine community demographics, operational and facility needs.  The Strategic Plan will lay the foundation for both operational and facility decision-making for the community center system in the future.

Send your comments to There will be a survey regarding community centers! We will distribute it electronically later this month and it will be open for at least 6 weeks. We will be sure to send the survey link to you.
For more information go here.

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