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Establishing a baseline for costs in DPR: Committee Recap

The Spring Street P Patch, now formally under the jurisdiction of Department of Neighborhoods.

The Spring Street P Patch, now formally under the jurisdiction of Department of Neighborhoods.

In the Seattle Parks and Neighborhoods committee meeting on March 7, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) presented this detailed response to Council’s Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI 83-1-A-1) requesting information on possible long-term sustainable funding options for DPR, as well as definitions of parks service levels and how much revenue is required to support those service levels.

Watch a video of the committee meeting.

My hope is that this SLI will provide a baseline of information that can be used along with a number of other tools, such as community surveys and the policy for community-wide benefit versus individual benefit, to look at what DPR is, as well as what the system could be and what we want it to be.

The report is worth a read, especially as talk circulates about the possibility of coming back to the public to ask for a future levy..  It details where Parks employees’ time is getting spent.  For example, here’s a breakdown of the percentage of park maintenance hours by category in 2011:

  • Mini-Parks:  4%
  • Neighborhood, Community, Large Parks:  69%
  • Special Gardens and Environmental Learning Center Parks:  13%
  • Greenbelts, Trails, Boulevards 6%
  • Downtown Parks 8%

And here’s a breakdown of the type of activity that goes into park maintenance:

  • Litter control and garbage 17%
  • Turf care (mowing, edging) 15%
  • Shrub bed care 11%
  • Athletic field preparation 5%
  • Comfort station care 4%
  • Walkway and plaza cleaning 6%

Also in last week’s committee, we passed legislation formalizing the jurisdiction of Department of Neighborhoods over the Spring Street P-Patch property at 25th and Marion. I’d like to share with you the e-mailed comments of constituent John Stewart, a neighbor of the P-Patch:

“From the beginning our P-Patch has been something that brought the neighborhood together. From the artwork that adorns the site (much of it created by neighborhood residents!) to the solar lights that brighten it up at night, from our giving patches (with proceeds to the food banks), and the neighborhood parties it helps anchor, the P-Patch has been a key piece in helping our neighbors get to know one another, welcoming new residents and celebrating the old-timers. The table and chairs are used on a regular basis by young and old, kids run through all the time and folks walking their dogs stop for a break on the benches we just got installed last fall (thanks to yet another grant).”

Thanks, John, for saying it so well. It’s hard to imagine a more cogent description of a Department of Neighborhoods success story.

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