After extensive public outreach, this proposal will reflect Seattleites’ priorities for parks: making them clean, green, and accessible to all
Seattle, WA – Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (President of the Seattle Park District Governing Board and Councilmember from District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) announced his proposed six-year funding plan for the Seattle Metropolitan Park District today. His proposal makes critical investments in cleaner, greener and more accessible parks across Seattle.
The Park District is a supplemental funding source for Seattle’s parks that was approved by voters in 2014, making investments citywide for six years at a time. This is the second round of investments by the Park District. The Board is comprised of all nine Councilmembers, who will vote on the Park District’s six-year funding plan later this month.
“This funding plan maintains the investments proposed by Mayor Harrell and builds on them with additional supports for a funded mandate to make our parks clean, green, and accessible to all. Partnership between the Mayor and Council is essential for us to build on our mandate from the people of Seattle for the action-oriented change they expect from their leaders,” said Seattle Park District President, Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis. “Today’s proposal is also the result of extensive public engagement: 14 public meetings, over 300 in-person public comments, 20 formal requests from organizations, and more than 500 emails, letters, and messages. It reflects that testimony of a city proud of the legacy of our Olmstead Parks, and our collective determination to protect and expand them.”
Our Parks Will Be Clean
This proposal adds crews to respond to graffiti and vandalism, expands the cleaning of bathrooms and comfort stations, and increases major renovations to those comfort stations. This plan is a funded mandate for park bathrooms that are clean, safe, and open.
Our Parks Will Be Green
President Lewis’ proposal will invest in 9 community centers, renovating them and/or making them climate conscious buildings:
- Lake City Community Center
- Loyal Heights Community Center
- Green Lake Community Center
- Queen Anne Community Center
- South Lake Union Community Center
- Garfield Community Center
- Rainier Community Center
- Van Asselt Community Center
- High Point Community Center
This plan will also plant more trees throughout Seattle’s existing parks, and will expand the Seattle Conservation Corps – providing jobs and workforce training to people experiencing homeless in our community – 80% of whom leave the program with stable housing and 90% secure long-term employment.
Our Parks Will Be Accessible to All
Every community in Seattle deserves playgrounds, pocket parks, walking trails, and public art. For decades, most park improvements required communities to fundraise themselves. No longer. Under this proposal, the Equity Fund, which requires no neighborhood match, will be doubled to $3 million per year.
Critically, this plan will fundamentally make Seattle’s parks more accessible by making all of Seattle’s park bathrooms open year-round by the end of 2028. Out of 129 park bathrooms, only 60 are currently only open seasonally.
This budget will also activate parks throughout the city, both downtown and in neighborhoods outside the city core, and it will do so by partnering with community organizations like the Downtown Seattle Association and the Urban Parks Partnership.
Investing in Parks, Facilities and Programs Across the City
This proposal invests in parks and facilities across Seattle. An overview of the projects can be viewed on the following map:
A map of proposed park district projects, highlighted in purple and blue. Green checks signify projects completed during the first cycle of the Seattle Park District. You can view a PDF of the map here.
An Overview of Investments and Revenue
This overview of President Lewis’ funding plan gives a high-level summary of proposed investments, including additional projects like the creation of new parks, building numerous off-leash dog areas, constructing a skate park in Rainier Beach, and an art installation in Be’er Sheva Park, amongst others.
The revenue proposal for this budget is similar to Mayor Harrell’s plan. The Mayor’s budget proposed a tax of $0.38 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $330 for the median residence. President Lewis’ plan is one cent higher, or $0.39 per $1,000 of assessed value, costing roughly $12 more for the median resident for a total of $342 per year. These proposed rates are roughly twice what residents paid under the first cycle of the Seattle Park District.
What People are Saying
“The last two years have put into sharper focus the importance of our urban parks and public spaces,” said Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Jon Scholes. “We need these downtown spaces to be open, clean, safe, active and maintained to help ensure a vibrant urban core for all to enjoy. The Metropolitan Park District’s funding package is critical to support these community assets and parks that set our city apart.”
“The last few years has taught us just how critical the park system is for climate resilience, the health of our residents, and community engagement in public spaces,” said Rebecca Bear, President & CEO of the Seattle Parks Foundation. “The Seattle Park District is important voter approved and dedicated funding to ensure our parks are well maintained, operated and support our neighborhood communities. With this cycle of funding the Mayor and City Council are making a strong commitment to the future livability and equity of our city.”
“The funding for the Rangers within the city parks levy will be important to provide park users and visitors with respectful, professional assistance and quality customer service during their experience,” said Assistant Political Director of Laborers Local Union 242, Andrea Ornelas. “This is especially true as tourists, employees, and residents return to Seattle’s downtown, parks, and new waterfront expansion.”
Next Steps & Resources
President Lewis’ proposed funding plan will be discussed, potentially amended, and voted on by the rest of the Seattle Park District Governing Board, comprised of all nine Councilmembers, over the next week or so. The next meeting of the Seattle Park District Governing Board is today after the 2 PM Council Briefings, in which President Lewis’ funding plan will be discussed in more detail. The meeting will be broadcast live on the Seattle Channel. A final vote is expected on Tuesday, September 27th after the 2 PM Full City Council meeting.