The Seattle City Council is soliciting public input into a new Parks and Green Spaces Levy for this November’s Ballot. The first of three public “open house” meetings was held Monday at City Hall. Another one will be held tonight, May 14, 200 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at the Northgate Community Center at 105010 5th Ave NE.
A third open house will be held Thursday, May 15, 2008 from 6 to 10 PM at the Rainier Community Center – Multi-Purpose Room at 4600 38th Ave So.
As the Seattle Great City Initiative notes:
The Seattle City Council has empaneled a Parks and Green Spaces Committee to assemble a levy package for this November’s ballot, which will continue to fund investments in Seattle’s green infrastructure. Critical to the success of this effort will be significant public turnout and input into the shape of the levy at the three public open houses that are listed below.
Whether it is shorelines or streambeds, tree canopy or playgrounds, please join us at one or all of these events to show that there is broad public support for this kind of continued investment in the ecological, community and economic benefits that green space funding brings to our Emerald City. If you would like to send comments email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Seattle Times printed a commentary yesterday entitled “Satisfying Seattle’s Passion for Parks”. It was written by Tom Rasmussen, who Chairs the Seattle City Council’s Parks and Seattle Center Committee and Richard Conlin who is the Seattle City Council President. They note that:
After eight years, the current Pro Parks Levy will expire in December. The levy has been a great success: It enabled the city to acquire 42 acres of open space, including 15 new neighborhood parks, and funded 70 park-development projects, including habitat restoration, athletic-field improvements and city trails. …
On April 21, we established the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Citizens’ Advisory Committee to develop a list of potential park, recreation and open-space projects to be funded by a continuation of the levy.
As the City Council considers a new parks levy, quality of life will also be at the forefront of our minds. By design, Seattle is working for more housing within the city limits in order to protect Puget Sound’s forests, farms and wildlife. In return, we must offer residents more green space and better facilities for recreation, contemplation and getting outdoors.
Rasmussen and Conlin note that a recent poll the Seattle City Council commissioned showed strong public support for continuing the ProParks , with 65% of the polled respondents saying they would support an extension of the levy to “fund improvements to existing parks and the acquisition of new neighborhood parks, green spaces, play fields and trails.”
Angela Galloway of the Seattle PI last month posted the poll questions and detailed responses on the PI’s Strange Bedfellows blog.
The continued fight over trying to save some 80 large Douglas fir, western red cedar and madrone trees at Ingraham High School in North Seattle this week found 8 of the 9 Seattle City Council members, including Rasmussen and Conlin urging the Seattle School District to pursue an alternative design for their classroom addition that would save the 50 year old evergreen trees from being destroyed.
Obviously if funds were available one alternative would be for the City of Seattle to buy the development rights to the west grove of trees and preserve it as a green area for the school and neighborhood. There is also an east grove of trees at the school that has been seriously looked to be cut down for additional unneeded parking and possibly as a building site. This area also needs to be looked at for either purchasing development rights or out right purchase.
It is obvious that the Seattle School District and Seattle School Board is giving preserving green space on its school campuses a very low priority. Most in city schools across the country would love to have the green in city forested area that is present on the Ingraham High School campus. It seems the school district here is still following in the footsteps of those past school board members who in the past saw some value in paving over school playground space with asphalt, which many schools in Seattle still have an over abundance of while having a deficit of grass and shrubs and trees.