The Park

Petition Started For Green Lake Community Center And 7 Other Community Centers

May 12, 2017 6:19am

Susan Helf, one of the organizers of the group ‘Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center’ sent us two updates on the status of the Green Lake Community Center.

The first is that the major repairs that many community members have been fighting to get done may start this Fall. According to Helf those include a new roof, areas damaged by leaks, replacement or repair of the pool boiler and water heater, ADA access improvements, replacement of the electrical panel in the gym and repair of the gym floor and pool systems.

She continues with the second update …

“While we are grateful that Seattle Parks and Recreation has finally agreed to do work that it first identified as necessary in 2008, we are not satisfied.
We want SPR to replace or remodel the other seven community centers on its 2008 list: Queen Anne CC, Loyal Heights CC, South Park CC, Hiawatha CC, Magnolia CC, Lake City CC and Jefferson Park CC, using public money.
We also want SPR to abandon any scheme of privatizing our beloved community centers and pools to that end, we’ve formed a new city-wide coalition: “Seattle Community Centers and Pools for All,” a group of parks activists who oppose privatization of park facilities and want our community centers repaired or replaced using public money.
Our coalition has written a petition to the Seattle City Council/Seattle Park District Board. On Saturday, May 13 at 2 p.m. in front of the Green Lake Community Center, our coalition will launch this petition, which will make two demands: 1) NO privatization of pools or community centers and 2) remodel or replace all eight community centers identified by Parks and Recreation.
In 1952, North End neighbors gathered 50,000 signatures to persuade Seattle Parks to build Evans Pool. With a current city population twice the size it was in 1952, we hope we can do as well. Our petition will send an unambiguous message to Seattle Parks and the City Council: Our community centers and pools are a precious focus of our neighborhoods and we want them to stay under local control and public management.
This will be a grass-roots, all-volunteer, all-city effort. Anybody can download the petition from either Facebook page: Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center or Seattle Community Centers and Pools for All.”

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Councilmember O’Brien Hosts Office Hours This Wednesday

April 3, 2017 12:02pm

On Wednesday April 5, District 6 Councilmember Mike O’Brien will be hosting office hours at the Ballard Public Library. All District 6 neighbors (that’s us!) are encouraged to attend and bring questions and concerns directly to our councilmember. If you are new to these Office Hours events (there are several throughout the year) you should know that they are a one-on-one format and you will get a chance to speak directly to him.

While any concerns, comments or questions are welcome at this meeting, we’ve heard from several Greenlakers that are planning to discuss the proposed plans to privatize the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool with O’Brien.
So we asked Councilmember O’brien about his role in the Green Lake Community Center and plans for the future, here’s our conversation:

Seattle Greenlaker: Will you be taking the comments you hear from this meeting to future conversations/meetings with the Parks Department?

Councilmember O’Brien: Everything I hear from community influences how I move forward, so yes, next week’s conversations will be part of the body of knowledge I call upon as I continue to engage with parks. To date I have heard unanimous skepticism from community members about a partnership model for the Greenlake Pool. This is the baseline from which I am operating.

Seattle Greenlaker: Do you have a proposal or action plan to help the Community Center in the near term (ie. the leaky roof and broken boilers etc.)

Councilmember O’Brien: I am working with the parks department so they can present a clear plan to maintain current, uninterrupted operations for the pool. I don’t yet have clarity on the scale of investments needed to achieve that level of service, but hope to have clarity within a number of weeks.

Seattle Greenlaker: Is there anything else you would like to add about the Community Center?

Councilmember O’Brien: I’d just reiterate what I said in my blog post: While the Greenlake Community Center itself is showing signs of age, the community it continues to foster is as powerful as ever. I deeply value this community space and want to ensure it remains enjoyable and accessible for all the members of District 6 and the larger community.

To talk to Councilmember O’brien in person, be sure to attend the upcoming meeting:

Ballard Public Library 5614 22nd Ave NW
Wednesday April 5
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Please note this meeting is first come, first served, so no official sign up is needed.

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What You Need To Know About Last Week’s Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Meeting

March 19, 2017 9:42pm

Have you heard about the potential changes to the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool? (Boy have we written a lot about it!)

If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s the short story: the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. They say the price tag is $25 million. The Parks Department is proposing to tear down both the pool and the Center and go into a public/private partnership to help pay for it and the ongoing operations of the building.  Neighbors and residents are asking why – specifically why was this not included in the Parks District, which was a voter approved measure that raised taxes to pay for the parks. A few million dollars were set aside by the Parks District for renovations to the aging structures, but it is unclear where that money is now going.

So, back to the latest about the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool…

A new group called Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center invited the Superintendent of Parks, Jesus Aguirre, to speak to the community as part of the Green Lake Community Council meeting last week. The meeting, which normally attracts about 10 residents had nearly 100. This was the first formal meeting with Aguirre and considered the first public comment period with more anticipated in the future.

Here’s the four things I learned from the meeting:

The public/private partnership is not a sure thing. 

The price tag of the estimated $25 million to create a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool are outside of the Parks Department’s budget. The public/private partnership was one proposal to help with that shortfall. During the meeting Aguirre said the money could come from fundraising or bonds as well.

And more public comment and research is needed in order to move forward with any direction.

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that Seattle Parks is involved in multiple public/private partnerships, such as:

  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Tennis Center at Sand Point
  • Pratt Fine Arts
  • Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands
  • Arena Sports
  • Mountaineers
  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Seward Park Audubon Center
  • Green Lake Pitch and Putt
  • Spectrum Dance Theater

Documentation to prove that Green Lake Community Center needs to be torn down has people confused/angry. 

Many residents, the local group Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center and the Green Lake Advisory Council have asked the Parks District for the engineering documentation that says that both facilities are “at the end of their useful life.” While the Parks Department has provided a draft report from 2015, little to no documentation from a engineering firm has been presented to the public. The Parks Department claims they do not have a final version of that report.

The Green Lake Advisory Council has asked that a new study be made to determine the real costs of a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool.

A new swimming pool and Community center is going to take a long, long time to build. 

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that even if the Parks Department had the funds to build this right now it would take 3 years to build.

What happened to the money that was set aside from the Parks District originally allocated for Green Lake? 

Several renovations that were supposed to be funded, including the boilers for the pool and a leaky roof over the gym have remained unfunded. When asked at the meeting Aguirre couldn’t provide an answer for this but said a plan needed to be made.

Residents at the meeting were visibly frustrated that the pool has had to close several times already this year and buckets clutter the floors of the gym on rainy days.

So what is the next step for the community to get involved?

According to Rachel Schulkin, Parks and Recreation Communications Manager:

“Community involvement regarding a department-wide planning process will begin later this year. The programmatic assessment will look at the needs city-wide in all areas of parks and recreation. The programmatic assessment will lead to a facilities plan. We are collecting contact information from all who have expressed interest in Green Lake CC and Evans Pool and will let them know when we initiate public outreach for the programmatic plan. There is nothing specific to the Green Lake facilities underway now, nor will there be for the remainder of 2017.”

There are several groups that are actively involved in finding the answers to these questions. Here’s a few ways to get involved:

Follow Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center Facebook page. This group publishes their conversations with the City, the Parks Department and you can see all of their documents here.

Write or call our City Council member, Mike O’Brien206-684-8800, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

Write or call the Seattle Parks Department: (206) 684-4075 PKS_Info@seattle.gov

This issue is just starting, so make sure your voice is heard!

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The Latest On The Green Lake Community Center

March 13, 2017 6:32am

In case you missed it, the Green Lake Community Center future is up in the air.

The short story is the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. The price tag is $25 million.

Remember that voter-aproved Parks District that passed a few years ago? It included a line item for a remodel of the Community Center but it did not include the full $25 million. Why not? That’s a good question and one that has us all a bit puzzled. We’ve talked to the Parks Department several times.

So what can you do?

Attend this meeting: The Green Lake Advisory Council is meeting Tuesday, March 14th at 7 p.m. at the Green Lake Community Center with Park & Recs Superintendent Jesus Aguirre. Tell him what you want to see for the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool.

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