More Answers About the New Proposed Green Lake Community Center
In case you missed it, we recently discovered that the the Seattle Parks Department is seeking input on a potential operating partnership for a new Green Lake Community Center because of a capital shortfall. We posed several questions to the Parks Department about how and why it was determined that a new Green Lake Community Center was needed.
Below is our interview with Seattle Parks Department Acting Communications Manager, Dewey Potter:
Seattle Greenlaker (SG): How did the Green Lake Community Center move from a line item of renovations that was included in the Park District to needing to “look at partnerships and innovations” to fill the capital shortfall for a new facility?
Seattle Parks (SP): That was the prevailing plan at the time. During the course of work on the Community Center Strategic Plan, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) hired a consultant to conduct architectural/engineering studies on eight community centers considered in the most need of renovation. Six of the eight require renovations. Two, Green Lake and Lake City, require replacement. The estimated price tag for Green Lake Community Center/Evans Pool is $25 million. Parks and Recreation does not have access to the funding needed for the replacement. You’re correct that the Seattle Park District funding will provide a tremendous boost to our operating and capital programs, but not at that scale. In 2016 SPR has $47 million in District funding. You can see here how the funding is allocated for this year under the six-year spending plan (2015-2020) approved by the City Council.
SG: How much would a new Green Lake Community Center cost?
SP: $25 million
SG: How would an operating partnership change the way residents experience/interact with the Green Lake Community Center?
SP: We do not yet know.
SG: If Green Lake Community Center was part of an operating partnership how would that be different from what we have now?SP: We do not yet know.
Dewey also said, “One option we plan to explore is an agreement with an operator who would invest in the facility and then operate it for a time; another is debt financing. Not only have no decisions been made, public discussions have not begun.”
We also asked Dewey to confirm that there has not been any discussion with the YMCA, to which she replied: “There have been no discussions with the YMCA.”
So, we have some answers but, like you, probably many more questions. But that’s what the next meeting with the Parks Commission is about on October 27 (location/time TBD) where this issue will be open to discussion to the public.