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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Battle Over the Pro Parks Levy

posted by on January 17 at 11:54 AM

As I wrote in this week’s paper, there’s a battle shaping up over whether—and how—to renew the $270 million Pro Parks Levy, which funded capital and operations investments in parks, open space, and community centers. Council president Richard Conlin wants to renew the levy (for capital investments only; operations would be paid for out of the general budget) and make new investments in Pike Place Market and Seattle Center; Mayor Greg Nickels wants to focus on Seattle Center and Pike Place Market only.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library, the Seattle Great City Initiative is hosting a forum titled “Post Pro-Parks: What is Seattle’s Next Round of Green Infrastructure Investments?”, with panel members including City Council parks committee chair Tom Rasmussen, Seattle Parks Foundation member Bruce Blume, and Open Space Seattle 2100 co-director Nancy Rottle. Great City head Michael McGinn says the group is supporting renewal of the Pro Parks Levy; if the last forum they held at the library (on Seattle’s role in reducing global warming) was any indication, it should be an interesting discussion.

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Hm, Nick Licata alluded to this at last night's CapHill Arts Forum, not so much as a criticism of the expenditures on PPM & SC (both of which admittedly need some capital improvements), but rather, or so I thought, as suggestive of what the City could contribute to the capital needs of small arts orgs with even a fraction of that amount.

Posted by COMTE | January 17, 2008 12:14 PM

I don't quite understand what "open space" means. Or perhaps I understand something about that term that makes me wonder why any kind of public entity would want to attach themselves to it. It reminds me of open space requirements for big development that result in something not open (to the public, that is) or nowhere anyone would actually want to spend time.

"Parks" I get. Even "public land" sounds nice (= we all own it).

Posted by JW | January 17, 2008 12:42 PM

So, why is Seattle still paying for Seattle Parks and for King County Parks?

Time to stop subsidizing the suburbs.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 17, 2008 1:40 PM

Seattle Center is in desperate need of attention. That place is turning into a series of crumbling buildings surrounded by parking garages.

It needs help.

Posted by Cale | January 17, 2008 1:43 PM

I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about, Will... The Pro Parks Levy isn't subsidizing the 'burbs at all.

Posted by Mickymse | January 17, 2008 1:56 PM

No, I mean we pay for a Seattle parks levy and we also pay for a King County parks levy.

Look, I pay my property taxes directly, so I know that I pay twice - even though everyone outside Seattle only pays the King County parks levy.

Total ripoff that the suburbs get such a sweetheart deal.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 17, 2008 5:12 PM

It was an interesting discussion. SGCI's series has been good so far, and I'm looking forward to what McGinn can deliver next.

Posted by Gidge | January 17, 2008 11:43 PM

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