Community center at risk of being shut down

Seattle Parks and Recreation is facing a $2.5 million budget shortfall this year, which means at least one of our neighborhood community centers is at risk of being closed down. According to KING 5 News, either the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) or Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St) face the possibility of closure because of their close proximity.

“Our family has played & volunteered at Loyal Heights Community Center for over 20 years,” My Ballard reader Eli emailed us when he heard the news. “Parks are a large part of what keeps our neighborhood great.”

There are two public meetings scheduled for people to voice their opinion on the possible closure, as well as other cuts that are expected this year. Those cuts, according to KING 5, include closing 24 of 27 wading pools and closing two to three community swimming pools.

“We’re asking neighbors and patrons to attend one of these hearings and to share their positive experiences about the center’s programs,” said Melissa Valenzuela, the Recreation Center Coordinator at the Loyal Heights Community Center in an email to My Ballard. “While we do not know how Loyal Heights Community Center will be impacted, we hope patrons will speak on behalf of all recreation programs and facilities, including nearby Ballard and Bitter Lake Community Centers. We hope patrons will tell our city leaders about what would happen if Seattle Parks no longer offered low-cost fitness programs, no longer offered preschool classes, no longer offered teen programs, or no longer offered activities for patrons over age 55.”

The first hearing is tonight, April 28th at the New Holly Gathering Hall in South Seattle (7054 32nd Ave S). The second meeting, which is closer to Ballard will be held Tuesday, May 4 at North Seattle Community College Cafeteria (9600 College Way North). Sign-in for both meetings starts at 5 p.m. with the public hearing at 5:30 p.m.

Earlier this week, Seattle Parks and Recreation chief Tim Gallagher resigned his post. Parks and Recreation faces cuts of more than $10 million and more than 100 full-time positions in 2011, reports the Seattle Times.

76 comments on “Community center at risk of being shut down”

  1. > See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

  2. CM–I would tend to agree that the kids would be fine. More so where the parents/guardians are connected with the kids. There will always be kids that slip through the social safety net. There is a short fall and they need to make a difficult decision and closing one facility for some time frame is both fair and prudent.

    Bark, you are yelping again. Didn't Maggie accomplish the GDP growth in part by cutting spending on defense? At the same time didn't she increase spending on health care, social security and employment training at 50% more than what the GDP growth was for her tenure? She did accomplish lowering direct taxes. But didn't she offset that, as well as, increase revenues with massive increases of indirect taxes?

  3. Name calling is all you folks have left?

    That and saying that parks, cops, community centers etc. have to go, because you won't control the rate of growth in government, nor the scope of what you think government should be doing.

    No, not until the rich have suffered enough.

    (lol, like THAT will ever happen)

  4. Hmmm

    I'd like you to name just one position that has been eliminated in the last five years from the County or State payroll, smarty pants.

    Fact of the matter is, you can't, the ONLY sector of our economy that has increased is in state and county jobs.

    They have also received the greatest percentage of wage increases in that same time frame, especially grotesque in the union ranks.

    So, let's talk about ignorance, and why the cops or parks have to now suffer.

  5. Sure these are tough economic times, but closing down a community center is so sad–they're most needed when the economy is doing badly and more people are out of work and can't afford expensive classes. I love the LHCC cheap yoga classes and the toddler playroom for my kid. We have two centers close together, but walking an extra 1.3 miles is a lot. User fees are one solution, but the community centers are great because they're cheap and basically open to everyone. What about increasing use? Or holding more fundraisers? How big is the funding shortfall, and are we talking longterm or temporary? I wonder if we could come up with some alternative to shutting it down. It's our community center, we should be able to do something to save it.

    I'll try to attend the meeting at North Seattle CC.

  6. The handful of yahoo's screaming 'boycott' aside, most of us supporting the trail aren't anti-business. We just don't buy into the contention that the trail as currently proposed will drive out the businesses and erode away at jobs, any more than it's driven out the businesses between Fremont and Fred Meyer. The decimation of Fremont's light industry is a product of Suzie Burke's decision to move her properties in a different direction, not the presence of the B-G trail.

    As to the topic at hand (and this is more of a general response not so much a direct response to bbo who, refreshingly, did offer up concrete ideas for cuts). It's easy to say just “cut the fat” and we'll all be fine, but unless you're going to point out exactly what fat you're proposing get's cut you might as well be asking to shut down all the community centers. After all I'm sure there are people who consider them fat. It's not that I don't think that there's some level of real waste in City Hall it's just that I doubt it's amounts to enough to cover the budgetary shortfall. As such the only real options are to raise taxes and/or cut services, and that some of those services will be regarded as essential by others. I certainly agree that reducing the number of day open and maybe temporarily suspending the smaller park projects for the rest of the year are preferable to closing a center. Increasing user fees across the board should also be on the table. The two centers may only be 1.3 miles apart but with small kids Loyal Heights CC is just barely walkable for us Ballard CC (and we use both) means getting in the car. I suspect this is true for a lot of families.

  7. Hmm so someone making 200K owes 10% of their gross salary in taxes while someone making minimum wage owes 112% of their gross salary (assuming 40 hours/week 52 week/year) in taxes. Sounds real fair to me.

    How about we just scrap the horribly regressive sales and B&O taxes and replace them with a graduated income tax instead.

  8. hmm, i think you called someone “diahria boy” within the 1st couple of posts there dummy. i mean chopper74.

  9. That’s the lamest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I think that we can’t shut down a community center. I use it often. Can’t we do something to help?

    – signed by a Loyal Heights 7 year old

  10. I have to ask ask as a Welshman from Wales, what the heck has Maggie Thatcher and the Conservative Party got to do with our Ballard Community Center?

  11. Gimme a break First the city increases density for Ballard. Now they plan to cut 1 of 2 CC’s. Obesity is an epidemic. And yeah – I’ll take my kid to 24hr or LA fitness – great pan – they are marketed as such a family oriented clubs (note sarcasm). How ‘bout the city try to cut in another part of the city? To be frank, the south end is off limits (diversity blah blah blah), and NE also (too many powerful people there). Ballardites are for the most part passive and the city knows this and this issue will blow over. Ballard is (and becoming more so every year) diverse – both age race and economically. Unfortunately I say they already made a decision – now the hearings are for us to feel like we matter. Wonder what the Australians do when budgets tight. C’mon Tim Gallagher – what’d you learn down under aside from having some good taxpayer paid for steaks on the barbie and Fosters galore. What a crock! Keep both Ballard and Loyal CC’s open!

  12. Perhaps instead of funding the Compass Center's new building in Ballard, the city could use our money to help keep current buildings (like the Community Centers at issue here) open.

  13. I have no reason to use any the two in question.
    They are less than two miles apart.
    The walk will do you good.
    Close one. Sell it. The revenue will fund the other for quite some time.
    The sold property will be developed and those residing on it will increase the tax base.

    By the way, why do think all these condos have sprung up?
    The city loves to give building permits for them as the tax base density increases.

  14. The number chosen was arbitrary.
    The point still remains that the ultimate fair tax is one where all contribute equally.
    Make it $10,000 per year then.
    If you are making min. wage you are paying no federal income tax anyways and this may act as as an incentive to make more.

    A graduated income tax will have the effect of forcing the high-end earners and business owners, and their jobs and their money, out of the state and that graduation will creep lower and lower. I know that if this state ever puts in an income tax I'll move my company out of state in a heartbeat. I agree about the sales and B&O taxes, they have to go.

  15. Wow, you are really an expert at how to spend other people's hard earned money as well as telling them how much of their own money they can spend! Perhaps we should all make the same, and wear the same clothes, and read the same little red book, except those in charge.

    Mao would be so proud!

    Never used the community centers and I do not plan to.
    You use them, you pay for them.
    It makes no sense for two to be open so close to each other. Sell one.

    No one is stopping you from joining that 1%.
    Do I detect a hint of envoy? Bitterness perhaps?
    Sounds like you are a bit jealous, but that is what class warfare is, stirring up jealousy.

    Tell me now, how is it that taxing me a higher rate than you is going to benefit you? I'll have that much less to invest and I'll recoop my losses by firing a few folks. The rest can pick up the slack; in this economy they'll be thanking me for not laying them off. I'll come out ahead either way as I can always move and really deplete the tax base as well as hike up the local unemployment rate. I'm sure I can find plenty of places to relocate that will give me a great deal on taxes. South Carolina perhaps? Sound familiar?

    Again, no one is stopping you from giving the government more of your money.

  16. After school go do your homework and get a part time job.
    You won't need the place and you'll be making some spending money.

  17. Can't we just talk the city council to use the levy dollars to keep the current facilities (centers and pools) opened instead of acquiring new land (30 or 60 millions ?) that the Parks department will not be able to maintain ???
    This does not make any sense !!!!
    I was excited to get a new playground close to my house but now, i would prefer to keep the community centers open since I still have lots of choice of outside playgrounds to go too.

    That levy was poorly written. It is too bad when you think the seattle people were quite generous about it but did not realize the centers will need to be closed.
    Are we going to end-up with tones of green outside spaces/parks, badly maintained and no indoor recreations ?
    Who should we talk to ?

  18. CM, this is only the first closing in 2010. Even if closing 1 out 2 might make economics sense, they might close more next year and more pools until most of the will be gone.
    2010 – 2.5 millions this year = 3 Comunicity centers + 3 pools + wading pool program
    2011 – 10 milions nex year = ????? A community budget is around 400 000 dollars I think.
    2012 – Wait we have no money to maintain with the new outdoor park
    – lets' close more pools and community centers. It never rains here, right.

    And it is not about raising taxes. They already did with the last levy. The city has millions from that levy to create new parks.
    And yes, comunitycenter are really important for the community and families, the teeanegers, the kids, the stay-at-home moms who can pay for the cc toddler room but cannot afford the membership at the zoo or private inside playground.
    But you know what families and people of all social classses uses the facilities because it is OUR facilities.

    Let's talk to the city council and to the mayor.

  19. Unfortunately, they WILL close more next year and it is not a threat.
    It will have a worse impact on the poorer neighbourhood like down South.
    The city is missing 10 millions for the parks for next year = they can't maintain the facilities.
    It is possibe they close Greenlake pool next year. It is on the table!!
    Unless if they use the money from the levy .. and may be they can't.

    It is all UP to McGinn and his priorities and his vision now.

    And they could close the Ballard library too or may be the Greenwood one … (out of parks department scope).
    Anyway, you get the pictures, right.

  20. Name, you're obviously not using centers or pools or basketball fields and don't have kids and you're probably not unemployed or retired either. It's OK. we all have different needs and lifestyle.
    But what the hell are you doing on this blog ? Abusing a 7 year old who enjoys going to a comunity center.
    Please, choose a different place to vant.
    What's happening will affect a lot of us. Can you please respect that?

  21. The all city is affected. They will probaly close Rainier beach too because it is close to Rainier. Ballard will not be worse. We all will. And BTW Gallagher did not supporth the park levy for a reason.

  22. Anyone and everyone on this thread SHOULD ATTEND the budget hearing at NSCC on Tues 5/4! I attended the South Seattle mtg last night and it was enlightening (though grim) to hear the budget projections. The city council members are all there and the mayor too. Get there as early as you can to sign up to have 2 minutes to say your piece.
    These centers matter greatly to MANY in these neighborhoods and they are both VERY well used places so neither is a clear choice for closing. They both operate on reduced hours already (opening later on some days) and closing them completely would be a huge blow.
    PLEASE do whatever you can to help if you care about these closures! Writing letters, making calls, even have your kids write or draw pictures to send! If BCC or LHCC mean something to you I sincerely urge you to act!

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