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.