In order to determine how people use the community centers, Seattle Parks and Recreation is starting a pilot project to count customers.
Starting today, people heading to all 25 community centers, including the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) and Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St) will be asked to sign in indicating their age group and time of arrival.
The pilot project, which will last two weeks, will help Parks staff respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated. After two weeks Parks will evaluate the information and decide whether to extend it for 10 more weeks. The process, which includes public meetings to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently, began with a public meeting on February 2.
The directive comes in the context of the budget: the cost to run the 26 centers far exceeds revenue brought in from center programs. Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public, while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising, and partnerships. Learning the average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day will help this work.
The Parks Department will use input from the public to develop options for the community centers. There will be another public meeting this spring to get input on the specific options.