Please Help Save Our Green Lake Community Center!

by Gayle Garman, FOGL President

The City Dept of Parks & Recreation intends to convert the entire upper floor of the Green Lake Community Center, and the first floor teen room, to Parks Dept. offices..

The Parks Dept needs to relocate staff because the current offices at South Lake Union will become the new home of MOHAI.

Areas lost to office cubicles are an open-access toddler play space (serving kids during our rainy winters); a children’s music program serving 109 families; and a large room with recently refinished wood floors used for yoga, hula, tai chi, and other physically active classes. A teen room (drop-in center) will be converted to a staff conference room. The final decision about whether to move offices to Green Lake will be made by the City Council as part of the 2011 budget process.

What can we do?

Comments to City Council are productive. Parks & Recreation also planned to close the GL Community Center preschool, but parents and GL residents protested to City Councilor Tom Rasmussen at his listening session on October 16. Then, at the Oct 19 meeting of the GL Community Center Advisory Committee, it was announced that the preschool would stay open until June, when “an evaluation will be made to determine whether the preschool is compatible with the other uses.” The preschool is located on the first floor, next to the proposed staff meeting room.

Parks & Recreation staff have also said “it’s only temporary,” but $188,000 is budgeted for the laying of carpet, electrical upgrades and re-wiring, running fiber-optic cable, installing partitions, and other improvements. Personally, I find it hard to believe the offices will be moved to another facility once this investment is made. No plans exist to upgrade / replace our 1929 Community Center facility through 2016. A Dec. 2008 estimate for bringing it up to code was $3.2 million. The report also estimated replacement cost, with a 25% size increase, at $12 million. [GL Community Center and Evans Pool, Facility Assessment. Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. December, 2008.] See also Community Centers Condition Assessment Screening, Seattle DPR, Mar. 2008 and Map of Community Centers.

I urge you to contact Mayor Mike McGinn, City Councilor Sally Bagshaw, Chair of the Committee that oversees Parks and Recreation, Tom Rasmussen, Vice-Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, in fact all the council members to express your concerns.

We need to keep the letters and Emails pouring in. The deadline for the City Council to receive input on this issue has been extended to Nov 22. So write your letter, now! My letter can be accessed here, if you need ideas, but the best letter is one you write yourself.