The parks levy that we approved last year included millions of dollars to fund acquisition of new park space in the city. Although a lot of it is directed towards specific projects, one chunk, a total of $15 million, is up for grabs to the communities that can make the best case for it.
Although details of the program are in work and not settled yet, the basic idea is that community groups will be able to submit detailed project applications to the city to purchase land and build new parks. Each will be measured against a standard set of criteria and their level of community support, and the best-ranked will be approved and get funded.
The overall schedule for the program is:
- November 2009 – public announcement of criteria and workshop dates
- January 2010 – workshops to assist the public on potential proposals
- February 2010 – proposal letters due
- March 2010 – technical workshops to assist the public on refining their proposals
- April 2010 – project applications due
But in these kinds of situations the early bird often gets the worm. It’s never to soon to start working on ideas, gathering community support, and generally get things lined up to make sure you can hit the program milestones next year.
For example, we’re woefully short on dog parks in the Central District. If you know of a few untended vacant lots, they’d be prime candidates for this program. Throw together a 1-page description of what you have in mind, start recruiting your neighbors and community leaders, and be prepared to write up a detailed application early next year.
Our new forums would be a great way to share ideas, help you network, and keep CDNews in the loop on your efforts.
It sounds like the $$ is for converting private land to public parks?
I can think of a couple of lots that would make great dog parks (e.g., NW corner of 18th and Yesler has a huge empty lot — it’s already close to a large park (Pratt) and there’s lot of new stuff going in around there), but I’m assuming you’d need the actual owner to be on board?
This spring, a member of the Parks Department came to our Colman neighborhood meeting seeking ideas for some specific improvements that could be made to Judkins Park to get more people in the park. At the top of their list was the idea of a dog park on the end that’s near Washington Middle School.
The reality was that no one at our particular meeting was interested in dog parks or taking on this project, so I passed this info on to some others that might be.
It seems the money is there, the desire to increase and extend the use of the huge Judkins Park is there on the Parks Department and they’re just looking for neighborhood leaders to take this on. I spoke with Nicole at Immortal Dog and passed on the info to her (she’s interested, of course, but busy as a new business owner) and also it seems like a natural thing that people in Welch Plaza would be interested in helping on.
The Parks Department staff who came to our meeting was Victoria Schoenburg ([email protected]). Her team manages two project: activating parks and focus on dwntwn parks (~25 or so); In the community, she works with a fellow named Randy. No contact number for him, but he is the person in charge of things like getting a dog park set up in an existing park or improving access to existing parks (as per our suggestions for improved lighting and access from 23rd to Judkins Pakr.
The Central Area District Council is the City’s preferred “umbrella organization” for dealing with such applications:
I’d suggest that people with ideas for parks come along to one of their meetings and get their support. Next one is this Thursday:
Most of the money would be used to purchase the land for the park from whoever owns it now. While I’m sure that it’s helpful for the owner to be on board, the city could use eminent domain to obtain it at market price.
Umm might want to check the laws out in Washington State. It’s really really hard to declare eminent domain unless you are clearing land for some big federal project. Private property right stuff in the west are way more prioritized than when you go east. Why we can’t take some of those abandoned properties we always complain about.
“Throw together a 1-page description of what you have in mind, start recruiting your neighbors and community leaders, and be prepared to write up a detailed application early next year.”
I encourage you all to use flashvolunteer.org to organize and recruit your neighbors and community leaders!
Can’t make the CADC meetings, but I’m wondering if the newly-available school properties might be locations for dog parks (TT Minor and old Nova location).