County will try to pass new levy to replace Youth Services Center

The King County Youth Services Center is falling apart and smells funny. Also, it’s ugly, and much of the land it currently occupies seems ripe for development.

However, even though voters turned down a 2010 ballot measure that would have funded a replacement with a sales tax increase, the county appears ready to give it another shot with a new $200 million property tax levy.

From Publicola:

Four members of the King County Council, including Republican Kathy Lambert along with three Democrats, proposed a nine-year, $200 million property tax levy to replace the decrepit county Youth Services Center at 12th Ave. and E. Spruce St. in the Central District. If it’s approved by the full council, the measure would go on the August 7 ballot.

Advocates of replacing the facility argue that the center, which houses the county’s juvenile court and detention center, has been decrepit and overcrowded for years, with sewer, air, and heat systems failing on a regular basis and courtrooms so small they force family members—who, in many cases, are on opposite sides of family disputes—to crowd together along with courtroom staff.

An option for the YSC redevelopment before the failed 2010 vote

Back in 2010, plans for the site included a mixture of new developments, new (and redesigned) park space and a new Youth Services Center. The jail, which stretches along Spruce from 12th to 14th, would remain. Some plans even involved reconnecting Terrace St between 14th and 12th Avenues.

However, after the sales tax failed at the ballot box, the city and county announced a plan to try to replace the aging facility without the need for additional public money. The mayor at one time suggested the center could move somewhere else entirely, and the county could use the money from selling the land to fund a new facility. It even appeared possible to move the center to Beacon Hill’s iconic (and mostly vacant) Pac Med building. However, all those plans fell flat, and the county announced that their efforts to find a cost-neutral solution had failed.

8 thoughts on “County will try to pass new levy to replace Youth Services Center

  1. The county is not ready for more money. The must be brought to account and submission before we talk about trusting with more.

  2. Really grumbo? The county is the only entity as far as I can see that has enacted real reforms in the last several years…They are doing more with less these days and Constantine and council deserve credit for this. This building is a shame on the county. It has needed replacement for almost ten years. If the voters don’t pass this I don’t know what other options they will have. It is a nine acre eyesore in a growing and vibrant neighborhood. It needs to be fixed and I will be voting for it.

  3. ENOUGH already. My property taxes are nearly $450 per month on a house with a 25 year old roof, 25 year old electrical, plumbing, a rotting porch, etc. I cannot bear MORE property tax increases when in the constant shadow of foreclosure. I have worked at KCJ and juvie. Yes, places with homeless and mentally ill inmates smell bad – because the inmates cannot be forced to bathe, or not defecate on the floor. Much like a nursing home. Juvie is on PRIME real estate. Sell it, and use the empty portions of KCJ for juveniles. Stop raping property owners trying to hang on to their houses with yet more increases. My prop values went down over the last years, yet due to levy my taxes went up. AGAIN.

  4. I would have to agree with this. We just increased the burden on property owners last year with the early education levy. Cost of living has continually gone up and wages haven’t budged. Many home owners are getting sick of the squeeze. 200 million to replace a building seems highly over budget. Most of the land isn’t in use currently. The parking lot there is almost always half empty. Sell half the land to developers and use that money to fix up the old facility. 200 million is a joke.

  5. One advantage I can see with the levee is that it allows the Services Center to remain on site, and some of the money will be used to beautify the area rather than just develop over the top of it. I do like the idea of keeping the park and green spaces. Plus, I believe that the City will be a more responsible long-term steward of the property. With developers, you never know what you are going to get. The levee is a good deal for CD residents, because the cost of improving the center will be born by tax payers throughout King County. So while we may pay a few dollars more in property taxes, we will benefit from a nicer neighborhood and improved property values.

  6. Beautifying a juvenile jail makes for a nicer neighborhood? Not on my endlessly taxed dime, thank you.

    Sale of half the property would be a great idea. The parking lot is used almost exclusively by employees. The rest of us have to pay for our parking at work. I sure do. $15 a day!

  7. Democrats are always looking for ways to pick our pockets and promote welfare checks, just fixs the plumbing and have the two different families enter from two different entrances or arrive at slightly different times. Its a no brainer! Send them a letter before court. Republicans are no better. They’re always looking for ways to make us pay corporate welfare! Their solution is pay farmers not to grow crops and cut food stamps! Both parties are out of control and only care about special interest! Let’s find something we can agree on (both parties). We can agree that we are taxed enough already! We can agree that Agenda 21 threatens our property rights! We can agree we don’t want to be censored. And we don’t want to be preached at by politicans. We want to questions everything and have more dialogue!

  8. How many million dollars is the County giving to DESC over the next 5 years to pour down the rathole mouths of drunken lunatics. Perhaps that money could be better spent on youth services.