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Old 08-17-2009, 02:57 PM
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Default King County to shutter 39 neighborhood parks

More stuff people may loose.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...yndication=rss
Quote:
King County to shutter 39 neighborhood parks
King County Executive Kurt Triplett will propose shutting 39 neighborhood parks Jan. 1 as another step in closing a $56 million budget shortfall next year.

By Keith Ervin

Seattle Times staff reporter


King County Executive Kurt Triplett will propose shutting 39 neighborhood parks Jan. 1 as another step in closing a $56 million budget shortfall next year.

"This is a difficult day for me as King County executive," Triplett said as he announced plans to mothball the parks in unincorporated areas stretching from the Federal Way area to north of Kirkland. "I'm zeroing out all local parks funding from the general fund. ...

"We're simply out of tools and out of money."

Unless cities, school districts or other public or private agencies agree to take over the parks, he said, county workers will put fences around playgrounds, severely reduce maintenance, and lock parking-lot entrances.

Closing the parks would eliminate 13 jobs and save the county $4.6 million, Triplett said. It's part of a 2010 budget plan that is still under development. Triplett also proposes to:

Reduce $17 million in overhead charges and in the executive, budget and strategic planning offices and possibly Metropolitan King County Council;

Use about $13 million dedicated from sales taxes to pay for mental illness and drug dependency programs. The money would go toward funding existing programs including Drug Court and Mental Health Court; and

Negotiate concessions from labor unions equivalent to this year's unpaid 10-day furlough, saving $8.5 million.

This is the second time this decade the county has dealt with a budget problem in part by asking cities to take over local parks. Since 2002, cities and other entities become owners and operators of 11 swimming pools and 52 parks. Property-tax levies approved by voters in 2003 and 2007 to fund regional parks don't fund the urban-area neighborhood parks.

The parks on the mothball list are in unincorporated urban areas adjacent to Seattle, Burien, Kent, Renton, Kirkland, Issaquah, Renton and Federal Way. They range in size from 1.2-acre Green Tree Park outside Kent to 44.5-acre Maplewood Park near Renton.

Fourteen of the parks are in areas voting this year on incorporation or annexation to an existing city. Fifteen are in areas in which there may be incorporation votes in 2011 or 2012, Triplett said.

Because the county doesn't have the same taxing authority that cities do particularly to impose a utility tax Triplett said taxes being paid for regional services such as courts and elections are being used to maintain local services in urban areas that haven't joined cities.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com



King County parks proposed for closure

132nd Square

Arbor Lake

Bingamon Pond

Boulevard Lane Park

Bridle Crest Trail

Bryn Mawr Park

Camelot Park

East Norway Hill

Edith Moulton Park

Evergreen Athletic Fields

Five Mile Lake Park

Green Tree Park

Hamm Creek Natural Area

Hazel Valley Park

Hilltop Park

Juanita Heights Park

Kingsgate

Klahanie Park

Lake Geneva Park

Lakewood Park

Maplewood Heights

Maplewood ParkMay Creek Park

North Green River Park

North Meridian Park

North Shorewood Park

Park Orchard Park

Puget Sound Junior High Park

Renton Park

Salmon Creek Park

Sierra Heights/Honey Dew

Site Number 1 Duwamish

Skyway Park

South County Ballfields

Southern Heights

Sunset Playfields

White Center Heights

White Center Pond Natural Area

Windsor Vista


Parks list

132nd Square
Arbor Lake
Bingamon Pond
Boulevard Lane Park
Bridle Crest Trail
Bryn Mawr Park
Camelot Park
East Norway Hill
Edith Moulton Park
Evergreen Athletic Fields
Five Mile Lake Park
Green Tree Park
Hamm Creek Natural Area
Hazel Valley Park
Hilltop Park
Juanita Heights Park
Kingsgate
Klahanie Park
Lake Geneva Park
Lakewood Park
Maplewood Heights
Maplewood Park
May Creek Park
N. Green River Park
North Meridian Park
North Shorewood Park
Park Orchard Park
Puget Sound Jr. High Park
Renton Park
Salmon Creek Park
Sierra Heights/Honey Dew
Site #1 Duwamish
Skyway Park
South County Ballfields
Southern Heights
Sunset Playfields
White Center Heights
White Center Pond Natural Area
Windsor Vista


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