Seattle Parks and Recreation is reducing hours at the Ballard, Loyal Heights, Queen Anne and Magnolia community centers starting next month.
The centers will be open to the public for 7 to 14.5 fewer hours per week this fall. As part of the reductions, Queen Anne and Magnolia will no longer be open on Saturdays.
Ballard will lose 10 weekly hours, Loyal Heights will lose 7, Queen Anne will lose 9.5 and Magnolia will lose 14.5. All four centers will close earlier on weekday nights and Magnolia also will open later some weekday mornings.
The hours being reduced were in recent years sustained by the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), a nonprofit that partners with the city to manage programs, classes and activities at community centers, Parks spokeswoman Rachel Schulkin said.
ARC paid for building monitors to cover those hours, at a cost of about $158,000 per year, allowing the popular centers in Northwest Seattle to stay open longer for drop-in programs and classes, she said. The arrangement was made after Parks had been hit with major budget cuts during the economic recession, Schulkin said.
Now the dollars from ARC are no longer available because the nonprofit has determined the arrangement isn’t sustainable, she said.
Parks recognizes that Seattle residents “would love more hours from their community centers and pools,” the spokeswoman said, noting the department recently brought on a new recreation director, Justin Cutler.
In 2014, voters approved the Seattle Metropolitan Park District, which raises additional property taxes each year for Parks. Its budget this year is $12.17 million, with $2.42 million allocated to community-center operations.
“We are currently working on retooling our model to more strategically provide hours and programs” across the city, Schulkin said.
Seattle has 26 community centers since Parks closed the Belltown Community Center last year, citing poor usage. The centers have different operating hours, which are listed online. They’re open a combined 1,361 hours per week this year, up from 1,194 in 2014, according to Schulkin.
Ballard and Queen Anne were the system’s most-visited centers in 2017 after Rainier Beach and Green Lake. Those sites all have swimming pools.
Seattle is negotiating the sale of a massive South Lake Union property that could include a new community center built there by a real-estate developer.