Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s new plan for the city’s community centers would extend hours at some centers and eliminate fees for drop-in use of basketball courts systemwide.
Longer hours, more staff, added programs and no more fees for pickup basketball.
Those are some of the highlights of the new strategic plan that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is proposing for the city’s community centers, he announced Thursday.
The changes will be part of the 2017 budget that Murray sends to the City Council later this month. If approved, the plan will cost the city about $1.37 million next year.
The mayor unveiled the plan at the South Park Community Center, one of six centers that would stay open longer and one of five that would offer free programs. Nine centers would receive more staffing resources, while five would host pilot projects.
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The mayor said a goal of the plan is to provide more access to recreation for underserved neighborhoods such as South Park.
“Seattle’s community centers are a vital piece of our parks and recreation system, and we must ensure these spaces meet the needs of all residents across the city,” Murray said in a statement.
“We must ensure that as we grow, we do so equitably, and our recreational spaces must be safe and accessible places for everyone.”
Drop-in fees can be barriers for lower-income users, says the plan, which calls for ending such fees systemwide and simplifying the scholarship process for programs.
The existing fees for drop-in use of basketball courts, toddler gyms and fitness centers are $3.
Paulina Lopez, a South Park community leader, called the new plan “great news.”
In a statement, Lopez said, “We have been asking for more hours at the community center to help our kids and families lead happier and healthier lives.”
The plan calls for funding the $1.37 million in operational changes through a transfer from the community-center system’s capital budget.