Did you catch the feature in last weekend’s Pacific Northwest magazine about the future — or perhaps lack thereof — of Seattle’s parks?
The piece, titled “Seattle’s parks in peril: the choices are to shrink, skimp or pay up,” paints a grim future that could make even the most optimistic Maple Leaf resident shudder.
Donna Hartmann-Miller, head of the Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park committee, expects to kick off fundraising for the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park at the next Maple Leaf General Meeting, from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Olympic View Elementary, 504 N.E. 95th St.
Although the money mainly will be used for matching funds or to top off grants, we have to wonder if the supply of those grants is about to dry up, or if we should have more long-term concerns if Seattle Parks and Recreation continues to be unable to maintain its parks, as the article suggests. After all, the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park will be adding 15 acres of parks space that will need to be maintained to the already 5.5-acre Maple Leaf Playground.
But that’s also a 20.5-acre park that Maple Leaf residents really want, and are willing to fight for. And maybe even pay up for.
Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park certainly hopes so, and its volunteers are mulling ideas to raise funds to build a park that will hopefully outlast the current economic downturn.
One of the more basic fundraising ideas is to simply accept donations, similar to the process public radio and television use, allowing businesses and community members to make a one-time donation or commit to a subscription, such as $10 a month.
A raffle for a tour of the empty reservoir is still on the table (although approval from Seattle Public Utilities still is needed), and don’t be surprised if you eventually see a “gourmet picnic” at the park on the auction block.
And because money also is needed for details such as street improvements on 14th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 82nd Street; trees; park furnishings such as trash bins and bike racks; and the Family Terrace, which could include a playground area, picnic area and more, there are plenty of other sponsorship options.
What kinds of park fundraisers would you be most likely to contribute to? And what is your opinion of the future of Seattle’s parks? If they really are in peril, how can we protect our own community gems?