Parks snubs lower Kinnear project

Appeal process begins in June

Staff at Seattle Parks and Recreation have made its recommendations on what park-related projects should get funded next year with some of the $15 million available in the city's Opportunity Fund - and it doesn't look good for Queen Anne's Kinnear Park.
Of the 95 projects submitted to Parks, the Lower Kinnear Park renovation project was nowhere near the top vote getters, receiving a mere 31 points out of 100, according to a report presented during a committee meeting Monday night.
"Queen Anne and Magnolia did not fare well at all in my opinion," said Don Harper, a member of the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee and member of the Queen Anne Community Council.
However, the Fremont/Queen Anne Wetlands Trail Park at the corner of Fourth Avenue North and Dexter Avenue North, is among the top 12. Proponents of that project have requested the full $750,000 allowed under the Opportunity Fund. Earlier this spring, FOLKpark, the grass roots organization that has been leading the Kinnear Park project, succeeded in capturing the $15,000 Small and Simple Grant from the Department of Neighborhoods which went toward paying a landscape architect to develop a plan to restore the park. The plan included more open pathways and the reintroduction of native plants. FOLKpark was also awarded $750 by the Community Outreach Startup Fund. FOLKpark was looking for another $572,000 to complete its vision.
Harper and the rest of the levy committee will now evaluate the selection, and may make changes, though Harper said Parks' recommendations in the past have been "pretty solid." The levy committee will host two open meetings June 14 and 28 during which time representatives of each of the 95 projects considered can make one last appeal.
In July, the levy committee will discuss the proposals and winnow them down to 20 or 30 In September, committee members will go on a site tour of the projects, prioritize them in October before presenting the City Council with its final recommendations in December. By March 2011, the City Council will select the projects.
The levy committee is waiting until December to make its recommendations, Harper said, because in November, the city will announce the budget for the Parks department, which, like all the other departments in the city, have faced serious budget cuts. That has meant the possible closure of wading pools, staff reductions and furloughs. Maintenance isn't covered under the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, so projects with minimal maintenance needs will be popular this year, Harper said.
"That's sad because there are some marvelous projects," he said.
The top vote getter was the 14th Avenue northwest Boulevard in Ballard, between 59th and 61st streets. The plan is to convert a promenade and street mix, not unlike the Belltown promenade project, Harper said.[[In-content Ad]]