SEATTLE — City Seattle Councilmember Andrew Lewis announced a new funding proposal to revitalize parks. The plan makes way for the hiring of more park rangers, the creation of clean teams and improving community centers. However, these changes won’t come cheap. According to the city, the average Seattle homeowner is forking over roughly $150 a year to the parks department. If the council passes this new levy, homeowners would pay $342 a year instead. That’s more than double!
“It’s no question for anyone that our public parks system took a hit as a result of the pandemic,” said Christopher Williams, Superintendent of Seattle Parks.
One facet of the plan is hiring more Seattle Park Rangers. During a press conference Monday, councilmember Lewis stressed that the unarmed citizens would not be used as a tool to exclude people from public spaces.
“I’m glad that community members have raised potential concerns in how we need to be vigilant in what the role of the park rangers will be,” said Lewis. “Only in incredibly extreme circumstances would they issue a citation or exclusion.”
Another goal for the city is to keep 128 bathrooms open year-round. There will also be a clean-up team working seven days a week to ensure graffiti and other forms of vandalism are cleaned up.
City Council will discuss the proposal this week and make amendments. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, there will be a vote. Back in 2014, Seattle voters passed a law to prevent the cycle of renewing park levies. So if the levy passes Tuesday and the mayor signs off on it, that’s it.
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