This Saturday, June 20th 10am-noon at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion (305 Harrison Street) the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will host a mini-summit to guide their citywide Community Center Strategic Plan. The agenda will be a short presentation followed by small break-out discussion groups.
The endeavor is the beginning of a broader analysis called for in the 2014 Parks Legacy Plan, which lays out two goals for the city’s community centers:
- Ensure community centers are focal points in our neighborhoods for connecting, building community and offering health and activity programming
- Ensure community centers are physically emotionally safe and welcoming for all individuals
Seattle has 26 community centers with an operating budget of more than $11million annually. Each center has its own operating hours, activity and service offering, with programs and staffing often operated by the Associated Recreation Council.
The next steps after the June 20th meeting include an internal evaluation of the current staffing and programming followed by a draft plan for the future of facility and program planning. The process is scheduled to complete by the end of 2015. Read more about the process here.
Here at home in Ravenna Bryant, we’re fortunate to have nearby our own Ravenna Eckstein Community Center. RBCA board member David Ward sits on its Advisory Council. Ravenna Eckstein CC is also one of the busiest in the entire city, and yet we hear comments at the RBCA frequently that it isn’t meeting the needs of many would-be users.
So, whether or not you can attend the mini-summit this weekend, as the city’s planning process unfolds, now is a good time to begin thinking about what would help make Ravenna Eckstein CC a go-to place for you or your family. Here are some questions worth exploring:
- Does the programming meeting my needs? Is there are variety of activities and programs for all ages, at times that make sense for me? What programs would draw me in to visit the CC more often?
- Facility use. Would I use the CC for more passive uses such as internet or computer work? (PS – they just launched wireless internet!) Is it comfortable and safe? Do the tennis courts, the play ground, the fields have what I or my family are looking for?
- Hours of operation. The overall CC hours across the city have declined in the last 5 years. What times of day would be most useful to you and your family and increase the likelihood that you might visit?
- Is there the right balance between free and for-pay services? Many of the CC’s uses are free, but many programs have a fee in order to remain operable. What suggestions do you have about fees, and are there programs you’d like to see where you would be willing to pay for the fees to operate?
- What’s the best part of our community center that you simply couldn’t live without?