Letter about Parks and Open Space Plan

(This comment was presented at the public hearing about the 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan. If you have questions or comments please email: pvpinfo@protectvolunteerpark.org).

From: Jonathan Mark
Date: June 8, 2017

I’m Jonathan Mark and I’m with Protect Volunteer Park.

I have two things to say in two minutes. First, this new Parks and Open Space Plan says absolutely nothing about the role of public involvement in planning and designing the development of Parks facilities. The only mention of public engagement regards the public engagement about the plan itself.

The foregoing plans do address public involvement. In Parks’ previous Plan 2000, public involvement is listed as a “Fundamental Responsibility” and is addressed in policy #15. In the Parks section of the Comprehensive Plan, public involvement is addressed in policy “P 1.15”. The Parks Legacy Plan also refers to public outreach for plans and projects.

(Update 2017-06-12: Additionally, Parks’ 2011 Development Plan has been referred to as the direct predecessor of this new plan. The 2011 Development Plan has strong public involvement language on p. 13 and in Goal 5.)

I am very disappointed that this new plan excludes public involvement, especially as we no longer have parks levies which were a public involvement process. Please add robust public involvement policies to the plan.

Second, as long as we are making a plan, let’s show responsibility for following the plan. Until I run out of time I will list ways that the proposed expansion of the Asian Art Museum building in Volunteer Park is inconsistent with this plan and not suitable as a spending priority:

* Page 71 lists the six priorities for use of Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) funds. None of these six are applicable to expanding a museum.

* Page 8: A policy to expand facilities “with special emphasis on serving urban centers and urban villages that are home to marginalized populations and areas that have been traditionally underserved”. Volunteer Park is outside the urban village boundary and is not in a traditionally underserved area.

* Page 40: A study of the visitation frequency of 16 types of Parks activities & facilities. But there was no category for museums and no data collected.

* Page 45: A survey measured the community importance of 14 categories of recreation services. No category included museums.

* Page 46: The public was surveyed about their spending priorities over 16 categories of recreation services and facilities. No category included museums.

* Page 72: “Policy 2. Support the goals of the City’s plans.” In the Comprehensive Plan, Volunteer Park is planned as “City-owned open space” within a single-family zoned area which, again, is outside the urban village boundary.

* Page 75: Discusses Levy Projects and reads, “Projects in this category are implemented essentially as described in the ballot measure.” This is not being done at Asian Art Museum. The project scope has expanded from what was described in the ballot measure, without public involvement.

* Page 21: “Any new facility development will take into consideration demand, equity and health, income and poverty, density and opportunity”. The museum expansion is not related to demand, equity, health, income and poverty, or density.

Thank you for consideration of my comments.

Links for reference:
Draft 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan
2014 Parks Legacy Plan
Seattle’s Parks and Recreation 2011 Development Plan (PDF)
Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan
Plan 2000 – An Update to the 1993 Parks COMPLAN (PDF)