Mayor’s proposed budget impacts Queen Anne community center, wading pool

Posted on September 27th, 2010 by Editor


Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled his proposed 2011-2012 budget today, and it will have some big impacts on Queen Anne.  The community center will remain open, but will have reduced operations.  The gym will be closed in 2011 to make room for BizKid$, a national public television series for children that focuses on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and life skills.   BizKid$ will use the Queen Anne Community Center gym as a production studio until at least the end of 2011 and provide the city with additional revenue.  While the gym will be closed, there will still be programming in the upper portion of the community center including childcare, preschool, and senior adult activities.  Parks will maintain some staffing for teen program development and continue its partnership with the Community Learning Center at McClure Middle School.

Meanwhile, the East Queen Anne wading pool will only be open three days a week next summer.  

To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.  

The City Council will now dive into the proposed budget.  One of three public hearings will be held this Wednesday (9/29) at 5:30pm at the Northgate Community Center gym at 10510 5th Ave NE.  The Council has also set up a web page where you can submit ideas to balance the budget and vote on other suggestions.  You can find that page here.


  • Michael

    Wasn’t the east QA pool only open 3 days a week this summer? How is this different?

  • Michael

    Wasn’t the east QA pool only open 3 days a week this summer? How is this different?

  • Tina Podlodowski

    Here a note I’m sending to the City Council –

    As a former Seattle City Councilmember, and a mom of three kids on Queen Anne, I’m writing to voice my strong opposition to the Mayor’s proposal to close the Queen Anne Community Center gym in his 2011/12 budget in order to rent the gym as production studio for the national PBS program BizKid$.

    At the very least, can the neighborhood please be made aware of what – exactly – is the amount of revenue the City is gaining from such an arrangement? What exact expenses it offsets? What are the lease arrangements, with whom and the terms? And, why does the location have to be the Queen Anne Community Center Gym?

    First off, as worthwhile as an endeavor that BizKid$ might be, there are many other places – like the Northwest Rooms at Seattle Center – that have empty space and could easily accommodate a production studio without taking away much needed neighborhood indoor recreation space as the rainy winter months approach. And, as we all know, Seattle Center needs revenue.

    Second, why was the community not informed of the potential to rent and use this space, and given the opportunity to make an alternative proposal, or allow other entities to make alternative proposals to keep this active space? On the face of it, it seems like a very odd thing to turn a neighborhood gym into a production studio. Without more public detail it appears to be a sort of “backroom” deal that someone was hoping to bury in the details of a difficult budget cycle. If this is REALLY the “highest and best” use of the space, well, so be it. But, was there an RFP?

    Third, it appears the Queen Anne gym was targeted for some sort of action because of apparently low utilization. Well, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy – if you cut or reduce hours enough, don’t invest in equipment or upkeep, have a difficult to use class reservation system and oddly changing programming, well, people simply don’t come back to use a space. For example, I would love to take my kids to the community center on Sundays – it’s family time. However, the Community center Gym is NEVER open on Sunday, and hasn’t been in the decade I’ve lived here. Five other community centers – Alki, Ballard, Laurelhurst, Queen Anne, and Green Lake – are suffering the same fate in closures or reduced hours, and I suspect their tales are quite similar.

    We worry about childhood obesity, escalating adult health issues, seniors with life-challenging yet preventable conditions. Don’t shut the gyms and community centers. Don’t “band aid” the problem – redo the approach. Figure out something different and let the neighborhoods, coupled with the potential for private sector partnerships, show some imagination, care and concern in the use of our Community Center spaces. Don’t shutter then or use the same old thinking – think differently! Partner more effectively! Let’s turn them into fully utilized active spaces – not TV production studios.

  • Tina Podlodowski

    Here a note I’m sending to the City Council –

    As a former Seattle City Councilmember, and a mom of three kids on Queen Anne, I’m writing to voice my strong opposition to the Mayor’s proposal to close the Queen Anne Community Center gym in his 2011/12 budget in order to rent the gym as production studio for the national PBS program BizKid$.

    At the very least, can the neighborhood please be made aware of what – exactly – is the amount of revenue the City is gaining from such an arrangement? What exact expenses it offsets? What are the lease arrangements, with whom and the terms? And, why does the location have to be the Queen Anne Community Center Gym?

    First off, as worthwhile as an endeavor that BizKid$ might be, there are many other places – like the Northwest Rooms at Seattle Center – that have empty space and could easily accommodate a production studio without taking away much needed neighborhood indoor recreation space as the rainy winter months approach. And, as we all know, Seattle Center needs revenue.

    Second, why was the community not informed of the potential to rent and use this space, and given the opportunity to make an alternative proposal, or allow other entities to make alternative proposals to keep this active space? On the face of it, it seems like a very odd thing to turn a neighborhood gym into a production studio. Without more public detail it appears to be a sort of “backroom” deal that someone was hoping to bury in the details of a difficult budget cycle. If this is REALLY the “highest and best” use of the space, well, so be it. But, was there an RFP?

    Third, it appears the Queen Anne gym was targeted for some sort of action because of apparently low utilization. Well, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy – if you cut or reduce hours enough, don’t invest in equipment or upkeep, have a difficult to use class reservation system and oddly changing programming, well, people simply don’t come back to use a space. For example, I would love to take my kids to the community center on Sundays – it’s family time. However, the Community center Gym is NEVER open on Sunday, and hasn’t been in the decade I’ve lived here. Five other community centers – Alki, Ballard, Laurelhurst, Queen Anne, and Green Lake – are suffering the same fate in closures or reduced hours, and I suspect their tales are quite similar.

    We worry about childhood obesity, escalating adult health issues, seniors with life-challenging yet preventable conditions. Don’t shut the gyms and community centers. Don’t “band aid” the problem – redo the approach. Figure out something different and let the neighborhoods, coupled with the potential for private sector partnerships, show some imagination, care and concern in the use of our Community Center spaces. Don’t shutter then or use the same old thinking – think differently! Partner more effectively! Let’s turn them into fully utilized active spaces – not TV production studios.

  • Doug Alder

    Michael,

    Yes.. the East QA wading pool was only open three days a week this past summer as part of the first cutbacks. This will continue next year as well.

  • Doug Alder

    Michael,

    Yes.. the East QA wading pool was only open three days a week this past summer as part of the first cutbacks. This will continue next year as well.

  • MsFrench

    I agree with Ms. Podlodowski that it would be a tragedy to close the QA Community Center Gym for a year so that a production company can use it. If the City is receiving rent from the production company then it seems reasonable that some of that income should go to the QACC to offset the loss of revenue because of the closure to the public. That gym is extremely well-utilized by a very popular baseketball program in addition to many exercise classes for seniors, regular Community Events, toddler playtime, indoor soccer, etc. What on earth could Mayor McGinn be thinking? The suggestion to use vacant rooms at Seattle Center makes much more sense than to close a gymnasium that is in constant use for community programs. Please re-consider this ill-advised proposal. It’s going to very negatively impact our Community.

  • MsFrench

    I agree with Ms. Podlodowski that it would be a tragedy to close the QA Community Center Gym for a year so that a production company can use it. If the City is receiving rent from the production company then it seems reasonable that some of that income should go to the QACC to offset the loss of revenue because of the closure to the public. That gym is extremely well-utilized by a very popular baseketball program in addition to many exercise classes for seniors, regular Community Events, toddler playtime, indoor soccer, etc. What on earth could Mayor McGinn be thinking? The suggestion to use vacant rooms at Seattle Center makes much more sense than to close a gymnasium that is in constant use for community programs. Please re-consider this ill-advised proposal. It’s going to very negatively impact our Community.

  • sonicmom

    Its important to note that the QACC is used extensively by many low-income groups who dont have access to other recreational facilities. The gym and QACC accommodates a diverse group including seniors, a childcare facility w/many FRL children, McClure middle-schoolers from all over the city, and neighborhood residents esp children in the local basketball and other classes/camp as noted by poster above. The BizKids proposal does seem very odd and inappropriate use of hte space.

  • sonicmom

    Its important to note that the QACC is used extensively by many low-income groups who dont have access to other recreational facilities. The gym and QACC accommodates a diverse group including seniors, a childcare facility w/many FRL children, McClure middle-schoolers from all over the city, and neighborhood residents esp children in the local basketball and other classes/camp as noted by poster above. The BizKids proposal does seem very odd and inappropriate use of hte space.

  • McClure Volunteer

    The McClure girls volleyball program has also used the gym after school. However, we were limited last spring because the net system was broken.

  • McClure Volunteer

    The McClure girls volleyball program has also used the gym after school. However, we were limited last spring because the net system was broken.


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