As the chair of the Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee and as the representative for District 4, I have heard a lot this year about ways that we can support livability as our city grows. Funding infrastructure improvements for mobility, parks, and public safety are critical to meet the needs of current and future residents. The following budget adds that I sponsored or co sponsored reflect the key values on which we, as a city, must remain focused.
To invest in working families and the next generation:
- I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the county to fund the $2 million-dollar renovation of Magnuson Park Community Center, and to add $130,000 to fund adequate staffing to support engaging programming for kids and adults;
- I’m thrilled to have found the $70,000 necessary to reopen all seven wading pools that had been closed in 2010 due to budget cuts. We need more places to encourage family friendly fun, and if we continue having summers like this past year’s, more places to cool down;
- I added $75,000 to support families who choose to close their streets to traffic for safer play;
- And I sponsored a study to look at strategies to implement public-sector child care.
To improve pedestrian and bike safety on public right of way:
- I sponsored a proviso making NE 43rd a pedestrian only street to support the work of the U District Mobility Group and many other community members. This budget action lifts up the vision of community members for what they want their neighborhood to look like when the light rail station opens in the U District in 2021;
- I restored $150,000 to our Summer Parkways program to ensure we’re supporting active, car-free transportation;
- And I was happy to support the $600,00 addition to support the planning, public outreach and design of a walkable, bikeable path uniting the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods.
To support safer and healthier communities:
- I sponsored the investment of $1.3 Million for the creation and operation of a safe consumption site in Seattle. I’m looking forward to working with my council colleagues and partners at the county to take this critical step toward a harm reduction approach in our opioid crisis;
- I was happy to support the expansion of our successful Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion to the North End;
- I sponsored a food access study that will result in a pilot program getting low income residents living in food deserts to and from grocery stores and farmers markets where they can use their Fresh Bucks;
- I supported an addition of $588,000 to help ensure the Lazarus Day Center can remain open to serve the 350 elderly homeless members of our community who visit the center each day;
- I supported the critical $2.75 million investment in new permanent supportive housing options;
- And I was happy to support the addition of $450,000 to open and support two additional authorized encampments.
To balance the growth of our city with livability:
- I added $130,000 to extend a code development position at SDCI to ensure council priorities around tree regulations, industrial lands, and development standards for schools are carried out;
- I added $114,000 to support the development of community outreach plans for projects going through the Design Review Program;
- As part of the Seattle Public Utilities Business Plan, I increased spending on Green Stormwater Infrastructure by $15 million to support the creation of green jobs and the health of our city’s tree canopy;
- And I was very supportive of the add of $75,000 to support the Home and Hope Project’s creation of quality affordable housing and early learning opportunities.
Finally, I want to thank my colleagues who brought forward the HOMES tax proposal. Even without its passage, it focused our budget urgently and rightly on the needs of those unsheltered. It focused our collective values and found consensus on the outcomes we need to see to make a difference. While there is yet much more to be done, I am proud that our budget invests in homeless youth, support for survivors of gender-based violence, Pathways Home recommendations, and more shelter options.