2017 Accomplishments: Healthy People

2017 has been a busy year for all of us at Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)! We’ve been working in every corner of the city to maintain our 485 parks and 27 community centers, restore our urban forest, build new parks and play areas, meet with community members to hear public input and plan for the future, and provide hundreds of programs, summer camps, swim lessons, and much more. Read on to learn about some of our 2017 accomplishments supporting healthy people. Click the following links to see how we are also supporting a healthy environment and strong communities.

Healthy People

Preserving open spaces and natural areas where residents can enjoy healthy activities like walking, hiking, rowing, and tennis is how we help people make connections to each other and experience the health benefits—both physical and mental—of time spent outdoors. We believe that just getting people moving is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. And our community sports, recreation programs, and physical fitness activities—from akido to Zumba and everything in between—help keep Seattle residents moving and healthy.

Seattle’s 27 community centers are the backbone of our parks and recreation system. In addition to enabling health, recreation, and fitness, they serve as anchors of many of our neighborhoods and support a healthy environment and strong communities. In 2017, we helped increase access and promote social equity by increasing hours at ten community centers in underserved neighborhoods and making most of our drop-in activities free. We are proud to report that we are on track to meet our annual goal of 3,750,000 community center visits and that 91% of surveyed SPR program participants reported high satisfaction.

We provided $400,000 in scholarships to low-income community members to attend SPR programs and activities, including camps and before-and-after school care. Scholarships are based on income and family size, and are available to anyone who qualifies, including seniors and people with disabilities. Kristeena Garcia, a scholarship recipient, recently shared how scholarships help support her family:

Raising my two boys hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been a single mom for the past 2 years, and despite my wonderful family nearby, I can’t always impose on them for help. Emotionally and financially, it’s often stressful. That’s where the Delridge Community Center has made a big impact on me and my family. Thanks to Seattle Parks and Recreation’s scholarship fund, which is supported by the voter-approved Seattle Park District and supplemented by individual donations, I have been able to pay for programs and activities, and my sons are in a safe, fun, caring place every day after school while I’m at work. I’m so grateful to be a recipient of those scholarship funds.”

This year, the Amy Yee Tennis Center offered free play on Fridays to participants in our Teen Late Night program, a recreation-based program with a focus on positive teen interactions and engagement where all teens are welcomed. Amy Yee staff also offered free summer youth tennis lessons throughout Seattle, as well as a free ‘QuickStart’ league to middle school beginners at nine locations across Seattle. QuickStart is an introductory program designed to get youth playing tennis quickly.

 

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2017 Accomplishments: Healthy Environment

2017 has been a busy year for all of us at Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)! We’ve been working in every corner of the city to maintain our 485 parks and 27 community centers, restore our urban forest, build new parks and play areas, meet with community members to hear public input and plan for the future, and provide hundreds of programs, summer camps, swim lessons, and much more. Read on to learn about some of our 2017 accomplishments supporting a healthy environment. Click the following links to see how we are also supporting healthy people and strong communities.

Healthy Environment

As stewards of 6,400 acres of parkland, we integrate an environmental ethic into our everyday activities. From constructing energy-efficient facilities, to increasing our tree canopy, to prioritizing the use of non-toxic products in our parks, we strive to prioritize a sustainable and environmentally-friendly philosophy in everything we do. This year, we renewed our commitment to the environment with the development of our Healthy Environment Action Agenda, which guides us in reducing our impact on the environment, eliminating disparities in underserved communities by focusing on environmental justice, and creating sustainable public spaces that are welcoming and accessible to all.

This year, through the Green Seattle Partnership, volunteers donated more than 10,200 hours of work to preserve our urban forests. In 2017, we cleared 100+ acres of invasive species and planted 10,034 plants on Green Seattle Day!

We installed eight electric vehicle charging stations at three facility locations. These eight stations will support new fully electric cars in our fleet that are replacing gas/hybrid vehicles. In addition, we’re participating in Seattle City Light’s pilot program to install fast-charging stations throughout the City for public use. We’re investigating specific locations; look for one near you in 2018!

In 2017, we joined with other partners to sign a treaty designating the City of Seattle as an Urban Bird Treaty City. The Urban Bird Treaty program works to create bird-friendly environments through habitat conservation and invasive species control, and provides community members, especially youth, with opportunities to connect with nature through birding and conservation. Learn more here.

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2017 Accomplishments: Strong Communities

2017 has been a busy year for all of us at Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)! We’ve been working in every corner of the city to maintain our 485 parks and 27 community centers, restore our urban forest, build new parks and play areas, meet with community members to hear public input and plan for the future, and provide hundreds of programs, summer camps, swim lessons, and much more. Read on to learn about some of our 2017 accomplishments supporting strong communities. Click the following links to see how we are also supporting healthy people and a healthy environment.

Strong Communities

We help build strong communities by connecting residents with opportunities to interact with each other in a variety of active and passive ways. Our programs bring diverse groups of people together for recreation and healthy living activities, our community centers serve as the living room of our neighborhoods, and our parks and open spaces provide gathering places for families and social groups. We also offer many arts and cultural programs that activate our parks and encourage residents to connect with each other in our public spaces.

The Recreation for All fund, through the Seattle Parks District, provides financial support to local nonprofit organizations, small businesses, community groups, and individuals to provide culturally relevant programs and events throughout the city. This year, we partnered with 15 groups to provide more than 850 hours of programs serving over 1,300 people in underserved neighborhoods.

More than 700 special events, including protests, holiday celebrations, and cultural and neighborhood gatherings took place in our parks in 2017. We also provided support for more than 127 major events in our parks, such as festivals, parades, and marathons. Our Event Scheduling office processed 3,919 picnic bookings and 277 ceremonies. Click here to learn how you can host an event at one of our 485 parks.

So far in 2017, more than 25,700 people have volunteered with SPR, providing 145,725 hours of service. Though the volunteers’ efforts are invaluable to us, the Corporation for National and Community Service estimates that the monetary value of a volunteer’s time in the U.S. as $30.04 per hour. That means that so far in 2017, volunteers donated roughly $4.3 million worth of time to the department!

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