October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 62

Out and about in
Seattle: Mayor
Michael McGinn at
community events.

restaurants and businesses nearby. You have vibrant, busy streets full of people and activity. And
you have parks and open spaces for people to
gather, or to simply be quiet and enjoy our city's
incredible natural beauty. You have to have all the
elements in place to create great spaces, and parks
are essential to that. That's what makes our city so
special and attractive to people, our vibrant and
beautiful urban spaces. "
What more would McGinn like to see in his
parks department?
" We need to be expanding our partnerships

with nonprofits and the private sector, " he says.
" There is so much we can do in parks to support
youth, to support families, to build a better city.
Sports and recreation programming like my dad
worked on can be transformative in a kid's life.
And families who are struggling and need help
but don't know how to get it-they come to our
parks every day, because they're a free resource
that's available to everyone. "
Interview by Phil Hayward, Editor, Parks & Recreation
(phayward@nrpa.org)

AGENCY VIEW

Seattle Parks and Recreation
Population: 620,778
Resources: 416 parks, 26 community
centers, 10 swimming pools, 3,000 acres
developed park land/3,500 natural area
Budget: $135 million
Employees: 1,200
Notable: Currently implementing a $146
million Parks and Green Spaces Levy
Christopher Williams, acting director
of Seattle Parks and Recreation, considers himself a product of the agency he
oversees. He played Little League baseball on city athletic fields, attended programs at community centers targeted at
youth at risk, and he played high school
sports in its parks. And he feels fortunate to have grown up personally and
professionally with a progressive park
and recreation system. Over his 18-year
career, he's figured out why his city does
so well with parks and recreation.
" We're willing to take risks and try
new approaches to programs and services-if they don't work, then we either
60

Parks & Recreation

tweak or discard the apbeen the greatest challenge
proach altogether, " Williams
Williams has faced since
says. " Another contributing
2008. It's hard on employfactor is that Seattle Parks Christopher Williams
ees and park users. And
has been in a very fortunate
this makes Williams all the
position over the past 10 years because
more proud of Seattle's park and recrevoters have passed three property tax
ation employees.
" They show up every day with their
levies to fund everything from new
community centers to environmengames faces on, ready to serve the comtal education programs. While most of
munity despite budget challenges and
this influx of funding was used to supsetbacks we have faced, " he says. " They
port capital projects, Seattle Parks did
are without peer in their dedication and
receive nearly $8 million from one of
commitment. "
There's always more to be done and
those levies (2000) to fund operations
areas that can be improved on.
and maintenance. 
" This period of funded innovation re " The very things I'd like to change
sulted in new and enhanced programs
about the system are the very same
for teens and seniors and environmenthings that make the system unique,
tal education, " he continues, " and we also
well loved, and appreciated by the comexpanded programs that led to the promunity, " Williams says. " For example, I
tection and replacement of the forested
wish our public engagement processes
areas in our parks. "
could all run smoothly, yet it is this same
Coping with the ever-changing ficitizen energy and interest that resulted
nancial landscape within the city has
in 350,000 volunteer hours last year. "

| OCTOBER 2012 | WWW.NRPA.ORG



October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2016
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2015
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2015
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2014
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2013
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2013
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2012
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2012
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2011
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2011
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