Back in January, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher warned attendees at the Wallingford Community Council meeting that his department faced a $10 million budget cut for 2011, which could mean ending all aquatics programs. That dire prediction has now begun to play, and the future looks murky for the Wallingford Playfield wading pool, which usually opens in late June and serves families through the end of August.
Gallagher, who resigned earlier this week, told KING 5 that 24 of 27 Seattle wading pools could be closed. The only ones he mentioned were likely to stay open are the Green Lake, Volunteer Park, and Lincoln Park wading pools.
Aquatics Manager Kathy Whitman told us that no decision has been made about Wallingford yet:
We are ready to operate the wading pool, but are currently on hold pending budget decisions. I understand that Parks and Recreation has been told to cut $2.5 million before summer which puts the operation of wading pools in question.
I believe that decisions about 2010 will be made by mid-May. Larger cuts are anticipated for 2011 with the Mayor’s budget announced in September and final action by Seattle City Council completed in November.
She encouraged concerned residents to attend the mayor and city council’s public budget hearing on Tuesday, May 4, at the North Seattle Community College cafeteria, or to comment by phone or email. To sign up to speak at the May 4 hearing, arrive at 5:00; the hearing begins at 5:30.