This story has been updated since it was originally published.
Because of budget cutbacks, the Seattle Parks and Recreation department will open the Wallingford Playfield wading pool only three days a week this summer, down from seven days a week. It will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, between June 30 and August 20, noon to 7 p.m.
We reported in April that the future of the wading pool was uncertain. Five Seattle wading pools will be open seven days a week this summer: Green Lake, Lincoln, Magnuson, Van Asselt, and Volunteer Park. Here’s a complete listing of all park aquatics.
Parks and Rec spokesperson Dewey Potter told us that the decision of which pools to leave open seven days a week was based primarily on geographic balance and attendance. During today’s Seattle City Council budget committee meeting, budget director Beth Goldberg said that the smaller wading pools has greater attendance on the weekdays, and the larger ones attracted more people on the weekends.
New Wallingford Community Council president Eric Fisk sent us his reaction to the budget decision:
It’s disappointing, of course. Wading pools help connect new parents with each other, provide employment for young adults, and are a basic part of what makes Seattle such a great place to be in the summer.
The cut is unfortunately a predictable outcome given the budget crunch and the poorly constructed 2008 parks levy. The 2008 parks levy did not provide any maintenance funds, so now we are left with an imbalance where we are spending vast sums on acquisition projects but without the minimal money required to keep parks open and operating.
Still, I think it is a bad cut point. The wading pool reductions save a grand total of $200,000 in the $11.7 million dollar mid year shortfall, which is expected to expand to $56 million next year, out of a $905 million dollar general fund budget. Wading pools are a rounding error as far as city government is concerned.