Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Changes coming to South Park Seattle

Mayor announces plans to increase
city investment in South Park neighborhood

Investments range from youth programs to transportation

SEATTLE -Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels today announced plans to help strengthen the South Park community by investing more than $1.75 million in neighborhood-backed programs focused on youth, transportation, and the environment.

The mayor will include the additional investment in his proposed 2007-2008 budget, which he will deliver later this month. The proposal marks the first step in a wider South Park Action Agenda, currently being developed by community members to improve economic development, quality of life, and youth opportunities in the neighborhood.

“South Park is one of the city’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, but it has faced challenges in recent years,” Nickels said. “This proposal will support the work of people in the neighborhood who have bridged language and cultural differences to tackle critical issues such as crime prevention, transportation and the environment.”

Nickels’ proposed budget, which the mayor will present to the City Council on Sept. 25, calls for:

  • $500,000 for the 14th Avenue South Street Improvement to leverage a $1.2 million grant to design and construct transportation and drainage improvements in South Park’s retail district
  • $616,726 over two years to continue providing successful, culturally appropriate programs to address a broad range of needs for at-risk Latino youth and families in the community
  • $50,000 to design an open space and community park at 12th and Trenton.
  • $442,244 over two years to extend operating hours at the South Park Community Center, add a Late Night teen program, add a new staff position, and increase funds for a youth job readiness program.
  • $145,665 over two years to improve a Community Center computer lab and support the Spanish-language information center.

All of these proposals meet needs identified in the South Park Action Agenda, which is in the final stages of development. The South Park community will deliver its South Park Action Agenda to the mayor in October.

Based on the similar and successful Southeast Seattle Action Agenda, the South Park agenda is a community-driven effort, with city staffing, to identify current and emerging issues that can benefit from city involvement. The action agenda will identify community priorities and deliverables, both for the immediate and long term future.

The city and partners at King County and Washington State have recently taken a number of other steps to help the South Park community.

  • Seattle Public Libraries opened a new, bilingual library earlier this month.
  • Last year, Seattle Police and the King County Sheriff’s Office signed a mutual aid agreement to coordinate their services to reduce crime in an unincorporated area in South Park.
  • The state adjusted the boundaries for the White Center DSHS office to include South Park, which is closer than the Rainier office and offers Spanish language services.
  • The mayor’s 2006 budget included $294,000 in additional funding, which provided increased literacy services; gang intervention and prevention services; support for a boxing program for at-risk youth; and other programs for teens and parents. The mayor’s 2007-2008 budget includes continued funding for these programs for the next two years.

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