Tuesday night was the Annual Meeting for Friends of the Conservatory, a nonprofit organization that provides volunteers and support for the Volunteer Park Conservatory. While going about the business of reporting on last year’s highlights and challenges and electing a new board, the presenters (Audrey Meade, the office manager and Anthonio Petit, the just-elected President) urged members to write to city officials to convey the significance of the Conservatory.
In attending the meeting, I learned a few things about the Conservatory:
- It runs on a very lean budget: no one present could cite a firm number but $500k was suggested at one point by Petit. (update 4/29)We confirmed with Joelle Hammerstad of Parks that the Conservatory receives $463k annually from the city.
- Befitting the group’s name, the Conservatory’s operations are substantially supported by volunteers: Meade reported that over 3,000 volunteer hours had been logged by Friends of the Conservatory members in providing docent tours, manning the gift shop and in assisting with the plant sales and other events
- The upcoming May 8 plant sale is the biggest annual fundraiser for the group
- The Conservatory is free to the public and open Tuesday through Sunday (10 am – 4 pm)
The program for last night’s event was dedicated to “Ways You Can Help the Volunteer Park Conservatory” (urls have been incorporated as links)
The Volunteer Park Conservatory, a Seattle icon, the crown jewel of Seattle’s beautiful Volunteer Park, has been a refuge for young and old generations. The Conservatory, a favorite tourist destination, is just two years away from its 100th Anniversary. Though the Conservatory survived the Great Depression, this beloved landmark might not survive pending budget cuts to reduce the City’s $50 million budget shortfall. It seems inconceivable that the Conservatory could close, but insiders are very concerned.
The budget, in draft form through this summer, will be finalized in September. Please let the Mayor, the City Council, and Parks know now how you feel about the possibility of the Conservatory closing. Whatever is decided, make your opinions count now. Put your taxpayer and voter views on the City’s radar.
- Attend one of two upcoming public hearings on April 28th and May 5th that will consider upcoming budget cuts.
- Contact Mayor McGinn with your message in support of Parks. (206)684-4000
- Contact Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee, with your message in support of Parks. email@example.com (206)684-8807
- Write City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Chair of the Parks and Seattle Center Committee (206)684-8801
- Email the Parks Deputy Superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org (206)684-4136
- Send comments to the Parks Department
- Read the Friends of the Conservatory Newsletter
- Check out the CHS Capitol Hill Seattle blog and comments
- Cast 3 votes for “Keep Volunteer Park Conservatory Open” in the Mayor’s Ideas for Seattle suggestion box. Add comments.
The Volunteer Park Conservatory is a special place because . . . It would be a great loss to Seattle if the Conservatory were to close because . . . Although budget cuts are inevitable, these are some reasons why the Conservatory should be spared . . . [Explain what the Conservatory means to you and why].