City Council comes to First Hill for coffee, Miller next week to talk community centers

In a conversation dominated by concerns over increased fees for youth sports leagues to use City of Seattle fields, City Council members Sally Clark and Sally Bagshaw visited First Hill Saturday morning to meet with the community and grab a cup of coffee at the Corner Cafe. Bagshaw returns to our area Wednesday night to discuss the plight of Seattle’s community centers as budget cuts slice services across the city. More on that below.

Saturday morning, the conversation most attending the City Council coffee klatch wanted to have was over increases in sports field fees announced by Seattle Parks as budget issues have forced the city to shift more costs onto the community.

“We’re not willing to hear the message that there’s nothing we can do,” one rep from an area youth league said. “Where can there be savings in services?”

By the way, higher fees or no, our own Seattle Central Little League for baseball and softball teams is gearing up for the 2011 season. Sign-up must be completed by the end of February, mom and/or dad. Play ball.

On their home turf, a few First Hill residents filled in the cafe besides the coaches and concerned parents. One woman wanted to tell Bagshaw and Clark she believes Seattle has the best public transit. She also said she has concerns about First Hill’s Therapeutic Health Services, a methadone clinic that fills a vital need but also draws colorful characters — and sometimes unwanted problems — to the neighborhood.

Another resident took a more ambassadorial role thanking the Council members for visiting the cafe at Madison and Terry and noting that First Hill is one of the closest neighborhoods to City Hall but sometimes feels far away from the focus of local government.

We also learned that Bagshaw and Clark aren’t regular CHS readers — neither had heard the news that M Street Grocery was shutting down though Clark said she had heard that the rent for the grocery had “doubled.”

Bagshaw will return to the area this week for a meeting Wednesday night to discuss ideas for reinventing Seattle’s community centers in the face of continued budget constraints.

Help shape the future of Seattle’s Community Centers

Seattle City Councilmember Bagshaw encourages communities to contribute ideas

SEATTLE – Throughout last year’s budget process, Seattle City Council heard from hundreds of people about the value of programming at their Community Centers.  As a result of the concerns voiced, Council passed a Statement of Legislative Intent asking the Department of Parks and Recreation to examine how Community Centers are operated.

Beginning on February 2, Parks will embark on a citywide conversation to look at the future of community centers, specifically how to continue important services while reducing costs and explore long-term, sustainable programming models.

“We heard from the community about the value of their centers and we hope to see those same individuals on February 2, so we can continue this much needed conversation,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Parks and Seattle City Committee.  “Now is the time to make a difference in your neighborhood.”

Seattle residents are invited to share their feedback on Seattle’s Community Centers and join Councilmember Bagshaw at the kick-off event for this process:

When:            Wednesday, February 2, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where:           Miller Community Center, 330 19th Avenue East

For questions or additional information, please contact Councilmember Bagshaw’s office at 206-684-8801or visit

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