The North Kirkland Community Center. Reporter file photo

The North Kirkland Community Center. Reporter file photo

Kirkland to host community parks workshops

Public input will help the city decide how to fund future programs.

The city of Kirkland is hoping that hundreds of residents come out to workshops next week to help prioritize park and recreation programs, as the Parks and Community Services department plans for its next budget, and for the future.

The interactive workshops will be led by GreenPlay, a nationally renowned parks and recreation consulting firm, and involve small group discussions. This is all part of an overarching project called the cost recovery study, said Parks and Community Services director Lynn Zwaagstra.

“We have hundreds upon hundreds of programs, services and facilities and they’re all valued by community members differently,” she said.

The purpose of the workshops is for city staff to collect the community’s input on the degree to which each of its parks, recreation programs and services benefits has a community — versus an individual — benefit.

Staff will use this input to help them develop a resource allocation and cost-recovery philosophy to present to Kirkland City Council later this summer.

“We allocate our limited resources based upon what the community values as core services, so we need to make sure we’re allocating resources according to those values,” Zwaagstra said.

The city hopes to gather and evaluate the input by August to inform the ongoing budgeting process and come up with a short- and long-term implementation strategy for potential changes. There has been a growing demand for parks and community services due to population growth and development in the city, though the department’s budget has been static since 2010, Zwaagstra said. The community voted to support a levy for the Green Kirkland Partnership and parks maintenance in 2012.

“We already know our community loves our parks, recreation programs and facilities,” council member Jon Pascal, chair of the Public Works, Parks and Human Services Committee, said in a statement. “But now we get to dig deeper into the real value residents put on individual aspects of what we offer as a city. The input we gather will guide the future of Kirkland and the way we improve the quality of life in our community for generations to come.”

Refreshments and prizes will be offered at each of the four 90-minute workshops. They will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. on June 4 at North Kirkland Community Center multi-purpose room, from 7-8:30 p.m. on June 4 at Peter Kirk Community Center multi-purpose room, from 4-5:30 p.m. on June 5 at City Hall Peter Kirk room and from 10-11:30 a.m. on June 6 in the Peter Kirk Community Center lobby room.

Space is limited; residents are asked to RSVP by registering for a workshop online at www.kirklandwa.gov, or by phone at 425-587-3300. Staff will accommodate as many interested residents as possible and add additional workshops as needed.

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