Project Overview

Why We Plan

SPR’s activities are supported by multiple funding sources including the City’s General Fund, user fees and charges, property tax levies and grants from King County and Washington State, real estate excise taxes, and the Seattle Park District. To support Seattle’s extensive parks and recreation system, these funds must be prioritized through ongoing planning efforts.

As an organization, we undertake strategic planning to take a step back from our day-to-day work and consider where we want to go as an organization. Strategic planning affirms our mission, vision, and values and helps guide our priorities and investments in the years to come. As we implement our strategic priorities, we will seek to be in consistent communication with communities we serve to evaluate our progress, make course corrections, and stay connected.

Seattle Park District

In early 2022, SPR will resume planning for the next six-year cycle of the voter-approved Seattle Park District, which was put on hold during the pandemic. The Seattle Park District is a sustainable funding source to repair, maintain, and restore basic services at the city’s parks, community centers, and regional attractions, and provides about 20% of SPR’s funding. Originally planned for 2021–2026, the next Park District funding cycle will now span 2023–2028.

Our 2020–2032 Strategic Plan

In March 2020, after extensive public input, SPR released an updated Strategic Plan to guide programming, services, and investments from 2020 to 2032. Guided by a new Pathway to Equity, a roadmap for SPR to play our part in ending institutional and structural racism in Seattle, the plan identified 40 strategies to advance our collective vision. These strategies are organized around our vision of promoting healthy people, a healthy environment, and strong communities while pursuing racial equity and organizational excellence. Read more about the Strategic Plan and Pathway to Equity.

People sharing their big ideas for the future of Seattle Parks and Recreation at the Parks and Rec Fest events.

Who We Talked To

As part of the Strategic Plan process, we connected with over 10,000 Seattle residents and visitors in the summer of 2019 who shared their ideas about the future of Seattle’s parks and recreation system. This outreach included:

  • Two citywide Parks and Rec Fest events
  • Listening sessions with community organizations and SPR partners
  • Activities at community events throughout the city
  • Surveys at community centers, online, by phone, and via social media, including translation
What We Heard

Through this outreach, SPR heard a wide range of feedback that helped shape our strategic priorities. Themes that came up include:

  • Support Seattle’s growth and density by preserving open space and building multi-use spaces
  • Improve community engagement and marketing
  • Provide low-cost recreation opportunities
  • Keep maintaining and enhancing the existing park and recreation system and assets
  • Embrace new trends like adventure-themed play areas, roller derby, pickleball, and many more
  • Make parks safer by removing encampments, cleaning up needles, and adding lighting
  • Enhance accessibility of services and amenities for all ages and abilities
  • A desire for more amenities throughout our system (pools, community center hours, green space, events, art, bathrooms, and more)
Strategic Plan Focus

Click on the photos below to learn more about our commitments in our 2020–2032 Strategic Plan.

Healthy People
  • Providing equitable programs
  • Prioritizing accessibility for all ages and abilities
  • Maintaining high-quality spaces
  • Sharing information about our services
  • Ensuring public space access
  • Connecting to nature
  • Reimagining community centers
  • Building multi-use facilities
  • Improving food access
Healthy Environment
  • Managing water sustainably
  • Reducing waste
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Restoring urban forests
  • Preserving parkland
  • Creating climate-resilient facilities
  • Improving connectivity
  • Investing in alternative energy
  • Instilling appreciation for nature
  • Increasing equitable access to parks
Strong Communities
  • Providing enrichment opportunities
  • Providing childcare
  • Reducing barriers to services
  • Funding community-driven programs
  • Improving park safety
  • Responding to homelessness
  • Hosting community events
  • Communicating clearly
  • Seeking economic opportunities
  • Engaging partners
  • Providing clean, safe public restrooms
Organizational Excellence
  • Conducting rigorous equity analysis
  • Achieving national accreditation
  • Building a strong workforce
  • Investing in staff
  • Updating systems
  • Planning continuously
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Applying a citywide approach
  • Pursuing life cycle maintenance
  • Streamlining community oversight