By Liana Woo for Friends of International Children’s Park
Special to Northwest Asian Weekly
On Nov. 4, Seattle voters should say yes to Proposition 2: The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy.
The Chinatown International District stands to benefit greatly from this levy if it passes, with several projects slated to receive funding, including $500,000 for the renovation of the existing International Children’s Park on Seventh and Lane Street, and $3 million to Hing Hay Park for development of the existing and recently purchased property. (The previous Pro Parks levy funded the purchase of the property adjacent to the existing park in 2007.)
The neighborhood is also listed in the 2008 levy as a beneficiary of acquisition funds for purchase of additional park or green space.
Seattle voters should say yes to this levy, even in these economic times, because its impact will be a legacy of beautiful spaces, which will be enjoyed for many years to come. This levy is not an additional tax for property owners, but a continuation of the Pro Parks Levy passed in 2000, which will expire this year.
In fact it is $30 per year less than the average homeowner is currently paying. The new levy will provide more than $145 million over the course of the measure’s six-year life and will benefit not only this neighborhood, but every corner of the city.
Although many think of Chinatown/International District as a commercial district, this neighborhood has been home to Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants for over a century. In the last decade, we have seen a growth in our residential base, in particular, a resurgence in the number of families with children. With city plans for increasing density, the Chinatown/ID will sorely need the amenities (such as parks and green spaces) that make a neighborhood livable.
We may be part of “The Emerald City,” but Chinatown/ID has significantly lower ratios of green space per capita when compared to other neighborhoods in the city.
Hing Hay Park is located in the heart of Chinatown/International District and is host to numerous festivals, fairs and general park users. Yet, on a daily basis, the space is underutilized beyond lunchtime performers and the handful of elderly men playing Chinese chess. Imagine what a renovated park could do for the neighborhood.
Friends of International Children’s Park is a group of individuals and organizations who have been working to renovate and improve this park for the past two years. Though it is small, International Children’s Park provides the only outdoor public children’s play area in the neighborhood. Planned renovations could increase park accessibility, improve the play space and create a more inviting environment for multiple generations of users.
By voting yes for the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, these two parks in our historical district will be renovated and improved, and a new park added to the neighborhood through additional land acquisition. With your support, future generations will be able to enjoy these spaces for exercise, contemplation and play. ♦
If you are interested in becoming involved in the Friends of International Children’s Park, please contact Liana Woo or Joyce Pisnanont at email@example.com. For more information on the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, visit www.seattleparksforall.org.