Thank you Seattle voters! On August 5, 2014 voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1 which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

The Park District is governed by the Seattle City Council acting ex officio as the District Board. The Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners (BPRC) is a community board that provides advice to the Mayor, City Council, and Superintendent of Parks and Recreation related to the Seattle Park District, among other topics. The BPRC’s roles and responsibilities related to the Park District are outlined in an interlocal agreement between the City and the District.  

What is a park district?

State law (Chapter 35.61 Revised Code of Washington) authorizes local communities to create a park district (also called a metropolitan park district), with special taxing authority to manage, control, improve, maintain and acquire of parks, boulevards, and recreational facilities.

What are the Seattle Park District's boundaries?

The boundaries of the Seattle Park District are the same as the boundaries of the City of Seattle, as they currently exist or as they may exist following future annexations.

Who governs the Park District?

The Seattle City Council will be the Seattle Park District governing board.

What services are supported by Seattle Park District funds?

The Seattle Park District provides support for projects across almost all Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)’s lines of business, from community center operations to facility maintenance to capital project delivery. To learn more about how the Park District supported SPR’s work in Cycle 1 (2015-2022), check out the annual, mid-cycle, and cycle-end reports on our Projects and Reports page.

What is the relationship between the Seattle Park District and the City of Seattle?

The City of Seattle and the Seattle Park District are separate local governments with the same boundaries. The City of Seattle has approved an interlocal agreement with the Park District that describes how the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department will provide services with Park District funds. One hundred percent of the District's funds will be used to pay the City for park and recreation services.  

Who provides oversight on how Parks spends taxpayer dollars?

The interlocal agreement designates the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners (BPRC) as SPR’s community advisory board providing oversight for Park District investments and activities. The BPRC is a 15-member community advisory board, serving three-year terms. The BPRC is composed of eight members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council including four at-large members, three members from other City Boards/Commissions, and one member from the Get Engaged Program, and another seven members representing each of the Seattle City Council districts appointed by the City Council.

Who owns the open space and park facilities?

Park and recreation land, facilities, and equipment preserved and maintained with Park District funds are and will remain the property of the City of Seattle. Any new or replacement land, facilities, and equipment created or developed with Park District funds will become the property of the City of Seattle.

Who decides Seattle Parks and Recreation's annual budget?

The Mayor directs the development and implementation of SPR's budget and work programs. City Council approves SPR's annual budget and provides oversight. The District Board approves an annual Park District budget showing how Park District revenues fund part of the SPR budget and how those resources align to the current six-year funding plan.

How will projects be added in the future?

SPR will conduct a community-oriented process to determine spending priorities every six years through the life of the Park District. The District Board, after considering the recommendations from the public process and the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, will determine the spending levels and updated projects, programs and services to fund for each six-year funding cycle. This process of adjusting the spending levels (with annual inflation adjustments) and a revised list of investments will continue for the life of the Park District.

What will the tax rate be with the Park District?

The tax rate to collect Park District revenues fluctuates on an annual basis based on changes in assessed value of City of Seattle property and the revenue collected each year. The tax rate is updated annually in the annual legislation adopting each Park District budget. The current and past tax rates are included in the resolutions titled “Setting The Levy Rates for [year]” on the Legislation, Policies, and Reports page.

Is there a limit to how much the Park District can collect?

Under State law, the Park District can ultimately collect up to 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the year the Park District was established (2014). To collect more than 75 cents per $1,000 requires an election in which voter turnout is at least 40% of the turnout in the last general election and 60% of those voters approve the higher rate.