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Message to Members

WRPA members,

As the 2014 year winds to a close, we thank each and every one of our sponsors and members for making this year a success — with exciting events and strong membership growth. At the start of the year, the Board of Directors established goals to improve our association. Here are some of the things we've succeeded in achieving this year:
  • Provide robust training, education and networking opportunities for our membership!
  • Enhance our technology to meet the needs of our members, no matter where they are or what they need!
  • Engage effective legislative advocacy for the Parks and Recreation field!
  • Create and maintain a financially sound organization!
  • Remember and celebrate our historical roots and engage previous leadership!
  • Provide value, relevancy, and ensure that people want to be a member of WRPA!
  • We started the year with the 2014 WASLA/WRPA Joint Conference and trade show, which was a huge success and offered dynamic sessions. We will continue this offering of educational opportunities in 2015 with exciting trainings and network meet-ups in January and February and the Annual Conference in the spring. The WRPA office and Board worked hard to update the database and website so that it is easier than ever to register multiple people and access your agency's information. We have also been working closely with our Legislative and communication committees to make sure that all current changes and proposals are shared with members in the weekly newsletter. It's been a good year and we expect 2015 to be even better.

    We hope that you each have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at WRPA events in 2015.

    Happy holidays!
    WRPA Office

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    Youth Athletic Facility Program public comment opportunity

    YAF Public Comment Opportunity
    The Recreation and Conservation Office is proposing changes to Manual 17, Youth Athletic Facilities that will affect projects fund in 2015. A number of the revisions represent important changes in policy or procedure. We are seeking comment on all of the proposed changes. RCO is updating the YAF program in anticipation of funding in 2015 through the state capital budget.
    • Your Comments Needed
      Three documents are posted on RCO's Web site for your review at:
    • How to Comment
      Submit comments to or by mail to RCO, ATTN: Leslie Connelly, P.O. Box 40917, Olympia, WA 98504-0917. Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2014.
    • What is Next?
      RCO staff will review comments received, make appropriate revisions and prepare a final draft. The RCO director will consider changes that are administrative or procedural. The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will consider changes that are policy related at its meeting on April 8-9, 2015 in Olympia.

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    As 2014 comes to a close and we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of WRPA Weekly a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 8.

    RCO publishes grant lists with funding cutoffs
    From Oct. 23: Attached is the final list by category with acquisition and development projects separated per RCO request, the list by LD with project type in the far left column and the RCO's list that specifies how much funding projects would receive under different funding scenarios. It is incredibly useful in figuring out which partially funded projects are even viable. If a project sponsor has applied for $3 million and partial funding would be a very small percentage of that, odds are the RCFB will choose an alternate project that has lower costs.
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    Will a parks district measure — and its 'Forever Tax' — go the way of Proposition 1?
    The Olympian
    From May 8: When the City Council voted to put a measure on the August ballot that would create a Seattle Parks District with permanent taxing authority, some interesting voices spoke up in opposition. One of them was John Fox, the longtime head of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, which fights for affordable housing and social justice. Fox, in other words, is not your typical anti-tax crusader, and on most matters he would probably agree very little with a conservative like Tim Eyman.
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    Supreme Court sides with landowner in Rails-to-Trails case
    The Wall Street Journal
    From March 13: The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has no claim to rights of way abandoned by rail roads, a victory for property owners that could undermine plans for a nationwide network of recreational trails. During America's westward expansion in the 19th century, Congress gave public land to private railroads to spur development of a transcontinental transportation network. Not every project was successful, however.
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    Recreation funding advocates lay out list of priority projects for Legislature in 2015
    From June 19: The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition has released its annual list of projects that is asking Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature to include in the 2015 state capital budget. The price tag is $97 million, higher than recent levels, but this reflects growing needs spurred by a growing population and also rising costs for construction and to buy lands, according to Peter Dykstra, president of the bipartisan group's board.
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    Shift happens
    From Aug. 14: Jamie Sabbach with 110 Percent LLC shared an article about, "The 'business' of public parks and recreation (and arguably, governmental services in general) is at a critical crossroad and has been profoundly impacted by a number of key issues including: increased interest in governmental accountability; increased competition from all sectors; stable or declining revenues with increasing costs; rampant arbitrary pricing and antiquated financial accounting processes; rapidly changing demographics; and maintenance backlogs and deteriorating infrastructure that seem far beyond recovery."
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    West Seattle's (secret) Chinese garden
    West Seattle Herald
    From May 1: The Seattle Chinese Garden is unmistakable. With it's remarkable courtyard, meandering paths and small pavilion, it is bounded by a sea of over 400 blooming peonies from Luoyang China's peony capital making it home to the largest peony garden on the West Coast.
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    Poll shows support for permanent parks district
    The Seattle Times
    From Feb. 13 Polling conducted on behalf of Seattle parks advocates found that voters support the formation of a Metropolitan Parks District by a 61-percent-to-31-percent margin. This is good news for some parks leaders who are considering the new taxing source to fund the parks system when the current levy expires this year. The other 8 percent said they didn't know.
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    Report: Parks system can't survive without taxpayers
    Herald Net
    From Jan. 2: A new report spotlights an inconvenient truth for lawmakers about Washington's public parks system: It cannot survive without help from the state's taxpayers. The agency is reeling from deep budget cuts and needs a reliable source of funds — solely on money collected from park visitors. That's the conclusion of a nine-page analysis delivered in November.
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    WRPA Weekly
    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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    Bob Kowalski, Sports & Recreation Editor, 202.684.7162   
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