Confronted with a $52 million general fund crisis in 2002, King County faced the very real possibility of closing its large system of parks, pools, and recreational programs. Informed by extensive public outreach and stakeholder input, as well as by the work of the Metropolitan Parks Task Force, the Parks Business Transition Plan was adopted by the King County Council and became the blueprint for restoring stability to the County’s parks system through new business practices that emphasize community and corporate partnerships and by greatly reducing the division's dependence on King County's general fund.
King County Parks reoriented its mission to focus on providing regional trails, regional recreational facilities, regional natural area parks, and local rural parks. Since 2003, King County Parks has successfully taken many strategic actions that have generated revenue or created efficiencies, including transferring dozens of local parks and pools to cities, implementing or increasing user fees, and establishing corporate and community partnerships that enhance park amenities and maximize the investment of taxpayers’ dollars.
This new way of doing business has helped King County Parks navigate recent economically challenging times while protecting and investing in the legacy of our 26,000-acre system for future generations of King County residents.