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City Connections
December 2011 E-News

  In this issue:
Legislative Wrap Up

We're done. Well, to be more specific, we have officially passed a balanced budget. Council spent seven weeks deliberating, debating, and ultimately deciding upon a budget that addressed the wants and needs of those we serve. Taking care of those in need was a priority and we found ways to reinvent government, which is another way of saying 'doing more with less'.

I am proud of this budget. I think it is empathetic and efficient. We found savings and we found opportunities where we could stretch our dollar.

City Council passed the 2012 budget at Full Council on Monday, November 28. We are done with the budget, but our work is just beginning.


Some highlights include:

  • The Council earmarked $100,000 in funding for staffing needs at the community centers which are in most demand.

  • The Council funded 'people counters' at each center, to provide accurate and detailed information about how many people use community centers, and when they use them.

  • The Council restored funding to the P-Patch program in the Department of Neighborhoods.

  • The Council provided funding for improvements to the 3rd Avenue corridor Downtown.

  • The Council provided $250,000 for an update to the Bike Master Plan. The update will incorporate new ways to safely move pedestrians, bikes, cars, buses, and trucks, such as greenways and cycle tracks.

  • $75,000 was added to support an Opportunity Fund for faith-based organizations. This funding is meant for one-time capital funding in order to do improvements to facilities which provide shelter and other services for homeless families and individuals.

  • The Council voted to create a new office to address immigrant and refugee needs and to coordinate City activities in support of these communities.

To learn more about the budget process and the adopted 2012 budget, visit the City Budget Office site. For some fun facts, read Budget by the Numbers.

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Did You Know?

There are ample opportunities to fund your idea or community project. One of the best is through the Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF). Say that three times! The NMF has distinct categories with different application cycles. To learn more, contact your Sector Team or visit the Neighborhoods website.

  • Small Sparks: Up to $1,000 and you can apply throughout the year.

  • Small and Simple: Up to $20,000 and there are multiple application cycles per year.

  • Large Project Fund: Up to $100,000 and applications are accepted once per year.

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Fact or Fiction?
Denny Park

Denny Park

Considered the oldest park in Seattle, this parcel was donated to the city in 1864, not as a park but as a cemetery! Denny Park Clerk File.

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Spotlight on Seattle Center
Science Center 1962

The Pacific Science Center complex was designed by the same architect who designed the fallen twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Minoru Yamasaki was one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. With Edward Durrell Stone and Philip Johnson, Yamasaki was a founder of the style called New Formalism, notable for embracing Classical precedents in building proportions and the use of arches and stylized classical columns.

Born in Seattle and a graduate of the University of Washington, Yamasaki avoided internment during World War II with the help of the architectural company he worked for in Detroit, and sheltered his parents in New York City.

He paid for his undergraduate tuition by working summers in an Alaskan canning factory.

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Pop Quiz: How Well Do YOU Know Seattle's Parks?

While I've been on the Parks and Recreation Committee, I've learned we have a heron rookery, patches of old growth forest, and salmon streams in surprisingly urban neighborhoods.

How well do you know Seattle Parks? Check your knowledge of local numbers and lore! See the end of this newsletter for answers.

  1. What percentage of Seattle's land is made up of parks?

  2. Which Seattle park featured "swimusicals" that ran during Seafair in the 1950s and early 60s? Bonus points: What IS a swimusical?

  3. Which Seattle park was formerly known as "Dead Horse Canyon"?

  4. Which soon-to-be-constructed Seattle park is named after the writer of the song "Purple Haze"?

  5. Which Seattle park symbolizes the labyrinth of King Minos?

Keep reading for Quiz Answers!

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Budget by the Numbers


Number of notebook tabs
assigned by Central Staff
guru Martha Lester


City of Seattle's 2012
Proposed Budget


Number of consecutive years that the City of Seattle's General Fund is facing budget reductions


Growth of the General Fund tax revenues, on an average annual basis, between 2008
and 2010


Difference between the 2012 Mayor's Proposed General Fund and the 2012 Endorsed Budget


Number of full-time employee jobs that would be eliminated in the 2012 Proposed Budget, 96 of which are filled


Amount Council cut to positions added by Mayor McGinn


Number of acres managed by Department of Parks and Recreation


Amount of savings created by the new management approach to the community center system

Click here
to learn more about the 2012 adopted budget.

Blog Posts
Upcoming Meetings

Park Board
7 p.m., 1/12/12

Seattle Park Headquarters

2 p.m., 1/9/12

Council Chambers
2nd Floor City Hall

Parks and Neighborhoods Committee
9:30 a.m., 1/19/12

Council Chambers
2nd Floor City Hall

City Neighborhood Council
6:30 p.m., 1/30/12

West Precinct

Hank Ranks Dr. José Rizal Dog Park
dog Hank

Our canine correspondent rates
the City's off-leash dog parks.

bone bone bone half bone

Ranking: 3.5 Bones

Earlier this fall, dog-owners' dander was up about the possible reduction in size of the Dr. José Rizal Off-Leash-Area (OLA). Volunteers and neighbors have been making improvements to the park. So I had to check it out.

When my human and I pulled up to Dr. José Rizal Park, I felt I was in doggie-Heaven. The views of downtown Seattle and the stadiums are spectacular. We parked in a small lot at the park proper. Next time, we will likely park off-street on Charles Street, closer to the entrance of the OLA.

My tail almost fell off from all of the wagging in anticipation for my human to make me leash-free so I could tear down the slope/steps, just past the double-gated entry. But, I had to heal: Part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway has recently been built along the dog park, and as a result of the construction project, the fence on the west side of the park is temporary, and spotted with possible escape routes for a sneaky little fella like me. A new fence should be in place by the end of this year.

It was so worth the wait! Dr. José Rizal park is a 4.1 acre doggie-Heaven. A gravel trail runs lengthwise through the center of the park. On either side of the trail trees, patches of mud, and a potpourri of scents are available for a good dog to mark or roll on. The sniff factor is definitely a ten.

For humans, I highly recommend that you bring rubber boots, a towel for your four-legged friend, and additional poop bags (there are no shovels just yet at the park). Also, beware – there are few garbage cans within the OLA. So you'll need to carry our "gifts" around with you and deposit them as you leave.

I'm so glad that COLA volunteers and neighbors talked with Parks, and more importantly, that Parks listened.

The newly configured off-leash area will be completely fenced. It will keep the double gates at the northeast area and Parks will add another set of double gates to give access from the trail. As humans asked, Parks will install a lower hose bib for the fountain and signs that say there is an off-leash area. In the future, Parks might add a "small and shy" dog area (not for me!) within the off-leash area.

This park has potential. It's time we re-pupulate Dr. José Rizal OLA! If you'd like to lend a paw to help this park get a new lease on life, please contact COLA steward, Jessica Spears, at

Located at 1008 12th Avenue South on North Beacon Hill.

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Looking Ahead: Committee Assignments for 2012-2013

When I first took office in 2010, I had little idea how theCommittee assignments worked. I knew I was an incoming freshman so I was prepared to take what I was given. Imagine my surprise when, to my delight I received Parks and Seattle Center.

For the last two years, I have been honored to work closely with Robert Nellams and Christopher Williams, the Executive Director of the Seattle Center and the acting Superintendent of Department of Parks and Recreation, respectively. I've learned about the need for open space and the guiding principles of a vision for Century 21. I've learned that glass art can cause quite a stir and that the city's living room is ready to add a few more letters to their portfolio, namely KEXP. I've learned that the allure of Magnuson Park goes beyond a neighborhood's boundaries and that partnerships are critical to the success of your park. I've learned that people love their parks and the only thing that rivals that is how much I have enjoyed chairing this Committee for the last two years.

For 2012-2013, we will continue the good work we have begun. Parks will remain in our portfolio but we are adding Neighborhoods, as in the Department of, to our moniker! My office is thrilled with the addition and we see a natural fit between Parks and Neighborhoods.

That brings me to my next point—what to call the Committee. Parks and Neighborhoods (PAN)? Neighborhood and Parks (NAP)? Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Committee (PRANC)? Have a suggestion? Let me know!

And for those of you wondering about Seattle Center, there's good news. Though I won't be the chair overseeing the Center any longer, I won't be too far away. My colleague, Jean Godden, is adding it to her Committee assignments and I am honored to be a member of that Committee.

I thank all of those who have made my first two years so memorable to me, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2012.

Committee Assignments
Chair: Parks and Neighborhoods
Vice Chair: Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture
Member: Library, Utilities, and Center
Alternative: Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology

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Quiz Answers and Trivia
  1. One-ninth of Seattle's land is parkland.
  2. Seattle Parks and Recreation manages more than 6200 acres of park lands in more than 400 parks, more than 1 million square feet of buildings, and one-ninth of all the land in the city of Seattle.

    Our public land includes:

    • 27 recreation centers
    • 8 indoor and two outdoor pools
    • 3 golf courses
    • 2 Asian gardens
    • 204 athletic fields
    • 151 outdoor tennis courts and one indoor tennis center
    • 60 basketball courts
    • 11 off-leash dog parks
    • 2 small craft, rowing, and sailing centers

  3. Green Lake Park.
  4. (Note, Green Lake is two words, even though Greenlake Way is one word. Go figure.)

    The Green Lake Aqua Theater was built in 1950 for the first Seafair. It was home to the Aqua Follies and their fabulous "swimusicals"—which were basically a combination of water ballet, stage dancing, and comedy.

    The theater included a round stage and floating orchestra pit, encircling a section of the lake with high diving platforms on each side. The grandstand had more than 5,000 seats.

    In 1969, the Grateful Dead played the Green Lake Aqua Theater.

    Alas, that concert was the theater's last hurrah. The grandstand was found to be in disrepair too great to fix, and in the seventies the theater was raised. Some pieces remain: Stage right is now a pier, and stage left provides dock and storage for crew shells.

  5. Lakeridge Park.
  6. Lakeridge Park is part of the Taylor Creek watershed and includes a beautiful and much-cherished forested ravine. A one-mile trail follows the creek, lined with native trees and plants, and sturdy bridges cross the creek along the way. One of the bridges was helicoptered in, the traces of which can still be made out along the trail. Also alongside the trail you can see the remnants of an 1880s. Happily, the Park was renamed from "Dead Horse Canyon" by the Seattle Planning Commission in 1947.

  7. Fremont Peak Park.
  8. Fremont Peak Park is home to one of the forty-five best public art projects in the United States, as determined by the 2008 Americans for the Arts annual convention, and has gorgeous views of Puget Sound and the Olympics.

    The park and its walls are designed to symbolize a remnant of the famed maze of King Minos, where the Greek hero Theseus battled the Minotaur.

  9. Jimi Hendrix Park.
  10. This park is going through public design review and is next to the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District. It is taking shape as a gathering place for celebrating diverse cultural heritages and taking part in innovative educational approaches. We can't wait to see it finished.

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