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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View from Denny Park:
News and Views from the Superintendent
 

No. 10. January 4, 2001

A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds.

2001, A PARKS ODYSSEY

Happy New Year to one and all! Beyond sightings of monoliths in our parks, we are excited about the coming year and all that it portends. In particular, we will continue to implement the 1999 Community Center Levy. Planning is under way on the Northgate, Sand Point, Belltown, and International District community center projects. Site planning at Yesler Terrace will get under way this year, affecting that community center project.

We've also started work on the program to implement the $198.2 million Pro Parks 2000 Levy, beginning with the establishment of the Pro Parks 2000 Levy Oversight Committee. Many community projects funded through the Neighborhood Matching Fund will also keep us busy. Stay tuned to this newsletter and our department web site for updates on these and other projects.

In the meantime, please keep an eye out for any monolith sightings in your neighborhood!

RENEWING THE WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM

I am pleased to announce that Seattle Parks and Recreation, the University of Washington and the Arboretum Foundation today released "Renewing the Washington Park Arboretum," the final version of a long-range master plan that ensures the regional urban treasure known as the Washington Park Arboretum will grow and thrive for decades to come.

The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the plan was released simultaneously. The Seattle City Council is scheduled to consider and take action on the plan over the next several months.

I have been integrally involved with the evolution of the master plan and I know that it has been a labor of love and considerable hard work. I particularly want to thank David Hervey and the Arboretum Foundation for their financial support and willingness to work with us through the process to modify earlier versions of the plan to address citizen concerns. Dozens of staff and board members at the Foundation, University of Washington, and Parks Department also contributed their time and expertise to this effort. (Representatives from Parks, U.W. and the Foundation sit on the Arboretum's governing body, the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee or ABGC.)

Most of all, I applaud the citizens of Seattle, whose spirited involvement in the extensive public process helped shaped the final document. Since 1994, more than 4,500 citizens commented through workshops and meetings, focus groups, forums, open houses, public hearings and environmental review. The public process included a series of workshops and meetings sponsored by the Board of Park Commissioners in the fall of 1998 to address citizen concerns over the plan. We have listened to all citizen ideas and concerns and responded with a plan that is far better for the public input.

The master plan effectively fulfills three primary purposes-conservation, recreation and education-with numerous and varied improvements. Key elements of the plan include renovation of 30 existing plant exhibits and creation of 21 new plant exhibits; reorientation of some pedestrian trails; construction of a pedestrian/bicycle trail along Lake Washington Blvd.; renovation and expansion of existing facilities in the vicinity of the Graham Visitors Center; construction of a new pavilion and entrance to the Japanese Garden; the addition of two pedestrian overpasses, one across Lake Washington Blvd. and one across Foster Island Dr.; traffic improvements; and other minor modifications.

Plan Rationale

The ABGC supervised development of the new master plan to provide a vision and a conceptual framework for the improvements and investments necessary to preserve the Washington Park Arboretum. The plan responds to a host of issues that have arisen in the 22 years since the last master plan was published concerning collections, traffic, conservation, education, public safety, recreation, and visitor services. Some of the original plant collections have matured and many trees are dying. These natural resources require improved conditions and special care to thrive. Barrier-free access to public spaces needs to be updated to meet legal requirements. Visitor services, security, and educational and community programs are essential to the Arboretum's public service mission.

The new master plan serves everyone by achieving a balance between the Washington Park Arboretum's functions as a world renowned botanical collection, and a treasured urban refuge and park - a place to appreciate nature, to learn, to play, and to be.

For more information about the plan and the final EIS, please consult the project web site at www.seattle.gov/parks/arboretum/arboPlanindex.htm, e-mail david.takami@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-8020.

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