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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View from Denny Park: 
News and Views from the Superintendent
 
No.13. March 20, 2001 

 

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

EARTHQUAKE AFTERMATH

I hope you weathered the recent earthquake without serious damage or injury. I happened to be on the 12th floor of the soon-to-be-replaced Municipal Building and spent 45 nervous seconds under a large conference table. It was not a fun experience!

The good news is that of our hundreds of parks and facilities, located all over the city, most fared remarkably well. Only a few suffered significant damage and I am proud of the way our Parks staff reacted both during and after the tremor: making sure people in their care were safe, and checking buildings and land for damage.

Several Parks buildings were temporarily closed due to earthquake damage. The Green Lake Community Center sustained a sizable crack in the floor where the old part of the building meets the newer part. After minor repairs, the building re-opened to the public this week. Across the lake, the Green Lake Small Craft Center remains closed after the shellhouse floor dropped three inches and the underlying slab slid four inches to the east. We will need to raze the structure and rebuild it, and in the meantime we are buying a "pre-fab" shellhouse so that boating programs can continue. There were also some minor cracks in the path around the lake.

Other minor damage in the Parks system occurred at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp in southeast Seattle, the Montlake Community Center, the South Lake Union Armory and dock, the gym at Hiawatha Community Center, the Alki Bathhouse (which is still closed), and Pier 59 next to the Aquarium. The Aquarium was partially closed for a couple of days right after the quake, while engineers gauged the damage.

2001 PRIORITIES

At a recent meeting of Parks and Recreation managers, I presented the department's top five work priorities for 2001 and some keys to successful implementation of these goals. I wanted to share these with you.

The "high five" work priorities in 2001 for the department are:

* Project Lift-Off: This is a City-community initiative to provide top-notch care and programming for children age 0-18 during the hours they are not in school. Our department will play a leadership role in the 12-18 age group.
* Aquarium and Zoo: Both institutions are at critical junctures with the Aquarium developing plans for a new facility and the Zoo embarking on a Long-Range Plan; both the Aquarium and Zoo will be making the transition to non-profit management.
* Environmental stewardship: We need to go the extra mile in caring for our 6,000 acres of park lands and hundreds of facilities, and in educating citizens of all ages about the importance of environmental stewardship at our environmental education centers and community centers, and in our volunteer and Adopt-a-Park programs. We are putting the finishing touches on an "environmental stewardship agenda."
* Enhanced maintenance: Heeding the call of many citizens, we are working hard to take care of our parks and facilities, especially during peak-use periods.
* Community Center and Pro Parks levies: The $36 million community center portion of the 1999 million Seattle Center and Community Center Levy will fund improvements or new construction of nine Parks and Recreation community centers; the 2000 $198.2 million Pro Parks Levy will fund more than 100 park acquisition and development, maintenance, and recreational programming projects throughout the city. In 2001, we will continue to implement the Community Center Levy and are getting organized to deliver on our commitments with the Pro Parks Levy.

In accomplishing this ambitious scope of work, I challenged my managers to:

* Fully understand our mission and workplace expectations - especially our mission to "build community."
* Understand and commit to our priority work programs (the "high five").
* Communicate to each other and to citizens our concerns, accomplishments and kudos effectively, respectfully and in a timely manner.
* Look for and build successful connections - our ability to achieve our goals hinges on our ability to work with others and use our resources efficiently.
* Pay attention to the every day business of the organization such as how we hire people, run programs, pay bills, respond to citizen inquiries, and manage contracts.
* Be positive! Focus on what we as individuals can do to accomplish the task at hand.

PRO PARKS COMMITTEE MEETS

In late February, the Mayor and City Council approved the selection of the 16 dynamic and diverse members of the Pro Parks Levy Oversight Committee. The committee has already held two meetings, beginning their work to advise us on levy implementation. In subsequent meetings the committee will help develop the criteria and application process for the $10 million Opportunity Fund. Parks staff are finishing Pro Parks management and implementation plans that will help guide our work over the next eight years.

The committee roster includes: Karen Daubert (Chair), Russ Brubaker, Susan Casey, Doug Dunham, Susan Golub, James Kelly, Cheryl Klinker, Marshall Livingston, Peter Lukevich, Joyce Moty, David Okimoto, Jackie Ramels, Keith Richards, Joanne Scott, Robin Maynard Seaver, and Renee Tanner.

If you'd like to receive notices for committee meetings, please contact Catherine Anstett at (206) 615-0386 or catherine.anstett@seattle.gov. You can also consult our web site: www.seattle.gov/parks/communitynotices

SEATTLE PARKS RESUMES CONTROL OF INTERBAY GOLF CENTER

Seattle Parks and Recreation has resumed control of the Interbay Golf Center with the purchase of a management contract for the popular golfing venue. Last month, the Parks Department signed an agreement with Premier Golf Centers, LLC, to manage the center on an interim basis until a permanent management firm is selected.

The issue was in some doubt as late as last month. On February 9, I traveled to New York City to participate in a court-ordered bankruptcy auction. Seattle's contract with the bankrupt Family Golf Centers, Incorporated was on the selling block to the highest bidder. Our winning bid and eventual purchase price of $5.65 million was reduced by current rents and interest, and adjustments for pre-paid items, so that the city's actual payment for the contract was $5.14 million.

We are happy to have these significant assets back in the hands of the citizens of Seattle, and we are pleased that we could maintain high quality, affordable services at Interbay Golf without interruption.

MARCH 28 PUBLIC HEARING ON ARBORETUM PLAN

The Seattle City Council and the Board of Park Commissioners will hold a joint public hearing on the Arboretum Master Plan on Wednesday, March 28, 2001, at City Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 600 4th Ave., 11th floor. E-mail and phone-in testimony will be taken from 5 to 5:30 p.m. In-person testimony will be taken from 5:30 p.m. with sign up for speaking beginning at 5 p.m. The City's government television cable channel, TV Seattle, will broadcast the hearing live.

The special e-mail address for hearing testimony is councillive@seattle.gov The telephone number for call-in testimony is (206) 684-TV21.

I firmly believe the plan strikes the right balance between the Washington Park Arboretum's functions as a renowned botanical collection and a treasured urban park. After a long and constructive public process, in which the ideas and concerns of neighbors and Arboretum supporters were carefully considered and incorporated, it is time to adopt the plan and begin implementation.

I will be in touch soon.

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