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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View From Denny Park

News and Views From The Superintendent
No. 17 July 12, 2001
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds

EXTRA! EXTRA! 500,000 PEOPLE CELEBRATE WITHOUT INCIDENT

In the past two years Seattle has had more than its share of negative media coverage on the city's handling of crowds for WTO and Mardi Gras.

But here's a story that probably WON'T be covered: Over the past week, more than half a million gathered peaceably in Seattle at public venues like Gas Works Park (60,000 for Fourth of July fireworks), Myrtle Edwards Park (300,000 on July 4), Alki Beach Park (thousands on July 4) and Safeco Field and environs (more than 200,000 for baseball's All-Star Game and related events). All summer long, large crowds will enjoy street fairs, community and ethnic festivals, parades, hydroplane races, and spending leisure time in parks without major incident.

This is the true face of our city and of the police officers who are responsible for managing large events.

SUMMER IN THE CITY

There's surely no better place to be than Seattle in the summer. But for working families, summer also brings the challenge of finding safe and constructive activities for their school-age children.

Seattle Parks and Recreation fills the bill with numerous free or low-cost activities and programs. Of course, there are our popular regional parks with many things to do: Golden Gardens Park, Green Lake, the recently reopened Gas Works Park (see below), Seward Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, Lincoln Park, and Alki Beach Park. Also packed are our 24 wading pools, nine swimming beaches and two outdoor pools: Colman Pool in West Seattle and Mounger Pool in Magnolia.

Parks community centers, playgrounds and environmental education centers offer free or low-cost summer camps, drop-in programs and nature day camps. We also work in partnership with the YMCA, boys and girls clubs, and other community agencies to provide stimulating programs for youth. Another of our facilities, the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, is producing the fifth annual Citywide Teen Musical. This summer, 70 youth, ages 11 to 18, are hard at work rehearsing Snow White and the Seven ? in preparation for final performances on August 31 and September 1 at the Paramount Theater.

Free family activities include Shakespeare in the Park plays at several locations, weekend "Peace Concerts," Bicycle Saturdays and Sundays, and any number of community and Seafair festivals and special events.

Summer is definitely fun at Seattle Parks and Recreation. For more information, please visit the web page www.seattle.gov/parks/events/summercity2001.htm, or call (206) 684-4075 for a free copy of our "Summer in the City" guide.

PRO PARKS TEEN LEADERS EXPAND YOUTH OFFERINGS

Young people have more positive options than ever this summer at Seattle Parks and Recreation. One of the primary choices will be activities organized by our new teen program staff. Funded by the Pro Parks Levy, 10 part-time teen leaders will work this summer in our community centers. By September, we will have 22 full-time teen leaders, one for each of our 24 community centers. The teen leaders will focus on citizenship and leadership, arts and culture, environmental stewardship, sports and fitness, life skills and personal development, and social recreation.

For more information on teen programs, please contact Dave Gilbertson, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206) 684-7136, or dave.gilbertson@seattle.gov.

GAS WORKS PARK REOPENS

One of the city's most beloved summer spots, Gas Works Park, reopened on June 30, after the successful completion of an eight-month environmental cleanup project. The project finished under budget and just in time for the annual July 4th fireworks.

The $3 million project was a partnership among the City of Seattle, former site owner Puget Sound Energy (PSE), and the State Department of Ecology. The City and PSE paid for the cost of the cleanup, which involved the extraction and burning of benzene gas found beneath the surface of the park, and the capping of 5.5 acres of the park with clean soil and newly grown grass.

The grass at Gas Works will stay green year-round in order to prevent erosion of the soil and exposure to underground contaminants.

CANADA GEESE

This year, as last year, we have been working with the regional Waterfowl Management Committee, and have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help us control the population of Canada geese in Seattle and surrounding areas.

This has been a difficult and unpleasant decision, but as Parks Superintendent, my first responsibility is for the health and safety of park users, many of whom have been avoiding visiting certain parks because of the abundance of unsightly and hazardous goose droppings. Each bird leaves three-plus pounds of droppings behind every day, and much of it is left in public parks: on beaches, athletic fields, children's play areas, golf courses, docks and piers, and other public places the public rightfully expects to find safe, clean and usable.

We've worked with other local governments in the area to resolve the problem with non-lethal means including "addling" goose eggs, erecting barriers, spraying bitter grape-based liquid on grass, and transporting the geese to Eastern Washington, where they are no longer welcome. Dog patrols don't really work either; they just chase the geese to another location. We've tried these methods singly and in combination for the past 15 years, and none has significantly reduced goose numbers.

We will continue to evaluate all of these methods on an annual basis, and next year, with the help of volunteers, we will step up the egg addling activity in the hope of stabilizing the population.

PRESERVING PRECIOUS GREEN SPACE IN WEST SEATTLE

Good news about open space: Earlier this week, Mayor Paul Schell made the announcement that the City has signed an agreement to purchase a 10-acre property in West Seattle for $1.3 million for preservation as wildlife habitat and open space. This is the first purchase agreement under the Pro Parks Levy approved by Seattle voters last November. The purchase agreement is a major step in the acquisition process, which requires City Council approval. The property owner is Kurtis Mayer, a Tacoma developer, who has owned the property for more than 20 years and who had proposed construction of a 64-unit condominium at the site.

The property is located in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, home to red fox, red-legged frogs, hawks, and a great blue heron colony. Preservation of the property has long been a goal for residents in the Delridge and Pigeon Point communities, and was identified as a priority in the Delridge Neighborhood Plan.

For more information about the Pro Parks Levy acquisition program, please contact Catherine Anstett, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at catherine.anstett@seattle.gov or call (206) 615-0386. You can also visit our web site at www.seattle.gov/parks and click on Pro Parks Levy.

BASEBALL LEGACIES FOR TWO SEATTLE PLAYFIELDS

A couple of months ago, I reported about the Lower Woodland "Legacy" project, uncertain of the exact donation amount from Major League Baseball. Earlier this week, on All-Star Game day, we received the exciting news that MLB will be donating $1 million to make the improvements at Lower Woodland baseball and softball fields. Much of the money came from proceeds from the "All-Star Workout Day" event held at Safeco Field on July 9. The generous grant will pay for renovations at Playfield No. 1 at Lower Woodland, the Parks Department's only baseball-only field, and four nearby softball fields. More on this exciting project as it develops.

A mile or two to the east, Ross Playfield received a much-needed facelift thanks to a generous donation of materials, worth $10,000, from Home Depot and KIRO Newsradio. The donation was part of Home Depot's "Improve a Field" grant program, for which the North Central Little League applied. The two Little League fields at Ross received new soil, backstop fencing and boards, bleacher benches, bases and pitching rubbers, for the two Little League fields. What's more, dozens of energetic Home Depot employees volunteered on July 10 and 11 to make all of the field improvements and do a general cleanup of the park and comfort station.

These two projects perfectly illustrate the increasing need for government to work in partnership with communities and businesses on public projects large and small.

I will be in touch soon.
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