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
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
For more information on teen programs, please
contact Dave Gilbertson, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206)
684-7136, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
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
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
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
For more information about the Pro Parks
Levy acquisition program, please contact Catherine Anstett,
Seattle Parks and Recreation, at email@example.com
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.