The View From Denny Park
News and Views From The Superintendent
No. 19 September 20, 2001
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and
Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and
Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
PEOPLE SEEK PARKS AT A TIME OF TRAGEDY
In times of national tragedy, people often seek comfort and communion
in parks and public places. This has never been more true than in the
last 10 days. Union Square Park is located just north of the New York
City area evacuated after last week's terror attacks, and has become
the site of a makeshift memorial to victims with mini-posters of the
missing, flowers, candles, paintings, and thousands of candles. It's
also become an important gathering place for people to share experiences
and comfort each other. In Brooklyn, just across the East River from
downtown, New Yorkers flock to waterfront parks.
Seattle parks, too, have provided places for tears of mourning and
joyful celebration alike. One hundred twenty years ago this month, in
September 1881, 4,000 Seattle residents gathered in Occidental Square-later
called Pioneer Square-to mourn the death of President James A. Garfield.
Since then, people have come together in our parks to pray, celebrate,
debate, cry, embrace and rejoice. These special places help us heal
ourselves after a great misfortune or actualize our joy at the end of
a war or a sports victory.
Last week, Seattleites turned out in large numbers at places such as
* Westlake Park, to mark Friday's National Day of Remembrance;
* Seattle Center, for a moving flower vigil at the International Fountain;
* Alki Beach Park, where people laid flowers, poems, candles and other
mementos at the foot of the miniature Statue of Liberty;
* Meadowbrook Community Center, for a neighborhood day of remembrance;
* Golden Gardens, Gas Works Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park
for various other vigils and ceremonies.
Others took quiet walks in their neighborhood park or green space.
Even in the age of cell phones and cyber communication, people have
returned to a more fundamental and traditional form of communication
VIGILANCE AGAINST HATE
A Sikh American employee of Seattle Parks and Recreation
relayed to me the news of an alarming rise in harassment and hate crimes
against the Sikh community in Seattle and across the country in an apparent
backlash against Arabs, Muslims--and anyone who looks like them. One Sikh
man has been shot dead in Arizona, after being mistaken as a Muslim. The
American Friends Service Committee has reported hundreds of incidents
of harassment and violence against Arab Americans, Muslims and mosques.
This is racism pure and simple. Sikhs, who are neither Muslim or of Arab
descent, share the horror and grief of their fellow Americans at the events
of last week.
We cannot tolerate the targeting of a particular ethnic group, nationality
or religion in this way. All of us must be vigilant and speak out against
mindless hate and prejudice.
TEEN PROGRAM LEADERS
Seattle Parks and Recreation teen programs got a major
boost with the hiring this month of 22 full-time Teen Development Leaders,
funded by the Pro Parks Levy. We now have a teen leader at each of our
24 community centers. They will develop a wide variety of new programs
for teens, focusing on arts, the environment, sports, and life skills.
For more information on teen programs, please contact Dave Gilbertson,
Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206) 684-7136, or firstname.lastname@example.org
PERGOLA CONSTRUCTION SET TO BEGIN
Parks staff and contractors have begun to prepare the
construction site for the return of the historic Pergola, the Pioneer
Square monument that toppled in a heap when a large truck struck one of
its supports last January.
The work will involve installing additional concrete footings and steel
supports. An interior steel skeleton, being built to support the outer
cast-iron structure, will add significantly more weight--and structural
integrity--to the Pergola. Pioneer Square park will be closed while
construction is under way. Parks staff are working with local merchants
to minimize construction impacts to the neighborhood. We estimate that
the Pergola will reopen by March 2002.
WE NEED YOUR COMMENTS
There's still time to comment on the update of the
Joint Athletics Facilities Development Program. Two public meetings remain:
tonight, September 20, 6:30 p.m., at Jefferson Community Center, 3801
Beacon Ave. S. and next Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 p.m., at the South
Lake Union Park Armory, 860 Terry Ave. N. If you can't make the meetings
and want to submit your comments in writing, please send them to Alix
Ogden, Seattle Parks and Recreation, 100 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle, WA 980109,
or fax: (206) 233-7923.
If you'd like to view and discuss new features and improvements planned
for Jefferson Park, please come to an Open House meeting on Saturday,
September 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Jefferson Community Center,
3801 Beacon Ave. S. For more information about the park planning process,
e-mail Don Bullard, project manager, at email@example.com
I will be in touch soon.