The View From Denny Park
News and Views From The Superintendent
No. 22 December 20, 2001
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and
Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and
Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
PAUL SCHELL LEAVES A PARKS AND RECREATION LEGACY
During his four-year tenure, Mayor Paul Schell has been
a staunch supporter of parks and recreation programs and initiatives.
He leaves office with an impressive legacy of improvements in all parts
of the city. Just to name a few of the most prominent achievements under
2000 Pro Parks Levy
The Mayor was a strong backer of the $198.2 million Pro Parks Levy,
passed by Seattle voters in November 2000. The levy is funding more
than 100 projects and programs throughout the city over the next eight
years, in nearly every city neighborhood. Levy implementation is well
1999 Seattle Center and Community Center Levy
Voters approved $36 million to improve or build nine community centers,
including three entirely new community centers in the underserved neighborhoods
of Belltown, the International District and Northgate.
1998 Seattle School District Athletics Field Levy
In an agreement between the Mayor and late Schools Superintendent John
Stanford, the School District agreed to include in the District's levy,
$36 million for athletic field improvements. Parks and Recreation and
city neighborhoods have greatly benefited from this investment in athletic
fields at Rainier Beach, Sealth, Nathan Hale/Jane Addams, Ingraham and
Wilson Pacific. The community can use these state-of-the-art athletic
complexes when not in use by schools.
The Mayor took the lead in implementing this program to create an affordable
and effective system of early learning and activities for children and
youth when they're not in school. As the lead agency for the youth portion
of Project Lift-Off (for children ages 12 to 18), Seattle Parks has
continued to provide high quality programs and activities through its
before and after school programs, Youth Engaged in Service, and through
the enhancement of youth programs at all of our community centers.
Care for the environment has been a high priority of the Schell administration.
At Parks, this has translated into reducing the use of pesticides in
city parks; conserving water and energy; restoring our urban forest-including
the planting of more than 25,000 trees during the Seattle Millennium
Project; restoring salmon habitats at creeks and along shorelines; and
significant improvements to our environmental education and stewardship
Gray to Green Program
This was the mayor's brainchild: a partnership with the Seattle School
District to improve recreation and green spaces at two dozen public
schools for use by both school students and the surrounding communities.
Other significant Parks and Recreation projects under the Paul Schell's
* Tripling the Neighborhood Matching Fund for neighborhood projects,
hundreds of them located in parks
* Acquiring property from the Navy to expand and develop South Lake
* Approving a 20-year Arboretum master plan.
* Implementing a sweeping re-development of Sand Point Magnuson Park.
* Working with the Seattle Art Museum and other City departments to
develop the Olympic Sculpture Park.
* Developing a transition to unified non-profit management at the Woodland
* Securing a desirable waterfront location for the new Aquarium and
progressing on development plans.
MAYOR-ELECT HAS STRONG RECORD OF SUPPORT FOR PARKS
The future of Seattle parks and recreation system is
in good hands with Mayor-Elect Greg Nickels. During his tenure on the
King County Council, Greg Nickels has been a consistent advocate for both
local and regional parks. He understands the importance of open space
in a rapidly developing metropolitan area.
He was a prime supporter of the 1989 Open Space bond issue and supports
the use of King County Conservation Futures Tax funds to purchase open
space in Seattle. He supported the recent community center and Pro Parks
levies. He advocated for park and green space projects in his County
Council district, in some cases providing County funds for open space
acquisitions and park improvements in West Seattle. Greg was also instrumental
in the development and design of Seacrest Park in West Seattle.
From a regional perspective, Greg was a key player in the acquisition
of Maury Island Marine Park, which will become a destination site for
citizens wanting access to Puget Sound. He was almost single-handedly
able to make Puget Sound Park a reality: he convinced a developer to
shrink the size of his project in half so the site could accommodate
the park. The Mayor-Elect also was one of the authors of the Youth Sports
Facility Grant program, which has distributed millions of dollars in
grants to school districts, local park agencies and community groups
for the development of athletic fields and other amenities.
I am honored that the Mayor-Elect retained me, and I look forward to
working in his administration to serve you in 2002. We've got lots to
do, and I am energized and excited about our opportunities next year.
COUNCIL APPROVES NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT OF ZOO
Earlier this week, the City Council voted 8-1 to approve
a 20-year agreement to unify management of the Woodland Park Zoo under
the non-profit Woodland Park Zoological Society. The Zoo will remain under
City ownership and the Zoo Society will manage it under contract.
The agreement fulfilled the 1995 recommendation of the Zoo Commission
II (a panel of citizens, Zoo staff, labor representatives and civic
leaders) and will help make Zoo management and operations more efficient,
focused and financially stable.
Citizen input was invaluable to the process. In the recent public process,
including a Dec. 3 public hearing, we received many valuable suggestions
that significantly strengthened the final document. We now have an agreement
that fully protects the public's interests, gives the Zoo Society the
financial flexibility and resources it needs to operate a top-notch
zoo, and holds us all accountable for making sure the Zoo succeeds.
I will be in touch soon.