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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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


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 his leadership:

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 under way.

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.

Project Lift-Off
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.

Environmental Stewardship
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 programs.

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 administration include:
* 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 Union Park.
* 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 Park Zoo
* Securing a desirable waterfront location for the new Aquarium and progressing on development plans.


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.


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.

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