The View From Denny Park
No. 23 February 8, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks
and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
ATHLETIC FIELDS PLAN
For the past year, the Department has worked with athletic field
users and other citizens on the update of the Joint Athletic Facilities
Development Program (JAFDP). Originally written in 1997, the update
presented an opportunity to look more broadly at the improvement
of athletic fields throughout the city so that future development
increases the availability of safe, quality fields to play on and
decreases the impacts of lights and field use on residents.
Citizens have weighed in on the current draft of the JAFDP since
August, most recently at a Jan. 24 public hearing before the Board
of Park Commissioners. As a result, significant changes have been
proposed for the JAFDP and we will revise our field scheduling policy
and sports participation policy and develop lighting design guidelines
to respond to this feedback. The Park Board will make recommendations
on these issues throughout the winter and early spring. More detailed
information is available at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/meetings/jafdp/jafdp.htm
MAYOR NICKELS' 100-DAY AGENDA
Mayor Greg Nickels has come out of the chute with a "get it
done" plan to improve the efficiency and quality of City services.
As he said in his State of the City speech last month, his mission
is "to make a difference in people's lives."
The Mayor's 100-Day Agenda focuses on four major issues:
* Strengthening the region's economy
* Reducing traffic congestion
* Improving Public Safety
* Strengthening Seattle's Communities
Seattle Parks and Recreation's role is key to the last goal, particularly
in the work we do to preserve the environment and keep Seattle clean.
In the coming weeks, we will be working with other City departments
on targeted cleanup projects throughout the city. Of course, we
also make our communities stronger through our network of community
facilities, places where people gather, play, learn and connect
with each other.
Our first 100 days will be full of milestones and progress on the
Pro Parks and Community Center levies and the rest of our substantial
Capital Improvement Program, and the day-to-day business of caring
for our many parks and park facilities, and providing high quality
recreational programming for people of all ages.
For more information on the Mayor's 100-day Agenda, please visit
the web site www.pan.seattle.gov/mayor/100dayagenda.htm.
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY HOLIDAY: THE MEANING OF THE DREAM
In a few short years, the Martin Luther King Day holiday has become
a national day of community service-"a day on rather than a
day off." I spent most of the chilly Monday morning that day,
Jan. 21, with more than a hundred volunteers, including Gov. Gary
Locke, who put together a new play area at Whitworth Elementary
School. In the spirit of an old-fashioned "barn raising"
we fastened together various parts of the play equipment and readied
them for assembly on the site.
Spearheaded by the Seattle Parks Foundation and funded by the Department's
Gray to Green Program and the Department of Neighborhoods' Neighborhood
Matching Fund, the project at Whitworth replaced one of the "worst
play areas in the School District" with a state-of-the-art
play structure for the benefit of Whitworth students and families
in the surrounding neighborhood. We've partnered with the School
District and community groups on more than a dozen similar projects
to improve schoolyards through the Gray to Green Program.
Just a few miles north at the Garfield Teen Life Center, a diverse
group of young people and their families gathered that day to honor
Dr. King by discussing what the "dream" of the great civil
rights leader means today. Joined by Mayor Greg Nickels and Deputy
Parks Superintendent Patricia McInturff, discussion panelists and
audience members shared personal experiences and pushed themselves
to further the dream through personal commitment. This prompted
one young man to remark, "Since I cannot change the color of
my skin, I will strive to better the content of my character,"
echoing the words of Dr. King himself.
LANGSTON HUGHES CEREMONY KICKS OFF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Earlier this week, I was thrilled to greet the Seattle Postmaster
General and community leaders at a ceremony to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the birth of Langston Hughes, one of the finest poets
and authors in our nation's history and a leader in the Harlem Renaissance.
Appropriately enough, the ceremony was held at our own Langston
Hughes Cultural Arts Center, and featured music, readings and the
unveiling of the new Langston Hughes commemorative postage stamp,
part of the U.S Postal Service's Black Heritage series of stamps.
The Cultural Arts Center will be honoring the life of its namesake
throughout the year.
SEATTLE WINS NATIONAL AQUATICS AWARD
The National Parks and Recreation Association has awarded Seattle-a
city surrounded by water-its 2002 Excellence in Aquatics Award.
We are proud to have maintained and expanded our services to the
public in spite of aging facilities and tightening budgets. Each
year more than a million people enjoy a variety of active and passive
aquatic opportunities at Seattle Parks and Recreation swimming pools
(of which we have 10), lifeguarded beaches (9), small craft centers
(2), wading pools (27), boat ramps (7), and shoreline access (24
In 2002, we will provide vouchers for free swimming lessons for
all third and fourth graders in Seattle Public Schools as part of
the Learn to Swim Program funded by the Pro Parks Levy. These lessons
will be among more than 350,000 swim lessons provided to people
of all ages annually by our pools staff. Our two small craft centers
at Green Lake and Mount Baker on Lake Washington have never been
busier with classes and competitions in rowing, sailing, canoeing
and kayaking. Seattle Parks teams and individuals have won a number
of titles at national regattas.
A tip of our oars to manager Kathy Whitman and her Aquatics Program
staff who keep our pools safe and offer such a great array of programs
I will be in touch soon.