The View From Denny Park
No. 24 March 28, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter
about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events
from Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
PRESERVING PARKS AND PROGRAMS
In the wake of cutbacks in park services and maintenance in King
County and Washington State parks, is Seattle next?
Not if we can help it.
While Seattle faces similar financial pressures as other local
governments, particularly declining revenues and the continuing
recession, we are doing everything possible to minimize impacts
on our parks and park programs.
The Mayor's proposal to cut $7.1 million in the City's 2002 "General
Fund" means about a $700,000 reduction in the Parks budget
that we will achieve primarily by trimming administrative costs
throughout the department and by not filling vacant positions.
More severe cuts are expected for the 2003-2004 biennial budget;
we are now assessing additional efficiency moves, including restructuring
our organization, vehicle and equipment reductions, and fee increases.
Because the expected magnitude of this budget cut, we will also
likely have to consider service cuts such as reducing community
center hours or programs. These will be taken where they will have
the least inconvenience or impact on our customers. I am open to
I will be sure to keep you informed as these decisions draw near.
CLEAN SEATTLE DEBUTS WITH OTHELLO PARK CLEANUP
Othello Park and the surrounding neighborhood was the beneficiary
of Mayor Nickels' first major "Clean Seattle" project.
Clean Seattle is Mayor Nickels' initiative to restore Seattle's
reputations as one of the cleanest cities in the nation.
On Wednesday, March 6, a small army of City workers including Seattle
Parks crews, park neighbors and local businesses worked together
to paint the comfort station, replace the playground surface, enhance
parks plantings and remove graffiti from public structures. A group
of 30 children from New Holly Preschool joined in by planting a
Around the park, workers collected and removed 73 bags of litter,
removed 2,000 pounds of debris from a public open space, repaired
or replaced 15 traffic signs and cleaned and clipped more than 100
street trees, among many other cleanup activities.
On March 16, 120 volunteers from the Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing
Center braved snowy and windy weather to participate in another
Clean Seattle project-the cleanup of a section of Lake Washington
Blvd. And on March 27, Mayor Nickels, City crews and volunteers
tackled the Lake City neighborhood. More Clean Seattle cleanup days
are being scheduled throughout the city.
PRO PARKS GRANTS FOR YOUTH
I am excited about the new matching grants funded through the Pro
Parks Levy that will support programs for youth and teens, especially
those in "underserved" communities.
Funded with $150,000 a year from the Levy, the Youth/Teen Development
Fund recently awarded its first 19 projects chosen from 60 applicants.
An evaluation committee of adults and youth from outside the Department
reviewed the funding proposals and selected the award winners.
Of the 19 projects, six will benefit low-income youth and teens,
13 will create new programs for ethnic or immigrant populations,
five aid homeless youth, four help student dropouts, and two serve
youth with disabilities. The program creates new partnerships with
outside agencies and organizations by requiring a 50 percent match
in funds from the program sponsor.
LEVY OPPORTUNITY FUND: PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS
The Pro Parks Levy Oversight Committee received 44 nominations
for the first cycle of the Opportunity Fund. The Committee made
its preliminary recommendations for funding on March 26, including
nine acquisitions (Greenwood Park addition, Fremont Peak, Ballard
Open Space, Maple Leaf community garden, Pinehurst pocket park,
Mount Baker ridge viewpoint, Ercolini property, Junction Plaza,
and Gateway North) and seven development projects (Licton Springs
Park, International District Community Center, Flo Ware Park, Belltown
P-Patch, Hitt's Hill, Mapes Creek walkway, and Graham Hill School
playground). Public comments on the preliminary recommendations
are scheduled for the Committee's April 23 meeting, with the final
recommendations to be forwarded in May from the Committee to the
Superintendent and the Mayor.
The Opportunity Fund was a key part of the Levy that was approved
by Seattle voters in November 2000. The Levy Oversight Committee
recommended that the $10 million Opportunity Fund, which was set
up to fund unforeseen park development projects and land acquisitions,
include two funding cycles: $6 million in the current funding cycle
and $4 million in 2004-2005. In the summer of 2001, the Oversight
Committee drafted criteria to evaluate and select Opportunity Fund
projects through the first funding cycle. It designated $3 million
for acquisition in the underserved urban center villages, University
District, Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square/International District.
With the remaining $3 million, the Committee sought nominations
for potential park acquisition and development projects. For more
information about the Oversight Committee or the Opportunity Fund,
please contact Catherine Anstett, firstname.lastname@example.org
(206) 615-0386, or visit the web site at www.seattle.gov/parks/proparks/levycommittee.asp
WOODLAND PARK ZOO MOVES AHEAD
The Woodland Park Zoo took some giant steps into the future in
In late February, Deborah Jensen was selected as the new president
and Chief Executive Officer of the Zoo. Jensen is nationally recognized
conservation scientist who most recently was an executive at the
national office of The Nature Conservancy. She will join the Zoo
staff on April 29.
In early March, I participated in a ceremony to officially sign
the historic agreement that shifts the management and operations
of the Zoo to the Woodland Park Zoological Society. Under the 20-year
agreement, the City retains ownership of the Zoo and will continue
to provide some public funding.
In the meantime, the Zoo's Long-Range Plan is under review by the
Park Board, and the Mayor will soon present his recommendations
to the City Council for action. The plan updates the Zoo's 1976
plan, which pioneered the concept of naturalistic exhibits, and
provides improvements to animal exhibits, visitor facilities and
Zoo offices to accommodate the recent growth in Zoo attendance and
FEDERAL FUNDING MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Please let your representatives in Congress know that federal funding
makes a big difference at the local level. The recent playground
renovation at Pratt Park is a great example: a $245,000 grant from
the federal Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR) was
an essential part of the funding for this project that developed
a state-of-the-art play area in the heart of Seattle's Central Area
Now funding for parks and recreation is threatened. While the President's
national 2003 budget recommends $200 million for the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF) state assistance, it requests no funds
for UPARR. The proposed budget would also redirect $50 million of
the LWCF appropriation away from recreation toward support of other
programs whose funding has been cut.
Please urge your representatives to support full funding for both
LWCF and UPARR. For more information, visit: www.nps.gov/pub_aff/uparr/grants/index.html
I will be in touch soon.