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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View From Denny Park

Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent

No. 28. July 30, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter
about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events
from Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds

The View from Denny Park: News and Views from the Superintendent

TURNING THE CORNER AT GOLDEN GARDENS PARK

Last Thursday night, for the first time in several years, my staff reported that there were no illegal fires at Golden Gardens Park.

This is progress!

Just a few weeks ago, dozens of illegal fires were blazing at the beach on any given night. Fires are allowed only at designated fire rings on a first-come, first-served basis and users must burn clean firewood. For the past few years, we've seen an increase of people burning painted wood, wooden warehouse pallets, or even home furniture in massive bonfires. As the problem escalated, both Seattle Parks and the Police Department were understaffed to adequately monitor the beach at night and enforce the rules.

Early this summer, however, we decided to tackle the problem head on. Together with Police, the Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Public Utilities, Animal Control, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and a number of community groups and volunteers, we have increased our collective presence and stewardship of the beach.

Kicked off by Mayor Nickels' Clean Seattle event on June 30, we have removed a huge amount of debris from the beach, designed and installed new fire pits that will be easier to clean, added a new bargeload of new sand, and are creating better signs to explain the park rules about fires.

These efforts are beginning to make a difference and we will continue to refine them as the summer goes on. If you have any questions about Golden Gardens and our efforts there, please call Kathie Huus, Northwest Manager, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206) 233-3960 or e-mail her at kathie.huus@seattle.gov

"STEP" PROGRAM TRAINS INNER CITY TEENS

This summer, the STEP program is taking giant strides in giving teens from low-income neighborhoods good job experience and education while providing valuable improvements to the trails system in city parks.

Steps Toward Environmental Partnership (STEP) is employing 23 teens age 15-17 from July 8 to Aug. 16. Participants earn a minimum wage of $6.90 per hour and work a 30-hour week restoring trails, removing and replacing "invasive" plants, and more. The STEP teens have already done great trail work at Seward Park, where they laid down six telephone poles creating a "bridge" over a wet and muddy area of a park trail.

In the classroom once a week, the young people are also learning some basic life skills such as first aid and CPR, drug and alcohol prevention, resume writing and job interviewing, and personal finance skills, including how to open and keep a bank account.

Our partners in this pilot program are the Seattle Rotary, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, SAFECO Insurance and other organizations and businesses. For more information about this innovative program, please call Peggy Pullen, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206) 386-1916 or e-mail her at peggy.pullen@seattle.gov

PRO PARKS PROJECTS AT GREEN LAKE, BELVEDERE VIEWPOINT

One of the many and varied benefits of the Pro Parks Levy is improved landscaping at selected Seattle parks. Two striking examples are the improved "esplanade" at the east entrance to Green Lake Park and Belvedere Viewpoint in West Seattle. I invite you to stop by and take a look!

At Green Lake, the esplanade entrance across from 72nd NE and E. Greenlake Way N. was originally designed as a connection from the Green Lake business district and the park's community center. The newly planted beds of common annuals draw visitors visually into the park in an attractive paisley pattern.

At Belvedere Viewpoint on Admiral Way, Parks staff have created a colorful and welcoming entry to the park. The plantings include cherry trees, dogwood, smoke trees and other trees, plus hundreds of flowering perennials.

To view these beautiful landscapes, please visit the web page www.seattle.gov/parks/proparks or better yet, see them in person! For more information about the projects, please call Lisa Chen, Parks Horticulturist, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206) 233-3777 or e-mail her at lisa.chen@seattle.gov

TWO GREAT DEBUTS IN AUGUST: THE WIZ AND THE PERGOLA

I am looking forward to two greatly anticipated debuts in the month of August: the annual musical produced by teens and staff at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on Aug. 15 and 16, and the reopening of the reconstructed Pergola in Pioneer Square on Aug. 17.

The end of summer would just not be the same without the sixth annual All-City Teen Summer Musical. This year, Langston Hughes will present an adaptation of The Wiz called "The Wiz with a Renaissance Swing," set in the Harlem in the Harlem Renaissance era of the 1920s. The production is part of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great poet and artist Langston Hughes.

Tickets to performances are FREE and available at all Rite Aid TicketMaster outlets. For more information about the summer musical, please call Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, at (206) 684-4757.

Felled by a wayward truck a year and a half ago, the Pergola in Pioneer Square will return stronger than ever. It will have the same stately appearance, but will be infinitely stronger, reinforced now with an internal steel skeleton necessary to make it structurally sound and up to current seismic standards.

Workers at Seidelhuber Iron Works, our expert consultant in the reconstruction, did the painstaking work of custom casting each of the thousands of the steel parts of the skeleton. Seidelhuber, Anthony Construction and Corona Steel are now installing the structure on site.

For more information on the Pergola project, please call Dan Johnson, Project Manager, at (206) 684-7318 or e-mail him at dan.johnson@seattle.gov

DESIGNER SELECTED FOR SOUTH LAKE UNION PROJECT

The redevelopment of South Lake Union Park took a giant step forward with the selection in early July of nationally respected Hargreaves Associates as the principal designer for the project.

Hargreaves' successful projects include Louisville Waterfront Park, Crissy Field in San Francisco and the National Museum of Innovation in Tokyo, and we expect them to bring the same kind of innovation and environmentally sustainable design to South Lake Union. The firm and its main design team of Arup, Mithun Ralph Applebaum Associates and Moffatt and Nichol Engineers will revise the South Lake Union Master Plan update and develop designs for the high-priority elements of the plan that are already funded.

SAND POINT MAGNUSON PARK SPORTS FIELDS AND WETLANDS

An update on this project: Earlier this month, we issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Sand Point Magnuson Park's wetlands/sports fields project. The proposal envisions a complex of 15 sports fields, 11 of them with synthetic turf and lights, drainage improvements and a 65-acre natural wetland. On July 25, the Board of Park Commissioners held a public hearing on the FEIS. On July 29, three appeals were filed to the City's Hearing Examiner, one by the Low-Income Housing Institute, one by Seattle Audubon Society and another by the Citizens for Wildlife and Neighbors. We expect final City Council action on the proposal this winter. Please keep checking our web site for updates.

I will be in touch soon.

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