The View From Denny Park
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent
No. 32. February 5, 2003
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
Happy New Year to one and all. This has been a busy year already
and I would like to provide updates on some major issues and projects.
COLMAN PARK TREES
The shocking destruction of 108 large, mature trees in Colman Park
came to a satisfying conclusion last week when Judge Jerome Farris
agreed to pay the City $500,000 to settle the case. Workers hired
by Judge Farris had cut down the big leaf maples and cherry trees
last summer. This money will enable us not only to replant trees,
but to restore the site in keeping with our goal of creating a long-lasting
urban forest. The work will include the planting of 60 native trees
and 600 groundcover plants, five years of maintenance and monitoring
to ensure these plants are well established, and a summer youth
program to remove ivy and other invasive plants and replant native
Just as important as monetary restitution, I believe the hefty
fine sends a strong message to would-be tree vandals that such wanton
disregard for the law and policies of the city will not be tolerated.
I want to thank the many concerned citizens who wrote and called
me and the City Attorney over the past few months to express your
outrage and desire for a just outcome. I also want to thank City
Attorney Tom Carr and his staff for vigorously pursuing this matter.
CHANGES IN GOLF MANAGEMENT
Changes are under way for the management of our three major public
golf courses, but golfers should notice little or no difference
other than a modest decrease in green fees.
In late January 2003, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Municipal
Golf of Seattle (MGS) agreed on a new management structure for the
Jackson Park, Jefferson Park and West Seattle golf courses. As part
of that agreement, Seattle Parks will end the Citys management
agreement with MGS, unify management under a single golf director,
form a new golf advisory council, and temporarily turn over the
financial reins to the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), an existingand
highly successfulnon-profit corporation affiliated with Seattle
Parks programs and recreation facilities.
Our ultimate goal is to get Seattle golfers to return again and
again to our great public courses. I believe this approach will
provide a seamless transition in operations and allows us maximum
flexibility and time for considering long-term management options.
A little background: In 1995, the City contracted with the newly
created Municipal Golf (MGS) of Seattle, also known as Seattle Golf,
a non-profit corporation, to run Jackson, Jefferson and West Seattle
golf courses with maintenance provided by City employees. A 1998
review of the management arrangement by a consultant, Economics
Research Associates (ERA), listed a number of recommendations for
improvement, and a 2001 follow-up report by ERA concluded the existing
agreement was not working. Following extensive public review with
the Park Board, we pursued a revised contract with MGS. However,
upon determining that the corporation was near bankruptcyMGS
had been unable to pay maintenance bills to the city totaling$1.3
millionwe decided to streamline the management structure and
save significant golf dollars.
The new golf director is Andy Soden, formerly golf supervisor with
Pierce County Parks and Recreation. Please contact Andy at (206)
684-7497 or email@example.com
if you have any questions or concerns.
OLMSTED CENTENNIAL 1903-2003
As you may know, 2003 is the 100th anniversary of the renowned
Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm's visionary plan for
Seattle's parks and boulevards. In 1903, Seattle Park Commissioners
hired the Olmsteds to design a comprehensive park system and the
resulting plan -- an exquisite mingling of graceful design and natural
features -- became the guiding vision for park acquisition and development
for the next 100 years. Seattle now has one of the most fully realized
Olmsted park systems in the country.
Throughout the year, we are partnering with the Friends of Seattles
Olmsted Parks, the Seattle Parks Foundation and many other community
organizations to celebrate the living legacy of the Olmsteds. Here
are some highlights of how the Department is celebrating the Olmsted
- Monthly tours of Olmsted park (sponsored by the Seattle Parks
Foundation)--the next one is on Sat., Feb. 15 at Hiawatha Playfield
in West Seattle).
- Northwest Flower and Garden Show (Feb. 19-23)--This year's
show will feature a major display garden, the largest in the show,
with an Olmsted theme (in partnership with the Arboretum Foundation),
and a separate Olmsted information exhibit booth.
- This exhibit will travel to community centers, libraries and
other public spaces after the Flower and Garden Show. (See www.gardenshow.com/nw02)
- Earth Day park restoration work parties in Olmsted parks in
- The annual meeting of the National Association of Olmsted Parks
will be held in early May at South Lake Union Armory. The conference
will feature panels on park history and development, and tours
of Olmsted parks and gardens.
- Volunteer Park: We are working on several projects to improve
and beautify this Olmsted-designed park.
If you have any questions about the Centennial, please contact
David Takami with my staff at (206) 684-8020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Also consult the web site www.seattle.gov/friendsofolmstedparks
The Westcrest Park improvement plan approved by the Park Board
last June and reaffirmed by the City Council on Feb. 3 supports
both off-leash users and other general park users while preserving
the natural areas of the park. Funded by $516,000 from the Pro Parks
Levy, the project moves and expands the off-leash area to 4.5 acres,
builds a new play area and improves park trails. The project is
nearly complete. For more information on the Westcrest project,
please contact Karen Galt, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at (206)
684-7104 or email@example.com
Our Planning and Development Division staff are hard at work implementing
major voter-approved levies, Major Maintenance, and Neighborhood
Matching Fund projects. Among the recent highlights:
Schmitz Park Preserve: This West Seattle park has recently
been restored to a more natural state with the daylighting of Schmitz
Creek and the removal of a parking lot. The park is one of the few
places in Seattle with stands of old-growth Douglas fir, Western
hemlock and Western red cedars.
Wallingford Playfield: We have redesigned and restored the
playfield including landscaping, and added a new play area, paths,
and entryways. The community is building a play structure.
Lincoln Park Annex: A new addition to the Lincoln Park Annex
was completed last September. The park now has a solstice-aligned
plaza with a view to Puget Sound. We also added a trail with stairs
to 44th Avenue SW, and cleared a dense thicket of weeds and blackberries.
Jefferson Park Pathway: This project is a 2/3-mile pedestrian/jogging
path around Jefferson Parks nine-hole golf course. The path
connects the golf clubhouse, lawn bowling clubhouse, Jefferson Field,
the VA Hospital, and Beacon Ave. The project is under construction
and will be completed by mid-March.
Volunteer Park Entrance Garden: This project will re-establish
part of the parks Olmsted heritage by recreating the entrance
plantings as they appear on historic drawings and as they were actually
planted in the early 1900s. This will transform a blank lawn area
with the addition of new shrub beds that will include Oregon Grape,
Memorial Rose, Japanese Barberry, and Abelia. Most of these have
been already planted. The project is funded by the Pro Parks Levy
and the Seattle Parks Foundation.
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
On Martin Luther King day, Parks and the Garfield Teen Life Center
Advisory Council sponsored a celebration honoring five powerful
and diverse civil rights leaders who demonstrated the same passion
and commitment as Martin Luther King. Two hundred teens participated
in the morning program and then joined an estimated 5,000 people
in the march to downtown to honor Dr. King. Many teens from our
community centers throughout the city came to the Garfield campus
to participate in the march.
I will be in touch soon.