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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 42. October 8, 2003
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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In this issue:
Nations in Bloom | Budget Hearings | B.J. Brooks | Implementing the Arboretum Master Plan | Northgate Community Center and Park | Sea Otter Pup | Restoring Salmon Habitat | Trust for Public Lands Report


Nations in BloomThe city of Seattle placed second in the prestigious international "Nations in Bloom" contest in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Nations in Bloom is an annual competition that recognizes excellence in environmental management and the creation of livable communities in cities throughout the world. Seattle vied against other finalist cities with populations between 200,000 and 1 million. Quanzhou, China placed first in the category. In addition, both Quanzhou and Seattle received gold medals. Puyang, China placed third. Other cities in Seattle's category were Aberdeen, United Kingdom and Den Haag, Netherlands.

Seattle's final presentation, given by staff from Seattle Parks and Recreation and the city's Office of Sustainability and Environment, included slides and information about the city's recycling, re-use, and conservation practices; sustainable design of public buildings; forest, creek and wetland restoration efforts; historic preservation; preservation the Olmsted park legacy; community involvement; innovative partnerships with business and nonprofits; and long-range planning efforts to preserve our natural and built heritage for future generations.

For a glimpse at Seattle's presentation, please visit our web site at and click on Nations in Bloom.


Autumn is budget season for city government. The Seattle City Council will be holding two public hearings on Mayor Greg Nickels's Proposed 2004 Budget, one on Wednesday, Oct. 8, and the other on Thursday, Nov. 6. Both hearings start at 5:30 p.m. at the new City Hall, 5th Ave., between James and Cherry streets.

In the previous newsletters, I shared with you the major changes to the Parks budget, but just to reiterate two of the highlights, the Mayor is proposing to spend $1.5 million on a badly needed water treatment project at Green Lake. The addition of aluminum sulfate (or alum) will help keep the water free of the algae blooms that have closed the lake to swimming, sailboarding and other "wet water" activities for the past two summers.

Mayor Nickels also proposes to include $1 million in our 2004 Capital Improvement Program for the completion of the wharf at South Lake Union, a key element of the development of the park in keeping with a maritime heritage theme. In addition to providing moorage for historic vessels, opening the wharf will add a crucial missing link in the waterfront promenade around the south end of the lake.

The proposed budget also makes $1.3 million in "General Fund" reductions that include permanent reductions (e.g., cutting one of two City-funded rowing regattas, park maintenance, and facilities maintenance), temporary one-time savings (e.g., delays in projects, salary savings from vacancies), and efficiencies (e.g., telephone and cell phone reductions, energy saving lighting).

For details on the budget, please visit our web site at and click on Mayor's Budget Page.


B.J. BrooksI am very pleased and excited to announce that Ms. B.J. Brooks will be joining Seattle Parks soon as Deputy Superintendent.

B.J. brings with her a wealth of experience, mostly in the city of Denver, Colorado, where she was born and raised. Most recently, she was the Director of Focus Neighborhoods, appointed by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb to manage special community and economic development projects in inner-city neighborhoods. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in the Denver Parks and Recreation Department, most recently as Manager, which is equivalent to Superintendent, and previously as Deputy Manager both for the park resources and for recreation divisions. As Manager, she was responsible for Denver Parks and Recreation's 14,000 acres of parks, maintenance and operations, Botanic Gardens, Denver Zoo, Mile High Stadium, and Winter Park Ski Resort. She managed a $57 million budget and the department's 1,700 employees.

B.J. has an exceptionally strong background in planning, community building and high level management. She brings to the job a dynamic combination of intelligence, humor, political savvy, and people skills. Her official starting date is in early November.


Japanese GardenThe City and the University of Washington adopted "Renewing the Washington Park Arboretum," the Arboretum's Master Plan, in May 2001. Since then, we've worked with the University and the Arboretum Foundation to develop an Implementation Plan that will guide the sequencing of projects for the Arboretum, including the Japanese Garden. The Implementation Plan will also guide the spending of Pro Parks Levy funds and future fund-raising.

The 2000 Pro Parks Levy provides $2.3 million for infrastructure and landscaping improvements to the Arboretum and Japanese Garden.

The Board of Park Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the Implementation Plan at its Oct. 23 meeting at 100 Dexter Ave. N. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. You can view the Implementation Plan at Click on ABGC.


The Northgate Community Center, Library and Park project is moving along nicely. We've selected a citizen Project Advisory Team to guide us through the design process. Our consultant designer, Miller Hull Architects, is more than halfway complete with "schematic" designs for the building and park. The Seattle Department of Transportation will be making street improvements at the same time as our project. We anticipate construction beginning in October 2004 and project completion in late 2005. For more information on the Northgate project, please visit

SEA OTTER PUPCalypso - the Sea Otter Pup

The Seattle Aquarium has agreed to raise a stranded female sea otter pup named Calypso that was found on a beach in Cordova, Alaska in Prince William Sound with no mom in sight. A fisherman discovered the pup and observed it for 18 hours before determining the pup had been abandoned. With permission from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife the pup was rescued from the beach. At the time of rescue, Calypso weighed 2.8 pounds and was estimated to be 14 days old. She now weighs more than 7 pounds and is eating solid foods as well as bottle-fed formula.


Salmon Earlier this year, Seattle Parks and Recreation hired Anchor Environmental to prepare an inventory of shoreline parks and to assess their potential for salmon habitat restoration. The consultant also studied salmon habitat needs, shoreline conditions and recreational use. Among the priority restoration sites the consultant identified were Rainier Beach Lake Park, Beer Sheva Park and Martha Washington Park, Seward Park and Pritchard Island Beach Park.

Salmon use park shorelines as they migrate as juveniles from the Cedar River, Duwamish River, Green-Duwamish River and smaller streams, and then return to them as adults. Juvenile fish require availability of prey, refuge from predators, migration corridors, physiological refuge and high energy refuse. In general, the juvenile fish favor environments with shallow water, overhead vegetative cover, and no barriers to migration.

Several efforts are under way to implement the results of the study. At Seward Park, for instance, a project financed by the Shoreline Park Improvement Fund, has provided for enhancement along the park's northeast shore. On the south shore, we removed old concrete bulkheads and planted native trees and shrubs. At Beer Sheva Park Seattle Public Utilities and the Army Corps of Engineers has studied "daylighting" Mapes Creek and restoring wetlands and the shoreline at Atlantic City Park.


A recent report published by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) called "The Excellent City Park System" had good things to say about Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Report author Peter Harnik researched best practices in major cities throughout the United States. He was particularly impressed with our planning and community involvement efforts as one of the seven measures of an excellent city park system. "The combination of planning and participation helps make the Seattle system one of the country's best," writes Harnik. The report goes on to describe our many public/private partnerships and our extensive network of volunteers and Adopt-a-Park program.

If you want to view the report online, please visit the TPL web site at

I will be in touch soon.

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