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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 44. Dec. 19, 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:
Building Healthy Communities | Olmsted Centennial: Year in Review | First Annual Denny Awards | Hat 'n Boots Scouts | Money for new Parks | Loss of a Good Friend


WalkerThe approach of year-end holidays remind us once again of the essential importance of family and friends. One of Mayor Nickels' top priorities is to "build healthy communities and strong families," and I am proud of Seattle Parks and Recreation's year-round efforts to connect family members and neighbors through our programs and special events.

Parks are our city's common ground, free and green spaces where people of all backgrounds gather for many and varied reasons. This was the essential philosophy of the Olmsted Brothers architecture firm in its design of Seattle's parks and boulevards 100 years ago this year (see article below). As usual at this time of the year, we have a lot going on at our parks and community centers. Please stop by and take part. For a listing
of holiday activities, visit our web site at www.seattle/gov/parks

Happy Holidays to all!


Frink ParkThe centennial of the Olmsted plan for Seattle parks has come and nearly gone, and the
past year was filled with occasions of celebration and deeper understanding of this precious and priceless natural legacy. Among the year's highlights were:

  • The use of Olmsted historical photos and Centennial theme in the Department's 12-month calendar for 2003
  • A prominent web page devoted to Olmsted history and activities·
  • Major media coverage that included a front-page article in the Seattle P-I and weekly display ads devoted to Centennial events in the P-I's Getaway section
  • An op-ed piece by me and Bruce Bentley, Park Board Chair, on Frederick L. Olmsted's anti-slavery views
  • A Department brochure Olmsted standards for park furniture
  • Participation with the Arboretum Foundation in the award-winning Olmsted-themed garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show
  • A special garden with an Olmsted theme at the Washington Park Arboretum
    organized by the Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks.
  • A traveling exhibit of photographs and text on the Olmsted legacy and Centennial
  • Monthly walking tours of our Olmsted parks organized by the Seattle
    Parks Foundation. The Foundation also played a key role in extending the Olmsted legacy with its involvement in projects at South Lake Union, the Volunteer Park Lily Ponds, and a new park in the Central Area named after the African American physician and athlete Homer Harris.
  • An extraordinary national conference of the National Association of Olmsted Parks in May
  • A photo exhibit by Youth in Focus
  • Many other lectures, exhibits, displays, videos and tours too numerous to list I appreciate the hard work of our dozens of community partners, but especially Jerry Arbes and Anne Knight of the Friends of Seattle Olmsted Parks, who were the driving force and creative sparks behind the Centennial. They recruited the long list of Centennial sponsors and supporters and had the vision AND follow-through to make it all happen.
    Thank you Jerry and Anne!


Denny AwardSeattle Parks and Recreation proudly presented the first annual Denny Awards for outstanding volunteer service last month to Starbucks Coffee Company, and three community volunteers, Tim Amen, Bruce Bentley, and Joyce Moty.
The Denny Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions of volunteers to the success of Seattle Parks and Recreation parks and programs. The Denny Awards are named after David and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park). Tim Amen, Green Lake

Rowing Advisory Council, won an award for his 17-year advocacy for and support of youth rowing programs. Bruce Bentley, Chair, Board of Park Commissioners, was recognized for his longtime support of youth, and parks and recreation programs. Joyce Moty, Friends of Bradner Gardens Park, won for her efforts to save a small park in SE Seattle from development and develop it into Bradner Gardens Park and for her advocacy for parks throughout the city. Starbucks Coffee Company won the corporate award for support of Seattle parks through partner (employee) volunteer contributions and $100,000-per-year Neighborhood Parks Grants Program.


OxbowLast Saturday, the Hat 'N' Boots sculpture, the famed Seattle icon that was once part of a gas station, found a new home in Georgetown's Oxbow Park. Witnessed by a small throng of reporters and TV cameras, workers loaded the 22-foot high boots and 44-wide cowboy hat onto flatbed trucks on Friday, and on Saturday, transported the precious cargo along city streets to the new park, located at 6400 Corson Ave. S. The sculpture is one element of the overall development of the park by the Department and the Georgetown Community Council. For project details, please visit:


Mayor Nickels submitted legislation to the City Council earlier this month helping to create 12 new parks in the city. The Council quickly approved the legislation. In accepting $2.3 million in 2002 King County Conservation Futures matching grants, the City will be able to purchase land for 12 new parks in Seattle neighborhoods including the Central Area, Ballard, Georgetown, West Seattle, Fremont, Greenwood, Northgate, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf and Thornton Creek. The 2000 Pro Park Levy provides the base funding for these matching grants. Many of these properties have been purchased and some are already being developed. For a complete list of acquisitions we've completed or are working on, please visit


Mickey Merriam"My friends call me 'Mickey,'" Mike Merriam would say on first or second meeting, extending his big strong hand in greeting, and in an instant you would be among the hundreds of people calling him Mickey, and feeling the positive power of his handshake and his many good works in the community. Mickey died on Dec. 13 after a long and brave battle against stomach cancer. His beloved family, Department staff and a legion of friends and community members touched by Mickey's enthusiastic advocacy for ballfields and kids sports grieved his passing. He was 46.

Mickey worked as Senior Athletic Field Coordinator for Seattle Parks and Recreation for the past four and a half years. For 18 previous years he worked for Seattle Parks as grounds maintenance worker. As Senior Athletic Field Coordinator, he helped the Department raise more than $1 million for fields for kids sports, including the Mariners All-Star Field at Lower Woodland Park. He established valuable partnerships between Parks and thousands of athletic field users and groups across the city. These included Little League baseball, youth soccer, middle and high schools, adult soccer and softball, football ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse and other sports.

More than any other single individual, he was responsible for public investment in both school-owned and city-owned athletic fields for kids. He organized and led a grassroots sportsfield advocacy group, which later became the Friends of Athletic Fields, representing more than 10,000 athletic field users, sports leagues, and teams on issues concerning the planning, development, funding and scheduling of Seattle's sportsfields. This group played a key role in the passage of two major voter-approved levies that benefited ballfields: the 1998 $150 million Building Renovations, Technology & Athletic Fields (BTA) and the 2000 $198.2 million Pro Parks Levy.

Ebullient, personable, ever smiling and optimistic, Mickey was driven by a selfless passion that would frequently cause him to remark that "the kids need a place to just play ball." He approached his job with great commitment, humor, and charm. He was an inspiration to everyone he encountered. Even when he was ailing, he never lost his smile or his sense of humor, and he was upbeat about his prognosis for the future. None other than Jamie Moyer, the Mariner's star pitcher, may have said it best. Jamie got to know Mickey when he asked for Mickey's help in finding a baseball team for his son to play on. "Mickey's death is a great loss for his family, but it's also a great loss for parents and kids who participate in sports," said Jamie. "Mickey was so passionate about what he did and he was so concerned about the kids, their well-being, whether they were learning and having fun. With him, it wasn't just about winning. He was a great person and a great role model for us all."

I will be in touch soon.

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