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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 46. March 5, 2004
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:
Bruce Bentley Nominated for Jefferson Award | New Community Center at Sand Point Magnuson Park | Improving Downtown Parks | The Emerald City: Mayor's Environmental Action Agenda | Steps Toward Good Health | One of Our Own "Women of Distinction"


  Bruce accepting his award
Bruce Bentley

This week the Seattle Post-Intelligencer announced the five winners of its annual Jefferson Awards for community service. I was honored to nominate Bruce Bentley for this prestigious award for his many years of community volunteer work, parks and recreation advocacy, and youth mentorship.

Although Bruce didn't receive the award, he is a winner in our eyes. Bruce is the chair of the Board of Park Commissioners and a longtime member and leader of the Southwest Community Center Advisory Council. My nominating letter read in part: "There are countless examples of Bruce's dedicated and selfless service to the community and his positive impact on youth. He is renowned for his willingness to pitch in at Southwest Community Center's many public events such as egg hunts, Halloween parties, Christmas Ship events, Spring Clean, sports card shows, and plant sales….Bruce has always been a strong advocate for major improvement projects at or near Southwest Community Center. He led the drive to fund and build a new outdoor play area at the center in 1997, and when it came time for construction, Bruce led a team of volunteers in the pouring rain one Saturday morning to install and connect the play equipment….Perhaps Bruce Bentley's greatest accomplishment is his leadership and mentorship of youth…. Much more than a friendly face, Bruce has been an important role model, leader, and 'street father' to kids. Southwest Community Center staff recall many a wayward teenager who Bruce has guided into positive activities."

For the full text of my nominating letter, please see


  Ribbon Cutting
Ribbon Cutting on February 28th.

Sand Point Magnuson Park is fulfilling its great potential with the addition of two renovated facilities that greatly enhance community meeting and recreation space in northeast Seattle. I was pleased to join with Councilmember David Della last Saturday to dedicate the completion of these two projects, Building 47 or Sand Point Recreation Center, and Building 406 or Sand Point Activity Center.

Building 47 was the recreation center for many years for Naval Station Puget Sound. Funded by the 1999 Community Center Levy, the $4 million renovation brought the building up to current seismic and building codes and renovated formerly unusable spaces for community use. The new space includes multi-purpose rooms, a renovated auditorium and a gym. We also installed a heating system in the gym, put in new sprinklers, abated lead paint, and replaced the deteriorating roof.

Building 406 was the former Navy brig, a holding facility for military prisoners, and also, many may recall, for protesters during the World Trade Organization conference in 1999. It was even used as a set for several "X-Files" television episodes! Now the building has been renovated with $619,000 from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy. Improvements included installing wood floors for indoor recreation, opening up the lobby, which links to the adjacent community garden, and improving the heating and ventilation system.

Read more about the Community Center at

Later this month, the Mayor will join us in the opening of the newly renovated High Point Community Center in southwest Seattle. I invite you to visit these wonderful new additions to our parks and recreation system. Please see for more information.


Before and after photos of recent work at Freeway Park.

As part of the Mayor Nickels's goals to build healthy communities and keep our neighborhoods safe, Parks and City staff are working on many fronts to make parks in downtown Seattle safer and more welcoming.

  • At Freeway Park, we are working with the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association on safety improvements that include pruning shrub beds to create better sight lines in the park, fencing off a few hidden areas, widening pathways, adjusting lighting and renovating park benches. We will be holding a Parks staff maintenance "jamboree" at the park later this month, focusing on many of these projects, and hosting a community volunteer "work party" on April 3 to mulch and plant new plants.
  • Building on the excellent foundation of the Pioneer Square Improvement Plan, we are working with community stakeholders and the nationally renowned Project for Public Spaces to help transform Occidental Park into a vibrant public space for all to enjoy.
  • At Regrade Park at 3rd Ave. and Bell St. we are converting part of the park to a small off-leash area for dogs. This pilot project will open to the public this Sunday, March 7.
  • Another Pro Parks project at Boren-Pike-Pine Park will provide a paved plaza for community events and cultural activities, a grass lawn, paths and lighting.
  • We worked with Seattle Public Utilities to install new self-cleaning Automated Public Toilets at four parks downtown: Victor Steinbrueck, Hing Hay, Occidental and Waterfront parks.
  • Planning is just under way with community groups to seek park and recreation opportunities in the north downtown area, which includes the South Lake Union, Denny Triangle and Cascade neighborhoods.
  • We will establish a downtown park and recreation advisory council to assist in programming in downtown parks and the new International District/Chinatown Community Center, which will open later this year.

If you have any questions about any of these projects, please contact David Takami at 206-684-8020 or


On Feb. 23, Mayor Nickels unveiled his 2004 Environmental Action Agenda, a citywide strategy to practice and promote environmental sustainability. The 2004 agenda focuses on restoring the city's forests, environmentally friendly development, and providing "green" jobs and businesses.

Pesticide Free Parks

Seattle Parks and Recreation is a key agency in realizing this agenda. Our urban forestry program will continue its aggressive efforts, working with citizen volunteers and EarthCorps, to remove English ivy and other invasive plants and plant native trees and shrubs. Our crews are reducing pesticide use at golf courses and increasing the number of pesticide-free parks. Our Planning and Development Division continues to design and build "green," sustainable buildings. In 2004, these will include the renovated High Point Community Center and the new Yesler Community Center.

In other areas of department operations, we are increasing the use of cleaning products that are safer for the public, staff and the environment, reducing idling time in Parks vehicles, increasing recycling at parks and buildings, and conserving water and energy wherever possible.

We've also issued some tips for homeowners based on our sustainable design and construction practices. These included planting trees and shrubs in clusters to save water, minimizing the use of pesticides, using skylights and photo-sensitive electrical switches, recycling, and solar heating hot water.

For more a complete list of these tips and more information about the Mayor's Environmental Agenda, please visit our web site, and click on the Environmental Action Agenda link.


Steps toward good health

Seattle Parks and Recreation is participating in an important new program to improve the health and well being of Americans.

Steps to a Healthier US is a five-year federally funded program that aims to help people live longer, better, and healthier lives by reducing the burden of diabetes, obesity, and asthma, and addressing three related risk factors-physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use.

In late 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $13.6 million to fund 23 communities nationwide, including Seattle and King County to implement community action plans to reduce health disparities and promote quality health care and prevention services. Seattle/King County's will receive $965,340 for various programs.

Parks is participating through a walking program for senior adults age 50 and older who have not participated in any structured fitness or walking program. The program is up and running, that is walking, at the following community centers: Alki, Garfield, Jefferson, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Meadowbrook, Miller, Queen Anne, Rainier, Sand Point, Southwest, and Van Asselt. We hope to have 75 to 100 new walkers at each site. For more information, please contact Trevor Gregg at 206-684-4664 or


BJ Brooks

Deputy Superintendent B.J. Brooks was among the luminaries honored last week at an event at Miller Community Center: "Black History Month Celebration: Women of Distinction." Joining B.J. as honorees were Dr. Mildred W. Ollee, president of Seattle Central Community College; Paula Boggs, executive vice president at Starbucks Coffee Co.; Sonya Johnston, corporate attorney at Microsoft; May Snowden, vice president at Starbucks; Theresa Jennings, division director at King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks; Sandra Taylor, senior vice president at Starbucks; and Regina Jones, executive director of the Washington State Commission on African-American Affairs.

I will be in touch soon.

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