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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 49. May 7, 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:
Renovated High Point CC Opens | 'Green Seattle' Will Save Trees | New Partnership to Control Geese in Parks | Navy/Fort Lawton Housing In Discovery Park | Water Treatment Completed At Green Lake | Mayor Announces Uptown Acquisition | Earth Month Encourages Stewardship | Events This Weekend


  High Point Gym

Mayor Nickels joined staff and community members in late March to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated High Point Community Center in West Seattle.

A $3.7 million project funded through the 1999 Community Center Levy, the expanded community center has an additional 10,000 square feet of usable and programmable space, including a commercial-sized kitchen, a teen room, child-care room, large, dividable multi-purpose room, improved staff offices and reception area, and a computer room.

In addition to providing the community with more space, the new facility was designed and built in an environmentally friendly way. Parks worked closely with the architect, Streeter & Associates, and the general contractor, Kirkwood Construction, to develop a "green" facility that includes innovative stormwater management, optimal energy efficiency, interior daylighting, close proximity to public transportation, and bicycle-friendly access.

For more information on the project, please visit


  Old Growth

A week before Earth Day last month, Mayor Greg Nickels launched an innovative partnership with the Cascade Land Conservancy to restore Seattle's public forest and stop the spread of ivy and other invasive plants. Almost all of this forest is on lands owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The partnership is at the heart of the Mayor's new "Green Seattle Initiative," a program to increase the number of trees and greenery in Seattle's neighborhoods, promote environmentally friendly design and construction practices, and provide training and job opportunities for young people.

The Mayor set a goal of restoring 2,500 acres of public forest by 2024. The partnership plans to put 150 acres of public forest into restoration per year. This is 15 times the number of acres the city has worked on in past years.

Seattle Parks will be working closely with the Cascade Land Conservancy and the city's Office of Sustainability and the Environment on this program.

For more information on the Green Seattle Initiative, please visit


Last month, I announced a pilot program that for 2004 and possibly 2005 will use non-lethal strategies to manage the Canada geese population in Seattle parks.

Our contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services calls for continued addling of goose eggs, a key activity in reducing the population.

We also reached agreement with the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on the participation of volunteers in controlling the goose population. PAWS and HSUS are helping by recruiting volunteers to locate goose nests and to control the impact of geese at five Seattle parks where there has been a lot of goose activity: Gas Works, Green Lake, South Lake Union, Matthews Beach, and Madison Beach.

PAWS and HSUS will arrange for trial applications of a chemical deterrent, Flight Control, which tastes bad to the geese; use lasers to encourage geese to relocate; and clean up goose droppings. Parks will also manage trained dogs to encourage geese to leave public beaches and selected shorelines. Parks staff will supervise and monitor all training and work.

During the winter of 2004-05, I will assess PAWS' delivery on their commitments and decide whether to continue the agreement into 2005.


Here is an update on an issue you may have read about in the newspaper. The Navy is considering the development or sale of its 33 acres of housing land in Discovery Park. The land includes existing Navy housing units (aka "Capehart housing") and housing in the historic district in the western part of the park, adjacent to walking trails and wildlife habitat. The City and Discovery Park community are deeply concerned about this possibility; the park's master plan calls for the acquisition of federal land, and restoring it to a natural state.

Because the Navy no longer needs housing in Seattle, it wants to use revenues from this venture to create more housing near its Everett Home Port and upgrade other housing units in the Puget Sound region. A recent federal law authorizes the US military to engage in public-private partnerships to provide housing without the need for appropriations.

Earlier this year, Mayor Nickels sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy and our congressional delegation to voice his concerns about private housing development in the middle of an urban park. The City Council passed a resolution with similar concerns. Such a housing development could thwart the dreams of park supporters and neighbors who fought for many years for the return of military land for public park and recreation purposes.

The Navy will announce a "preferred partner" (real estate developer) in mid-May. At that time we should learn more clearly about what the Navy is proposing. I will continue to keep you informed.


  Alum Boat

Parks staff and contractors completed a water treatment project at Green Lake that will clear up the water and make it safe and open for swimming and all "wet water" activity this summer. In the past two years, Parks closed the lake to swimming due to blooms of algae growth.

Beginning in mid-March and ending on April 7, Parks contractors added aluminum sulfate (alum) to the water from a barge that traveled to many different areas of the lake. The water is already noticeably clearer. Completely safe to humans and animals, alum prevents the release of phosphorus, which is a key nutrient in the growth of algae. Parks has also approached the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife about the potential to limit the number of carp in the lake. Carp can disrupt the effect of alum by disturbing lake bottom sediments, stirring up algae nutrients.


  Uptown Site

One of the city's densest neighborhoods just got a little breathing room. This week, Mayor Nickels announced the purchase of a .28-acre site in the Uptown neighborhood at the northeast corner of Queen Anne Ave. N and Roy St. for $1.7 million. The Pro Parks Levy funded the acquisition and will provide $269,000 for development. The neighborhood will also raise funds.

The community chose the vacant property as the top priority for acquisition through an extensive public process. Uptown, formerly known as "Lower Queen Anne," is designated as an urban center village, and the new park will provide much-needed public space in this dense neighborhood. The future park is within walking distance of more than 850 new condominiums and apartments that have been built in Uptown in the past decade.

For more information about this new park, please visit the web at or contact Catherine Anstett at 206-615-0368 or


  Earth Month Work Party
Starbucks Volunteer Work Party along Burke-Gilman Trail

Earth Day is about what we can do for the environment every day. Seattle Parks and Recreation joined with our neighborhood and business partners to celebrate Earth Day throughout the month of April. We hosted more than 200 Earth Month programs and events, involving 5,000 people throughout the city.

Among the scores of activities, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Park restoration work at Green Lake Park on April 9 by 60 volunteers from Blanchet High School
  • A fair at Discovery Park featuring vehicles that use alternative fuel on April 10
  • A forest restoration project in Kiwanis Ravine to help preserve the Ravine's heron rookery on April 17
  • A ivy removal event with EarthCorps at Seward Park on April 17 and
  • A work party along the Burke-Gilman Trail hosted and organized by Starbucks Coffee Company.


On Saturday, May 8, we will be dedicating two major projects: the recently upgraded Mariners All-Star Field at Lower Woodland Park, funded by a major grant from Major League Baseball and the Mariners; and completed improvements at Flo Ware Park in the Central Area, funded by the 2000 Pro Parks Levy.

I will be in touch soon.

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