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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 50. June 17, 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:
Wetlands/Ballfields Plan Gets Go-Ahead | Summer Programs Set to Begin | Park in Ballard to Keep Skate Bowl Feature | Navy/Fort Lawton Housing in Discovery Park | Reviving Occidental Square | Senior Games Under Way! | Southwest Community Center to Close for Renovation | 2003 Annual Report


  Sand Point Magnuson Park

The project to develop wetlands and athletic fields at Sand Point Magnuson Park will get under way after five years of intensive planning and discussion and a public process that has involved thousands of Seattle citizens!

On Monday, June 14, the City Council passed legislation approving the Sand Point Magnuson Park wetlands/sports fields Master Plan.

The Council action revised the Mayor's plan by reducing the number of fields with artificial turf from 11 to nine, and the number of lit fields from 11 to seven. The ordinance also requires that the lights on all fields at the park be turned off at 10 p.m. Lights will be prohibited on Sunday nights. The legislation included a multipurpose "sports meadow" containing four additional grass fields. In 2001, the Council had approved 11 fields, seven lit, with the possibility of lighting additional fields.

We expect to award a construction contract for the first phase of the project by the end of June and begin construction in July. Phase I includes improvements to the existing sports meadow such as drainage and irrigation upgrades and refurbishing the grass surface. In this phase, we will also begin developing areas of upland forest.

Planning and design will continue on Phase II, a more complex part of the project, requiring formal wetland delineations and numerous federal, state and local permits. We will also seek funding beyond what is currently available from the Pro Parks Levy. We hope to begin construction of Phase II in late 2006 and finish in 2007.

For more information on the project, please visit


  Summer Programs
Buggin' Out!

With the school year ending next week, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff are poised to begin our busiest time of the year.

This summer, as always, we'll be offering a wide variety of organized programs, such as day camps and nature camps, and informal recreation at our many beaches, wading pools, two outdoor pools, playgrounds, parks and community centers. For a more details and fun ideas about summer activities, please consult our Summer Guide 2004, available at your local Parks facility or on the web at

Beyond the typical summer fare, I wanted to let you know about three unique programs.

STEPs Program: This is our third year of the Step Toward Environmental Partnerships (STEPs) program, providing "at risk" and economically advantaged teens with environmental training and hands-on work experience. This summer, we expect to hire more than 60 young people, age 14 to 17, from mostly central and south Seattle. They will learn life and job skills and work on park and trail restoration projects at parks such as Lincoln, Seward, Colman, the Arboretum, and Bitter Lake. The $85,000 in funding for the program comes from a variety of sources: the Human Services Department's Summer Youth Employment Program ($3,000), the Pro Parks Levy, the Associated Recreation Council, and numerous community center advisory councils. Helping us recruit program participants are Safe Futures Youth Center in southwest Seattle, Treehouse, an agency that serves low-income foster children, and our own Teen Development Leaders.

Special Populations Camp: For more than 30 years, Seattle Parks and Recreation has offered a series of weeklong summer day camps and sleep-over camps for young people with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities. Unique in the Pacific Northwest, this summer program is always full-nearly 500 young people will attend this year. For many parents it is the only respite they get from caregiving all year. The day camps, held at Lower Woodland Park, begin on June 28 and end on Aug. 13. The sleep-over camps begin on June 22 and end on Aug. 6. At Camp Long, a nurse is on hand 24 hours a day for special medical and medication needs. The campers' days are filled with nature walks, field trips, games and many other activities.

Buggin' Out! Staff from our Environmental Stewardship Unit, Environmental Learning Centers and community centers have teamed up this year to offer three weeks of innovative programming at summer day camps on bugs of all kinds-and the important role they play in the natural world. Parks naturalists will visit community center sites to educate campers about the bug world-insects, spiders, caterpillars and more-and kids will otherwise learn though field trips, stories, games, and arts and crafts.


  Ballard Skate Park

In late May, I decided to accept the recommendation of the Park Board for a Ballard Civic Center Park design that includes a new skate bowl. The new bowl would replace the existing temporary skate bowl structure, and will be located in the same vicinity as the existing structure in the southwest corner of the park.

I also directed staff to convene a Project Advisory Team, made up of representatives from the skateboard community, nearby community groups, and park neighbors, to help us refine the final design and to include a decorative water feature in the park.

The public process for designing the park began with wide support for a more passive park. As the project proceeded, skateboarders and supporters of the popular "Ballard Bowl," built at the site as a temporary skateboarding venue, organized and became involved in the process. The Park Board held a public hearing, reviewed all of the materials submitted, and recommended a design that kept a skate bowl feature.

Because some of these changes will cost more than is currently budgeted for the project, I will ask the Pro Parks Oversight Committee to ask for additional funds from the Levy's contingency fund. Our goal is to create a park we can all enjoy.

For more information on the project, please visit


Mayor Greg Nickels announced earlier this month that the city remains committed to working with the U.S. Navy to incorporate Navy-owned land into Seattle's Discovery Park. The Mayor was responding to the Navy's selection of the development firm, American Eagle Communities, for its initiative to privatize Navy family housing in Washington State, including the Navy housing at Discovery Park.

"From day one, the City and the Magnolia community have expressed their strong belief the Navy's properties should be incorporated into Discovery Park," the Mayor said. "I have personally conveyed to the Navy's leadership how important Discovery Park is to the people of Seattle. I look forward to working with the Navy and American Eagle Communities, and I have directed City staff to initiate these discussions immediately."

A 1996 federal law, the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, authorizes the U.S. military to engage in public-private partnerships to provide housing. The Northwest Regional Housing Privatization initiative will include the privatization or divestiture of Navy housing in more than a dozen locations in Western Washington and the construction of new family housing near Navy facilities. The Navy's 33 acres of housing land in Discovery Park may be divested as part of the initiative since the properties are no longer viable for continued Navy use.

The Discovery Park Long-Range Plan, adopted by the City in 1980, calls for the eventual inclusion of this federal land in Discovery Park "for park purposes."


  Occidental Square Park

Bocce ball playing. Art in the park. Lunch concerts. You may have noticed more activity and events in Pioneer Square's Occidental Square.

At the urging of Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle Parks and Recreation is working with other City agencies and community organizations to revive the park with a combination of physical and programming improvements.

We held a public meeting on Monday, June 14 to discuss the plan with the community.

Earlier this year we worked a consultant Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to come up with a proposal for transforming Occidental Square. PPS is internationally renowned for its work in improving public spaces. Some of the program changes have already begun. We installed temporary bocce ball earlier this month. We held the first of monthly Art in the Park evenings, and the first Out-to-Lunch concert. Also this summer, look for bingo Fridays, outdoor movies, concerts, and other programs for families. For the complete lineup, please see

Possible physical changes could include replacing the cobblestone surface in the park, replacing the pergola with a cafe, and removing some trees to open up the space and let in more light. For more information about the project, please contact Planner David W. Goldberg, Project Planner at 206-684-8414 or


Greater Seattle Senior GamesSenior athletes take your marks…. Beginning June 5 and running through the beginning of September, senior athletes are competing in a series of competitions that comprise the 2004 Greater Seattle Senior Games.

The Greater Seattle Senior Games has offered healthy competition in various sports for people age 50 and older since 1998. The Senior Games model has local, state and national competitions and their venues continue to grow. The purpose of the Games is to promote physical activity and fitness, and encourage healthy lifestyles and sports competition among senior adults.

This year the events include track and field, badminton, soccer, rock climbing, golf, and "leisure games" For event information and a registration brochure please call Seattle Parks and Recreation 206-684-4951 or Greater Seattle Senior Games 425-743-1752.


Southwest Community Center will close June 21 until March 2005 for a major renovation project. The pool will remain open until Aug. 1 and then close until March 2005. Funded by the 1999 Community Center Levy and 2000 Pro Parks Levy, the renovation project includes a new gym, a teen center, computer lab, relocation of the play area, a family changing room for the pool, and a new fire sprinkler system. For details, please see and click on Community Center Levy Program.


Please take a moment to check out our 2003 Annual Report, now available online at It includes highlights of last year's accomplishments and activities.

I will be in touch soon.

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