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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 51. July 30, 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:
Mayor Funds Day Camp Scholarships | Update to Golf Course Management | Lifeguard Training Team to the Rescue | Improvements to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park | Refugee Women's Alliance Sets Up Office In Rainier CC | Parks Project Benefit From Neighborhood Matching Fund | Aquarium Piers, Master Plan | Sonics And Storm Team Up To Fix Courts | Upcoming Events


  Bitter Lake Day Camp
Summer Day Camp
at Bitter Lake Community Center

In late spring, our community center staff were deluged with requests for summer camp scholarships and demand quickly grew beyond available funding.

That's when Mayor Greg Nickels stepped into help, pledging funds to enable the 300 children who were on the scholarship waiting list to attend the Summer Day Camp Program.

The camp costs $135 per child, per week. Parks offers 80 percent scholarships to families that qualify, reducing the cost to $27 per child, per week. The cost for providing day camp scholarships for the 300 children on the waiting list was about $179,000. With the approval and support of the City Council, excess funds from the current Families and Education Levy will be transferred to Parks.

The day camp scholarship program is one of several extra-curricular programs already supported by the current Families and Education Levy.


We are progressing on plans to find long-term management for the operation of Seattle's public golf courses, beginning in 2005. Last week, we sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the leading candidates for this job, Billy Casper Golf, Kemper Sports Management, Oki Golf and Premier Golf, which currently performs this function. The deadline for responding to the RFP is late August.

The City owns three 18-hole courses, Jackson Park, Jefferson and West Seattle, and a nine-hole course at Interbay. Parks maintains the 18-hole courses, and Premier Golf maintains Interbay. Beginning next year, we will also maintain Interbay.

These management changes combined with tighter financial control and management oversight by the City provide a more efficient and fiscally sound operation. In the meantime, there's never been a better time to golf in Seattle. The weather couldn't be better, the courses are much improved, and the price is right. I invite you to come play a round (or two or three) at Seattle's great public courses before the end of the summer.


  Lifeguard Training

You may have seen a buff and athletic group of young people on the shores of Lake Washington this summer. For eight weeks through Aug. 19, Parks is holding its annual lifeguard training program for 30 teens age 15 to 18 at Mt. Baker Beach. This program runs for eight weeks and provides the skills and certifications needed for employment as a lifeguard.

The training also helps us diversify our workforce. The teens were recruited from area schools, and from Parks community center and pools with the goal of improving the ethnic diversity of lifeguard candidates at beaches and pools. Seven of the 12 new hires in the 2004 summer beach program are graduates of last summer's training program.


  Martin Luther King, Jr. Park

We are excited about the ideas and plans percolating for Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in southeast Seattle.

Pro Parks Levy funds will make the park more accessible to persons with disabilities, and will improve the paths, landscaping and parking areas. Earlier this month, I met with some of the original community leaders who developed the master plan for the park and we heard many good ideas for educational exhibits in the park and other features.

This summer and fall we are hosting a series of public workshops to listen to community ideas and develop a schematic (preliminary) design. We will likely need to raise additional funds to complete the project. For more information, please see


An innovative partnership with the Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA) will provide culturally relevant classes and services to refugee women at the Rainier Community Center.

ReWA is a non-profit multi-ethnic organization that promotes inclusion, independence, and strong communities by providing refugee and immigrant women and families with appropriate and culturally appropriate program services. The agency opened a satellite office in the former family center space at Rainier CC on July 6.

The partnership resulted from a mutually-recognized need between Parks and ReWA to provide services to refugee women and their families in southeast Seattle.

ReWa's presence will also be of great benefit to Parks staff and patrons. ReWA will conduct culturally specific training for our employees and volunteers. They will run a food, nutrition, and fitness program for seniors in collaboration with Parks Senior Adult Programs. The agency will also provide bilingual services for Rainier Community Center customers and staff.


The Neighborhood Matching Fund is once again helping Seattle Parks and Recreation "build community" through its support of creative community-based improvement projects.

In the most recent round of awards, the NMF, administered by the Department of Neighborhoods, awarded eight of 18 total grants to projects in parks.

The 18 awards, totaling $947,506, range from $15,000 to $100,000. In addition to the City's contribution to the projects, the communities will "match" the City's dollars with local resources valued at $2,077,815. The eight park projects totaled $590,000 in NMF awards with a $1,171,000 community match. The projects included:

  • Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing - design development and construction drawings
  • West Magnolia Playground - equipment purchase
  • Kiwanis Ravine - slope stabilization and forest restoration
  • Seattle Children Play Garden - creation of a play area/garden designed for kids with special needs
  • 3100 S. Bradford - build a new park on land donated to the city
  • Homer Harris - add to the park interpretive elements that reflect upon the life of Dr. Harris
  • California Substation - construct a new park on the site of the old California Substation
  • Cesar Chavez - build a park on surplus king County land

For more information on NMF projects in parks, please visit


The piers under the Aquarium at Pier 59 are deteriorating and need replacing. As you can imagine, this is a top-priority project that must be undertaken sooner than later.

We are now in the process of engineering and design with construction set to start in September 2005. Last week, the City Council passed legislation authorizing the Parks to select a General Contractor/Construction Manager. As part of the project, the east end of the pier and pier shed will be torn down and replaced. Working with our nonprofit partner, the Seattle Aquarium Society, we will develop an exciting new entry to the Aquarium, including a new admissions area, visitor amenities and a major new exhibit.

We have also completed an amendment to the Master Plan for the Aquarium and central waterfront. The amendment, based on the recommendations of a Citizens Advisory Committee, revises the previous plan to expand the Aquarium on Piers 62/63 at its current site and reserve the area of Pier 62/63 for park and open space use. We will submit legislation to City Council to adopt the Master Plan soon.


  Basketball Court Ribbon Cutting
Sonics owner Howard Schultz cuts ribbon at Green Lake basketball courts as Parks Deputy Superintendent B.J. Brooks (below balloon column) looks on.

In June and July the Seattle Sonics and Storm T.E.A.M. Foundation unveiled its latest two NeighborHoops basketball court renovation projects outside Green Lake Community Center and at Burke-Gilman Playground, next to the Ronald McDonald House. The ceremonies celebrating the re-opening of the courts featured players and executives from the Sonics and Storm.

Besides Burke-Gilman and Green Lake the T.E.A.M. Foundation has sponsored renovations of courts at Pratt Park, Meridian Playground, and Magnolia Community Center. T.E.A.M. stands for programs that TEACH, ENCOURAGE and MOTIVATE youth and families in Washington state. In addition to the thousands of young people who play pick-up basketball at courts and at our many community facilities, more than 5,300 school-age kids play in our winter basketball leagues.

We are thankful to the Sonics, Storm and T.E.A.M. Foundation for their support of youth sports in Seattle.



"Grease" at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center: This year's summer youth musical at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center is the crowd-pleasing musical GREASE! in Seattle's Paramount Theatre. Matinee tickets cost $1 and $5 for evening shows. Youth tickets are two for one. Call 206-684-4757 for more information.

ID/Chinatown CC Opens Doors: Just as we had hoped, the new International District/Chinatown Community Center is bringing a whole new constituency to parks and recreation facilities and programs. Located in the phase II building of the mixed use International District Village Square at 8th Ave. S and S Dearborn St, the new center opens to some activity in August with the grand opening set for Sept. 29.

  ID/Chinatown CC Brochure

Nearby agencies and residents have already shown great interest in using the center spaces, which include a gym, multipurpose room, kitchen, activity rooms and offices. For example, the International District Housing Alliance plans to reserve space for first-time homebuyers workshops. Denise Louie Education Center and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service are interested in sports classes for youth. Center coordinator Allen Chinn has put together a wide range of activities for youth and adults, including martial arts, sports, movies, classes and much more.

For more information on the new center,
please call 206-233-0042.

I will be in touch soon.

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