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Seattle Parks and Recreation
THE VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 52. September 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:
Mayor Nickels Dedicates New Gym at Jefferson CC | Garden Symposium Creates Legacy at Kubota Garden | Premier To Head Golf Operations | New Parks, New Park Names | Another Eventful Summer | NMF Small And Simple Grants | Park Board Welcomes New Members | City Parks Alliance | Upcoming

MAYOR NICKELS DEDICATES NEW GYM AT JEFFERSON CC

  Bitter Lake Day Camp
Mayor Nickels, Councilmember David Della, Ken Bounds and community members celebrate new gym.

For decades, kids and other visitors to Jefferson Community Center on Beacon Hill had to travel a half a mile to the gymnasium at Asa Mercer Middle School if they wanted to play indoor basketball, volleyball, pickleball or hold a large community event. No longer. Earlier this month, Mayor Greg Nickels helped us celebrate the completion of a much-needed new gym at Jefferson CC, another project funded through the 1999 Community Center Levy. We'll still be able to schedule the Asa Mercer gym, but now we can better accommodate the high demand for gym use on Beacon Hill.

This is one of many improvements already done or envisioned in Jefferson Park through neighborhood planning, and a 1999 park master plan. For more information on the project and other Levy projects, please visit www.seattle.gov/parks


GARDEN SYMPOSIUM CREATES LEGACY AT KUBOTA GARDEN

Seattle hosted the International Symposium of Japanese Gardens on the last weekend of August, with 200 participants from countries ranging from Japan to Monaco. The symposium was sponsored by the International Association of Japanese Gardens and the Puget Sound Japanese Garden Society, and co-sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Japanese Garden Advisory Council, and the Kubota Garden Foundation.

I helped kick things off at the Center for Urban Horticulture on Saturday, Aug. 28. On Sunday, the scene shifted to Kubota Garden, where registrants enjoyed beautiful weather while rotating through three hands-on workshops: tree pruning, garden rehabilitation, and stone-setting.

  Kubota Garden

The stone-setting in particular created a spectacular legacy: a karesansui (dry stone) garden at the already impressive new park entry gates. Shoji Yamada, a renowned Japanese designer, directed a huge crane dangling each of more than 20 giant granite boulders high overhead. Koichi Kobayashi (a Seattle landscape architect) worked with Tak Yamada (son of Shoji) on the conceptual design for the placement of the stones, which are arranged to recall the mountains of Japan and North America.

It was a fitting tribute to Tom Kubota, who passed away earlier in the month at age 87. As a young man, Tom had helped his father purchase and create the garden, and worked throughout his life to preserve it.

Kudos are due to the many Parks staff members involved in the symposium, including Belinda Gigliotti, Don Brooks, Jim Thomas, and Andy Sheffer. Most of the costs of the dry-stone garden - probably worth between $75,000 and $100,000 were contributed by Seattle-area designers, contractors, and vendors including Kobayashi & Associates, Marenakos Rock Center, Ohashi Landscape Services, Ohno Construction Company, Terry Welch Garden Design, and T Yorozu Gardening Company.


PREMIER TO HEAD GOLF OPERATIONS

Premier GolfEarlier this week, I announce the selection of Premier Golf of Seattle to manage and operate the City's four public golf courses - Jefferson Park, West Seattle, Jackson Park, and Interbay.

Premier had been performing this role on a temporary basis and their track record of sound fiscal management and superb customer service is a great fit for our needs. This contract consolidates all our golf functions under one operator to better serve the golfing public. Parks will continue to maintain the courses.

We chose Premier from a field of four golf management companies that had responded to a Request for Proposals. The selection follows our recommendation in 2003 to terminate an operations agreement with Municipal Golf of Seattle after it encountered financial difficulties.


NEW PARKS, NEW PARK NAMES

  John C. Little Sr.
A new park named after John C. Little was dedicated in early September.

We were also busy in late summer dedicating new parks or recently improved parks, all with great support and involvement from the community.

  • At Mineral Springs Park (1735 107th St. N), we recently completed improvements to the disc golf area in the park, supported by the Pro Parks Levy, and an "art walk" funded by the City's public art program.
  • A new park in Fremont at 723 N35th St. is called Ernst Park after Abrose B. Ernst, who served on the Board of Park Commissioners from 1906 to 1913, when the Olmsted park plan was being implemented. He also lived in Fremont close to the new park, which features a central plaza, amphitheater, staircase and plantings.
  • Horiuchi Park is the name for recently acquired parkland at 156 Boren Ave. Paul Horiuchi was an internationally known artist, who owned an auto body shop in the neighborhood.
  • In early September, we also commemorated the naming of a park in the Rainier Valley, formerly known as "37th Ave. S Park," after the late John C. Little, Sr., a one-time Park Board member and youth champion who passed away in 1999. Located at 37th Ave. S and S Myrtle St., the park will be improved with Pro Parks Levy funding.

I listed the street addresses of these new or improved parks in the hope you will get the chance to stop by for a visit.


ANOTHER EVENTFUL SUMMER

Before the memories of summer 2004 fade, I wanted to share with you some highlights of the season. That long spell of sunny and warm weather meant our outdoor parks and beaches were fuller than usual. Most of our summer recreation and day camp programs were at capacity.

  • Swimming Beaches: The summer beach program ended earlier this month, marking 33 years without a drowning at a lifeguarded beach. This season, our lifeguard team performed 40 rescues at seven beaches. Attendance at most beaches was up significantly. East Green Lake showed a 66 increase in attendance, due in large part to the clear, clean water aided by the addition of alum to the lake last spring.
  • Reading Program: Garfield Community Center and Douglass-Truth Library partnered to provide a well-attended and well-received Summer Reading Program at the library this summer. More than 100 children participated in the program, which included puppet acts and stories from the West African Storytellers. Four other Parks sites partnered with local libraries for reading programs.
  • GREASE! This year's performances under the guidance of staff and volunteers from the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center were among the best ever-both in quality of production and on-stage talent, and revenue generation. For the first time, we charged a modest admission fee, which helped considerably in covering the cost of the show.
  • Old-Timers Picnic: Despite a steady rain shower, more than 1,000 senior adults turned out at the annual can't-miss Old Timers Picnic at the Woodland Park Zoo on Tuesday, Aug. 24. We coordinated the event with the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens and Seattle/King County Senior Services.
  • Wedding month: August-not June-was the most popular month for wedding ceremonies in Seattle parks this summer, with 40 of the 155 outdoor weddings scheduled during that month.
  • Summer Rowing Extravaganza: The Green Lake Small Craft Center hosted this 43rd annual event in early August, attracting 28 teams, 900 participants and even more spectators. About a third of the competitors were from the Mount Baker and Green Lake rowing programs. A highlight was the eight-oared shells from the Special Populations adult program.

NMF SMALL AND SIMPLE GRANTS

We continue to be a major partner with the Department of Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF). Many of the funded projects are in neighborhood parks. In the most recent awards through the "Small and Simple" program, nine parks projects received a total of $107,034. Among them were

  • Bayview Kinnear Park playground renovation
  • Delridge Community Day (partially along Longfellow Creek)
  • Colman Park planting
  • York Substation Park development
  • Pinehurst Pocket Park development
  • Grand Army of the Republic entrance
  • Interlaken Park renovation
  • Freeway park renovation planning
  • Langston Hughes exhibit design

For more information about the NMF Program please contact Pamela Kliment, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-684-7556 or pamela.kliment@seattle.gov or visit our web site at www.seattle.gov/parks


City Parks AllianceCITY PARKS ALLIANCE

I have recently joined the board of the City Parks Alliance, a national organization comprised of city parks leaders from across the country who work together to strengthen America's urban parks. The critical role parks play in the revitalization of cities is of particular interest to me. I hope to share our experience in Seattle with others and find out what works well in other cities. I will report back to you from time to time on what I learn.


PARK BOARD WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

  Park Board

Mayor Greg Nickels appointed and the City Council confirmed three new members to the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners: Angela Belbeck, Jack Collins, and Debbie Jackson. Given that Parks is in the middle of carrying out two voter-approved levies totaling $236 million, this sounding board for Parks, the Mayor, and the City Council is more important than ever. People in Seattle are passionate about our parks, and the Board gives us invaluable advice and guidance, especially when we have hard choices to make.

The new members are

  • Angela Belbeck an attorney with Ogden Murphy Wallace, P.L.L.C in civil practice, advising and representing various municipal clients. She is particularly interested in youth programs.
  • John (Jack) Collins has served as the Director of Northwest Small Cities Services since 1987. He has a special interest in the planning, acquisition, development, maintenance, and use of parks facilities.
  • Debbie Jackson recently retired as a tax accountant for Weyerhaeuser and as Vice President/Controller of Quadrant Corporation. Her interest is in youth, with an emphasis on sports.

Leaving the Board after two terms are Chair Bruce Bentley, a tireless advocate for youth programs, and James Fearn, General Counsel for the Seattle Housing Authority and dedicated parks supporter. We also learned recently that Sarah Neilson is leaving the board and Seattle for a job opportunity in Chicago. I am grateful for their service and sage advice and support over the past few years.


UPCOMING

  • Magnuson Park Rededication: On Monday, Sept. 20, Mayor Nickels, and U.S. representatives Norm Dicks and Jim McDermott are helping us rededicate Magnuson Park-commemorating the recent expansion of the park boundaries to include the Sand Point Historic District, and the naming of entire expanded park after Sen. Warren G. Magnuson. Sen. Magnuson was instrumental in securing the first 200 acres of the former Navy land for a park.
  • International District/Chinatown Community Center: We will join with the Seattle Chinatown-International District Public Development Authority on Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m., in dedicating our newest community center, which is part of the new Village Square II multi-use development.

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