VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 52. September 17, 2004
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs,
projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken
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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
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.
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
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
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
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit our web site at www.seattle.gov/parks
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
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
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.
- 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.