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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 57. December 14, 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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Viaduct CoverThe recently announced plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel presents an extraordinary opportunity to realize a long-held dream of reclaiming Seattle's waterfront with open space and pedestrian-friendly amenities.

Mayor Greg Nickels joined with other city, state and federal officials earlier this month to announce the tunnel decision in light of the damage the Viaduct suffered in the Nisqually Earthquake, and the deteriorating state of the seawall along the waterfront.

The park opportunities are numerous and significant, including the expansion of Victor Steinbrueck Park. The tunnel lid will extend the park and provide a pathway to the water. "It will make the waterfront a more accessible and enjoyable destination for Seattle residents and the region," said Mayor Nickels.

This, combined with the Olympic Sculpture Park, to be located just south of Myrtle Edwards Park, the redevelopment of Pier 62/63 and the Seattle Aquarium, and stronger links with other downtown parks, will go a long way in reversing open space deficits downtown and on the waterfront.

I look forward to working with city and state transportation departments, the Port of Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum and other public and private partners on making this dream become a reality.

For much more information on the Viaduct plans, including a video simulation of how a tunnel will fit into the waterfront landscape, please visit the Mayor's tunnel project web page at


Bill ArntzIn other major news about the waterfront, an invaluable member of my management team, Bill Arntz, is leaving his post as director of the Seattle Aquarium in mid-January 2005.

His retirement is a loss to the Aquarium, the Department and the people of Seattle, but no one deserves this chance to rest and recharge more than Bill Arntz. Among Bill's past accomplishments are a long career with the federal Office of Management and Budget, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Energy. I came to know and respect Bill during his eight years as a member and chair of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners in the 1990s.

During his eventful tenure at the Seattle Aquarium, the Mayor and City Council agreed on the future of the Aquarium, three new exhibits were developed, and the educational and conservation mission of the Aquarium was greatly enhanced. In 2004, the 27-year-old Aquarium set a record for attendance, and over the past three years, increased revenue by $800,000.

I will miss Bill's vision, spirit of collaboration, can-do attitude, and his always sage advice. Deputy director John Braden will become Acting Director of the Aquarium after Bill departs.


Nothing illustrates my hope for the coming year better than a recent incident witnessed in one of our parks just before Thanksgiving. Two Parks maintenance workers, M.K. Skinner and Steve Daniels, were performing annual maintenance on the top of the Pergola structure in Pioneer Square when they saw an elderly man standing near the corner of 1st and Yesler Way, shivering in the morning cold and wind. A few minutes later a woman walked up to the man, opened up a shopping bag, and handed him a down parka, which he gladly donned. When the workers approached the woman, Kristen Gagnaire, who works in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, she said she was on her way to work when she saw the man, and decided to go to Nordstrom's to buy him a coat. What a remarkable and not-so-random act of kindness!

I wish you and your families and communities warm holiday greetings and best wishes for the new year.

I will be in touch soon.

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