VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 59 March 23, 2005
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs,
projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken
Happy Spring! It's been awhile since I last wrote about Parks news and events.
We've had a very busy and productive first few months of the year. Some
of the highlights follow.
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$10 MILLION FOR SOUTH LAKE UNION PARK
week, Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle Parks Foundation announced a
$10 million contribution from Vulcan, Inc. to help build the new South
Lake Union Park. It is the largest private contribution to a public park
in Seattle's history.
The contribution was a great boost to a fundraising campaign the Parks
Foundation plans to launch in June to fund park improvements. Vulcan's
contribution will be delivered in two parts over five years: $5 million
immediately to fund the first phase of construction and $5 million as
a challenge grant after the foundation has raised the remaining $10 million.
The new South Lake Union Park will accommodate large public events, improve
access to the shoreline and restore portions of the natural habitat. It
will feature stunning open space, a bridge and waterfront boardwalk, a
boat launching beach and a model boat pond.
CONSTRUCTION STARTS ON NORTHGATE PROJECT
begins this week on a project that will help transform the Northgate neighborhood
with a new community center, library and park. Mayor Greg Nickels joined
the community in a groundbreaking ceremony on March 19 to mark this important
project milestone. The library and community center will be surrounded
by a 1.7-acre park with a play area, courtyard and plaza. An adjacent
project by the Seattle Department of Transportation will improve the 5th
Avenue "streetscape" and make it more pedestrian friendly. We
expect all projects to be completed by June 2006. For more information
on the Northgate project, please visit our web site at www.seattle.gov/parks
YESLER CC OPENS
of neighborhood transformation, the Yesler Community Center, opened with
great fanfare on Feb. 12, and it already is a busy place with a full slate
of scheduled and drop-in activities. The difference between the old 4,700
square-foot center and the new 20,000 s.f. building is dramatic. Please
come visit this wonderful new facility. A big thank you and congratulations
to our primary partner on this project, the Seattle Housing Authority;
SHA essentially gave us property in the Yesler Terrace neighborhood for
the community center. For more information on the project, please visit
MAYOR UNVEILS SOUTHEAST SEATTLE AGENDA
Earlier this week, Mayor Greg Nickels announced his Action Agenda for
Southeast Seattle to bring more investment to the Rainier Valley for housing,
jobs, education, arts and parks.
The unprecedented public investment in this neighborhood through the
Sound Transit light rail line and the Seattle Housing Authority's NewHolly
and Rainier Vista projects, and millions of dollars in City resources,
has created a rare opportunity to help shape the future of this vibrant,
diverse community. Among the projects on the Action Agenda is the development
of the Chief Sealth Trail, 3.5 miles of walking and biking path, and the
new Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center.
The Mayor worked with Southeast Seattle community and business leaders,
community-based organizations and public and private sector organizations
to develop the Action Agenda. For more information on the Agenda, please
visit the Mayor's web site at www.seattle.gov/mayor
SEWARD PARK AUDUBON CENTER
Our partnership with Audubon Washington continues as design starts for
a renovated environmental learning center in Seward Park. An initial public
meeting has been set for Thursday, May 12, 7 p.m. at the current environmental
The new Audubon center will provide hands-on outdoor learning for children
and adults and engage volunteers in science and stewardship activities.
We expect to complete design by the end of the year and start construction
in June 2006, finishing by early 2007.
Audubon has begun a major fundraising campaign. For more information
about the project, please contact Candy Castellanos, Audubon Washington,
at 206-652-2444, ext. 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
Here are a few of the many recently completed projects in our parks system.
I encourage you to visit them and see what's been accomplished with Pro
Parks Levy and other funds.
Cascade Playground (333 Pontius Ave. N in Cascade neighborhood):
Play areas, irrigation, parking, green design and crime prevention design
in partnership with Vulcan, PEMCO and
Kubota Garden (9817 55th Ave. S in southeast Seattle): New entryway,
paths, ADA access, drainage and irrigation, in partnership with Kubota
Garden Foundation, which funded the new gate, designed by Gerard Tsutakawa.
The Pro Parks Levy funded most of the other improvements.
Homer Harris Park (2401 E Howell St. in Central Area): Picnic
area, plaza, lawn area and landscaping in partnership with a major gift
from the Seattle Parks Foundation and funding from the Pro Parks Levy.
Alki Bathhouse (at Alki Beach in West Seattle): Space for artists,
potters, community in partnership with the Alki Community Center Advisory
Council and the Alki community, which raised substantial funds. Primary
funding was from the Pro Parks Levy.
Luna Park Seawall (north of Alki Beach): Wall replacement and
fish habitat improvements as part of the Mayor's Restore Our Waters strategy.
Magnolia Play Area (next to community center 2550 34th Ave. W
in Magnolia): Community-inspired and community-led fundraising that included
$30,000 from Amgen and $10,000 from Starbucks.
Beer Sheva Park (8650 55th Ave. S in southeast Seattle): New play
area, barbecue, ADA improvements and landscaping in this Sister City park.
CREW CHIEFS CHANGE DISTRICTS
Some of you may have heard that our talented and hard-working group of
park Crew Chiefs received new assignments in February. This is a great
chance for them to get to know different areas of the city and work with
new staff teams. The assignments are as follows:
- Northwest: Joe Green
- North Central: Don Allen
- Northeast: Peggy Pullen
- Central East: Jon Martin
- Central West: Patrick Merriam
- Downtown: Greg Bucasas
- Southwest: Bardow Lewis
- South Central: Carol Baker
- Southeast: Sandi Bell
DOWNTOWN TASK FORCE
We convened the Downtown Task Force for the first time on Feb. 18. Appointed
by the Mayor, the Task Force includes the Downtown Seattle Association,
community members and business owners who will collectively help us develop
strategies for park improvements, operation, and maintenance of downtown
parks. This is part of the Mayor's Downtown Parks Initiative to revitalize
downtown parks. We had a great initial discussion about key issues and
needs and will meet monthly. More information and updates will soon be
available on our web site.
STARBUCKS EXPANDS GRANT PROGRAM
In an exciting development announced in January, the Starbucks Coffee
Company will expand its highly success parks grant program, increasing
the total amount of grants to $1 million for improving parks in King,
Pierce and Snohomish counties. Begun in 2000, the Starbucks program has
invested $310,000 in Seattle parks through $10,000 grants. The expanded
program increases the individual grant amount to $15,000, and
sets aside $550,000 for larger projects.
NATIONAL AWARD FOR TENNIS CENTER
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) named the Amy Yee Tennis
Center as "Organization of the Year" for 2004. The center was
selected from more than 6,000 organizations nationally. The largest tennis
organization in the world, the USTA promotes and develops tennis on every
level in the U.S. This award is a direct result of the Tennis Center's
exemplary service to the tennis community and support of USTA programs
for nearly 30 years.
JAPANESE GARDEN OPENING
The Japanese Garden began its spring season in February with a celebration.
A Shinto priest blessed the garden, volunteers provided tea and tours,
and drummers provided entertainment.
CHANGES AT AQUARIUM
Director of the Seattle Aquarium since July 20, 2000, Bill Arntz retired
in January after contributing to the facility's "best year ever"
attendance of 716,331 (in 2004). Recently, I named John Braden, former
Aquarium Deputy Director, as the new director.
APRIL IS "EARTH MONTH"
Earth Day is on April 22, but at Seattle Parks and Recreation the entire
month of April is "Earth Month." Once again, we are involved
with a host of activities, programs and volunteer "work parties."
For more information on Earth Month activities visit our web site, www.seattle.gov/parks
, or call Adam Cole at 206-233-9701.