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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 66 September 1, 2005
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:
STEPs in the Right Direction | Youth Track Athletes Honored | New Park Names | Northgate CC Progress | Aquarium/Pier 59 Project | Partnering With Sonics and Storm | Mariners Donation | Summer Satisfaction | Upcoming Events


STEPs teens at work

Our environmental stewardship and job training program called STEPs (Steps Towards Environmental Partnerships) added a new wrinkle this summer. In response to recent violence in the South Park neighborhood, Parks and the Seattle Police Department teamed to sponsor 11 teens from South Park to participate in the program. We recruited them from South Park Community Center and a nearby boxing club.

Now in its fourth year, STEPs provides "at risk" and economically disadvantaged teens with environmental training and practical hands-on work experience in local parks. While this job readiness program emphasizes environmental stewardship, participants also learn basic life skills that can help guide future choices and paths. These skills include health/nutrition, money management, resume writing, interview skills, time management and teamwork.

A total of 62 youth, age 14 to 18, from all over the city participated in this summer's STEPs program, working at Queen Anne Community Center, South Park Community Center and various other parks and community events. The program ran for six weeks from July 11 to Aug. 20. Upon completion of the program, each youth received a $599 stipend.


Rainier Beach Track Club
Councilmember David Della and the Rainier Beach Track Club

We are mighty proud of a group of young people who excelled this summer on the national stage.

On Aug. 15, the City Council honored the accomplishments of these Seattle athletes who participated at two recent 2005 national track and field championships.

At the 39th USA Track and Field (USATF) National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, in Indianapolis, more than 51 young athletes from the Seattle's parks programs at Rainier Beach, Van Asselt, Rainier and Miller community centers competed. Several young athletes won several track and field events, including 11 athletes who won medals.

Young athletes from Garfield and Van Asselt community centers also participated in the North American Hershey's Track and Field Meet in Hershey, PA, several of them medaling.

Congratulations to one and all!


Solstice Park
Solstice Park

In late July, I decided to name four parks as follows: I-5 Colonnade in Eastlake; Solstice Park and Dakota Place Park in West Seattle; and Plymouth Pillars Park in the Pike-Pine neighborhood.

  • Located beneath I-5 in an area south of E. Howe St. between Lakeview Blvd. and Franklin Ave. E, I-5 Colonnade is a 7.8-acre piece of property that we leases from Washington State Department of Transportation for open space purposes to connect areas west and east of I-5.
  • Located across from the north side of Lincoln Park on Fauntleroy Way SW, the land for Solstice Park was purchased by the City in 1922. "Solstice" was chosen for the design feature of the park that aligns three pathways with the solstices and equinox.
  • A former City Light substation, Dakota Place Park, located at 4304 SW Dakota St., consists of a 2,418-square-foot building and a surrounding park site that will include a grassy open space surrounded by native plants, demonstration gardens, and a plaza.
  • Located on Boren Ave. between Pike and Pine streets, the 0.3-acre of land for Plymouth Pillars Park was constructed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in 1966 as part of the I-5 construction. Plymouth Pillars Park was chosen to reflect the history of the park's most prominent feature, the four limestone columns, which once marked the entrance to the nearby Plymouth Congregational Church.



If you've driven along 5th Ave. NE recently, just across the street from the Northgate Mall, you've surely noticed the new community center, library and park taking shape.

The contractor, Absher Construction, has completed installing the foundations for the community center and library and three of four walls for the community center gym are up. Most of the underground utilities for the site have been installed.

Despite an earlier difficulty with the supply of steel for the building, the project continues to be on time and on budget with an anticipated opening date of June 2006. Just to remind you, the project includes a 10,000-square-foot library, a 20,000-square-foot community center and a 1.67-acre park.

Funding for the new facilities and park comes from the Libraries for All bond, the 1999 renewal of the Seattle Center and Community Centers Levy, and the 2000 Pro Parks Levy. For more information on the project, please visit:


Welder adds pile length.

I reported in an earlier newsletter about this important project to shore up Pier 59 and the Seattle Aquarium. We have been busy installing new piles around the apron areas (walkable surface around the edge of the building) and beginning to demolish the old wooden aprons so new concrete ones can be poured.

Please note: beginning the Wednesday after Labor Day, Sept. 7, the Aquarium will close to the public for nine days while we carefully remove the facade and then demolish the front end of the structure. The Aquarium will re-open to the public on Sept. 17 with a new entrance through Pier 60 (the mammal and dome area).

Construction work after this re-opening includes finishing the apron pours, new piling and a new front end of the building.

For more information, please visit or


Sonic Fun!
Playing on the new court
with Seattle Sonic Nick Collison.

We appreciate the continuing partnership with the Seattle Sonics and Storm which this summer has given back to the community on three park projects.

At Benefit Park, the Sonics installed asphalt and hoops with glass backboards. At Van Asselt Community Center, two existing tennis courts are being converted to basketball courts, including new asphalt and four new hoops. At the Playgarden at Colman Field the Sonics are putting in a new concrete basketball court with hoops.

This greatly enhances the ever popular sport of outdoor basketball in Seattle and especially in the central and south part of the city.


We've also been the fortunate beneficiary of a generous gift from the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners donated used baseball equipment brought by fans to a recent game to Seattle Parks and Recreation. The donation was part of Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Collection Day on Sunday, Aug. 14. The donated equipment, including 26 gloves, 17 bats and 63 baseballs, will be used by our T-ball and softball programs.


I was gratified to receive this letter from a park user late last month, though I wasn't surprised by its content. Our parks and programs are many things to many people, particularly during our busy summer months. Thanks to our staff (and volunteers) who make good things happen!

Dear Mr. Bounds,

I am a very happy parent of a two and a six-year old who have both participated in programs sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation over the summer. It occurred to me that we are always very quick to complain when things don't suit, but that we rarely speak up when we are satisfied.

My children have participated in a wealth of activities through the Montlake Summer Camps, visited various wading pools around the City, and have thoroughly enjoyed several performances sponsored jointly by the Parks and Libraries departments.

I just want you to know that although you may not hear it often enough there are lots of very grateful and happy parents, not to mention a whole load of kids having a wonderful time thanks to your Department's planning, preparations and hard work. I especially commend the outstanding efforts by everyone at Montlake Community Center and the camp staff and counselors.

Hats off to all of you and a huge thank you from me and my family.


Jill Jago


Beer Sheva Dedication

On Saturday, Sept. 11, we will dedicate the improvements completed at Beer Sheva Park in southeast Seattle at 3 p.m. at the park, located at 8650 55th Ave. S. Improvements include a new play area, ADA paths, tables and benches.

Cal Anderson Park Grand Opening on Sept. 24

The improvements at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill are numerous and dramatic, and combined with new and varied programming in the park, they will go a long way in "reclaiming" the park from its recent doldrums, which included vandalism and other illegal activities.

Anderson Aerial
Aerial Photo of Cal Anderson
I'd like to invite you to a grand opening ceremony at the park on Saturday, Sept. 24, noon to 3 p.m. We'll have a community celebration with tours of park, information on park improvements, music and other entertainment. Thanks to Groundswell Off Broadway and Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks for their help in organizing the ceremony. I hope to see you there!

We are now putting the finishing touches on the various projects. The most stunning feature is the lidding of the Lincoln Reservoir at the north end of the park. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) installed a hard cover over the reservoir. Then Parks, in coordination with SPU and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, made park improvements above and adjacent to the rebuilt reservoir. These include a large water feature (fountain, texture pool, and reflecting pool), promenade, paths, landscaping, irrigation, and site lighting.

Also at Cal Anderson, we built a new play area, added a basketball court, made improvements to the park entries, replaced the surface of Bobby Morris Playfield with synthetic turf. Earlier phases at Cal Anderson Park included a new shelterhouse, plaza and public toilets.

Funding for the above projects came from the Pro Parks Levy, SPU, Parks Cumulative Reserve Fund, the State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC), the Department of Neighborhoods, and Seattle Central Community College.

I'll be in touch soon.

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