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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 69 December 21, 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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Green Lake Luminaria
Green Lake Pathway of Lights
on December 10
We've had another busy and rewarding year at Seattle Parks and Recreation. On behalf of my staff, I'd like to wish you and your families the happiest of holidays and best wishes for the new year.

If you're in the mood, we have a lot going on this month, including Christmas Ship events at parks, and hayrides at Seward Park. If you're more adventurous, join the hundreds of celebrants at the annual Polar Bear Swim at Matthew's Beach Park on Jan. 1. Visit our web site for details

In 2006, besides the usual programs, events, and projects, Seattle will host the national convention of the National Recreation and Parks Association, which will bring to town thousands of visitors from parks and recreation agencies across the nation. It's a golden opportunity for us to showcase the city and our precious parks and recreation system. I will share more details about the convention as they become available.

Ward Springs Park
Ward Springs Park
(Dept. of Neighborhoods award)
John Barber
John Barber
Ruth Bell
Ruth Bell
George Hildreth
George Hildreth
2005 Denny Awards

On Nov. 16, I was pleased to honor the winners of the third annual Denny Awards for volunteer service. This year's winners were John Barber of the Leschi neighborhood, Ruth Bell, who lives in Rainier Beach, George Hildreth of Northeast Seattle, Seattle Works and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The ceremony at City Hall was well attended by family, friends and neighbors of the individual winners.

We simply couldn't do what we do at Seattle Parks and Recreation without the extraordinary support of volunteers like these and the Denny Awards were a small token of our great appreciation and respect for the people and organizations who help us fulfill our mission as a department.

In brief, John Barber was recognized for his 30-year involvement in the stewardship and preservation of parks and open space in Seattle, especially in Leschi and Frink parks; John has played a leadership role as chair of the Open Space Advocates, and on citizens committees for the 1989 King County Open Space Bond and the 2000 Pro Parks Levy.

Ruth Bell showed great leadership and involvement in numerous projects in Southeast Seattle, particularly the wetland restoration at Pritchard Beach, the Stroll Garden at Kubota Garden, and most recently, the new play area at Beer Sheva Park.

George Hildreth's tireless commitment to the care of the Lower Woodland Park softball and baseball fields for more than a decade has made him an invaluable volunteer.

Seattle Works has worked on Seattle Works Day and throughout the year to bring thousands of volunteers in their 20s and 30s to public and private sites, including dozens of Seattle parks.

Since 1988, the Department of Neighborhoods with its innovative Neighborhood Matching Fund has been a crucial partner in 465 improvement projects in neighborhood parks, providing $14 million in seed money that has made these projects possible.

Congratulations to the Denny Award winners and all of the award nominees.

I-5 Colonnade Park

I-5 Colonnade Provides Respite in Eastlake

I joined Mayor Nickels on Saturday, Dec. 3 to celebrate the opening of the latest, greatest open space in the Eastlake and Capitol Hill neighborhoods: I-5 Colonnade.

Located under I-5, between Lakeview Boulevard and Franklin Ave. E, I-5 Colonnade is a 7.5-acre open space that results from the collaborative efforts of Parks, the Eastlake and Capitol Hill communities, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and the mountain bike, road bicycle, and dog off-leash area communities, to create a unique urban open space.

The project is located on WSDOT property, and has been converted into a public space with pedestrian and bicycle commuter connections between the Capitol Hill and Eastlake neighborhoods, a highly specialized mountain bike course, Seattle's tenth dog off-leash area, and public art. It's funded by $1.8 million from the Pro Parks Levy.

For more information, please visit

Online Registration

More and more of our community centers and public recreation facilities now offer online registration for their programs and classes.

With SPARC (Seattle Parks and Recreation Connection) you can register online for winter courses at these community centers: Alki, Bitter Lake, Garfield, Hiawatha, International District/Chinatown, Jefferson, Laurelhurst, Magnolia, Meadowbrook, Montlake, Ravenna-Eckstein, and Rainier Beach. The remaining facilities will be added in 2006.

For more information or to register for classes at the centers mentioned above, please visit our web site

Capehart Housing

We are moving closer to acquiring the Navy’s Capehart Housing area located in the middle of Discovery Park.

You may recall that we signed an agreement a year ago with American Eagle, the Navy’s designated housing developer and manager, to buy the 23-acre property within a three-year timeframe. During this same period, American Eagle is looking for replacement housing (for Navy families) in Everett and elsewhere.

This year, we’ve made very good progress in lining up funding for the approximately $10 million purchase. We now have about two thirds of the funding, which includes settlement funds from the King County West Point Sewage Treatment Plant expansion ($2 million), King County Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) revenue ($2.7 million), state funding ($1 million). We expect to receive another $1.3 million in King County CFT and $1 million in state funding in 2006.

A big thank you to State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells, Representatives Helen Sommers and Mary Lou Dickerson, County Executive Ron Sims, King County Council President Larry Phillips and the CFT citizens review committee for recognizing the importance and value of preserving this unique urban resource. We are also looking to federal funding possibilities.

Green Seattle Guide

Green Seattle Guide

The City of Seattle's Green Seattle Guide is now available online at The guide lists 101 actions you can take in your home, yard, and community for a healthy urban environment. This guide is easy to read and use and a good way to approach conservation and preservation in a systematic manner.

The guide was created and organized by the City's Office of Sustainability and the Environment, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Department of Neighborhoods, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Puget Sound Action Team.

Carkeek Park

Seattle Magazine's Best of 2005 Awards

In case you missed it, Seattle Parks and Recreation figured prominently in Seattle Magazine's annual awards, published in the December issue.

  • The Best Place for Hipster Dogs is Plymouth Pillars Park (Boren Ave. between Pike and Pine streets)
  • The Best Place for Kids' Birthday Parties is the Seattle Aquarium
  • The Best Place to Take a Walk is Carkeek Park
  • The Best Place to Have a Party is at Golden Gardens Bathhouse

Also mentioned in travel writer Rick Steve's list of spots in Seattle "that look a little bit like Europe," was the Washington Park Arboretum, which "looks like 'Monet's Garden at Giverny.'"

Carkeek Park
Baby Otter at the Seattle Aquarium

Good News for Aquarium Project

We just heard that Governor Christine Gregoire has included a $2 million appropriation for the Seattle Aquarium's New Currents exhibit in her 2006 Supplemental Capital Budget.

The budget must still be passed by the State Legislature when it convenes in January, but this is a huge step forward in funding the exhibit. The $2 million would be in addition to the $4 million already raised in private funds by the Seattle Aquarium Society Board for the $13.7 million exhibit project. Work on the exhibit will take place after the City (Parks) completes the $22 million project, currently under way, to replace the pilings under the Aquarium and shore up the building's exterior.

See for more information about the project.

I'll be in touch soon.

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