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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 70 January 31, 2006
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:
Summer Concerts Moving to Gas Works Park | Green Futures "Charrette" on Feb. 3-4 | Revitalizing Downtown Park | Plymouth Pillars Park | Mayor Seeks Suggestions on Capital Projects | Olympic Sculpture Park Project Under Way | Design Awards to Sculpture Park and Ballard Commons Park | Upcoming: MLK Park to Open in Spring | State Outdoor Recreation Agency Seeks Volunteers | City Council Parks Committee Gets New Name


You may have read about the temporary move of One Reel's popular "Summer Nights" concert series from South Lake Union Park to Gas Works Park.

A move is necessary because construction work will begin at South Lake Union Park this year. Both One Reel and Parks looked for viable sites that met a set of criteria for such a series, and Gas Works Park met them the best. The previous location of the concerts, Piers 62 and 63, is in need of major work to replace the supporting pilings.

Because of a very short timeline, both for utility improvements to the park and for One Reel to compete for its lineup of artists, I announced the move to Gas Works Park without conducting the normal public process.

On Monday, Jan. 30, the City Council passed legislation appropriating funds for the utility upgrades, and Parks staff are working with a group of Eastlake, Wallingford, Fremont, and Queen Anne leaders on how to mitigate the potential impacts of the approximately 20 concerts, which have a maximum capacity of 3,800 people, on parking, traffic, noise, and access to the park.


With an eye toward the future, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Open Space Seattle 2100 are co-sponsoring the Green Futures Charrette to create a visionary open-space plan for the 21st century.

The Charrette will be held on Feb. 3-4 at the South Lake Union Armory. Registration is now closed for the charrette itself , but all are welcome at two public open houses: one on Friday, Feb. 3, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Armory; and the other on Saturday, Feb. 4, 6 to 8 p.m., at University of Washington's Gould Hall Court to view charrette results.

In addition, please come to a keynote lecture by University of British Columbia Professor Patrick Condon on "Green Infrastructure for the 21st Century." The talk will be on Thursday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m., in room 147 of Architecture Hall at the U.W.

The Green Futures Charrette is an extraordinary opportunity for design professionals and involved community leaders to develop solutions that address key challenges that arise at the nexus of increased population density and future open space needs.

Please share this notice with others and encourage friends and colleagues who are interested in urban design, open space planning and community-building. For more information, please visit or


Victor Steinbrueck Park
Victor Steinbrueck Park

We are moving along on a plan to revitalize and "reclaim" downtown parks for people who live in, work and visit downtown.

We recently held three public meetings to present the draft recommendations of Mayor Greg Nickels' Downtown Parks Task Force. The report, "Downtown Parks Renaissance," includes recommendations that cover 24 downtown parks from South Lake Union on the north to the International District on the south. The report's premise is that downtown parks, because they serve a unique population of workers, residents, and visitors, should be treated differently from parks in outlying neighborhoods.

The Task Force made draft recommendations on programming and events, how to coordinate and manage downtown parks, safety and security, maintenance, and changes to existing policies and ordinances that would streamline that coordination and management.

After the three public meetings, the Task Force will meet to make changes to the draft report based on public comments, and will forward the final report to the Mayor for his consideration. Comments on the draft report are welcome through Friday, Feb. 10. Please send them to or Dewey Potter at Seattle Parks and Recreation, 100 Dexter Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109.
To view the executive summary and the full report, please visit the web at

I am the co-chair of the Task Force with Kate Joncas of the Downtown Seattle Association, and Catherine Stanford of the Downtown District Council. Other Task Force members are Bruce Bentley, Seattle citizen and former Board of Park Commissioners member; David Brewster, Executive Director (retired) of Town Hall and leader in the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association; Ron Sher, Seattle citizen and owner of Elliott Bay Books; Tina Bueche, Metropolitan Improvement District and Pioneer Square community leader; and Jordan Royer, Mayor's Strategic Advisor.


Plymouth Pillars Park
Plymouth Pillars Park

Sometimes beauty and grandeur come in a small package.

This is certainly true of the physically small public space unveiled in January in the Pike-Pine neighborhood, Plymouth Pillars Park.

Formerly known as Boren-Pike-Pine Park, this 0.6 acre park on the corner of Pine St. and Minor Ave. is renowned for the four limestone columns that once graced the entrance to the Plymouth Congregational Church.

Thanks to the 2000 Pro Parks Levy, we made significant improvements to the park, including a pedestrian corridor, a dog off-leash area (Seattle's 11th), oversized urns from the old Music Hall Theatre, and three intimate plazas. The renovation of the park was long identified by Pike/Pine community as a high priority. Additional funding for the project came from the Department of Neighborhoods, Washington State (Convention Center mitigation) and the adjacent property owner, Washington Holding.

I invite you (and your dog!) to visit one our newest and surprising urban public spaces.

For more information about this project, please visit


Mayor Greg Nickels kicked off his 2007-2008 budget process this month by announcing a great opportunity for the community to suggest capital improvement program (CIP) projects. Seattleites have until March 20 to submit their ideas to the Department of Finance.

All suggestions will be considered by relevant City departments and neighborhood district councils. Departments may then include some of these suggestions when they submit their capital project recommendations to the mayor in July. The Mayor will review these recommendations and present his proposed 2007-2008 budget and 2007-2012 CIP to City Council in late September. The City Council is expected to adopt the budget in November.

The CIP project suggestion form, along with instructions and a list of department contacts, are available at City Hall's Citizens Service Bureau and at Neighborhood Service Centers throughout Seattle and on the City's web site:
The CIP funds the construction, purchase or renovation of buildings, parks, streets or other physical structures. It covers a six-year planning horizon and is updated each year to reflect ongoing changes. The most recently adopted CIP - 2006-2011 - totals more than $3 billion for six years.

For more information about the City budget, please visit


Olympic Sculpture Construction
Olympic Sculpture Park Construction

If you've driven on Alaskan Way lately, you probably noticed the heightened construction activity. The Seattle Aquarium is getting a facelift at Pier 59, and less than a mile north and a little east, construction on the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park has been under way since June 2005.

The park project transforms a former industrial site just south of Myrtle Edwards Park into a magnificent 8.5-acre green space for art overlooking Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains, and will be completed later this year.

The Olympic Sculpture Park will include Parks property, the Alaskan Way Boulevard. The City and the Seattle Art Museum recently completed an agreement for the operation and maintenance of this site. In addition, part of the project involves creation of a 0.6-acre beach area and shoreline restoration project at the south end of Myrtle Edwards Park. It combines enhancement of salmon habitat and public access to a newly created beach.

Work continues on underground utilities, such as storm drain lines and on pedestrian connections over Elliott Avenue and the railroad tracks. The end result, as envisioned by the park's lead designers, Weiss/Manfredi Architects of New York, is a continuous "Z" shape that unfolds as a landscape for art and people, connecting three disparate parcels currently separated by train tracks and roads. The top of the park, at the city's edge, will feature an 8,000-square-foot glass and steel pavilion to house special events, temporary exhibits, public programs, and a café. The park will also showcase Northwest ecology and native plants, including the planting of more than 550 trees.

The Olympic Sculpture Park will feature works from the Seattle Art Museum's collection of sculpture (including Alexander Calder's monumental sculpture "Eagle"), works built into the fabric of the park, video projection, temporary installations, and loaned works.

In 1999, the Seattle Art Museum in partnership with the Trust for Public Lands purchased the initial property for the park from Unocal. King County and the federal government provided funding for acquiring additional property at 10 Broad Street to complete the park.

For more information, please visit


Award Ceremony
The Mayor presents the design award.

The aforementioned Olympic Sculpture Park and the new Ballard Commons Park were recently recognized by the Seattle Design Commission with a Design Excellence Award. The Commission commended the Sculpture Park design for its public access to the water, and restoration of salmon habitat, its addition of open space to the waterfront area, and its clear, bold design. The Ballard Commons Park was lauded for its simplicity of design and development of uses by different generations.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park

We are eagerly awaiting the re-dedication of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park this spring. Construction is complete on significant improvements that created walkways through the terraces, provided access for disabled persons, and two plazas that overlook the fountain.

For more information about the project, funded by the Pro Parks Levy, please visit


The state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) in Olympia is seeking three volunteers to fill vacancies on its National Recreational Trails Program advisory committee, which advises the interagency committee on program policies, project funding, and statewide planning.

IAC was established four decades ago to finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state.

To apply for open interagency committee posts, return a completed application by the March 8 deadline. For more information visit or call 360-902-3009.


The new name of the City Council committee with responsibility over parks and recreation is the Parks, Education, Libraries and Labor Committee, chaired my Councilmember David Della. The other members of the committee are Councilmembers Jan Drago and Richard Conlin. New Councilmember Sally Clark is an alternate member. You can get more information about City Council committees and meetings at

I'll be in touch soon.

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