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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 82. December 5, 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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Dear "View" Readers:

Last week, I notified Mayor Nickels of my intent to retire from City government on February 28, 2007, after 31 years of service. I am fortunate to have experienced three different careers for the City.

My first job was in the Office of Policy and Planning, one of the early incarnations of the City's planning office. Then in 1981, I went to work in the Office of Management and Budget, where I became Assistant Director and was appointed Budget Director by then-Mayor Charley Royer in 1989. In 1990, I came to the Department of Parks and Recreation as Deputy Superintendent under Holly Miller, and became Superintendent in 1996. At Parks, I found a home in City government where I could apply my professional skills to my commitment to youth, the environment, and direct delivery of public service.

It has been an incredible honor to serve as your Parks Superintendent for the past 10-plus years. I truly appreciate the support of Mayors Rice, Schell, and Nickels, and their commitment to the park and recreation system during my tenure. I have been blessed to work with a passionate, involved citizenry and a committed, enthusiastic, professional staff who daily make Seattle's park system one of the nation's best.

We've had many successes over the past 10 years, due largely to Seattle's incredible citizen support for the park and recreation system. Nowhere in the country are there as many dedicated citizens who love their parks and recreation facilities as there are in Seattle. Voter-approved levies and bond issues for open space acquisition, zoo exhibit improvements, community centers (twice), after school programs (three times), and the omnibus Parks For All (Pro Parks) Levy in 2000 provided us with resources to acquire land for open space and neighborhood parks, and to make significant improvements to the park system beyond even what the Forward Thrust initiative accomplished in 1968. None of these would have happened without your support.

We also weathered some tough budget years, but emerged a stronger organization for it, finding efficiencies, working smarter, and often-times relying on the benefits that come from partnerships - with volunteers, with the citizen Board of Park Commissioners, with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), advisory councils, "Friends" groups, nonprofits such as the Woodland Park Zoo Society, Seattle Aquarium Society, Seattle Parks Foundation, Cascade Land Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Starflower Foundation, and corporate and institutional partners such as Starbucks, Seattle Pacific University, Vulcan, Seattle Public Schools, and Seattle Public Utilities.

Neighborhood Matching Funds brought communities together with Parks to upgrade parks throughout the city. ARC and our advisory councils provide millions of dollars of programming annually in our community centers, sailing and rowing facilities, and other citywide services. And I could go on. Suffice it to say that our many accomplishments over the last decade would not have been possible without supportive political leadership, an engaged citizenry, strong partnerships, and professional and committed staff.

I feel good about the leadership at all levels of Parks and Recreation. We have a lot of work cut out for us next year, and we have the leadership and the staff, and the energy and commitment, to carry it forward.

Mayor Nickels will announce a search for a new Parks Superintendent soon.

I'll be in touch soon.

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