VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 85. April 17, 2007
Betty Jean "B.J." Brooks,
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs,
projects and events from Seattle Parks and Interim Superintendent B.J. Brooks
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In this issue:
Getting Out, Listening & Building Bridges | Earth
Month/Earth Day | Three renovated community centers come
online | Pyramid Project receives Mayor's Award | More
Pro Parks Levy acquisitions
GETTING OUT, LISTENING & BUILDING BRIDGES
We're gearing up for spring and summer, and we've got lots on tap. From
drop-in kick ball at Bitter Lake Community Center to Fishing Kids at Seward
Park to the Langston
Hughes African American Film Festival, we're offering communities
lots of ways to enjoy our many wonderful parks and facilities.
To bring the Parks' message to the community, I have been getting out,
meeting with the community and listening. I've been getting together with
groups throughout the city, seeking a diversity of opinions and ideas
from a wide range of cultures and a variety of neighborhoods.
I want us to strengthen our core values, celebrate our community successes,
find common ground and build consensus. When we focus on our shared goals,
we can accomplish so much more than when we focus on our differences.
I hope that you will join me in creating forthright and productive dialogue.
EARTH MONTH/EARTH DAY (APRIL 22)
"Green" is the buzzword for April. That's because April is
Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day. Here at Parks, every month is Earth
Month for us. We are always looking for the best ways to manage the legacy
of our more than 6,000 acres of park space.
Throughout April, we'll be celebrating Mother Nature with work parties,
films, lectures and events to commemorate Earth Month.
Under Mayor Greg Nickels' leadership, Seattle Parks and Recreation has
partnered with the Cascade Land Conservancy and Seattle Public Utilities
to create the Green Seattle Partnership. The partnership has set the goal
of restoring and revitalizing 2,500 acres of urban forest by 2025.
Most of that work - 95 percent -- will be done by volunteers. Under the
able direction of our volunteer coordinators and urban foresters, volunteers
remove acres of invasive ivy and blackberry, and re-plant them with native
To find out more and to join an Earth Day work party, check out the Earth
Month web page: www.seattle.gov/parks/environment/earth.htm
NEW COMMUNITY CENTERS
In the first three months of this year, we opened three renovated and
expanded community centers.
January saw the opening of Montlake Community Center. The $3.4 million
Pro Parks Levy project expanded and renovated the existing center by adding
a new multi-purpose room, full service commercial kitchen, activity room,
additional viewing areas for the gym, new showers and storage, community
gathering areas and a centrally located front desk. Thanks to a $42,000
donation from the Montlake Community Center Advisory Council, we were
also able to refurbish the historic Tudor building. www.seattle.gov/parks/proparks/projects/montlake.htm
In February, Van Asselt Community Center came back online. The $3.9 million
project, paid for by the Community Centers Levy, almost doubled the size
of the previous facility. The center now has a dividable multipurpose
room, a commercial kitchen, space for after-school care, a teen room,
a game room, and new elevator access to the lower-level gymnasium. Improvements
outside the community center include a brand new playground - paid for
by a gift from Starbucks Coffee Company and the Pro Parks Levy Opportunity
Fund -- and new basketball courts donated by the Sonics/Storm Foundation.
In March, we celebrated the completion of the uniquely designed Laurelhurst
Community Center. Paid for by the Pro Parks Levy, the $2.9 million interior
renovation completely upgraded the building, adding 5,430 square feet.
New amenities include a multipurpose room, commercial kitchen, activity
room, break-out space, elevator, kiln room, new lobby and a fireplace
room. The Laurelhurst Community Center Advisory Council generously donated
more than $120,000 to purchase two kilns, furnishings, surveillance cameras
and kitchen equipment.
Each of the centers had a 1% for Art project administered through the
Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.
I look forward to seeing you at the next levy-funded park opening!
PYRAMID PROJECT RECEIVES AWARD
Please join me in congratulating the Pyramid Project Core team for receiving
the Mayor's 2006 Information Technology Excellence in Project Management
Award. One information technology project is selected each year for outstanding
performance. This year's winning project - ours -- ran with few problems,
came in under budget, and rolled out on time!
The project launched the use of a new integrated registration, reservation,
and point-of-sale system to 56 Parks and Recreation facilities. It improved
fiscal accountability, efficiencies for staff, and customer service. Staff
can now search all of our available classes and programs, and check availability
for rentals, reducing the risk of booking errors. Customers can now register
at any facility across the department or by themselves online at home
on SPARC (Seattle Parks & Recreation Connection)!
This project brought Seattle Parks and Recreation into the 21st Century,
not only by changing the way we do business, but also by making it easier
and more efficient for our customers to interact with us.
I am very proud of what this team accomplished. It is an honor to work
with such a talented and dedicated group of people.
The team members are (should you wish to congratulate them in person):
- John Tomlinson
- Melanie Chin
- Pam Banks
- Lori Chisholm
- Patsy Siegismund
- Eric Asp
- Beth Somerfield
MORE OPEN SPACE FOR SEATTLE
Our Pro Parks Levy acquisition team continues to add acreage to our park
system. Recently the team completed the purchase of several properties
that will increase the amount of green space we preserve.
In the northeast Queen Anne Greenbelt/MacLean Park area, we purchased
four parcels of property adjacent to MacLean Park, preserving .27 acres
in the greenbelt. To learn more, visit the web page: www.seattle.gov/parks/proparks/projects/NEQueenAnneGreenbelt.htm
The team also purchased property on Lakeview Boulevard East, across from
I-5 Colonnade, north of the East Blaine Street public stairway. This will
improve pedestrian connections, extend wildlife habitat, and enhance the
wooded buffer along East Blaine Street public stairway.
I'll be in touch soon.