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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 85. April 17, 2007
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Betty Jean "B.J." Brooks, Interim Superintendent
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


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


"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 species.

To find out more and to join an Earth Day work party, check out the Earth Month web page:



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.

Van Asselt

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 Team

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


MacLean Park

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:

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.

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