THE VIEW FROM DENNY
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 86. August 3, 2007
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
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In this issue...
Summer in the City: Parks Employees | Swimming
in Seattle | Center City Parks programs | Summer
programs at Seattle Parks | New Aquarium exhibits
opens | New park openings
PARKS EMPLOYEES ARE DOING A GREAT JOB
We have a vast and unique park system. With nearly 6,200 acres
of open spaces, parks and facilities, it takes a lot of work to
keep this system in good shape, to make programming relevant and
accessible, and to continue preserving new open spaces and creating
new parks for future generations. I credit our employees with
getting this work done successfully.
Our grounds maintenance crews plant and maintain the beautiful
shrub beds and floral displays, keep the grass mowed, line the
ballfields for play, and remove more than 2,000 tons of garbage
and litter and 522 tons of yard waste each year. Our maintenance
shops respond to more than 24,000 work orders annually, replacing
picnic table seats for summer use, re-roofing buildings so they
don't leak, and repairing boilers so we can continue to operate
on hot days.
Our facilities staff keep our community centers, pools, environmental
learning centers, beaches and bathhouses safe, clean and welcoming.
Those responsible for programming are constantly on the lookout
for fun, creative ideas - whether that means putting buskers in
downtown parks, starting a concert series at Cal Anderson Park,
or making drop-in kick ball available at a community center.
These are not the jobs that make the headlines, but the work
of our front-line employees is vital to our success as an organization.
As Seattle Parks continues to expand, our employees become even
more critical to our success.
Thank you to each employee who helps make ours one of the best
park and recreation systems in the country. Each of you is making
a difference and touching lives.
FEEL LIKE TAKING A DIP?
Summer in Seattle just wouldn't be complete without spending
some time in or around our lakes, swimming pools, wading pools
and water play features. At Seattle Parks, we offer aquatic recreation
in every corner of the City. Whether you're bringing your toddlers
to the wading pool, cleaning off the boat for some waterskiing
on Lake Washington, or heading to one of our lifeguarded beaches
with your sunscreen and a summer novel, we have a place for you.
In Seattle, we have abundant water recreation choices:
- 9 lifeguarded beaches
- 2 outdoor swimming pools, including one with heated salt water
- 8 indoor swimming pools
- 25 wading pools
- 5 water spray features
- 2 small craft centers
- 7 boat ramps
- numerous shoreline recreation access areas through street-end
- 35 parks where you can put in a canoe or a kayak
If it's open water that you crave, we recommend you always swim
at beaches where a lifeguard is posted. Our lifeguarded beaches
opened on June 23. A lifeguard is on duty daily from 11 a.m. to
7 p.m. Most beaches are open until Sept. 3, but some close on
Kids of all ages love wading pools and water features. Not only
are they fun, but they're also environmentally friendly. If just
50 families used the East Queen Anne wading pool, rather than
filling their home wading pools, the water saved would equal that
needed to fill the public wading pool - which can serve a lot
more than 50 kids.
The water in our wading pools is drained every evening and re-filled
with fresh water each morning, so rest assured it's clean and
safe. Please note that wading pools do not open on days when the
temperature does not get higher than 70 degrees. To save yourself
an unnecessary trip, call our wading pool hotline at 684-7796.
The information on the hotline is updated daily by 9:30 a.m.
Maybe you're more of a boater. It doesn't matter whether you enjoy
skimming across the water in an 8-man rowing skull, poking around
the abundant shores of the Arboretum in a one-person kayak, or
zooming across Lake Washington with the wind in your hair and
a boat full of friends, Seattle Parks offers you a way to access
Our two small craft centers at Green Lake and Mt. Baker buzz
with activity all summer long. At Green Lake, you might want to
catch the Canoe and Kayak U.S. National Championships Aug. 14
- 18. If you've been to Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center lately,
you can't have missed the exciting renovations and expansion happening
there. The primary structure is now complete, with interior work
and landscaping continuing into the fall. But they're still offering
a full complement of programs and classes while construction continues.
Our outdoor pools are the place to be in the summer, but many
still enjoy swimming at our indoor pools. We even have swimming
opportunities for Fido. On Saturday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. to
1 p.m., we'll offer a dog swim at Helene Madison Pool. We host
this special event for the beloved pooch in the family right before
we close the pool for cleaning and maintenance. Human swimmers
need not worry. The cleaning includes draining the pool, cleaning
it and re-filling it. There's also year-round access to the water
at the Magnuson Park off-leash area.
To learn more about any of our aquatic programs or services,
visit our website at:
CENTER CITY PARKS
Our Center City parks are humming with activities this summer
- literally. We've got music and other activities scheduled virtually
everywhere you turn. If you're downtown this summer, you're sure
to enjoy some of the great fun we've got planned.
As part of our plan to implement the recommendations of the Center
City Parks Task Force convened by Mayor Greg Nickels, we're puttin'
on the ritz. Be on the look out for strolling artists, minstrels,
and musicians who perform daily between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday
through Friday at Freeway, Hing Hay, Pioneer Square, Westlake
and Waterfront parks.
In association with our friends at the Downtown Seattle Association,
we've expanded our "Out to Lunch" concert series this
year. We have booked more artists at more parks than ever before.
Stop by Occidental Square, Cascade Playground, Waterfront Park
and Tilikum Place to see some special artists. We've also expanded
our outdoor movies this year. Check out the Asian-themed film
festival at Hing Hay Park in August and the Lord of the Rings
film festival in September at Occidental Square.
We also have more festivals, markets and special events than
ever before. To find out more, check out the website at www.seattle.gov/parks/events/centercity.htm
SUMMER RECREATION PROGRAMS
In Seattle, we wait all year long for our beautiful summers.
With highs in the mid-70s or higher, low humidity and cool nights,
it's hard to beat Seattle in the summertime. It's the time with
Seattle Parks and Recreation takes our programs outside.
Whether you enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee with your friends,
taking a quiet walk through an old-growth forest or getting Fido
out to a boisterous off-leash area, Seattle's parks offer something
At five playgrounds in central and southeast Seattle, we're making
a special effort to reach out to kids in these neighborhoods.
We're offering playground programs at Judkins, Pratt, Othello,
Brighton and Maplewood playgrounds this summer. The programs operate
Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. throughout the
summer. The focus of the programs is "Art in the Park,"
which provides culturally relevant, fun, innovative, curriculum
based performing arts. Children work on their performances all
summer, and on Aug. 18 at Pratt Park from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., we
hold an End-of-Summer Celebration that will showcase the children's
performances. There will also be food and games. Don't miss the
For those who enjoy organized sports, we offer sports teams,
leagues and programs that focus on providing recreational opportunities,
skill development and physical fitness by connecting people with
each other through team participation. This summer, we have registered
more than 350 youth in our tennis camp system with another 600
registered for youth lessons.
Seattle's municipal golf courses continue to be popular places
to spend a sunny afternoon. Seattle golfers have already played
more than 127,000 rounds of golf this year. We offer camps for
kids all summer long. These three- and four-day camps are available
at Jefferson and Jackson golf courses.
For the avid golfer, we can recommend the Seniors for Juniors
Golf Tournament, which be held on Friday, Aug. 10, at 1 p.m. at
the West Seattle Golf Course. Seattle broadcasting legend Bruce
King will host the event, which is co-presented by Fir State Junior
Golf Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation. For more information,
visit the website: www.firstatejuniorgolf.org
No kid's summer would be complete without spending some time
at summer camp. At Seattle Parks, we have more than 1,000 children
participating in our summer camps. About 42 percent of them receive
scholarships. We are also serving another 327 middle school students
in a variety of recreation and academic summer programs at the
Community Learning Centers we operate with funding from the Families
and Education Levy.
These are only a few of our offerings and programs. We have summer
sports camps, classes at our 26 community centers, drop-in activities,
lifelong recreation for seniors - including the biggest Northwest
Senior Games ever - environmental and stewardship learning opportunities
and programs, and much, much more.
AQUARIUM OPENS NEW EXHIBIT
When the Seattle Aquarium held its grand re-opening after a 24-month
renovation, the new Windows on Washington Waters exhibit
drew throngs of people. The exhibit has a 120,000-gallon exhibit
with a 39-foot-by-17-foot viewing window, and is the centerpiece
of the $41 million expansion and renovation. The new exhibit,
which features the habitat of our Pacific Northwest waters, is
modeled after the landscape and creatures of Neah Bay on the coast
The Aquarium has stocked the tank with hundreds of local fish
-- including coho salmon, several species of rockfish, Red Irish
Lords, sea stars, sea cucumbers, anemones and many other underwater
creatures. Seawater is piped straight in from Puget Sound at the
rate of 1,600 gallons a minute, keeping the tank at about 50 degrees
Hordes of Washingtonians and visitors are discovering this wonderful
new amenity to the City. The Aquarium set attendance records on
the week after its re-opening, with more than 28,000 people visiting.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the new and improved
Seattle Aquarium, I encourage you to do so.
THE PRO PARKS LEVY FUNDS MORE PARK OPENINGS
The Pro Parks Levy continues to bring us brand new parks and
renovate some of our existing ones. This spring, we've opened
three completely new parks in Magnolia, Northgate and Pinehurst,
and renovated four existing parks in New Holly and Delridge. If
you haven't had a chance to get out and see some of these beautiful
new and updated additions to our system, I encourage you to make
some time for it.
Ella Bailey Park, 2601 W Smith St. -- Transformed from
a former blacktop, Ella Bailey Park is now one of the jewels of
our system, and I suspect it will become a popular wedding site.
With spectacular views of the downtown skyline, Ella Bailey has
suddenly become the hot spot for viewing the Fourth of July fireworks.
The Pro Parks Levy allocated $1.4 million to convert the space
into a vibrant community gathering place. The former 2.4 acres
of asphalt have sprouted into gently rolling slopes covered in
grass creating a natural amphitheater, a children's play area,
two basketball courts, swings, barbeques, picnic tables, seat
walls design to encourage skateboarding, and a playfield large
enough to encourage youth soccer.
Maple Leaf Community Garden, 529 NE 103rd St. -- With
enthusiastic support from the community, we recently opened our
newest park in Northgate. This great new open space is the result
of many years of work by the community. The Maple Leaf Community
Council held fundraisers, applied for grants, and lobbied the
City to acquire and develop the property. In 2003, we purchased
the land, and this spring we held a grand opening for the park.
Today, it has 22 P-Patches, a community gathering plaza, pathways
that are accessible for people with disabilities, a circular bench,
and a beautifully designed garden storage building.
Pinehurst Pocket Park, 11700 19th Ave. NE -- Another community
initiated project, Pinehurst Pocket Park creates a quiet, easily
accessible, pedestrian-oriented park in the heart of the Pinehurst
neighborhood. Acquired with Pro Parks Levy funds in 2004, the
park emphasizes art. Artist Sara Johani created a children's play
oval with patterns inlaid into the ground for games, such as the
Nigerian hopscotch game of Ta Gali Gali. The second component
is a "replica" of the historic Pinehurst steam tractor
that was famous among neighborhood children who enjoyed taking
rides on it around the neighborhood.
John C. Little Sr. Park, 6961 37th Ave. S -- Named to honor
the late long-time Park Board member and leader in the African-American
community, John C. Little Sr. Park is located in the heart of
the New Holly neighborhood. This 5.8-acre park was once called
37th Avenue Park and did not have many amenities. Thanks to the
Pro Parks Levy, $515,000 became available to update the space.
Now it has a water spray feature for children's play, two picnic
shelters, and a comprehensive system of connecting paths. A community
P-patch will likely be developed at the north end of the project
site within the next couple of years.
Delridge Parks: Greg Davis, Cottage Grove and Puget Boulevard
Commons, between Delridge Way SW and 26th Avenue SW, north of
SW Brandon St. - This group of parks received $1.6 million
from the Pro Parks Levy to completely update three parks. The
project created one contiguous open space/park that includes passive
and active recreational elements, including an unscheduled sports
field, playgrounds, plazas, picnic shelters, tables, benches,
renovation of the P-patch, a grass court for lawn bowling and
croquet type activities, tables, benches, and wooded areas with
native vegetation. A special grant from the King County Chemical
Dependency Board helped pay for a beautifully designed Meditation
Garden at Cottage Grove Park, complete with a walking labyrinth.
I'll be in touch soon.