Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Center City Parks Task Force

Contact: Dewey Potter | (206) 684-7241 |

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Center City Parks Map
 » view detailed map*(205k)

Destination Parks

  • Westlake Park
  • Freeway Park
  • Occidental Square
  • Victor Steinbrueck Park
  • City Hall Park
  • Myrtle Edwards Park
  • Pier 62-63 and Waterfront Park
  • Hing Hay Park
  • Lake Union Park

Other Center City Public Spaces & Parks

  • Kobe Terrace
  • International Children's Park
  • Regrade Park
  • Belltown P-Patch and Cottages
  • Denny Park and Playground
  • Plymouth Pillars Park
  • Cascade Playground

Beauty Spots

  1. Tilikum Place
  2. Westlake Square
  3. McGraw Square
  4. Pioneer Square Park
  5. Prefontaine Place
  6. Washington Street Boat Landing
  7. Union Station Square

2010 Update

In 2006 the City established a Seattle Downtown Parks and Public Spaces Task Force charged with making recommendations on strategies to revitalize and activate the city’s downtown parks and public open spaces.  The Task Force released the Downtown Parks Renaissance Report in March 2006.  Since then, Parks has implemented a number of the recommendations, including activating programming and events at select downtown parks; establishing Park Rangers to provide information to and security for park visitors; increasing coordination with the Seattle Police Department (SPD); and implementing capital improvement projects to redesign parks to promote safety and deter inappropriate park behaviors.   

Since the 2006 Downtown Parks Renaissance Report was released, the City has rebranded downtown as “Center City” to reflect that Uptown, South Lake Union, Pike/Pine and parts of First Hill and Capitol Hill are considered part of an expanded downtown.  Consequently, the Downtown Parks Task Force has been renamed the Center City Parks Task Force.
Although there have been positive results from the implementation of the programs that grew out of the Renaissance Report, given the breadth and depth of issues still occurring at Occidental Park, Westlake Park, Victor Steinbrueck Park and City Hall Park, the Center City Parks Task Force was reactivated with new members in September 2009.  Parks requested that the follow-up Task Force, which met over the last nine months; complete the following:  review the report from the prior Task Force; examine if there are other recommendations that Parks can implement to help deter problematic behaviors in Center City parks; develop a strategy to capture private sector funding to help address the challenges at these parks; and establish an explicit set of use recommendations for managing the parks that present significant challenges.

Members of the Follow-up Task Force included:

  • Ashanti Bitar of the Pine Street Group and Friends of Westlake Park;
  • Joyce Pisnanont of the Chinatown/ID Preservation and Development Authority;
  • Richard Nordstrom from the Belltown Community Council;
  • Lynn Claudon from Pioneer Square;
  • Kate Joncas from the Downtown Seattle Association;
  • Susan Jones, an architect and downtown resident;
  • Stephanie Pure from the American Institute of Architects;
  • David Brewster from the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association;
  • Jackie Ramels and Diana Kincaid from the Board of Park Commissioners; and
  • Representatives from Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Council, Human Services Department and the SPD.
 » Attachment A - Program Charter
 » Attachment B - Recommendations
 » Attachment C - Matrix

Task Force Report

This report presents the findings and recommendations of former Mayor Greg Nickels’ Center City Parks and Public Spaces Task Force, charged with making recommendations to the Mayor on strategies to revitalize and activate the city’s center city parks and public open spaces.
 » Downtown Parks Renaissance Report
    Executive Summary
 » Full Report

Parks will brief the Board of Park Commissioners at their regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23.

Open House, Public Meetings and Comments

On Thursday, April 12, 2007, Parks staff will brief the Board of Park Commissioners on the park use guidelines.
 » briefing paper
 » use guildelines
 » more information

The task force met 16 times between October 2004 and March 2005, and held an open house and public meetings in January 2006.


The charge of the Center City Parks Task Force is to advocate for the parks, implement strategies for park improvements, and guide the expenditure of funds proposed in upcoming capital and operating budgets for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of six center city parks.

The Mayor will ask the Task Force to complete these tasks by August 2005:

  • Recommend management strategies to improve maintenance and expand programming in the member parks.
  • Review and make recommendations for streamlining the rules that hinder "activating" the parks, i.e., rules against vending and other commercial activities that may help enliven and invite visitors to each park.
  • Coordinate the interests of all stakeholders who conduct potential park activities and who want to participate in the initiative.
  • Help the groups interested in playing a role in the management and operation of center city parks to build their capacity to do so.
  • Collaborate with potential park management and operations groups on strategies for enhancing safety in center city parks.

Task Force members are a representative of the Center City Seattle Association, a member of the Board of Park Commissioners, a representative of the Mayor's Office, a representative of a center city business, and a representative of a center city neighborhood.

The Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, a representative of the Center City Seattle Association, and a representative of the Center City District Council will co-chair the Task Force.

The 2007 Parks operating budget includes funding for one position that increases Parks' capacity to implement the proposal, and funding in the Capital Improvement Plan to make improvements to Occidental and Freeway Parks.

  • Victoria Schoenburg is the manager of Parks' new Center City unit. Its first year goals are:
    • To generate sustainable, ongoing programming (Parks has $150,000 in the 2007 budget for this purpose).
    • To develop capacity in neighborhood organizations to support community-generated programming and "ownership."
    • To maximize resources and find economies of scale in marketing, multi-park events, shared equipment, and other areas.
    • To revise policies and streamline permitting processes to support efforts to increase use of Center City parks.
    • Develop a long-term action plan to include capital improvement projects, ongoing communication with the Center City Interdepartmental Team, and wayfinding.
    • Keep working with the Seattle Police Department on coordinated security efforts.
  • Parks will work with the Center City Parks Task Force to form an ongoing Center City Parks committee, representing center city neighborhoods, business groups, and park interests, that will meet regularly to advise Parks, create a running event calendar, offer robust events, develop a funding review process, and work on efficient combined efforts.
  • Parks will use the budgeted $150,000 to make funds available for partnerships with community groups for ongoing, small-to-medium-size programming. It will focus on Occidental, Steinbrueck, Freeway, and Hing Hay parks, and will gather and take advantage of the resources each party brings to the table.
  • Parks will contribute $25,000 toward the cost of a programming coordinator whom DSA will hire. This person will work with downtown community groups to generate programming.
  • Parks will hire a parallel programming coordinator who will focus some multi-park programming and on parks that have greater programming challenges due to size, location, geography, or lack of an organized community group.
  • All this work will encompass event promotion through the web, and joint marketing, publicity, and promotion. A whole section of the 2007 Parks Summer Guide has been devoted to events and programming in Center City parks.



Meeting Agendas
 - 10-14-05You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document*
 - 10-21-05You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document*
Meeting Summaries
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Timothy Gallagher
Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation
Ken Bounds Parks Department Co-Chair

Kate Joncas
President, Downtown Seattle Association
DSA Board Representative Co-Chair

Catherine Stanford
Former Director of Real Estate, Pike Place Market PDA Co-chair

Christopher Williams
Deputy Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Parks Department Executive Staff

Bonnie Berk
Berk & Associates Consultant

Michael Regnier
Berk & Associates Consultant

Bruce Bentley
Seattle Citizen
City-Wide Representative

David Brewster
Executive Director, Town Hall
At-Large Neighborhood Representative

Jordan Royer
Mayor's Strategic Advisor, Seattle Parks and Rec.
Mayor's Office Representative

Ron Sher
Seattle Citizen
At-Large Business Representative

Tina Bueche
Metropolitan Improvement District
MID Board Representative

Christopher Williams
Director of Operations, Seattle Parks and Rec.
Operations Subcommittee

Eric Friedli
Director of Partnerships, Seattle Parks and Rec.
Programming and Special Events Subcommittee

Peggy Emerson
Director of Field Operations, MID
Operations Subcommittee

Anita Woo
Communications Director
Programming and Special Events Subcommittee

Dewey Potter
Public Information Manager, Seattle Parks and Rec. Communications

Updated July 1, 2010

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