Seattle Parks shuts off most tennis court lights for the winter to save energy

Seattle Parks and Recreation has shut off the lights at most outdoor lighted tennis courts for the winter, an effort to create energy savings during the months when few people play outside. Parks estimates the savings from turning these lights off to be about $15,000.

Lights will stay on at these courts through the winter:

• Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, 1635 11th Ave., one court (the other is undergoing a pilot program in which bike
polo and dodgeball are allowed)

• Meadowbrook Playfield in northeast Seattle, 10533 35th Ave. NE (six courts)

• Miller Playfield in Capitol Hill/Central District, 330 19th Ave. E (two courts)

• Lower Woodland Park in northwest Seattle, 1000 N 50th St. (ten courts)

• Rainier Playfield in southeast Seattle, 3700 S Alaska St. (four courts)

• Solstice Park, in West Seattle, 7400 Fauntleroy Way SW (formerly Lincoln Park Annex, six courts)

Winter play is also available at the Amy Yee Tennis Center’s 10 indoor courts. For information, please call 206-684-4764 or go to http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Athletics/Tennisct.htm. For the full listing of Seattle Parks tennis courts, please see http://www.seattle.gov/parks/tennis.asp.

Parks will turn the lights back on when we return to Daylight Savings Time on March 11, 2012.

Play Area at Golden Garden Park closes temporarily to replace “Explorer Dome”

Seattle Parks and Recreation is closing Golden Gardens Park play area from Monday, November 28, 2011 through Friday, December 2, 2011 to replace a play feature. The equipment manufacturer is replacing the main arches of a dome climbing play structure due to concerns about the durability of the protective galvanized coating on the existing dome. There will be minimal impact on the surrounding area.

When the Explorer Dome was inspected there were concerns about the long term durability of the protective galvanizing on some of the arches. In order to ensure the best quality product, the manufacturer offered to replace the arches at their own expense. Knowing it takes months to manufacture and ship this unique equipment, Parks left the original dome in place until the parts could be changed out.

The new beach adventure play area at Golden Gardens Park opened at the end of August 2011. The new play area features a large pirate ship, climbing structure, swings, and climbing nets strung from a high dome called the “Explorer Dome.” In this project, Parks relocated the play area to an area between the Bathhouse and the parking lot. It provides improved access and allows for a larger play area with no conflict with traffic. The surrounding landscape features dune grass, large rocks and new pathways that blend with the beach atmosphere.

Funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, this project is one of 12 play area renovations that Seattle Parks has completed since the Levy passed. Seattle voters passed the Parks and Green Spaces Levy in November 2008. The $146 million Levy provides improvements to neighborhood play areas and development funding for projects such as improved playfields, reservoir lid parks, community gardens, and safety upgrades at city owned cultural facilities.

For more information please visit call Virginia Hassinger at 206-233-7936, email her at Virginia.hassinger@seattle.gov, or visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/golden_gardens/playground.htm. For more information on Levy projects in your neighborhood, go to http://seattle.gov/parks/levy/default.htm.

Ikebana classes coming up at Japanese Garden, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Rooted in a closeness with nature, Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, a form of creative expression with rules.

According to Ikebana International, “Nature is always changing. Plants grow and put forth leaves, flowers bloom, and berries are borne regularly and repeatedly throughout the seasons. Nature has its own rhythm and order. The awareness of this is the first step in involving oneself in Ikebana.”

Now Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Conservatory offer Ikebana classes in the basic Sogetsu curriculum, which teaches the principles of space, balance, and color that help the student develop the artistic sense he or she will need to create freestyle arrangements. So grab a pair of scissors and get ready to be amazed by your own creativity. The instructor is Fanny Yau.

Class meets on Tuesdays at :
• Cottage House at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave. E
Dates : January 10 – February 7 (No class January 31)
February 21 – March 13
March 27 – April 17
Time : 1 to 3 p.m.

• Tateuchi Community Room at the Seattle Japanese Garden, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E
Dates: February 21 – March 13
March 27 – April 17
Time: 10 a.m. to Noon

Class fee is $76 per session (4 classes); Materials fee is $10 at the first class, to be paid directly to the instructor. To register, please go online to www.seattle.gov/parks and click on SPARC; call the Parks Business Service Center at 206-684-5177, or visit any Parks facility.

For more information on Ikebana, please go to http://www.ikebanahq.org/whatis.php.

Be a superhero: reduce drowning by helping Seattle kids learn to swim

Seattle Parks and Recreation is accepting donations large and small for the Learn to Swim Scholarship Fund.

Between 2005 and 2009, 129 King County residents drowned; of them, 18 were children 17 and younger. Seattle Parks and Recreation, Children’s Hospital, and Public Health – Seattle & King County believe swimming lessons are a large part of the solution.

“Providing swimming lessons for children is our highest priority,” said Kathy Whitman, Parks Aquatics Manager. “We have reduced our fees by 50% for those who qualify. We want to provide affordable swim lessons for all children, especially those who meet low income guidelines, but even 50% of the fee is still too expensive for many families.”

This year, Parks has been especially challenged by the depletion in the scholarship budget caused by City budget reductions. Through September 2011, Parks has provided half price swim lessons to 1,900 children, a value of more than $60,000. Of these kids, 978 qualified under federal guidelines for a higher level of scholarship, which used all of the $19,000 available in special funding.

Special thanks go to Seattle Children’s Hospital for partnering with us to kick off the program and contributing supplemental funds to the Learn to Swim Scholarship Fund. With Children’s help, we are one step closer to making sure all children in Seattle have the opportunity to learn to swim regardless of their ability to pay.

It’s easy to contribute – just visit your local swimming pool to use cash, check, or VISA/MasterCard/American Express, or donate online at the Associated Recreation Council’s website at http://www.arcseattle.org/donate.cfm. As a guideline, a donation of $260 would provide scholarship funding for 10 children.

Donors can set up recurring donations online and can designate donations on behalf of or in honor of someone. Donations are 100% tax-deductible, and Parks staff are happy to provide information to your Employer Matching Gift program. For more information, to donate, or to register for swim lessons please contact your local pool: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/pools.asp