Get healthy this New Year with Seattle Parks and Recreation!

At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we’re here to help you start the New Year off right! From spending more time in nature, to being more active and connecting with others, to eating healthier, we have countless ways to support your 2017 health and wellness goals.

Reconnect with nature


Intuitively we all know that a hike in the woods or gazing at the stars is relaxing and restorative, but did you know that there is a wealth of science that proves spending time in nature can have serious benefits for your health? From reducing depression and high blood pressure, to accelerating recovery from surgery or illness, spending more time in nature is a simple and effective way to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

  • Washington Park Arboretum: Spanning 230 acres and featuring a dynamic assortment of plants, Washington Park Arboretum offers a stunning setting for a walk surrounded by greenery. For those preferring to connect with nature on water, canoes, kayaks and similar boats can be launched from a small landing along Foster Island Road.
  • Kubota Garden: Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20-acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The Gardens are a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and rock out-croppings with a rich array of plant material—the perfect location to sit and meditate, reflect or simply unwind.
  • Seward Park: De-stress and relax with a walk, jog or bike ride through Seward Park! Located along the shores of Lake Washington, Seward Park boasts 300 acres of beautiful forest land, is home to eagles’ nests, and features old growth forest, a 2.4-mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, miles of hiking trails, shoreline, beaches and more.


Play a new sport


Step out of your comfort zone and try a new sport or activity this year! With 120 miles of trails, 25 miles of boulevards, 26 community centers, dozens of sports leagues, four golf courses, two small craft centers, eight indoor pools, 165 tennis courts, 204 athletic fields, 205 basketball hoops, 122 baseball fields, 120 miles of soft surface trails, and much more, Seattle Parks and Recreation has no shortage of opportunities for you to experiment with a new recreation hobby this year.

  • Rollerderby: Citywide Derby is at Ballard Community Center! We are partnering with One World Roller Derby. This training program is for all skill levels and includes roller derby training with the possibility of forming teams. Visit for more information.
  • Golf: Golfing opportunities are available for all skill levels in Seattle! Choose between Green Lake Pitch ‘n Putt, Interbay Golf Course, Jackson Municipal Golf, Jefferson Municipal Golf and West Seattle Municipal Golf Course.
  • Rowing: Get started in a rowing course for one of the best total body workouts available! We have classes and programs available for all ability and skill levels for ages 8 to 100+ in rowing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddle-boarding and more. Visit the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center or the Green Lake Small Craft Center to explore all of these water-based activities.


Eat healthier


If eating healthier is one of your New Year’s goals, Seattle Parks and Recreation can help you achieve it! From a diverse range of cooking classes offered at our community centers, to opportunities to grow your own food at our community gardens, we can help you from planting your first vegetable to serving up a complete meal.

  • Teen Top Chef: Teen Late Night Recreation sites send delegations of teens to compete for top honors in a citywide Healthy Cooking Program competition. Teens prepare healthy meals to be judged by a panel: one teen, one Late Night Recreation Program police officer, and one Seattle Parks and Recreation staff member.
  • Community garden sites: Community gardens and orchards strengthen neighborhood relationships, provide a sense of civic engagement, and create recreational and therapeutic opportunities for residents. Community gardens promote equity by providing opportunities for growing food to those who lack the private space to grow their own vegetables and fruit. Surplus produce is sourced to community centers for use in public programs, or donated to nearby food banks. Check out one of our garden sites to see the variety of ways healthy food is being grown and shared. Community gardens are located at Ballard, Delridge, Garfield, Meadowbrook, Miller, Rainier, Rainier Beach, Ravenna, South Park, and Yesler Community Centers, and at Piper’s Orchard at Carkeek Park.
  • Community Kitchens: Community Kitchens provide an opportunity for the community to come together to use harvested produce from local gardens to produce healthy meals for later consumption. The program teaches cooking techniques, food purchasing skills and healthy nutrition so that participants can cook and store enough food for multiple servings in a cost-effective manner. Community Kitchens are available at many of our community centers; please contact your local center for details.

Call for Graphic Designers for Big Day of Play

In conjunction with the Associated Recreation Council, we are seeking proposals to partner with a graphic designer who will be able to create promotional materials for Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Big Day of Play, an annual celebration of our city’s diversity that encourages communities to play, build relationships and be active together. 

Click here to learn more about this Request for Proposal.  Submission deadline is February 3, 2017!

Questions? Contact Regina Lum, Associated Recreation Council, at

To get a feeling of what Big Day of Play is all about, click here to view pictures from our previous events. This year’s Big Day of Play will take place on August 19 at Rainier Community Center.

To support the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), we are looking at providing opportunities and access to underrepresented and underserved communities. Women Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) are preferred and youth participation is strongly encouraged.



Seattle Park District funds the renovation of two Ballard park play areas

webster-8-003Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) renovated Gilman Playground (923 NW 54th St.) and Webster Park (3025 NW 68th St.) play areas, both of which opened in December 2016. The play area renovations replaced aging play equipment and improved park accessibility.

Gilman Park features a play structure with a 16-foot tall play tower, two new slides, and inclusive play elements designed for 5- to 12-year-old children. A structure with a slide and new swings was installed for 2- to 5-year-old children. The park also features an accessible ramp, providing access for all into the play area, as well as a new concrete seating plaza.

Webster Park includes a new play structure for 2- to 5-year-old children, complete with inclusive play elements and a rainbow slide similar in design to the old slide that was in the park. Play structures for 5- to 12-year-old children include rocks and rope elements that offer climbing and balance opportunities. SPR installed a new sand digging area and provided new basketball backboards, hoops, and nets. The entry at 68th St., along with a portion of the sidewalk, was improved to provide universal access into the play area.

Thank you to everyone that attending the public meetings and provide input for the improvements.

The Seattle Park District provided the funding for these play area improvement projects. Approved by Seattle voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

For information about the projects and construction updates please visit: or

If you have questions about these projects, please contact Katie Bang, Seattle Parks and Recreation at 206-684-9286 or



Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2017 Budget


As we begin the new year, I would like to let you know the outcome of the 2017 budget process for Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR). Overall, the 2017 SPR Budget is a good news story with the Seattle Park District in full swing along with critical investments in expanding access to our community centers and maintaining our parks as the gems of our city.

Seattle Park District


This year, we begin our second year of full implementation of the Seattle Park District, a voter-approved initiative that provides permanent funding to support parks and recreation services. In 2017, we will continue to carry out the initiatives to renovate, develop and expand Seattle’s use of parks and recreation facilities. In 2017 we will expedite the renovation of Pier 62 on the central Seattle Waterfront.

Community Center Operations


SPR’s adopted budget shifts $1.0 million within Park District funding from the capital side to the operating side to meet community needs by increasing hours of operation and staffing at centers in neighborhoods with fewer resources.  This shift has also allowed us to eliminate some of the basic drop-in fees at most centers, further increasing access for our residents. This move was championed by the Mayor as part of our  and supported by the Council in their role as Park District Board. Additionally, the adopted budget also provides $110,000 to fund a one-year pilot in which four facilities will be available for free showers for people experiencing homelessness.

Park Rangers


As our approach to enlivening downtown parks has evolved, the budget includes the elimination of 1.5 vacant Park Ranger positions. With Park District funding for the Urban Parks Partnership Initiative, we have entered into contracts with downtown entities to provide physical improvements and public programming in downtown parks.

My Brother’s Keeper Program


The adopted budget provides one-time funding of $100,000 for the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) program operated by SPR’s community learning centers. President Obama launched the MBK initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. This item will allow for the expansion of the MBK program from one middle school to five middle schools for the 2016-17 school year.

Capital Improvement Plan:


SPR’s 2017 capital budget maintains a strong commitment to asset preservation and ongoing major maintenance projects, such as environmental remediation, landscape and forest restoration, irrigation system repair, pavement restoration, and replacing major roof and HVAC systems, as well as addressing basic infrastructure needs across the system. SPR’s 2017 Capital Improvement Plan budget also provides funding for:

  • Lake Union Park – the 2017 budget includes $3.6 million to correct problems with settling at Lake Union Park, including the walkways, pedestrian bridge and the park’s pond.
  • Victor Steinbrueck Park – the 2017 budget leverages a park renovation project funded by the 2008 Parks Levy by adding $3.5 million over two years to make major repairs to, or replace, the membrane between the park and the privately owned parking garage which the westerly portion of the park sits atop.
  • Athletic Fields Projects – revenues from increased athletic field use fees will support investments to expand athletic field capacity (see below for more information). By 2018, $600,000 per year in fee revenues will be collected in order to improve or expand athletic fields. In addition, there is $4.2 million in 2017-18 to help fund field improvements.
  • PreSchool Sites – The City Council added $1,500,000 of Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) II in 2017 to fund improvements at community centers where the Seattle Preschool Program will operate.
  • Danny Woo Park Improvements: City Council added $300,000 of one-time REET I funding for capital improvements at Danny Woo Park and adopted a proviso requiring $100,000 of existing funds be appropriated solely towards improvements at Danny Woo.
  • Additional Public Restrooms: Council added $300,000 of one-time REET II funding towards the purchase and installation of a Portland Loo-style public restroom, similar to the two SPR recently installed as a pilot at Rainier Beach Playfied.


The budget includes increases in fees for scheduling athletic fields, park event permits (both last increased in 2011) and swimming pools (last increased in 2013). The fee revenues, along with the General Fund, support increases in inflationary costs necessary to provide these amenities and services to the public. The fee increases for athletic fields, which will go into effect July 1, will also support investments in our fields (see above).

Many thanks to you for your continued support of and involvement with our programs and services, and to Mayor Murray and the City Council for making these investments in parks and recreation services.

Jesús Aguirre

Seattle Parks and Recreation

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Vietnamese Food and Fitness program is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 in partnership with the Vietnamese Senior Association (VSA), Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation program, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

The Lunar New Year festivities will take place at Garfield Community Center (2323 E Cherry St.). The celebration will include cultural demonstrations like the traditional Lion Dance, Vietnamese food, and raffle prizes.

The VSA was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to help Vietnamese refugees by reducing isolation and depression and other barriers refugees face in their new life, such as language, transportation, and life skills. For the past 11 years, the VSA has partnered with the Lifelong Recreation unit of Seattle Parks and Recreation to offer Food and Fitness, a program where people over age 50 can gather to share a meal, have a conversation, get resources, and engage in physical activity.

Lifelong Recreation offers a wide-range of fitness and social programs for people age 50 and better that change each season. For more information, visit

Spring Walk Training for adults 50+

startinglineReady to achieve new goals while meeting new friends and exploring the city? Each year, our Sound Steps Walking Program offers “Spring Training”, a FREE training program to prepare adults age 50+ to complete a 5K, 10K or Half Marathon Walk Event.


How do I participate?

Saturday morning group training walks in north and south Seattle increase in distance from February through June. Join us for an information session on January 21 or January 25, then try out a walk.

Kick-off Events:

South Seattle: January 21, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave. S.

North Seattle: January 25, 1 to 3 p.m. Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N.

Upcoming Walk Events:

  • St. Paddy’s Day 5K on March 11.
  • Green Lake Loop 5K or 10K on April 15.
  • Lake Union Loop 10K or Half Marathon on June 10.
  • Walk of Champions, any distance on June 24.

For more information or to sign up for an event, contact Jill with Seattle Parks and Recreation  at 206-684-4664 or email



Central Area neighborhood invited to celebration for new Community Living Room

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), the 23rd Avenue Action Community Team (ACT) and the Garfield Campus Advisory Council invite the community to a ribbon cutting celebration on Sunday, January 8 at 2 p.m. for the new Community Living Room. The Community Living Room is located on the south side of the Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St.

The ribbon cutting ceremony celebrates the opening of this newly constructed space with the theme of “A Safe Place for All.” The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

The 23rd Avenue Action Plan (Union-Cherry-Jackson) calls for the investment in more functional gathering spaces in the Central Area. The Neighborhood Park and Street Fund provided $83,000 for the project. These funds are available for neighborhood-based small projects and improvements.

For more information about the project, please contact Pamela Kliment, Seattle Parks and Recreation at or 206-684-7556.

Volunteer Open House at Discovery Park

capturevolunteerResolve to begin the New Year on a positive note – become a volunteer! Our Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning Unit will be hosting a Volunteer Open House at Discovery Park Visitor Center from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12. Drop by anytime during the evening to learn about the variety of volunteer opportunities available. Current volunteers and City staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information.


Volunteer opportunities include the following:

NEW! Visitor Center Ambassadors – provide information for the public on weekends at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center.

One-day training provided on Saturday, February 11.

Training includes Discovery Park tour and history, public speaking and public engagement.

NEW! Beach Ambassadors – provide information for the public on weekends at Discovery Park beaches and potentially other Seattle salt water beaches in the near future.

One-day training provided on Saturday, March 11.

Training includes public speaking, intertidal natural history, and public engagement.

Seattle Urban Nature Guide – provide environmental education and hands-on learning experiences for school groups, the general public and at special events throughout the city.

Spring training is on Thursdays and/or Saturdays, March 23 – April 15.  Applications are due February 15, 2017.  Orientation for the spring training is Saturday February 18.

Training includes public speaking, natural history of flora and fauna, teaching techniques, team work, cultural diversity.

Junior Naturalist – provide assistance to naturalists during Summer Nature Day Camp.

Youth 13-16 years old, learn about nature and develop leadership skills while promoting stewardship at Discovery Park and in the community.

Office Assistant – provide support for environmental education projects.

Training provided for individual projects.

Database Entry – provide data entry for bird sightings records.

Experience with databases a plus, training provided for AviSys and eBird.


Provide input on Seattle Parks and Recreation’s development plans and strategies

Community encouraged to provide input on 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition Strategies and learn about upcoming improvements for Cal Anderson Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to provide input on SPR’s 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition strategies for open space on Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Optimism Brewing (1158 Broadway) during a Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) Open House.

This open house is being held in conjunction with other City departments and provides an opportunity for the community to learn about SPR’s walkability mapping and to give input on priorities for long-term open space acquisition goals. SPR will also provide an update on Cal Anderson Park improvements scheduled to occur this year, including interior renovation of the comfort station to ADA accessible all-gender restrooms, a lighting study, repairs to the Cal Anderson Fountain filtration system, and construction of a new ADA path.

The 2017 Development Plan is a 6-year plan that documents and describes SPR facilities and lands, looks at Seattle’s changing demographics, and lays out a vision for the future. A goal in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan is to consider access to our parks by transit, bicycle, and on foot when acquiring, siting and designing new park facilities or improving existing ones. SPR manages approximately 11% of the City’s land area, and is proposing a new mapping approach based upon walkability to inform the City’s long-term acquisition strategies for future open space.

For more information on other Housing Affordability and Livability(HALA) community events and to see which City departments will be attending, please visit

For more information about our development plans and to learn about the other input opportunities, please visit or contact Susanne Rockwell, Project Manager at or 206-684-7133, or

Volunteer with Seattle Parks and Recreation


Join Seattle Parks and Recreation at a Volunteer Information Fair to learn about our volunteer opportunities. Our volunteers coach youth sports, help us plant native trees in our parks, serve on various advisory councils and boards, and provide countless other services that allow us to have the first-rate park and recreation system that Seattle loves and depends on.

We will be hosting a Volunteer Information Fair on January 25 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Rainier Community Center (4600 38th Ave. S), and on February 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Northgate Community Center (10510 5th Ave. NE). You can find out what opportunities are available, learn more about the jobs that volunteers do, ask questions and get registered as a volunteer on site. Plus, we will be serving a free lunch!

Representatives from several of our units will also be on hand to describe their volunteer needs, including the Green Seattle Partnership, our Environmental Learning Centers, Community Advisory Councils, Adopt a Park and more.

If you have questions or would like to sign up for this event, please call Cheryl Brown at 206-615-0619.