Seattle Parks staff, facility and program recognized at statewide parks conference

Three cheers for three state award winners!  This week at the Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA) annual conference, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s staff, facilities and programs were recognized.

Kevin

Kevin Stoops receives the Distinguished Service Award at the 2014 WASLA and WRPA Joint Conference and Trade Show banquet.

 

Kevin Stoops
Kevin Stoops, who recently retired after 37 years of service to the residents of Seattle, received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. Kevin’s contributions included ensuring water quality at Green Lake, establishing the beach and walking trail at Lincoln Park and creating in-water, shoreline habitat for migrating salmon fry in Lake Washington.

Kevin was hired as a planning intern in 1976 when he was 21 years old and rose through the ranks to become the director of two different divisions within Seattle Parks and Recreation at different times — Planning and Development and Finance.

In each role he held, Kevin performed his work with pride and demonstrated exemplary leadership skills. He encouraged those around him to succeed and grow in their own positions and helped create future leaders.

 

Michael

Seattle Parks and Recreation Director of Planning and Development Michael Shiosaki presents the features of the Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool before accepting the Indoor Facility Spotlight Award on its behalf.

 

Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool
The Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool received the 2014 Indoor Facility Spotlight Award.

The $25 million Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool opened in September 2013. The facility is 40 percent more energy-efficient than a 2009 Seattle Energy Code baseline building. Rainwater harvesting provides 100 percent of the water for toilets and urinals. Built on the site of the former community center, the new facility makes creative use of recycling. Wood beams were repurposed for siding; concrete foundations were used for onsite landfill; and the wood ceilings from the old locker rooms were re-milled and installed for the lobby ceiling.

The building averages 1,000 visitors a day and provides the only public pool in south Seattle.

The Rainier Beach community wanted a community center and pool that would bring education into community life at all levels and for all residents, and that is what Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool is proving to be.

Lilli Ann and Adrienne

Dance instructor Lilli Ann Carey, left, and Seattle Parks and Recreation Recreation Program Coordinator Adrienne Caver-Hall accept the Excellence for Arts and Culture Spotlight Award for the Dancing ’til Dusk program.

 

Dancing ‘til Dusk
The Dancing ‘til Dusk program received the 2014 Program Excellence for Arts and Culture Spotlight Award.

Dancing ’til Dusk is a program inspired by the needs of one of Seattle’s most unusual and beautiful parks: Jim Ellis Freeway Park.  Seven years ago, Freeway Park had become a park most people avoided, a site of illegal encampments and drug dealing. In response, Seattle Parks dedicated funds to activate and publicly energize Freeway Park other downtown parks.

Dancing ‘til Dusk began in 2007. Seattle Parks bought an outdoor dance floor, set up a bandstand and distributed invitations widely. In that first year, the program comprised five Thursday-evening dances. This year, in its seventh year, the program will have 15 evenings of dancing in four downtown parks, drawing a crowd of 500 to 800 people per dance.

Outstanding Nominees
Seattle Parks and Recreation also wants to applaud Young Professional Award nominee Shan Burton, Outdoor Facility Spotlight Award nominee Maple Leaf Reservoir Park and, as Innovative Outreach nominee, Parks Legacy Plan outreach efforts.

Shan Burton, Environmental Stewardship Coordinator
Shan Burton demonstrates incredible initiative to bring positive change to the community in big and small ways. She has a spectrum of experience from facilitating youth in experiential learning activities to developing community partnerships and programs. Shan has successfully attracted teens of color to engage in healthy eating, forest education and stewardship and other environmental behaviors. Because of Shan, we are reaching more children who probably would not receive this education in other forums, and the engagement rate continues to grow.

Maple Leaf Park
Maple Leaf Reservoir Park is a 16-acre park in northeast Seattle. The park had its grand opening in October 2013 and a dedication of the newly renovated play area followed in May 2013. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is in the process of replacing its open reservoirs with underground structures to improve the quality and security of Seattle’s water supply then making those reservoir lids available as public spaces. After SPU covered Maple Leaf Reservoir, Seattle Parks used funding from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy to create a park there. Northeast Seattle had felt the need for more greenspace. With its renovated play area and open greenspace, the park meets the need of a variety community members.

Parks Legacy Plan outreach efforts
From August to September 2013 Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Change Team reached out to 24 diverse organizations in Seattle and met with 16 organizations at their venues.  Using that “in your own backyard” approach, Seattle Parks received important feedback and developed relationships with community organizations that continued to participate in the Parks Legacy Plan. The 137 postcard responses urged that the Parks Legacy Plan integrate affordability, accessibility and accountability into future programming at community center and pools. The additional outreach efforts to get input from underrepresented communities will not only enrich the Parks Legacy Plan, but will build a foundation for future engagement.

Seattle woman conquers 400 parks in four years

Linnea Westerlind, photo from Year of Seattle Parks

Linnea Westerlind, Year of Seattle Parks

In 2009, Linnea Westerlind set the goal of visiting every Seattle park in one year. Then she discovered how big the park system is.

Photo of Llandover Woods Greenspace taken by Linnea Westerlind

Photo of Llandover Woods Greenspace taken by Linnea Westerlind

Four years and more than 400 park visits later, Westerlind has an appreciation for Seattle parks that she’s eager to share. She created a blog called “Year of Seattle Parks” that serves as a guide to more than 400 parks and highlights her favorites by category (viewpoints, hidden parks, hiking trails and playgrounds among others).

“What possessed me to want to visit all the parks in the city of Seattle?” Westerlind wrote on her website. “Well…here’s how I sum it up: some curiosity about the city’s more than 400 parks (some have very odd names), the challenge of seeing how quickly I could do it (just about four years, it turns out) and a desire for some adventure without having to leave the urban limits (this was the best part).”

Check out Westerlind’s blog here.

Plant ecologist specializes in trees and translation

Michael Yadrick is a man of many talents. He currently serves Seattle Parks and Recreation as a plant ecologist in the Natural Resources Unit, but this month he was aYardickble to show off a different set of skills.

Before joining Seattle Parks three years ago, Yadrick worked in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer. This month when Human Resources Director Hazel Bhang-Barnett needed help with Spanish/English translation, he proved to be the person for the job.

“It is great to have resources like that within in the department,” Bhang-Barnett said.

Yadrick registered with the City’s translation bank when he first started his job and this was his first opportunity to help as a translator.

As a plant ecologist, Yadrick supports the Green Seattle Partnership and works citywide with volunteers and district staff to help the restoration effort in natural areas.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to do this for my job,” Yadrick said. “It’s not just putting trees in the ground; it’s making neighborhoods safer and more beautiful. I’m lucky I get to work with so many good people.”

Waterfront Week is almost here

Join Waterfront Seattle March 5-9 to learn about all things waterfront! This series of events will reveal the newest design progress, share an insider’s look at how to build a seawall and start a conversation about opportunities for art, design and play on the waterfront and beyond. Here’s a snapshot of upcoming events:

Waterfront 2020
Wednesday, March 5
5:30-8:30 p.m.
Seattle Center, Fisher Pavilion
Presentation on the latest waterfront design with James Corner, plus food and activities!

Art, Design and Play: Liane Lefaivre
Friday, March 7
6-8 p.m.
Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium
Vienna-based architectural historian Liane Lefaivre will discuss play as a design tool for architects, city planners and public artists.

Art, Design and Play: Ideas from around the world
Saturday, March 8
10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room
Visionary designers, artists and historians from across the globe will present and discuss the past, present and future of play in art and design. 

Field Day
Sunday, March 9
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Pike Street Hillclimb, across the street from the Seattle Aquarium
Get an insider’s look at how to build a seawall. Participate in family-friendly activities and be part of the time capsule!

Waterfront Seattle is a partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development and Seattle Parks and Recreation. The Waterfront Program replaces the Elliott Bay Seawall, takes down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and designs and constructs the Waterfront Seattle Core Projects. The Core Projects include a new pedestrian promenade, a two-way bicycle track, a new Alaskan Way that accommodates all modes of travel, two rebuilt public piers, new parks and paths and new pedestrian connections between the downtown core and waterfront.

For more information, click here.

Seattle natives count 334 reasons to go outside

Reasons to go Outside

Despite the fact that it rains 12 months out of the year in Seattle, people don’t stay indoors. They have too many reasons to go outside. Here are 334 of them.

In October 2009, James Mitchell went to the house of his friend Jackson Quall and told him he wanted to visit every major park in Seattle. “He just automatically agreed,” Mitchell said. “There was no resistance. We both grew up in Seattle and parks are a huge part.”

The friends visited parks rain or shine, and actually made more trips in the winter than summer months. They rode their bicycles to 207 parks and were able to include 187 friends, strangers and animals along the way. It took three years and eight months to visit the 334 parks on their list. The duo decided to publish their adventures in a book titled Reasons To Go Outside, A Seattle Parks Project.

In true coffee-table book style, the hardcover’s 256 pages feature a photo of every park including more than 30 full-page photographs. The book also features a brief history of Seattle park pioneers, information on each park, and the tools and friends involved in their process.

“I learned so much about the park system and the history of the parks,” Mitchell said. “It seems like Seattle has one of the best systems in the nation.”

Quall and Mitchell launched a 20-day web campaign on Feb. 7, with the goal of raising $2,500 to print 100 books.  By Feb. 20, the site had raised $4,835 and the authors now hope to reach a “stretch goal” of $12,500.

“It’s a really beautiful book, and we’re proud of it,” Mitchell said.

For more information on the project or to order a copy of the book, click here before Thursday, Feb. 27.

Mitchell and Quall used this Seattle Parks index as their reference point, but skipped entries with very small acreage. Visit the site to plan your own tour.

Teen Feed partners with Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks to support youth in crisis in South Seattle

In collaboration with Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation, Teen Feed is expanding its meal program to serve youth and young adults in need in South Seattle, starting with a meal on Thursday, June 27, from 7 to 8 p.m. at South Shore K-8 School, 4800 S Henderson St. (This is also the temporary location of Rainier Beach Community Center Teen Programs while the new community center is under construction.)

Beginning this month, Teen Feed will provide warm meals and resources to youth and young adults, ages 13-25 at South Shore K-8 School between 7 and 8 p.m. every Thursday evening during Seattle Parks and Recreation Summer Late Night Program. The Teen Feed meal will provide opportunities for Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation’s violence prevention programs to build relationships with the youth and young adults they serve, connecting them with valuable resources and critical support to help them make positive choices.

Teen Feed serves warm meals and support to 50-80 young people every night of the year in Seattle’s University District. Building on the demonstrated success of its programs supporting homeless and street-involved youth in University District, Teen Feed launched a Strategic Plan to bring the Teen Feed meal and supportive connections to more youth in need in King County. In June 2012, Teen Feed successfully expanded its meal program to serve 20-30 youth in need the Auburn area every Friday evening.

Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation are working together in support of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI), which intends to prevent victims of violence and their friends and relatives from continuing the cycle of violence. In support of SYVPI, Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation have teamed up to support youth affected by violence in the South Seattle community by offering prevention programs at South Shore K-8 School. Programs include life skills classes, extramural physical activities and mental health support programs. Atlantic Street Center’s mental health program offers case management, mentoring and youth employment to young people ages 13-25. Last year Atlantic Street Center served more than 300 young people, most of whom are homeless and youth of color who do not have stable housing.

To serve the youth in need through SYVPI, Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation have established a common connection point to introduce youth to the services available and build stronger relationships with youth they currently support. Until now, there has been no consistent meal program designed to meet the needs these young people in South Seattle. To meet these needs, the three agencies are forming Teen Feed South Seattle, offering healthy, nutritious meals, consistency, and connections to supportive services for homeless and at-risk youth in South Seattle area.

On June 27, 2013, with the help of a volunteer meal team, Teen Feed South Seattle will prepare and serve its inaugural Thursday evening meal between 7 and 8 p.m. to youth ages 13-25 at South Shore K-8 School. As word of the program spreads, Teen Feed South Seattle expects to see more than 30 youth for dinner every Thursday night. In addition, People of Color against AIDS Network (POCAAN) and The Northwest Network have also expressed interest in connecting youth with their services at Teen Feed South Seattle.

Teen Feed, Atlantic Street Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation share the philosophy of meeting youth where they are — both physically and individually.

“Teen Feed is inspired to be collaborating with such dynamic and dedicated partners in South Seattle, “said Tabitha Jensen, Executive Director of Teen Feed. “The consistency and support we can bring to young people by working together will create a stronger community for everyone.” 

About Atlantic Street Center
Atlantic Street Center’s mission is to help families and communities raise healthy, successful children and youth. 

About Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle Parks and Recreation provides welcoming and safe opportunities to play, learn, contemplate and build community, and promotes responsible stewardship of the land.

About Teen Feed
Teen Feed works with the community to meet basic needs, build strong relationships, and ally with homeless youth as they meet their future off the streets. Teen Feed provides for homeless youth through three main programs; Teen Feed meal program, Street Talk Outreach Program (STOP), and Service Links for Youth (SLY). Teen Feed presently serves young people in need in Seattle’s University District and Auburn areas.

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Energy drink maker Red Bull proposes skate-able art investment for Myrtle Edwards Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting a public meeting to gather input on a proposed public art piece in Myrtle Edwards Park that will be used for skateboarding. The meeting is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at the Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St.

Energy drink maker Red Bull has approached Seattle Parks and Recreation about making a community investment that would include commissioning an artist to design and fabricate a unique piece of skate-able art. At the meeting, Seattle Parks will present the history of the proposed project, followed by an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the idea.

Myrtle Edwards Park is located at 3130 Alaskan Way on the shoreline of Elliott Bay, north of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The Citywide Skatepark Plan, developed in 2006 and 2007 with extensive public process, designated Myrtle Edwards as a recommended site for a skatedot. Since 2007, Seattle Parks and Recreation has constructed eight new skate parks and skatedots. Two more are in construction and design.

4Culture is administering the Call for Artists associated with this project. The artist will coordinate the design with Seattle Parks and Recreation. A second meeting is planned for June.

For more information, please contact Pam Kliment at 206-684-7556 or pamela.kliment@seattle.gov.

Mayor announces new Park Rangers for Cal Anderson Park and Occidental Square

Mayor Mike McGinn and Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel announced today that they are investing in public safety in Seattle parks by hiring two new Park Rangers to patrol Cal Anderson Park and Occidental Square full-time. This announcement comes in the wake of several high-profile incidents of violence in local parks, particularly Cal Anderson.

“We heard from the community that this was an issue, that people weren’t feeling safe or able to fully utilize these parks, so we’re responding to those concerns” said Mayor McGinn. “By hiring new Park Rangers, we can create a safer and more welcoming atmosphere in our parks. And we’re asking park users to be proactive as well – our officers need your help to keep our parks safe. We encourage you to call 911 when you see any kind of disturbance or crime in our parks.”

The funds for the new Park Rangers will come from underspent Seattle Parks and Recreation operating budget dollars. Through careful management, Seattle Parks and Recreation was able to stay under budget this year, allowing the city to make this investment at a critical time.

“Park Rangers are key to the city’s efforts to keep Seattle parks safe” said Parks Security Supervisor Corby Christensen. “We remind park users of the rules, moderate disputes that can sometimes arise over things like use of playfields, and keep an eye on the park in general. We work closely with Seattle Police officers to address issues as they arise. I encourage all park users to approach Park Rangers with any questions or concerns you may have. We need the public to be actively involved in our efforts to keep our parks safe.”

“Thank you to the Mayor’s Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Police Department for listening to concerns from the community and acting on them” said Michael Wells, President of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. “Having a full-time Park Ranger on duty in Cal Anderson will make a huge difference in the way people perceive the park.”

The new Park Rangers will be hired, trained and on duty by the end of June, just in time for summer weather. In the meantime, police will contribute to this effort with emphasis patrols in Cal Anderson and Occidental, with existing Parks employees working overtime to create a safer atmosphere in these parks as well as others. Parks will be working with police to determine optimal shift schedules for the rangers to most effectively deter crime.

“With the warmer weather we are seeing an increase in public safety issues in Cal Anderson Park. We’ve begun several new approaches in response” said East Precinct Commander Captain Ron Wilson. “Our Anti-Crime Team will be spending more time proactively working to address public safety issues within the park and surrounding neighborhoods.  Patrol officers will be making more frequent visits during park closure times to ensure all is well. Our Community Police Team has begun to assist our patrol resources by outfitting some of their officers with bicycle uniforms. These bicycle-trained CPT Officers will periodically break away from their traditional role in order to expand police presence in various hotspot areas within the East Precinct.”

All Mayor’s Office press conferences, town halls and general public meetings are archived by Seattle Channel. Many town halls and press conferences are also broadcast live to the web. Sign up for The Reader, our office newsletter, at our website. And learn more about your neighbors and the mayor’s activities on our blog.

Copper wire stolen from Delridge Playfield

About 1,200 feet of copper wire has been stolen from light poles at Delridge Playfield, 4458 Delridge Way SW. Seattle Parks and Recreation electricians estimate repairs will cost between $15,000 and $20,000, and could take up to two weeks to implement.

In response, Parks turned off the power to the north and south playfield lights and notified sports leagues and other playfield users of rescheduled practices, games and events until a repair plan is in place. Security lighting will remain on at the field.

“This is a significant theft,” said Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams, “and we want to catch the person or people who did it because this creates a needless expense for taxpayers and an unnecessary loss of playing time for park users.”

The copper wiring was accessed from the junction boxes under light poles around the perimeter of the field. After cutting the wires between each junction box, thieves brought in a vehicle (likely a truck), hooked up the wire to the vehicle and pulled out the wiring. Parks staff believe the theft was conceived and executed over several nights, as it appears other junction boxes with wire still inside were prepared for theft.

Parks crews are out at the site today securing the junction boxes and assessing the damage.

“We are asking anyone who is a neighbor to a Seattle Parks and Recreation ballfield to help us keep eyes on our parks,” said Williams. “We need neighbors’ help to deter criminal activity.”

Parks asks anyone who has information about the theft to call the Seattle Police Department emergency number, 625-5011. To report suspicious behavior in our parks, call the Park Ranger offices at (206) 684-7088.

This press release is also available on Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Parkways Blog.

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Seattle Parks to host informational session about jobs at new Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool

Seattle Parks and Recreation will host an informational session at Neighbor Care, 9245 Rainier Ave. S, to discuss job opportunities at the new Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool. The session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Discussions will center on future job opportunities at Rainier Beach Community Center, understanding the Seattle Parks and Recreation hiring process, finding City of Seattle jobs online, and using the City’s online employment system.

In September 2013, Seattle Parks and Recreation will open the newly built Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool. The 46,000-square-foot building will house both the community center and pool. The pool includes a lap pool, indoor spraypark, and large waterslide. The community center will include a gym, fitness room, child care area, kitchen, multipurpose room, teen area, game room, computer room, meeting room, arts/crafts room and party room for pool rentals. The exterior has a play area adjacent to the child care area and parking.

For more information about the informational session, contact Brian Judd at 206-615-0018 or brian.judd@seattle.gov.