Community invited to celebrate the gift of Julia Lee’s Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation and the Knudsen family in14379590_10206718431071594_7611943832882210348_o-2vite the community to the celebration for Julia Lee’s Park, a new City park, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 from noon to 1 p.m. The event will feature music, light refreshments and a program to begin at 12:30 p.m.  This celebration honors the Knudsen family gift of Julia Lee’s Park, located at E Harrison St. & Martin Luther King Jr. Way S, to the City of Seattle and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Calvert Knudsen established Julia Lee’s Park in 1993 as a statement of his love for his wife and life partner Julia Lee Roderick Knudsen who passed away in 1990. “Our father created this park as a physical representation of the depth and power of love between him and our mother,” said their daughter, Page Knudsen Cowles. “He believed that a small neighborhood park in Madison Valley would uniquely serve as a memorial to her, while further enhancing the greater Madison Park community with a natural, quiet place for reflection and enjoyment.”

The park holds a piazza style garden, handsome wooden benches and has become a green and peaceful meeting place for Madison Valley residents of all ages.

The Knudsen Family is pleased to donate this special park to the City of Seattle and encourages the community to attend and learn more about the park.

For more information on the park please visit or contact Karen O’Connor at karen.o’ or 206-233-7929.






Seattle Parks Foundation hosts ‘Estate Planning for Women,’ Oct. 9

The Seattle Parks Foundation will host a free seminar on estate planning for women on Thursday, Oct. 9. There are two seminar times and locations to choose from:

1 to 3 p.m. at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center
6535 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

5:45 to 7:45 p.m. at Seattle Public Library – Beacon Hill Branch
2821 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Parking for both seminars is free. RSVP by Monday, Oct. 6, to Betsey Curran at or call 206-332-9900 ext. 15.

In the U.S., women live an average of five years longer than men and often have the final say in how much of their family wealth will go to loved ones, favorite causes and community foundations. In this free seminar, estate planning attorney Mark Reinhardt of Rehberg Law Group will answer your questions and explain how women of all ages can update or begin their charitable planning.

Seattle Parks Foundation is pleased to co-host this session with: The Arc of King County, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, KCTS 9, Legal Voice, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington, Millionair Club, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Providence Hospice of Seattle Foundation, Seattle Goodwill, Seattle Public Library Foundation, Seattle Symphony, South Seattle College, Swedish Medical Center Foundation, and United Way of King County.

Volunteer in honor of Love Parks Day Aug. 15


It’s like a Valentine for the trees.

Join Seattle Parks Foundation and EarthCorps for Love Parks Day on Friday, Aug. 15! Show your appreciation for the City’s park system by volunteering in Cheasty Greenspace.

Volunteers will remove invasive plants and spread woodchip mulch to prepare areas of the park for winter planting. Invasive plants like English ivy and Himalayan blackberry can outcompete native plants and interrupt the balance and cycle of a healthy, functioning forest.


All volunteers will receive a t-shirt, water bottle and lunch. Small and large groups are welcome. For more information and to sign up to volunteer, please visit

Please contact Seattle Parks Foundation Development and Community Engagement Director Lee Warnecke at 206-332-9900 ext. 16  with questions.

Community, Honda dealers hand over checks for Pergola repair

Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams is extremely grateful for the community’s outpouring of support this past week.

“We are fortunate in Seattle to be surrounded by people who have the willingness and the attitude to make things happen,” Williams said. “We are so pleased with the outpouring of donations given to the Seattle Parks Foundation this morning that will help us restore one of Pioneer Square’s beautiful historic landmarks.”

The outpouring came from a surprising source. Shana Pennington-Baird is a Denver native and says she will always be a Broncos fan. Her friend, Amanda Quinn, says she doesn’t follow football at all. The two seemed an unlikely duo to rally Seahawks fans to raise $16,000 to repair the Pioneer Square Pergola after it was damaged during a post-Super Bowl celebration. And yet, on Tuesday morning, Feb. 11, 2014, the women presented a check to the Seattle Parks Foundation on behalf of the  Seattle Seahawks 12s alongside Western Washington Honda Dealers Association that donated $10,000.

From left, Seattle Parks Foundation Manager Lee Warnecke, crowd-sourcing organizers Shana Pennington-Baird and Amanda Quinn, Seattle Parks and Recreation Director of Planning and Development Michael Shiosaki and Western Washington Honda Dealers Association President Jason Courter

From left, Seattle Parks Foundation Manager Lee Warnecke, crowd-sourcing organizers Shana Pennington-Baird and Amanda Quinn, Seattle Parks and Recreation Director of Planning and Development Michael Shiosaki and Western Washington Honda Dealers Association President Jason Courter

On Monday evening following the Super Bowl, the women launched an account through to raise funds to replace glass panes and repair structural damage that was done to the Pergola when exhilarated fans climbed on it after the big game. After only 20 hours, the site had collected 570 donations totaling more than $16,000.

“I kept refreshing my computer screen, and it was like ‘Whoa,’” Pennington-Baird said.

Pennington-Baird said she thought about reaching out to community partners to try to get a match for the donations, but she never had to.  Western Washington Honda Dealers Association stepped up to donate $10,000 on behalf of the 18 surrounding dealerships and the site was closed after reaching its $25,000 goal.

Quinn said she and Pennington-Baird were excited to see how the Seahawk fans had united their city and found themselves getting wrapped up in the 12s’ energy and Seattle pride. They started the site to make sure that the 12s maintained their positive reputation and that their beloved city remained respected.

“I wanted to show that the damage wasn’t malicious,” Quinn said. “It was fans reacting and showing enthusiasm. We love our parks, so we had to fix it.”

As for the Honda Dealers’ involvement, Courter said it was a no-brainer. He said many Seahawk fans work for the 18 surrounding dealerships.

“It was infectious,” he said.

Courter, on behalf of the Association, and the women presented the checks to Lee Warnecke, the Development Manager of the Seattle Parks Foundation. The money will cover the costs of the Pergola repair and any remaining funds will be used for other Pioneer Square parks improvements and green spaces.

“If any city was going to do something like this it was Seattle,” Warnecke said. “This is a city that loves the outdoors and that loves its parks.”

Crowd-sourcing organizer Shana Pennington-Baird

Crowd-sourcing organizer Shana Pennington-Baird

Warnecke noted that donations came from all over the country spanning from New York and Arizona and even from the Denver Broncos’ home state of Colorado.Seattle Parks and Recreation Director of Planning and Development Michael Shiosaki said the department is overwhelmed by the community support.

“To all of the 12s, we just cannot thank you enough,” he said.

Community donates funding for Pergola repairs

Seattle Parks Foundation receives checks Tuesday Feb. 11, 9 a.m.

Western Washington Honda Dealers Association and Gofundme #HowSeattleRiots creators will present donations of $10,000 and $16,000 respectfully to the Seattle Parks Foundation at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11 in Pioneer Square, 100 Yesler Way.

The donations will fund needed repairs for the historic landmark Pergola that was damaged after the Super Bowl championship. Honda association representatives, and crowd-sourcing organizers Amanda Gallagher Quinn and Shana Pennington-Baird will present oversized checks to Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation officials. The event will take place in Pioneer Square on the north side of the Pergola. Public attendance is encouraged.

“As we celebrate our big win in Seattle, we need to recognize and respect the Pergola as a national historic landmark,” said Western Washington Honda Dealers President Jason Courter. “The week’s celebration is settling down and we as a community need to come together to help with the cleanup. The Western Washington Honda Dealers family is comprised of so many Seahawks fans and in the famous words of our quarterback Russell Wilson we said, ‘Why not us?’”

Courter was inspired by the community’s crowd-sourcing efforts started by Quinn and Baird. The site raised more than $16,000 in less than 24 hours.

Repairs are currently underway. The City contracted with Herzog Glass and Seattle Parks and Recreation plans to use left-over funding for Pioneer Square parks and green spaces improvements

The Pergola was commissioned for construction in 1909 to be the covering to an underground comfort station, said to be the most ornate west of the Mississippi River. When local media told the public about the $25,000 price tag, there was some community resistance. Then-Park Board Executive Ferdinand Schmitz was so certain of the future popularity of the Pergola and underground restroom that he promised to repay the City in full if people objected to it. He never had to make good on his promise. The comfort station closed in the 1940s.

On Jan. 15, 2001, the Pergola was hit by a truck and shattered. The thousands of shards of cast iron were painstakingly pieced together by the century-old, family-owned Seidelhuber Iron & Bronze Works in South Park. The refurbished Pergola is now supported by an internal skeleton of 20 tons of structural steel.

The Pergola and the Tlingit Totem Pole in Pioneer Square Park, as well as the adjacent Pioneer Building are all National Historic Landmarks. 

Western Washington Honda Dealers Association is a group of 18 Washington State Honda Dealerships employing hundreds of Washington residents and servicing Seattle and surrounding communities since 2008. The association is dedicated to providing exceptional service and economic development for the Western Washington region. Visit  for more details.

Seattle Parks Foundation is a Pioneer Square based nonprofit organization that advocates and raises funds for community-led public space projects in Seattle. The Foundation works with donors, civic and neighborhood groups, government agencies, and colleague institutions to support a shared vision of a city connected through great parks, trails, and natural areas. Visit to learn how to get involved.

Volunteer Park Trust invites the public to the Summer Picnic in Volunteer Park on Thursday, July 11

Come one, come all to the first annual Volunteer Park Trust Summer Picnic in Volunteer Park. It’s for neighbors, friends, families, and kids of all ages who love Seattle’s premier Olmsted park.
The picnic takes place this Thursday, July 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the great lawn in front of the Volunteer Park bandstand. The park is located at 1247 15th Ave. E on Capitol Hill.

Bring a blanket and a picnic, enjoy bluegrass music by the Shed Boys, Dante’s Inferno Dogs for sale, and free ice cream, bars and lemonade provided by the Trust.

The Trust plans to make this picnic an annual summer don’t-miss event, so be here for the first one!

The Volunteer Park Trust is a new nonprofit organization created by Seattle residents whose mission is to protect and preserve this treasured landmark for today and for future generations. The Trust works in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Parks Foundation to increase awareness of the park’s value and to increase public stewardship by sponsoring public events and supporting such future projects as improved lighting and signs, restoration of landscaping, renovations of the water tower, and preservation of the reservoir. For more information on the Trust, please visit

The Seattle Parks Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization working with public and private partners. Since 2001, the Foundation has been involved in more than 40 park projects. Its role in each project is different, and roles have included fundraising, advocacy and project management. For more information on the Foundation, please go to

For more information on Volunteer Park, please visit

Playground in a Box brings creative play to urban kids

Playground in a Box is sort of Legos meets Lincoln Logs in giant blue foam. Now, put those pieces inside a brand new urban community center where it’s always warm and dry – no matter what the weather. And, voila! You have the concept for imaginative, physical, indoor play.

Playground in a Box is comprised of large foam blocks that are oddly formed with unique, abstract shapes that make kids curious and want to start building immediately. With their uniform blue color, abstract shapes, and infinite configurations, these blocks from Imagination Playground get kids’ minds working fast and keep them active. Instead of prescribing activities (climb this, sit on that), the blocks prompt kids to “fill in the blank” with their own ideas.

The blocks can be used to make anything kids can think of, and encourages socializing and cooperation. Younger, smaller kids may need help balancing and moving them, so they work in pairs or small teams. Older, larger kids quickly realize that if they want to build structures that are bigger than life, they need to plan and work together with other children.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, The Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Parks Foundation have partnered to bring this indoor playground to Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St.

Children and their caregivers are invited to play on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Entrance to the playground is free. Playground in a Box is appropriate for children at least 2 years old and older. For the very little ones, Belltown Community Center also has an indoor play room that is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. The drop-in fee is $2.

Playground in a Box can be used indoors and outdoors, and is waterproof. It will be housed at Belltown Community Center, but will be loaned out for special events at Westlake Park, Waterfront Park, and Bell Street Park when it is finished.

For more information, contact Belltown Community Center at 206-684-7245.  

First Annual “Holiday In Volunteer Park” Celebration

When: Thursday—December 13, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave. E, on the concourse between the water tower and the Conservatory.

What: A fun, free, family-friendly holiday celebration with carols and music performed by nine choral groups. Enjoy complimentary holiday treats and drinks. There will also be a stunning display of more than 300 holiday lights and luminaria.

Who: This night of music and celebration is being presented by the new Volunteer Park Trust in partnership with the Volunteer Park Conservatory, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation. For more information visit:

Note: Admission to both the Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum will be free the evening of the Holiday in Volunteer Park celebration.

Conservatory, Volunteer Park Trust seek choral and other musical groups for holiday celebration

The Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Volunteer Park Trust are looking for choral and other musical groups to perform at the Volunteer Park Conservatory’s December 13 holiday celebration.

The free celebration, co-hosted by Friends of the Conservatory, Volunteer Park Trust, Seattle Asian Art Museum and Seattle Parks and Recreation, will be an opportunity for visitors to see the Conservatory dressed up it its holiday best. The sponsors are looking for choral and musical groups to perform for about 30 minutes between 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Interested groups can contact or

The Friends of the Conservatory is a nonprofit organization formed in 1980 to work with Seattle Parks and Recreation to support the Conservatory’s mission through educational activities, fund raising, and public events. For more information, please see

The Volunteer Park Trust is a newly formed organization working with Parks and the Seattle Parks Foundation to restore, revitalize and protect Seattle’s world famous historic, Olmsted designed park. For more information, please go to

Seattle Parks embarks on planning process to develop strategic plan for the future

In embarking on a new planning process to develop strategic direction for the future, Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking three key questions:
• Are our resources deployed in the most effective manner?
• What is the public view of our park system?
• What are the basic services Parks provides?

Working with Parks’ key partners the Associated Recreation Council and Seattle Parks Foundation, and led by the Board of Park Commissioners, the first phase of the plan will be the development of shared Vision, Mission and Values statements. The second phase will be a programmatic review, telling the story of Parks and Recreation: what we do, who we serve, how we are funded. In this phase, Parks will examine emerging recreation trends and the latest census data. We will conduct a statistically valid survey citywide to gather information on how our park system is used, frequency of use and park users’ concerns. Phase three will be a look to the future that provides a framework for a sustainable parks and recreation system.

Public Involvement
Parks invites the public to take an online survey, available from August 31 through September 23, at

Input from Parks staff and the public on the Legacy Plan will occur at many junctures over the next year and a half. The Park Board will provide the public review forum for Phase 1, Vision, Mission and Values. Phase 2 will include a public survey in fall 2012, and staff and community review of the draft plan in spring 2013; and the public and staff will review Phase 3 in fall 2013. Progress reports for the Board of Park Commissioners will occur regularly throughout Plan development.

In 2009, Parks and Recreation concluded a strategic planning process with the publication of the Strategic Action Plan, a five-year ‘to do’ list which provided direction for stewardship of the park system. Many Strategic Action Plan tasks have been accomplished, while others have been delayed due to the economic recession. The Parks Legacy Plan will be an update of the 2009 Plan, with a focus on data collection and analysis.

Phase 1: The shared Vision, Mission and Values statements are scheduled for consideration by the Board of Park Commissioners in January 2013;

Phase 2: Programmatic review due March 31, 2013;

Phase 3: Strategic plan for the future to be completed by January 2014.

More information about the plan is available online at