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.
On Monday evening following the Super Bowl, the women launched an account through Gofundme.com 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.”
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.