Pavement to Parks project creates new open space in Rainier Vista

Today, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), hosted a grand opening for a new Pavement to Parks project in the Rainier Vista neighborhood. The new park space includes planters, seating, turf mounds, and a street mural designed by local youth.

 “This project is a great example of the positive outcomes that come from collaboration between government and the community,” said Mayor Murray. “We are activating an open space in way that is driven by the community, improves safety and livability and reflects the cultural diversity in Rainier Vista.”

This Pavement to Parks project repurposes a portion of S Genesee St., between 29th Ave S and Jill Place S, for an expanded park space in the neighborhood. Built under SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program, the project uses low-cost, adaptable materials to test a public space on the street before permanent changes take place.

 “The Pavement to Parks project in Rainier Vista provides a great example of the benefits of the Adaptive Streets Program,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “By working with residents to install experimental and low-cost safety enhancements, the City is better poised to quickly respond to the specific needs of the neighborhood, while allowing time to review community feedback and performance data before making the enhancements permanent.”

 Rainier Vista community members requested that SDOT close the block in response to speeding traffic in the neighborhood. SDOT included the project as a 2016 Pavement to Parks installation to increase space for play and community activities, while reducing speeding on surrounding streets and improving pedestrian safety. SDOT and the Rainier Vista Neighborhood Traffic Safety Committee gathered ideas for the design of the project last spring and learned of strong support for the project during outreach events.

 “I’m proud of the community engagement by Rainier Vista residents that led to this project, and the partnership of the Seattle Department of Transportation in making it happen,” said Andrew Lofton, Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director. “The new park solves what was a traffic safety issue and, with its colorful new mural painted by youth, provides a vibrant play area and neighborhood gathering place.”

SDOT will evaluate the Rainier Vista Pavement to Parks project over the next two years. If successful, SHA will work with the City to build the project as a permanent park extension in the neighborhood.

For more information about SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program contact Susan McLaughlin at 206-733-9649 or susan.mclaughlin@seattle.gov, or visit Seattle.gov/transportation/adaptivestreets.htm.

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Mayor unveils new strategic plan for City’s community centers

Investments to be included in Mayor’s 2017 proposed budget

Today Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Seattle Parks and Recreation Director Jesús Aguirre and South Park community members to unveil a strategic plan calling for new investments in the City’s community centers to reduce barriers and expand access in underserved areas of Seattle.  The investments will be a part of Murray’s 2017 proposed budget to City Council this September.

“Seattle’s community centers are a vital piece of our parks and recreation system and we must ensure these spaces meet the needs of all residents across the city,” said Mayor Murray. “In my proposed 2017 budget, I will call for the expansion of community center hours, staffing and programming, and eliminate drop-in fees and make scholarships easier to attain. We must ensure that as we grow, we do so equitably, and our recreational spaces must be safe and accessible places for everyone.”

The strategic plan touches each community center in the city, including reduced programming costs and increased hours and staffing in centers where residents have fewer resources to pay for programming and fewer recreational options. A detailed summary of the proposals can be found here.

“This plan represents an opportunity for Seattle Parks and Recreation to continue our work to ensure that all of our residents have access to the great programs and facilities we provide,” said Jesús Aguirre director of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. “As our City grows and changes, our community centers will continue to play a critical role in serving the unique needs of each community, while also serving as an interconnected system that serves the broader city. It’s also important to note that this plan is a bridge plan that will start a conversation on how Seattle Parks and Recreation will engage with and serve each of our residents in the years to come, through our community centers and our other facilities and open spaces.”

The City will provide free programming at five community centers: Bitter Lake, Garfield, Rainier Beach, Van Asselt, and South Park. The proposal also calls for Parks and Recreation to eliminate drop-in fees for activities such as toddler gyms and basketball at all community centers.

“This is great news for South Park and communities all over Seattle,” said Paulina Lopez, South Park community leader and advocate. “We have been asking for more hours at the community center to help our kids and families lead happier and healthier lives. This announcement is an exciting day for my community and I thank the City of Seattle for making today a reality.”

As part of this process, Parks will undertake a comprehensive long-term planning process in 2017-2018 for the entire Parks and Recreation system. This system-level plan will consider how to best use all assets, including community centers, pools, parks, and trails, to serve the Seattle community. This plan will build on the work of the Legacy Plan  with additional public input, and will include evaluation of the community center innovations and pilot projects.

Last year, Mayor Murray announced $47 million in Seattle Park District funding to invest in major improvements to community centers, open spaces, and facilities across the Seattle Park and Recreation system. Today’s announcement builds off last year’s investment by identifying specific proposals to develop innovative, accessible, and culturally relevant programming in the City’s community centers.

Summary of Operating Recommendations by Community Center

Mayor Murray announces planned usage of Myers Way property in Southwest Seattle

Following months of community input, Mayor Ed Murray today announced the planned usage for the Myers Way property in Southwest Seattle.

“Thank you to those who shared their input on the future of the Myers Way property,” said Murray. “The City will retain the land, dedicating the four-acre northernmost portion for important fire training needs and expanding the Joint Training Facility. The remainder of the property will be retained and designated for open space and/or recreation purposes, consistent with the community response provided through our outreach. At a future date, Seattle Parks and Recreation will conduct further public outreach to determine how best to use the property.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation does not currently have resources needed to immediately repurpose the site, but the Department will retain the property as one of its “land banked” sites. Holding such properties ensures that valuable open space is not lost, even if resources for repurposing the property are not immediately available.

The Myers Way property is one of the largest pieces of undeveloped City-owned land and is adjacent to the Seattle-White Center border.

Murray announces Get Moving Fund awards to local partners

Mayor Ed Murray today announced that Seattle Parks and Recreation will award $112,500 to 13 local agencies through the Get Moving Fund to support access to healthy recreational opportunities throughout the city.

“We are pleased to work with community organizations all across Seattle to bring fun and fitness programming to every neighborhood,” said Mayor Murray. “These groups foster and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of our city. With their help, kids and adults will have better access to dance, sports and outdoors activities.”

The Get Moving Fund is a reimbursable grant from Seattle Parks and Recreation that supports local nonprofit organizations, small businesses and community groups in offering innovative and culturally relevant events and projects to increase participation in community sports, recreation and physical fitness activities that serve under-resourced communities. The goal of the Get Moving Fund is to increase participation and opportunities for physical activities, prioritizing neighborhoods where health disparities are prevalent.

This is the first year that Seattle Parks and Recreation is offering the Get Moving Fund. This year’s grant awards will support an array of projects and activities, including youth soccer programs, African Diaspora dance classes for girls and women, training for youth to be sports coaches and referees, and intergenerational father and son activities.

The following projects or agencies have been selected to receive Get Moving Fund grant awards:

  • Fathers and Sons Together ($15,000) to support camps and intergenerational fathers-and-sons activities, primarily with African American communities.
  • Latino Community Fund ($15,000) to develop community partnerships and trainings for youth to become coaches and referees.
  • Duwamish Rowing Club ($15,000) to support rowing programs, with a focus on Latino youth.
  • Horn of Africa ($15,000) to support youth soccer programs, with a focus on East African youth.
  • Austin Foundation ($10,000) to support intergenerational family fitness activities.
  • Garinagu Hounga ($10,000) to support Central American dance activities, with a focus on Afro Latino communities.
  • Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club ($7,500) to support fitness and dance camps for youth.
  • Lao Women Association ($7,000) to support cultural dance activities relevant to Asian cultures.
  • SeaMar ($5,000) to support youth soccer programs, with a focus on Latino youth.
  • World Mind Creation ($3,000) to support youth-led projects and dance wellness workshops.
  • Nailah Harris ($5,000) to support multi-cultural dance classes for youth and adults.
  • Young Women Empowered ($2,500) to support African Diaspora dance classes for girls and women.
  • Deflora Walks Transformation Experience ($2,500) to support walking and healthy lifestyle activities for low-income communities and immigrant and refugee populations.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Get Moving Fund is made possible by funding from the Seattle Park District. Approved by 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.

Mayor transmits legislation to rename park after Donnie Chin

The process to rename International Children’s Park in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District after the beloved community activist Donnie Chin is moving forward. Today, Mayor Ed Murray sent to the Seattle City Council a resolution seeking the Council’s support of renaming the park “International Children’s Park” to “Donnie Chin International Children’s Park.”

The family of Donnie Chin requested that the new park name keep “International Children’s Park” in the title, as Mr. Chin was an integral part of the creation of the park and approved of the original name.

“Donnie was instrumental in founding and developing this park and it’s fitting that we recognize him in this way,” said Mayor Murray. “Donnie’s commitment to the neighborhood was unwavering, having dedicated his entire life to serving those around him.”

“Our family is so pleased and deeply grateful to the community for their help and participation,” said Constance Magorty, Donnie’s sister.  “Thank you to Superintendent Jesús Aguirre for waiving the three-year waiting period and for the generous support of Mayor Ed Murray. Donnie was truly selfless and worked tirelessly, devoting his life to making the community a better place to live and work.  Donnie loved children and created a safe place for them to play.  Renaming the park is an incredible way to honor his lifetime of work in the community.  Donnie shied away from the spotlight, but we hope in doing this, he will continue to inspire others to follow in his footsteps and work in community service.”

Located at 700 S. Lane St., International Children’s Park was originally built in 1981 and was substantially renovated and improved in 2012. When the Chinatown/International District community began to identify needed programs and neighborhood improvements in the mid-1970s, Mr. Chin brought up the need for a children’s park and he continued to champion the idea until the park was built.

“I hope when we all visit the park or see Donnie’s name at the park, we all reflect on the selflessness of his actions in helping others and that we all embody Donnie’s spirit of action and service in the Chinatown/International District,” said Council President Bruce Harrell.

“Donnie Chin is a true Seattle legend. I consider this action by city government to be a humble, yet fitting tribute to Mr. Chin’s decades of community service. Donnie’s generosity shaped a powerful legacy, particularly for the young Seattleites playing in this valued park,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez, chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, & Waterfront Committee.

Longtime director of the International District Emergency Center, Donnie Chin was tragically killed in an early morning shooting on July 23, 2015.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre has agreed to waive the existing Parks and Recreation policy that requires a person to be deceased for a minimum of three years before a park may be named in his or her honor.