• Jose S. Gutierrez Jr.



More than summer months of sunshine and heat are at stake for Seattle community members waiting for activities and fun in the sun – the very future of Seattle Parks and Recreation is on the line. Along with the much-cherished and too few sunny months in the pacific northwest this year, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is offering its usual activities and a few more opportunities as well as an ask from the community in the form of input for its 12-year Strategic Plan.

“This is a big deal. I mean, our work never ends at [Seattle] Parks and Rec. We have some employment opportunities at facilities and we really need input from the community in terms of what they want our parks and recreation to deliver”, says Lameka Bell, Parks and Recreation Coordinator of the Get Moving Initiative. The Get Moving Initiative oversees programs designed to engage the community and cultivate activities. “It’s important that people of color, those most under-resourced and underserved, come out and express what they want to see at our parks and facilities.”

In order to garner public attention and involvement, Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting a weekend of events beginning this Saturday June 8th with The Lakeridge Playground Improvement Project. Lakeridge is one of SPR’s most outlying parks, bordering with the City of Renton at the south end of Seattle near the I-5 and 405 intersecting region. Community members are invited to come to Lakeridge Playfield and Playground (10145 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle) at noon on June 8, to share ideas and visions of the park’s renovation – which is coming, ready or not. With plans like this, community input is imperative in delivering its needs and wants. “That’s why we need to show up and attend – give your input or what you want will not be there”, says Bell. The event, seeks input from all sectors of the community and has advertised in six different languages – to reach all Seattleites. Lakeridge will be full of ‘fun and games, food, a DJ, an inflatable slide and soccer with the Rainier Beach High School team’ making for a day of activity. This is but the first half of the weekend.

The future of Seattle Parks and Recreation; In the hands of those who act now.

On Sunday June 9th Seattle Parks and Recreation is working overtime to gather the community’s input; this time for Seattle Parks and Rec’s 12-year Strategic Action Plan at the continuing, Parks and Rec Fest (Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way, Seattle) from 10am – 5pm. The program, which began last weekend, is requesting input from the community for what the parks should be offering, what kind of courts and facilities are desired as well as modifications to the grounds. Bell, in her position as a coordinator and community member has recognized a noticeable absence of people of color at these types of events and meetings and would like to see that change – she is supervising much of the marketing effort to the get word out in light of this observation. “We have to conduct special marketing for outreach and engagement for communities and populations to underserved populations – to bring awareness and access”, says Bell. The Parks and Rec Fest will be attended by numerous staff and personnel from SPR on hand to meet with the public and field inquiries, and will include activities, games as well as employment opportunities with SPR facilities and programs.

Finally, as a preview of July’s much-anticipated Destination Camps to be held at Garfield and Rainier Beach High Schools, Parks and Rec Fest will be providing 90% scholarships (for qualifying applicants) who seek to attend the July 8th specialty camps. In addition to the scholarship opportunities, free swim tickets at public pools will be issued for every fully completed camp application.

For more information, news and views – visit www.africatownseattle.com and www.seattle.gov/parks

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