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    Great progress for Seattle Aquarium: 6/21 Committee Wrap Up

    We started the June 21 Parks and Neighborhoods Committee meeting with a report from Department of Parks and Recreation’s acting (DPR) Superintendent Christopher Williams.

    Superintendent’s Report

    Christopher opened his report with the great news that the Coca-Cola Company gave Beacon BIKES a $10,000 award for the Beacon BIKES Circulation Plan Congratulations to Beacon BIKES!

    Dylan Ahearn of Beacon BIKES aims to create safe cycling conditions for his daughter. Credit: Publicola.

    Coming up

    Christopher reminded us of some upcoming Seattle Parks events, which you can find out more about on the Seattle Parks Events Calendar:

    •  Jefferson Park Jubilee – July 14
    • Children’s Concert at Westlake Park to announce play area – July 25
    • Kirke Park – Ballard – August
    • Big Day of Play – August 25
    • Belltown Community Center – Sept 8

    Opportunity Fund

    Proposal letters for the second round of Opportunity Fund allocations were due June 11, and Christopher told us that DPR received 112 letters of intent citywide. Parks staff will work with applicants over the summer months to refine their proposals and help them navigate the application process.

    Strategic Planning Process

    DPR will soon be launching the “Parks Legacy Planning” effort. Inspired by the May 3 Leon Younger Best Practices presentation we saw in committee earlier this year, the effort involves a data-driven assessment with a cost recovery analysis component. Priorities, partnerships, and more will figure in a strategic effort that kicks off with an assessment of programs and services to be completed March 2013.

    Olmsted Parks Trust

    Parks staff met Monday, June 18 with a group of citizens who are interested in forming an Olmsted Parks Trust, with a goal of developing partnerships between citizens and DPR and providing financial and volunteer resources to revitalize Olmsted parks.

    Christopher told us that DPR hopes to generate a memorandum of agreement to allow the group to begin operation as soon as possible. Parks asked the Trust to place their focus initially in three areas:  safety and security (lighting, park concierge programs, pruning to create site lines); programming and activation (more family activities and arts events, such as Shakespeare in the Park; and enhanced maintenance (special gardening over and above the basics that DPR provides) at Volunteer Park.

    See the full Superintendent’s Report.

    Aquarium Briefing

    Next we had the pleasure of hearing the second annual report from Bob Davidson, president and CEO of the Seattle Aquarium, who caught us up on the Aquarium’s 2011 program and financial results, and showed us the conceptual design of the Aquarium’s long-term expansion plans in the context of the City’s Waterfront planning efforts and the construction of the Seawall.

    Two years into the partnership between the City and the Aquarium as a nonprofit, the Aquarium is solvent with revenues up this year. The organization now has 50% City employees and 50% nonprofit employees, and City employees have two more years to shift elsewhere in the city or convert to nonprofit employees.

    The Aquarium has been working to broaden access to the facility to underserved communities by distributing 20,000 complimentary tickets each year. With 13 partner service agencies onboard to help reach low-income families who can visit the Aquarium, they’ve seen 66% increase in distribution of tickets, and a 17% increase in tickets redeemed compared with the same time period in 2011.

    More than 30,000 schoolchildren attended classes (19 school buses a day, on busy days) at the Aquarium last year.

    As part of their strategic plan to step up in Marine Conservation, they created the Marine Conservation network, including all the leading marine conservation groups in the Puget Sound area. The groups are excited about sharing information, strategies, and more and having the Aquarium’s institutional weight behind their efforts.

    Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC)

    Our final order of business was Resolution 31384, approving the composition of the Major Institution Citizens Advisory Committee for Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill Campus.

    For Stephen Sheppard’s outline of the process of assembling a CAC for a Major Institution, as well as his and Karen Gordon’s discussion of how Race and Social Justice Initiative guidelines were followed in the selection of this CAC, see the video of the committee meeting here.

    To learn more about Major Institutes and Citizen Advisory Committees, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/mi/.

    The Parks and Neighborhoods Committee for July 5th has been canceled. The next Committee is scheduled for July 19th at 9:30 am.

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