Councilmember Licata left office on January 1, 2016.
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Urban Politics #56: The Parks Dept & Citizen Involvement

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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.



  • The Parks Dept & Citizen Involvement
  • Seattle Neighborhood Arts Celebration
  • Belltown P-Patch Protected
  • City Council Candidates Line Up

The Parks Dept & Citizen Involvement

There will be 3 Public Workshops to help the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation revise its Public Involvement Policy. These meetings were set up under the auspices of City Council Parks Citizen Participation Resolution 29845, which I sponsored in response to citizen complaints that I had received regarding the Parks Departments development plans for some neighborhood parks.

Consequently, the Department of Parks and Recreation is conducting a process to revise its policy and procedure for informing and involving citizens in prospective park projects, plans and events. The goal of this process is to help the Department establish reasonable and cost-effective public involvement guidelines and make sure they are consistently applied.

The Department has worked with the City Council to convene a citizen’ advisory committee to identify some of the key issues and questions that we need to address in the revision of the policy. For more information, please call Dewey Potter, Department of Park and Recreation, 684-7241 (

The First Citywide Workshop will be held this coming Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1999, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Mountaineers Building, Olympus Room, 300 3rd Ave. W. The focus will be to introduce issues, review existing policy and outline a revision process.

Information on the following workshops:

Workshop #2: Tues., Feb. 23, 1999 (Northend) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Nathan Hale High School, Cafeteria, 10750 30th Ave. NE Focus: help develop policies on public notification and involvement

Workshop #3: Thurs., Feb. 25, 1999 (Southend) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Franklin High School, Commons Room, 3013 S. Mt. Baker Blvd. Focus: help develop policies on public notification and involvement

Seattle Neighborhood Arts Celebration

Seattle will hold its First Annual Seattle Neighborhood Arts Celebration (SNAC) on February 13, 1999, 4 to 8 PM at the Illsey Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall downtown Seattle. The space is wheelchair accessible and ASL interpreters will be present. The program will feature music, poetry, and theater staged in a warm “living room” atmosphere.

As the Chair of the Culture, Arts, and Parks (CAP) Committee, I’m sponsoring this event to honor the city’s unsung artists, and artists and arts groups working to enhance their communities. Performers will get a chance to perform at the first class facilities at Benaroya.

The audience will also get a chance to see committed and talented performers they might not otherwise hear or see. Arts groups will exhibit in the lobby space outside the theater.

Anyone in attendance will be able to vote for the city’s first-ever “poet populist,” who will be announced at the end of the evening. The ballot will include poets from CAP’s “Word’s Worth” series, which begins each meeting of its meetings. Write-ins will also be considered.

Names and bios of all performers will be announced shortly before the event. The program will include many poets from the “Word’s Worth” series, and others nominated by neighborhood arts organizations.

The “neighborhood” focus will generate ideas about how to incorporate artists in civic and neighborhood life, and cause reflection on the notion of “neighborhood arts” itself.

The SNAC builds on the Neighborhood Arts Conference that I hosted last June at the Miller Community Center, and strengthens the city’s 5th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day, also February 13th.

Benaroya Hall is making the space available virtually for free, in recognition of the public money that went into the facility. This is one of four such “free days” that will occur this year.

SNAC invites the public to enjoy some our best artistic and literary talent in a world-class facility for free . . . can’t do better than that!

Sponsored by: Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata The Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Benaroya Hall

In Cooperation with: Mayor Paul Schell The Seattle Arts Commission The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

PRESS CONTACTS: Bob Redmond, Eleventh Hour Productions (206) 624-9606

Frank Video, Office of Nick Licata (206) 684-8849

Belltown P-Patch Protected (Thanks to Dan McGrady for help on this item.)

Thanks to the efforts of Council Member Jan Drago, the Belltown P-Patch will now be protected by the impending possibility of being cast in the shadow of new development just to the south of it. Working with Council Member Richard Conlin, me and staff from a number of city departments, Jan was able to forge a successful effort to purchase the land just south of the p-patch that currently several cottages occupy. One of the cottages will probably be retained and the rest of the land will provide open space park land for the Denny Regrade community.

In late 1997, Skip Kotkins let it be known that he was interested in selling his property to the south of the p-patch. Belltown P-patchers and nearby residents became concerned that if the property were sold to a developer and a structure were built to the maximum height allowed by zoning (125 feet), the structure would shadow the P-patch throughout much of the year and render the P-patch unusable as a garden. The Denny Regrade Neighborhood Planning group made the protection of the P-patch and acquisition of Open Space as one of its highest priorities.

Soon thereafter, community members sought a way to prevent shadowing of the P-patch. An interdepartmental group and community members led by Councilmember Drago investigated approximately 18 options for preserving the P-patch. After an initial review, it became clear that the only way to protect the P-patch was for the City to purchase the Cottage Property and limit development on it. No other option was either feasible or afforded the necessary protection.

While purchase of the Cottage Property and limiting development on it was originally intended to protect the City’s $500,000 investment in the P-patch, purchase of it provides us with the opportunity to add open space to a Seattle neighborhood with a severe open space deficit.

From 1994-1998, 852 units of housing were permitted in the Denny Regrade area. To reach its 20 year growth target, approximately 5,700 more units of housing will be built in the Denny Regrade. (Applications for approximately 800 units are currently being reviewed by DCLU.)

City Council Candidates Line Up

Potential candidates for upcoming Seattle City Council races, along with ordinary citizens, will debate the top-priority issues facing the region at a public forum called the Civic Agenda ’99 at 7:00 P.M., Wed., Jan. 27, at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St. There is no cost for the event and ample free parking is available

Former state representative Dawn Mason, former King County Democrats chair Daniel Norton, and nine other citizens have submitted full-page proposals to the forum, sponsored by the Civic Foundation, a public-interest watchdog organization. All proposers will be given time to explain why their issue is one of the most important facing Seattle voters.

For additional information on the forum contact, The Civic Foundation, Tel: (206) 378-1200, Fax: (206) 378-0539,

Keep in touch…


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