In Seattle, a Reborn Park Reflects a Broader Revival

Over the past six years, the Seattle parks department has made great progress in sprucing up Denny Park, the city's oldest, giving new life to the "last stand of big trees amid the city's grit and gray."
October 9, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Once beset by prostitution and drug dealing, Denny Park has come a long way since the city began a concerted effort to revive the park and add new attractions, reports Lynda V. Mapes. The renewal of the park, coinciding with a boom in the adjacent South Lake Union neighborhood, has brought "a renaissance of appreciation" to the quaint refuge originally dedicated in 1884.

"It's a far cry from the scene here not long ago, notes Dewey Potter, spokeswoman for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Sure, you will still see people reposing on the grass here and there for what looks to be more than an occasional nap on a stolen afternoon," observes Mapes. "But there are no encampments here, no sense anymore of the takeover of this public space by drug dealing and prostitution so brazen that park staff used to observe the goings on through the windows of the administration building."

"There isn't anything in the urban core like this, it's pretty unique," said Mark Mead, senior urban forester for Seattle Parks and Recreation. "It's such a concentrated mass of trees, right in the heart of the city."

 

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Published on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in The Seattle Times
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