Manager’s Message

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.”

Walt Whitman

Photo courtesy Southwest Rotary of Yakima

It is truly a great year when you get to be a part of 2 ribbon cutting ceremonies in one year.  We had the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Miller Park Improvement project in June and we had a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rotary Lighting project in October.  The Rotary project added lights to the basketball court and skate park at the Kiwanis Park/Gateway Sports Complex, the skate park at Chesterley Park and the basketball court at Randall Park.  The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rotary Lighting project was nothing short of magical.  We held it in the early evening and as Vicki Dwight, Rick Fairbrook and Dirk Bernd, the three past presidents of Sunrise Rotary, Downtown Rotary and Southwest Rotary, cut the ribbon and the lights got turned on, everyone cheered and clapped and the skateboarders and basketball players showed off their skills.  It was great.  Thanks again to our amazing Yakima Rotary Clubs for choosing to partner with us on another project that greatly benefits our community.

Progress continues on the Aquatic Center at MLK Jr. Park project.  The drawings are almost completed and will be ready to go out for bid in 2024.  The generosity of the Yakima community never ceases to amaze me.  The fund-raising efforts are being led by Addy Logston.  We have a little bit to go to reach our fund-raising goal.  The plan is to start construction in 2024 and open the aquatic center in the summer of 2025.  If you want to give, you can go to and give directly to the project through the Yakima Valley Community Foundation.  Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and is tax deductible.

We are working on constructing a shade pergola in Lions Park.  The Yakima Lions Club has donated $25,000 for this project.  We will tear down the old restroom that we converted into a small picnic shelter.  Thank you Yakima Lions Club for making more improvements to Lions Park.  The Lions Club also helped construct and pay for the new playground in the park a few years ago.

We once again held the Letters to Santa event at Public Works.  Another amazing free event for the community.  Special thanks to Juan Arias, Recreation Activities Coordinator, for planning and leading the event.  I hope you and your families were able to attend.

We faced many challenges and roadblocks on the Miller Park project, but I have found that having a positive attitude is a choice and it helps me get through those difficulties.  Please join me in deciding to keep your face in the sun and let the shadows fall behind us.

Ken Wilkinson, Parks & Recreation Manager

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