Manager’s Message

“Anyone can see the adversity in a difficult situation, but it takes a stronger person to see the opportunity.”

Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints

Even among the challenges the COVID-19 emergency has presented, important work has been getting done in Yakima’s parks this spring.

Our Yakima Downtown Rotary Club friends once again are making a positive impact on Yakima parks.  Each Rotary president chooses a project to be completed during her or his tenure.  The current Yakima Downtown Rotary Club president, Eric Silvers, selected as his project improvements at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.  Eric grew up in the MLK, Jr. Park neighborhood and has found memories of spending countless hours enjoying the park with friends and family.

The playground equipment at MLK, Jr. Park had served area kids for many years and was well worn.  Plus, there was no convenient, sheltered place at the park for groups to gather.

During a February 27th groundbreaking ceremony, the impressive plans for enhancing the park were revealed.  A brand new, state-of-the-art play and activity structure would replace the old, aging playground.  And, a new gazebo would be built to host family picnics, outdoor events, and other get togethers.

Since the groundbreaking in February, work has been finished on the gazebo and it has already been the site of numerous events.  Construction of the new play and activity structure is scheduled to begin soon and kids will be exploring and enjoying all that it has to offer later this year.

At Franklin Park, rose gardens were in need of attention.  Maintenance on the rose gardens was proving difficult for Yakima Parks & Recreation crews to keep up with.  But true to the generous spirit so prevalent in our community, a call for help was answered by caring volunteers.

The Parker Youth and Sports Foundation, at the urging of Jerry and Lynn Ward, choose to invest time, energy, effort, and money to restore the Franklin Park rose gardens to their former glory.  The rose gardens are now getting the care they need to continue to be a great source of pride in our community.

Yakima’s parks have played a crucial role during the COVID-19 emergency by offering a place to safely experience the beautiful outdoors.  People can regularly be seen walking dogs, working out, and just appreciating the quiet serenity our parks provide.  Soon, parks facilities like tennis courts, pickleball courts, pools and basketball courts, closed since early March because of the emergency, will once again be available for everyone to enjoy.

On behalf of Yakima Parks & Recreation and the City of Yakima, thank you for the ongoing commitment to our parks that so many community members demonstrate time and again.  Yakima’s parks, and all of Yakima, are better for it. 

If you have comments or questions regarding Yakima Parks & Recreation, please contact me at ken.wilkinson@YakimaWa.gov or you can call me 509 575 6020.

Ken Wilkinson,  Parks and Recreation Manager