Manager’s Message

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

This past year has been a year of planning for Yakima Parks & Recreation.  Every 5 years we work hard to create our Five-Year Master Plan.  It is always a lot of work, but it is good for us to take a look back at the past and look forward to the future and set new goals.  As part of the master planning process, we mailed out 5,000 community surveys for parks & recreation this summer and also made it available online.  Thank you to everyone that completed it and sent it back to us.  Your feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated.  We receive 695 surveys back and we have taken the information and created a report showing the data displayed in graphs and charts.  You can find it on our website,  We will use the information to help us plan for the next 5 to 10 years.  The master planning process is critical to our success and the Master Plan becomes a document that we share with potential donors.  The Master Plan is also submitted to the Recreation and Conservation Office of the State of Washington.  Once approved, the plan allows us to be eligible for State grants for park improvements, like the improvements we made at Kiwanis Park and at Randall Park.

In September, our Beyond the Bell after school program moved into the

Washington Fruit Community Center next to Miller Park.  We have 75 kids in the program from 14 different elementary schools.  We received a grant of $74,000 from the Association of Washington Cities, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Washington Recreation and Park Association to be able to outfit the building with tables, air hockey game, foosball table, ping pong table, computer desks and a whole lot more.  We were also awarded a grant from Legends Casino that allowed us to purchase 5 computers for the center.  Soon we will also have partnering organizations providing programs within the building.

A project that has been on our wish list and a planned improvement for many years was accomplished this fall.  Gardner Park is located near Ridgeview Elementary School and has a newer playground and restroom along with 2 softball fields.  The park parking area along Cornell Avenue was gravel.  This fall, the Street Division along with support from Water & Irrigation Division, Stormwater Division and the Park Maintenance Staff, were able to relocate some irrigation lines, install storm drains and pave the area.  It was a huge team effort and once again showed the skills of the employees that work for the City of Yakima. 

As we start 2022, I am very hopeful that the plans that we make today will become reality in the future.  I am going to make plans to make Yakima a better place for the future and I urge you and your family to join me in planning for a better tomorrow.

Ken Wilkinson, Parks & Recreation Manager