Manager’s Message

In adversity, there is opportunity. Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity. I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity. Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn’t make me stronger.

Lou Holtz

What a positive change from last summer.  We were able to present so many of our programs and events.  It was so great to see everyone at the Franklin Park Summer Sunset Concerts and our Viva La Musica Concerts at Miller and Martin Luther King Jr. Parks.  The Parks & Recreation staff spent time at these events reaching out to people to get more input for our 2022 – 2027 Comprehensive Master Plan.  We passed out survey contact cards to everyone that would take one.  Technology is great.  The survey contact cards allowed people to take the cards and go on our website and take the survey online or scan the QR code and complete it on their phones when it was convenient for them.  I saw many people taking the survey at the concerts.  We were also at the Yakima Downtown Farmers Market talking with people about parks and what they would like to see in the upcoming years.  We also mailed out 5000 surveys to randomly selected homes within Yakima city limits.  The survey is a critical part of the master planning process.  It allows our community to give their opinion about the parks and recreation services that we provide and let us know what improvements we should be considering for the future.  We also use the information that everyone shared in our grant applications for improvements.  Granting organizations are more receptive to giving funds for improvements that are supported by the people that live in the community.  It also helps us as we plan for improvements.  The survey also lets people make suggestions on how we can improve our programming.  Thanks to everyone that took the time to tell us your thoughts. 

One of the highlights of the summer was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rotary Improvements at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.  This has been a long process due to the pandemic, but we got it done.  The new playground, picnic shelter and park lighting were made possible because of the generous donations and volunteer work from our Yakima Rotary Clubs.  Special thanks to Eric Silvers for his vision to improve this park.  The improvements were all identified in our current Comprehensive Master Plan and it is so rewarding to be able to check these new amenities off the to do list. 

We were able to have 2 summer playground programs this last summer.  Juan Arias lead the playground day camp program at Kissel Park and Kim Lopez led the program at Miller Park.  Many families benefited from this program.  So many fun things are available to the kids in the summer.  They went to Franklin Pool and got to have water games and crafts and when it was really hot, the kids got to play in the spray park at Miller Park.  The Kissel Park Day Camp had a Team Dance Battle one morning and it was a great event.

As we enter Fall, we are now looking forward to other programs.  The Beyond the Bell Program will now be at the Washington Fruit Community Center.  Many kids will be supported after school in this facility. Kim Lopez and her staff will provide many great fun learning experiences for our kids.  They also will help provide homework help and a snack. 

We have all faced some adversity over these past many months and the legendary coach at Notre Dame said it well.  “In adversity, there is opportunity”.  I encourage you and your family to continue to embrace new opportunities.

Ken Wilkinson, Parks & Recreation Manager