Detective Cookie Chess Park

The Detective Cookie Chess Park began with a dream of RBMA members to infuse with positive activity under-utilized and ill-used parcels in Rainier Beach Square. The reason for focusing onRainier Beach reident Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin‘s work was two-fold: to honor her 20 year commitment to the Detective Cookie Urban Youth Chess Club, and to create an opportunity for community members of any age, gender, and culture to celebrate through play the advantages of taking in the big picture and making smart decisions.

In 2015, the Merchants in partnership with Southeast Effective Development (SEED) applied for and received a Neighborhood Matching Grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for the Detective Cookie Pop-Up Chess Park. This activates different locations throughout the community and travels to dozens of community events throughout the year.

This action influenced the inspired work of artists Peter Reiquam in a permanent project for Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Safe Routes to Schools/ Seattle Office of Arts in an SDOT right of way at Barton Place, 51st Ave S, and Rainier Ave S. This parcel was then identified as the preferred site of a permanent home for the Detective Cookie Chess Park. Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park,

Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park, Rainier Beach Merchants, and the Seattle Parks Foundation just finished an arduous planning phase of the park through a generous Neighborhood Matching Grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and with the assistance of South Seattle landscape design firm Johnson + Southerland. The next phase will include technical specifications for the site, with a final implementation phase including local community group and artist designed chess tables and a flexible space that can accommodate performances, small pop-up markets, and a multitude of other activities. For more info, download the Seattle Parks Foundation Spring 2016 newsletter HERE.

To contribute to this project click HERE.

Link 2 Lake & Rainier Beach Gateway Plan

Link 2 Lake is a community-led project, partially originating with the RBMA and sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation. Focusing on improving the Henderson corridor between the link light rail on Martin Luther King Jr Way S and S Henderson Street, and Beer Sheva Park on Lake Washington at Henderson and Seward Park Ave S., the project strives to green up the corridor one parcel at a time. This extremely busy pedestrian corridor egresses past four schools and several low-income housing projects, as well as the thriving Rainier Beach Community Center, a shopping plaza, and several parks before terminating at beautiful Spinnaker Bay at Beer Sheva Park and Atlantic City Boat Launch, which in turn connect to the Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands.

A beach in Beach may be closer than you think! The overall concept is to create a gorgeous, safe, green corridor along Henderson one parcel at a time, beginning with creating an actual swimming beach in Rainier Beach in Beer Sheva Park! Community representatives from the Rainier Beach Merchants Association, Rainier Beach Community Club, Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Rainier Beach High School, and East African communities in Rainier Beach have been at the table from the inception, sharing ideas and creating a strategy. Rainier Valley landscape designers Johnson + Southerland stepped up to offer a conceptual design pro bono to help folks visualize, and to move the process forward. While a beach in Beach is an idea that has deep roots in the community, it is exciting to think that the community is at a juncture to finally make this a reality. Read more about the project in the Seattle Parks Foundation Spring 2017 newsletter.

Here’s a little background on the gateway plan concept in Rainier Beach. A gateway is a distinct entryway that defines an area, providing an identity and sense of place for those living and working the community and first impression for a visitor. The Rainier Beach Gateway Plan, originally developed in the early 2000’s,  identifies goals and themes that will revitalize Rainier Beach, the southern gateway to Seattle. The themes include:

  • An attractive, safe and vibrant “Beach Square”
  • A pedestrian –friendly retail center serving local residents and attracting visitors
  • Calming traffic and developing streetscape projects to improve pedestrian access Providing a clearer sense of entry and exit from the shopping area
  • Establishing a strong employment base
  • Creating a specific sense of place for the Rainier Beach commercial core

The plan was developed by Rainier Beach Merchants Association, Southeast Effective Development (SEED), Seattle Department of Transporation, Seattle Office of Economic Development, and the University of Washington School of Architecture. These elements of the Gateway plan have been absorbed and are now actively being realized in our current RB Neighborhood Update Plan.

Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth (ABSPY) & Safe Passages

Youth need a safe place to grow and thrive, and the Rainier Beach community is committed to creating that place right here. Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth is an innovative, community-led, violence prevention initiative funded primarily by the US Department of Justice Byrne Grant, and managed by Seattle Neighborhood Group.

The core goal of this initiative is to reduce youth victimization and crime and to improve relations with youth, police, and the community by identifying and holistically addressing the underlying, place-based causes of youth victimization and crime at five focus locations, “hotspots” in the Rainier Beach neighborhood through non-arrest interventions. This initiative has produced dozens of community-sourced solutions to youth crime challenges, most notably the Safe Passages team which occupies areas active with youth after school. The Safe Passages team presence acts a calming and stabilizing agent for youth in the area and has strongly contributed to a dramatic reduction in both youth and adult crime in the area.

The project is led by the Seattle Neighborhood Group and Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative in collaboration with research partner George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, other city agencies and community groups such as Rainier Beach Action Coalition and the Boys and Girls Club of King County. Project coordination is provided by the Seattle Neighborhood Group.

Rainier Beach Merchants have also partnered with ABSPY to support the first community-wide implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), a tool generally used in schools to help encourage positive youth behaviors and habits by recognizing and rewarding them when they happen. The RBMA has held multiple training sessions on the concept and the ways that business owners and residents can carry this concept throughout the community, building a more positive relationship between youth and adults in Rainier Beach.

Funding is sourced from Byrne Criminal Justice Innovations Grant #2012-AJ-BX-0006 to develop and evaluate community-led crime prevention efforts.

Neighborhood Plan Update & Rainier Beach Action Coalition

From 1995 to 2000 Seattle created 38 Neighborhood Update Plans. Each plan incorporated its neighborhood vision, strategies, and insight while supporting the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Over the past six years, community organizations Rainier Beach Moving Forward and Rainier Beach Citizens Action Coalition joined to form the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) to help carry the plan forward.

In coordination with the Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place Initiative, RBAC employs local youth as “Corner Greeters” to occupy hotspots with positive, inclusive, and welcoming activities.  as well as hosting roving town halls to address various community concerns.

Additionally, RBAC supports a plan to develop a “Food Innovation District” within Rainier Beach as a beacon to food business entrepreneurs and to make healthy food accessible to all residents n Rainier Beach.  Roving town halls are hosted to address this developing concept various community concerns.

Action Areas for Involvement:

  • A Great Place for All
  • A Beautiful Safe Place
  • Life Long Learning
  • Growing Food Healthy Industry

For more information on how to be involved in your community contact rainierbeachmovingforward[at]gmail[dot]com.