SEATTLE - The Downtown Seattle Association, City of Seattle and Seattle Children's Research Institute hosted a grand opening celebration of the new Westlake Children's Play Area at Westlake Park on Friday.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony included a performance by the Spruce Street School Marimba Band and remarks from Downtown Seattle Association President Kate Joncas , Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams, and Seattle Children's Research Institute president James Hendricks.
>>> Watch a livestream of the event here.
The downtown residential population has increased by 20 percent since 2000, and more than 70 percent since 1990.
Approximately 3,000 children call downtown Seattle home. The play area will serve as an amenity for the tens of thousands of children who visit downtown every year.
"You can't really have a neighborhood without families, and young families deserve easily accessible play spaces," said Joncas. "Attracting and retaining families is a top priority for making downtown a diverse and healthy neighborhood and the new play area certainly helps."
"We're excited to be a party to bringing this great new amenity to the heart of downtown," said Williams. “Every activity that draws families to the park makes it a better place."
The year-round play area will include a soft, rubber-like surfacing and a Geode by Goric. This large, netted spherical structure and a collection of large domes will be surrounded by a fence with bench seating in some areas. The design and elements involved were selected specifically with sightlines and function in mind, as the structures do not obstruct views to the retail spaces and through the park. The Geode is designed to be used by children up to 12 years old.