Groundbreaking ceremony for ‘Det. Cookie Chess Park’

A special groundbreaking was held Sunday in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood for a first-in-Seattle Chess Park.

The Chess Park is a dream come true for the woman whom the park will be named after – Seattle Police Detective Denise Bouldin, known universally as “Detective Cookie.”

This has been years in the making. But in a couple of months, there will indeed be a park here at Rainer Avenue South and South Barton Place.

A fitting tribute for a police officer who has used chess to show kids in this neighborhood another way.

She is like a sought-after celebrity in these parts.

This Chicago native has been evangelizing about chess for more than a decade, teaching children in her adopted community how to use their minds and succeed. It was much like when the game was invented in India some 1,500 years ago.

Here, that day will soon come.

“This is really happening!” exclaimed Det. Cookie. “The chess park is really gonna be built. It’s not a dream anymore.”

If so, it will be the result of years of work, including fundraising by the Detective Cookie Chess Park Steering Committee, led by Erin Lau.

“I’ve been involved in this because I believe in what Detective Cookie does,” Lau said. “And she’s taught thousands of kids how to play chess. So this chess park is a physical representation of all the love she’s given to the community.”

That love is felt far beyond this community, too, even attracting those who have succeeded in a different game of play.

“I absolutely love what she’s doing in the community and with these kids and teaching them the awesome game of chess,” said former Seattle Seahawk KJ Wright, his 6-year-old son by his side. “And (I wanted to) come out to see what she’s doing, see what she’s building. It’s pretty special.”

Pretty special indeed, breaking ground at last on the Detective Cookie Chess Park.

Construction work has already begun. They are hoping the work will be done by early fall.

And Detective Cookie is promising a big celebration.