The Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center and Crossroads Water Spray Playground, two dramatic new park facilities in Bellevue, have earned awards from the Washington Recreation and Park Association.
Both facilities, which opened last year, received "spotlight" awards for their innovative designs and public-private funding.
In addition, Terry Smith, assistant director of Bellevue's Parks and Community Services Department, received a WRPA President's Award for promoting statewide standards for accessibility to parks programs and facilities.
"Terry's efforts have truly helped the Association become a leader in evaluating cultural competency, and will surely benefit not only the agencies within our state, but also those throughout the country," said WRPA president Mary Dodsworth during the WRPA awards ceremony in Spokane last month.
The Water Spray Playground, at 16000 NE 10th St., opened last June. The first water playground in Bellevue is also the first park specifically designed to accommodate people with physical impairments.
During the spring and summer, water squirts and sprays from elements including giant orca whales, a "Loch Ness Monster" and a "Floating Granite World.”
The city partnered with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club, which led fundraising efforts for the project.
Since it opened in October, the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center at 1625 118th Ave. SE has been a a distinctive, environmentally friendly gateway to the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park. Designed by Jones & Jones, the center has received several awards for its "green" building techniques, including roofs that collect rainwater into a gentle runoff to nurture native plants.
The Pacific Science Center is a partner with the city at the center, providing science-based education programs targeted to youth and families to inspire lifelong awareness, understanding and appreciation for stewardship of the natural world. With the same focus, the city provides environmental interpretive programs for adults and families.
These facilities join a whole host of other Bellevue parks facilities that have won WRPA Spotlight awards, including the South Bellevue Community Center and the Robinswood sports fields.
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