Community Support Sought for Chess Park

(This is a community service announcement)

The Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park are seeking community support to for a planning grant to develop an outdoor chess park with 6-10 permanent artist-designed chess tables and multi-functional community space in the SDOT right of way (ROW) at Rainier Ave S., S Barton Place and 51st Ave S. This will be a public play-space/garden to honor the hard work and influence of Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin’s decade-old chess club, and its positive impact on community youth.  The planning grant application is due February 1st.

The planning grant is being presented by the “Friends of Det. Cookie Chess Park” which is comprised of community and business owners in Rainier Beach, as well as Detective Cookie, whose decade-old chess club and contributions will be honored with the park.



Chess Park
South End community members engaged in chess matches. Photo courtesy of Rainer Beach Merchant’s Association.

The park is proposed in the SDOT right of way at Rainier Ave S, Barton Place and 51st Ave S. The planning process will allow us to identify a design for this area, which would ideally include permanent chess tables designed by local artists for public use, as well as use by the Detective Cookie Chess Club, and as an amenity for the senior and disabled residents of Seattle Housing Authority-owned Barton Place Apartments.

The concept of the chess park has had some preliminary vetting by SDOT through its process to design public art to be installed as a part of “Safe Routes to Schools” improvements currently taking place at the Barton Place ROW. Based on a an extensive process of public feedback, art to be installed as a part of this project will be giant king and queen chess pieces honoring the Det. Cookie Chess Club and the related work of Det. Cookie.

Additionally, the Rainier Beach Merchants last year created a mobile Detective Cookie “pop-up” Chess Park, via a neighborhood matching fund grant, which has enjoyed popularity by participating in over 13 events inside and outside or Rainier Beach last year, and is available to any community member on request from the RB Community Center.

The ROW is currently maintained by the SHA through the adjacent Barton Place Apartments, which we would advocate continuing. Any design plan would require that no additional upkeep beyond the current will be required.

Intended Outcomes:

Activating this space would be a benefit to the whole community with potential benefits including:

–        Beautifying a currently under-utilized public space.

–        Providing outdoor amenities to the senior and disabled residents of Barton Place Apartments.

–        Providing a space for cross-generational and cross-cultural play.

–        Honoring a local hero: Denise Bouldin aka “Detective Cookie” and her work with the decade-old Detective Cookie Chess Club.

–        Outdoor play-space for the Det. Cookie Chess Club, which meets weekly.

–        An opportunity for a variety of artists to express creativity by designing chess tables.

–        Supporting the principals of the game of chess which are particularly important for youth in our community: strategic thinking, patience, planning, and consequences of actions.

Immediate needs:

–        Letters of community support (template provided).

–        Members of the “Friends of Det. Cookie Chess Park” steering committee, currently comprised of community members, local business owners, and Detective Cookie herself.

o   Responsibilities include: approving job description for landscape designer, approving initial designs, ensuring that broad community input is included in the final design.


Contact for more information or to support this project.

One thought on “Community Support Sought for Chess Park”

  1. My daughter in law showed me the possible site for the Chess Park which would be a wonderful contribution to the adjacent building for seniors and disabled or otherwise challenged individuals. Being close to the High School would perhaps pose an opportunity for chess club or other interested students to participate as well. Library patrons could enjoy the activity. Having a place of interest at an intersection is a positive aspect of this project as it would be noticed by members of the community as well as other visitors to Seattle. Unique, best use of a smaller city space, and a contribution to the community atmosphere of Rainier Beach. What more can be said?