Admiral Neighborhood Association: Park update, and more

October 14, 2008 at 11:11 pm | In California Place Park, Development, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 29 Comments

Heartening to see new faces at both neighborhood-group meetings covered tonight by Team WSB, after our exhortation-let as the week admiralogo.jpgbegan … Our first report: The Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting, at Admiral Congregational Church. Turnout was about double the average crowd – up to about 20 in the room at one point – most there to hear the latest on a proposal for improvements at California Place, the mini-park adjacent to the church – and new developments were revealed, as well as other agenda items, all ahead:

playground.jpg

That’s California Place, a triangle on the northwest corner of California/Hill (map). A neighbors’ group led by Manuela Slye, who runs nearby Cometa Playschool, has been pursuing park improvements that might include a “natural playscape,” incorporating features such as logs, water, and rocks, but no structured play equipment. Slye first presented the proposal at last June’s ANA meeting (WSB coverage here), and the group has had several public meetings in the meantime, as well as an “ice-cream social” in the park and doorbelling, but several residents on hand tonight said they’d only recently found out about the proposal. (Another reason to stay in close touch with your neighborhood association — as we’ve said before — that’s where you’ll get first word of proposals like this.)

Slye wasn’t at the meeting, but the park-improvement proponents were represented by her husband Matthew Slye and area resident Ann Limbaugh, who presented the newest information on the project, which recently received a city grant of $15,000 matching funds to get design work under way (WSB coverage here).

Key points:

-The piece of land the neighbors originally focused on, an empty triangle to the southwest at Ferry/Hill (map), may be back in the picture – with help from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Limbaugh says, it’s being transferred from the city Transportation Department to the city Parks Department.

-Park-project supporters are working with Urban Sparks as their fiscal sponsor (the same group that assisted the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza Committee during its fundraising phase), which means the nonprofit group they team with to process donations etc.

-Limbaugh said SDOT analyzed the area in response to safety concerns about the park area; she said the city committed to a crosswalk across California on the north side of Hill as well as speed-limit reminders, though Admiral neighborhood activist Dennis Ross later said he had spoken with SDOT neighborhood liaison Jim Curtin and that no improvements were a “done deal”

-The Parks Department plans to lead a community “visioning” meeting about the project before plunging ahead into the design phase facilitated by the $15,000 grant the group has received; a date is TENTATIVELY set for November 6th at Hiawatha, watch californiaplacepark.org (and WSB, of course) for final word

After Limbaugh’s update, some discussion ensued with those in attendance who were opposed to or concerned about changes at the park. Much of it centered around repeated contentions that they hadn’t heard about the proposal until very recently. Ross said city Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher had assured him that when the community meets to discuss the project, one option will be leaving it “as is.” Consensus seemed to be that the “visioning” meeting will be vital for determining what, if anything, happens to the space (or potentially to the changing-hands triangle nearby), and all options remain in play. With that, most of the people who had come for the park discussion got up and left, though ANA president Mark Wainwright had suggested earlier that it would be great to have at least some of them join the group to help deal with other issues too.

Also discussed by the Admiral Neighborhood Association tonight:

ADMIRAL SAFEWAY PROJECT: Wainwright recapped the recent “early design guidance” meeting for the project (WSB coverage here), including the Design Review Board‘s request that Safeway work up more distinct options for the site and return for a second EDG meeting – no date set for that yet.

TOWNHOUSE DESIGN: ANA member Brandon Nicholson recapped the presentation he had given on behalf of CORA (Congress of Residential Architects) Northwest at City Councilmember Sally Clark‘s so-called “ugly townhouses” forum back in June (WSB coverage here). That event was followed a few weeks later by proposed changes in the “multifamily code (zoning)” incorporating many of the CORA suggestions (WSB coverage here), and Nicholson (as we reported last weekend) is now working with the city on developing new design-review procedures as part of it. He said the process of discussing and finalizing the multi-family changes should play out over the next half-year or so; meantime, he and other CORA Northwest architects are making the rounds of neighborhood groups citywide in hopes their presentation on townhouse design will help provide context and background for discussion of the changes.

ADOPT-A-STREET: Wainwright pitched for more help at the next ANA Adopt-A-Street event, observing that the last one had only a handful of participants, but there are benefits for those who join in, including free treats. Next one is likely to be in December; watch for an announcement of the date.

OFFICER ELECTION: That’s planned at the next ANA meeting, November 11th.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets most months on the 2nd Tuesday, 7 pm, basement meeting room at Admiral Church. You can also sign up for its mailing list by going here.

29 Comments

  1. I respectfully ask the Admiral Association to use whatever pull it has with the city and mayor’s office to make sure that future Admiral Safeway design guidance meetings are actually held in the neighborhood they’ll be affecting.

    I find it astounding that some dimwit city staffer has actually gotten paid for deciding to convene some early design guidance meetings for Admiral at the S.W. police station on Delridge, while holding design meetings for High Point — which is more or less next door to the Delridge police station — at Hiawatha Community Center about in the middle of the Admiral neighborhood.

    Comment by Forest — 2:08 am October 15, 2008 #

  2. It’s clear how little they care for the larger community to see them get up and leave when the conversation veers away from the patch of land outside their front doors. Greed and selfishness curse our society.

    Comment by acemotel — 2:58 am October 15, 2008 #

  3. Forest -
    Great point about the meeting locations for Design Review meetings. I’ll see if the planner can shift a future meeting location to Hiawatha or another closer location.
    Thanks to the WSB for another great reporting job!
    Mark

    Comment by Mark — 10:32 am October 15, 2008 #

  4. I beg your pardon acemotel, many proponents of No Change to the Park did stay for the rest of the association meeting!! Further, I do not think that the six association members attending the meeting represent the “larger community”. With only 10 actual members who does this association really represent??

    Comment by dars — 11:05 am October 15, 2008 #

  5. Sorry I didn’t take an exact count, will do so next time in case there is dispute. If narrowing it down helps, I would say two-thirds of those who came for the park item left when it was over. Kudos to the several who did not leave.
    Regarding attendance, again just for facts’ sake, every neighborhood group that we cover in West Seattle is not only open to membership from anyone who wants to join, but most of them have – as I have recently written again — been BEGGING for more neighbors to participate. The only reason participation is small is because there are hundreds if not thousands of people who are choosing not to participate. Pre-WSB, for our first 15 years of living in West Seattle, I was one of them so I am not going to throw stones from a glass house, but this is a case of stating the facts.
    Now, however, we cover these groups, and preview their meetings, so that the information is out there in one more place. I can’t say it strongly enough or often enough … anyone whose area has a neighborhood group or council, show up next time. It’s an hour and a half or so out of your life. Find out what’s going on. You might help make your neighborhood a better place. And if you don’t participate because you used to go and you didn’t like the way things worked, or you didn’t like the people … (a) some of these groups have had leadership turnovers lately (or have leadership openings, such as Pigeon Point Council, reported here Monday night) and (b) with a generally low participation rate, one new voice CAN make a major difference. We have seen it happen.
    This by the way goes for not just neighborhood groups, but other advocacy groups such as West Seattle Crime Prevention Council (meeting next Tuesday, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct, btw). – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:20 am October 15, 2008 #

  6. Dear WSB, — It is incorrect that you reported the triange property at 44thSW and SW Ferry is being transferred from SDOT ot the Park Dept. Councilmember Rasmussen is engaging a conversation with these departments about this possibly. It has not been completed. Thanks for your coverage of community council an association events and your repeated pleas for citizens to attend.

    Comment by dars — 11:41 am October 15, 2008 #

  7. yes, it is very interesting that most of those voicing upset last night over having NOT been informed previously about the park (and to the point, this meeting is where I first learned about the park project, back in June); that those same folks left the meeting before hearing about the Safeway project, also in their neighborhood, and other topics; wondering if some of them will show up a year from now complaining that they were not informed about the new Safeway, or other things we discussed
    ~
    as always, thanks to TR for the report, and constant encouragement of all to get involved; I’ve lived in West Seattle over a decade, and knew nothing about any of these community meetings and design reviews until discovering wsblog; ever grateful; it’s good to feel my opinion valued, learn about all the good works of mostly volunteers, have input on the changing landscape of our community, and great way to meet new friends
    ~
    btw TR, seeing you in those flip flops made my toes cold
    ~
    great report by Ann; I’m so impressed with co-organizers Ann and Manuela, and Matt, and team of volunteers, with all they’ve accomplished, while maintaining composure in the midst of such surprising controversy over beautifying a park; thanks for all your hard work and perseverance; this is after all a park that belongs to all of us, not just the folks who live adjacent to the property
    ~
    again, re attending meetings; it is fabulous that wsblog reports, which allows me to fully focus on speakers without taking notes, and great resource when unable to make it to a meeting myself; but I can tell you from having attended tons of meetings in past 6 months, that as thorough and comprehensive as wsblog is at reporting, there is so much more information when you go in person; last night’s meeting was jam packed with topics, each of which could have been discussed for an hour, so I highly recommend watching the blog for upcoming meetings and going in person to hear what’s going on in our neighborhood and participating
    ~
    i.e., I’ve heard Brandon’s fantastic presentation at 2 different community meetings, and still trying to absorb all that he had to share; he showed slides of good and bad examples of design for townhomes, explaining process, etc; you just really have to be there, show up, to see, learn, educate yourselves; I’ve seen a crazy number of posts on this blog “hating” all townhomes, but there really are some great designs, and the new design process has great potential to make future townhomes much better
    ~
    and thank you to Mark, who I met at a Great City Initiative meeting downtown last winter, who suggested I show up at Admiral community meeting and design reviews, which I thoroughly enjoy, and have learned so much, still learning; love it; “showing up” has also given me the opportunity to meet all the developers, architects, city land use & design review board, involved in creation of all the apts/condos/retail, so I’ve been able to ask these folks in person any questions I have about any of the projects, and give feedback
    ~
    I met Ann at Sustainable West Seattle meeting, when Harbor Properties presented one of their junction projects, talking about green building; and later reconnected with her when she joined Manuela in organizing the California Place park project
    ~
    I met Catherine Barker at these meetings who, like myself, is passionate about historic preservation, (i.e., Brandon’s fabulous design preserving the Charlestown Court; also revealed first at the Admiral meeting in June)
    ~
    there seems to be opportunities galore for community involvement; and we are extra blessed to have the wsblog for making it so far beyond easy to know what is going on in our neighborhood, all the time, 24/7; I swear Tracy never sleeps; actually I follow her twitter, so see she sleeps a few hours sometimes

    Comment by Diane — 1:17 pm October 15, 2008 #

  8. can we refrain from calling city staffers “dimwits”? – while the intent of the message (hold meetings near their appropriate neighborhoods) is a reasonable request, name calling won’t get the job done in any fashion and only further alienates

    Comment by homesweethome — 1:36 pm October 15, 2008 #

  9. I’m curious why the people against beautifying the park are against it. Any reason in particular?

    Comment by trixie — 2:22 pm October 15, 2008 #

  10. The burnout rate is pretty high for people in local neighborhood groups, especially those smaller groups that manage to contribute and accomplish the most community good with limited resources. What’s sad and telling is how it’s often the people who give plenty to their communites that get the most flak for scaling back or withdrawing from such groups, whereas people who give nothing tend to show up at nighborhood meetings mostly to complain or to expect help with something that will immediately benefit them.

    This isn’t finger pointing, it’s just a comment based on my own experience attending and observing and volunteering with such groups in Seattle over the last few decades. They have my thanks even when I can no longer participate directly.

    Comment by Alvis — 3:01 pm October 15, 2008 #

  11. Thanks, Alvis, it’s good to hear from someone who’s “been there.” Some local groups DO have new leadership — Jule Sugarman on Alki, Dorsol Plants in Highland Park — and yet they too are sounding the call early on, more people need to pitch in to help. What’s the saying, many hands make lighter work? Or even if you don’t hear about an action item that rings your chimes … contact the group’s leader and say “hey, I’m interested in helping with xx, anything like that coming up?” …

    Comment by WSB — 4:43 pm October 15, 2008 #

  12. I would love a vote of appreciation for those new people who did show up at last night’s meeting to hear an update about the California Place project. Unfortunately, I only learned of the meeting at 6:30 when I got off the bus, and I rearranged my evening so that I could attend. I could not stay for the whole meeting, and I apologize for what might have appeared to be rudeness or lack of concern. There’s been a lot of discussion about the need for participation in neighborhood groups, and usually it does require something that is of personal interest that will spur involvement. California Place is my stimulus. I heard legitimate expressions of concern as well as acknowlegment of all of the planning efforts by FANNA. I will be in attendance at the November 6th meeting, and I hope that it will be possible to have discussion without rancour.

    Comment by MD — 6:36 pm October 15, 2008 #

  13. I am sorry to see they are going to make a play area in this fine QUIET ADULT neighborhood at California Park….I own a Condo 1/4 block from this little green space and would love to see it remain as it is. There is Hiawatha and the Lafeyette school across the street where children can be taken to play. I bought here because it was not near children’s play area’s or condo’s that could accomodate children because of the busy street. And what about the squirrels that live there? They will be disturbed and displaced.

    Comment by Jan admiral homeowner — 7:42 am October 16, 2008 #

  14. Dear Jan; it’s great that you are fortunate enough to own your own home, especially at a time when Seattle has more than 8,000 homeless, and a huge portion of Seattle’s population cannot afford to buy a home; perhaps some gratitude?
    ~
    California Place is a public park that belongs to everyone in Seattle, including children; as a lifelong child advocate (speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves) and early childhood specialist, I take great offense to any arguments that discriminate against children, especially in our public community spaces
    ~
    it may be true that you prefer to live in an adult only neighborhood, and those do exist; but the Admiral neighborhood is not adult only, and the California Place Park is not adult only
    ~
    btw, children LOVE squirrels, and squirrels seem to enjoy children
    ~
    fwiw, I’m about the same age as you, but for me, the sights & sounds of children is absolute music to my ears; I look forward to hanging out in this beautiful park to enjoy children at play and interact with neighbors

    Comment by Diane — 11:02 am October 16, 2008 #

  15. Why is it that those of us who oppose any change to the California Place Park have to have any other reason than it is beautiful the way it is and does serve many….the other night as I got off the bus I noticed a father and his two sons having a great time tossing a football in the full space of the park and wondered what will happen to them should the park change to plants, logs, and water??? even at the Ice Cream social children were happily using their energy running and laughing about the grassy areas that are envisioned to be lost with so called park beautifying objects….the park, as it stands, is one of California Avenue’s fast dying serene and untouched places left admist all the furious professional and condo building saturating the avenue… again, why do those of us who wish to preserve the natural serene beauty that has and can continue to serve all, young and not so young, Ice Cream socials, catching a football, and just plan gathering have to give more than that for a reason to oppose….and why do the advocates for the Park seem to label us as against children? I am a mother and a grandmother and still would not want the park to be changed in the name of the children….someday they may come to appreciate the beauty of the space as it is and I think alot of them already do…ask that father and his sons tossing the football….

    Comment by Joan — 3:11 pm October 16, 2008 #

  16. Hi Joan; if you read my post to which I think you’re responding, you’ll see it’s addressed to the post of one person, who has repeatedly made very negative comments about children, on this blog and at public meetings
    ~
    thanks for your comments; I would love to see more dialogue of this nature
    ~
    another comment that I heard from 2 separate persons who oppose this park project, at 2 different public meetings was “why can’t you just go to your own yard?”; this really irks me for so many reasons; actually it’s quite appalling that anyone would say that out loud in a public meeting about open public space; so to once again read a comment re “owning” a condo near the park, and therefore seeming to infer that she has a right of ownership of the public park above and beyond any other West Seattle neighbors, is simply wrong
    ~
    everything I’ve heard from organizers of this new project is aligned with the desire to ”preserve the natural serene beauty”; although I guess “serene” is subjective; the sounds of young children at play is bliss to me

    Comment by Diane — 4:12 pm October 16, 2008 #

  17. It’s been brought to my attention that the comment listed above as “by Jan” is a direct cut-and-paste of a comment from a July report on the park, and its original author says she is not the one who reposted it here (which seems to be borne out by information that only we as administrators see on each comment posted). To whoever DID do it – If you want to quote a comment in that fashion, you need to identify it as such, and use a username of your own, as well as context on why you are quoting it.

    Comment by WSB — 7:05 pm October 16, 2008 #

  18. My apologies for the confusion I created. I should have pointed out my posting was a quote from the lady at the park from back in July. I still think the posting really illustrates her position regarding this issue but it was my mistake not to have made it clear I was quoting her.
    Back to listening…

    Comment by Gloria Trevi — 9:22 am October 17, 2008 #

  19. To Trixie, — California Place Park has served this community very well in the current natural state for almost 100 years. It is as natural now as it has been or will ever be in the future. How can a man made facility become natural? Children can play there now and also enjoy nature as well as at a man made playscape. The current park is well maintained by the City (they trim the trees and cut the grass on a regular basis) and it is not in need of any improvements to be enjoyed by everyone, including children and adults of all ages. I hope this helps you to understand.

    Comment by tctjr — 10:33 am October 17, 2008 #

  20. To all, — California Place Park has served this community very well (including children) for many decades without needing any changes or improvements. During the 1940′s, 1950′s, and 1960′s many more children grew up here than are residing here currently and they matured very well without the necessity of a “Natural” man made play scape. I think today’s children can do as well. California Place Park is well maintained and able to be enjoyed by all age groups, including children, without any of the proposed changes or so called improvements.

    Comment by tctr2 — 1:23 pm October 17, 2008 #

  21. to acemotel and TR WSB, — To singularly criticise the supporters of NO CHANGE TO THE PARK for their uncaring of the LARGER community is unwarrented. Are they not part of the larger community?? Only two of the 80 FANNA backers were even at the meeting. What is the care of the remaining backers?? There were maybe six ANA members present at the meeting. They have a mailing list of 72, — what is the care of the larger community of the other 66?? The vice president and treasurer of ANA did not attend the meeting. What is their care of the larger community?? The vice president rarely attends the monthly meetings. More proponents of NO CHANGE TO THE PARK were in attendance at this meeting than any other segments of the LARGER community! To criticise only them is unjustified and misguided. — Dennis Ross, Admiral District

    Comment by Dennis Ross — 11:22 am October 18, 2008 #

  22. What I find interesting is that anyone who does not agree with the playground proponents is vilified. Assumed to “not like children” or to be “not community minded” or believe “people think the park is not everyone”. It is a public park and is for everyone, even those who think it is disfunctional, or not good enough as it is, are welcome there. California Place Park serves this community well, as it is. This is a multi-generational neighborhood and many generations of North Admiral families have memories of time spent in this beautiful little park. To disagree is just that “to disagree”.

    Comment by spd — 7:41 pm October 18, 2008 #

  23. California Place Park has such historical value to North Admiral. I think it needs to be preserved. Remain untouched by development. The land was donated to the city in 1910. The trees are 50 yrs old. It truly is a thing of beauty.

    Comment by twar — 6:32 am October 19, 2008 #

  24. Its clear to me we need a the proposed improvements to California Place Park – some lessons learned on the playground and playscapes of all our childhoods have clearly been forgotten by some adults in our neighborhood. 1. Play fair 2. Take turns 3. Sharing is good 4. Name calling is bad. A new playscape would clearly give those in our community who have forgotten these golden rules a chance to reconnect and revisit their own childhoods and remember some of these critical lessons for life – and give them the opportunity to mentor and teach younger folks in our neighborhood. This is what communities do – share resources, older folks mentor younger folks. For those not interested in intergenerational communities, there are plenty of over 55 communities where you need not share your space with children, teenagers or young adults. Come on folks – if we’re going to get riled up about something gone wrong in Admiral perhaps we should all come together over the fights at 2am outside our local watering holes?

    Comment by homesweethome — 2:04 pm October 20, 2008 #

  25. To say that proposed changes to the “California Place Park” are “beautifying” it is somewhat misleading: it is ALREADY very beautiful. I am thinking now of yesterday (Sun. Oct. 19) around sunset: some of the trees are already changing color, some leaves falling, a few crows flying by, a squirrel or two running up one trunk & down another, golden rays of light slanting through the leaves… this is NOT beautiful? Hey, I think otherwise! hello! reality check here! :-)

    Let’s not call what is being contemplated “beautifying”. Choose your words more carefully, please. “changing”. “adding”. “enriching” even, if that is what you believe. But NOT “beautifying”. At least not in MY book… Thanks for reading!

    TL

    Comment by Tom Loomis — 4:49 pm October 20, 2008 #

  26. Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral understand that their proposal to develop California Place Park, providing seating, tables(to sleep under when it rains) and foliage to hide in, will bring in vagrants and unknowns to the area. Including those after 2am watering hole folks looking for a place to continue partying. So they are forming the block watch now to head off the crime that is sure to come. Thanks FANNA.

    Comment by rtho2 — 8:04 am October 21, 2008 #

  27. Let’s all celebrate the Grey Squirrel in our parks. This non native has displaced the natives completely in Seattle and is classified similar to its rodent cousin the rat. Let’s keep an eye out for the first wonderful new non native – nutria – showing up for our park enjoyment. Maybe set aside California Place Park as a refuge for non native invasive species. They are all so cute. Save the rodents!

    Comment by squirrrel nulu — 9:46 am October 21, 2008 #

  28. We are the Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, a group of families and individuals working together to bring improvements into the Admiral neighborhood of West Seattle. We had an idea that we could do something good for the community now and for future generations, by making some changes that would enhance the area in which we live and through that improvement, bring people together. Anyone who lives here knows that this is a beautiful and safe neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for more.

    California Place Park is a beautiful park, I agree. Mature maples, particularly during this time of year are spectacular! I think as a community, we could make this park even better by creating a space that invites people to sit down, relax, enjoy its serene beauty and each others company. As a parent, I think there are some changes that could be made to make this park a place in which children can safely enjoy the wonder of nature including the changing fall colors. Amazingly enough, there are experts who can accomplish all this and at the same time dissuade undesirable use, like sleeping under benches or bushes.

    We have done our best to inform and engage the community in discussions about the proposed changes. To date there have been four public meetings, all of which have been well attended. Please keep in mind that these are all IDEAS right now. There is NOT a new design for the park yet, this will happen through a series of meetings with the community, the first of which will occur on November 6th at Hiawatha Community Center from 6-8PM. You are ALL welcome to attend and bring your ideas and feedback. Any new design will reflect the needs and desires of the entire neighborhood.

    To stay updated on the project, please visit our website: http://www.californiaplacepark.org

    Comment by Ann Limbaugh — 1:06 pm October 21, 2008 #

  29. It is inreresting that FANNA supporters, in their zeal to obtain their personal playscape from the public trough, have resorted to electronic plagarism. Is this what they are teaching their children?? see WSB Oct. 16.

    Comment by warw — 2:50 pm October 21, 2008 #

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