California Place Park meeting: “There are no malintentions here”

November 7, 2008 at 3:57 am | In California Place Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle video | 106 Comments

By the time the first official city-organized meeting — not the first public meeting — about possible changes to California Place Park had ended, one Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral co-chair was fiercely defending the process she and other group members had gone through to get their idea to what amounts to the official starting line. And park-change opponents were just as fierce in their opposition. The person who’s accountable for the final decision on what, if anything, will happen at the park, Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher, opened the meeting — what he said, and what else was said, declared, argued, proclaimed — plus what’s next — just ahead:

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Three and a half months after Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA) called its first public meeting about the California Place Park playspace proposal – which in turn was a month after co-chair Manuela Slye (left) took the idea to the Admiral Neighborhood Association – about a hundred fired-up residents showed up for the first formal city-led gathering about it.

If you are just tuning in to the debate, California Place is a tiny park along California SW, just east of Admiral Congregational Church (map). With big trees, lush grass, and no signage (aside from a rule reminder for dog owners), its unassuming appearance have led some to say they didn’t even realize it was a park:

playground.jpg

After Slye’s first presentation to the ANA in June (WSB coverage here), FANNA formed to forward the idea of potentially adding some kind of play area for younger children (the group has branched out to other matters as well, such as organizing a Block Watch). Over a series of public meetings the group has had in the past few months, the idea evolved to a “play space” and then a “natural playscape,” as explained in this page on FANNA’s website.

FANNA applied for and received a $15,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to pursue the planning process for the park, and that has led to this point: Since it’s a city park, the Parks Department has appointed a project manager, and that’s who led last night’s meeting.

Before project manager Kellee Jones took over, though, Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher gave an opening speech — with his presence a signal that this project is being closely watched. Here’s what he told the crowd, in trying to clear up possible misconceptions:

There was one more opening act, Mickey Fearn, a senior manager for the city and clearly someone experienced in mediating and guiding difficult discussions, as he more than once stopped this one from derailing into ugliness. He’s at right in this photo, with Jones at left:

Aside from the tension, the meeting faced another challenge – the horrific acoustics in the Hiawatha Community Center meeting room (which either should be last on the list for major public meetings or should always be provided with an amplification system). After a few minutes with cries of “Louder!” the organizers finally had everyone move their chairs as far forward, and together, as possible:

Jones recapped where the proposal stands, and noted that the meeting would look at not only California Place Park, but also the nearby triangle of SDOT land for which the Parks Department will soon have responsibility. FANNA originally looked into whether that triangle might be available for a play area, but said at a July meeting that SDOT had told them it wasn’t available (which subsequently was investigated by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who was represented at this meeting by staffer Brian Hawksford).

Jones showed a map displaying the nearest parks — Hiawatha, half a mile south, and the Lafayette Elementary playground (not available during school hours, she noted). Later in the meeting, Hamilton Viewpoint was brought up, but someone who had worked on a proposal for improvements there said it wasn’t open to this kind of plan – Parks staffers say they’ll check to verify that.

More than 20 people in the audience spoke at the meeting, those opposed to park changes outnumbering supporters roughly 3 to 1. A father and daughter were allowed to speak first because they had to get to a soccer game; Maurice Fuller said he thinks “there should be a playscape somewhere (but) I am opposed to making any changes to the park for any reason; what we have in this little triangle is extraordinary, really unique – you can go meditate, think, contemplate, enjoy life. It reminds me of a little slice of Central Park, or Hyde Park in London. The person who envisioned the little triangle with these large trees really knew what they were doing; now we are enjoying the fruits of that vision.” He, like others who spoke later, said he would support a simple park addition — a bench.

His daughter Natalie (right), who told the crowd she was born in 1997, also said she’s against park changes, but then listed four recommendations (and presented Parks staffers with a written copy): Build a playscape in the nearby SDOT triangle, add two park benches to California Place, put up signage with “ideas for games kids could play,” and install a garden.

Jones at that point said that was a great example of what she hoped to hear from meeting participants – not so much about being “for” or “against” changes, as much as what if anything they would want to see.

As the subsequent speakers took their two minutes (or so) each, one by one, some themes emerged: Many suggestions of at least a bench for the park, some suggestions of a garden for the SDOT triangle, concerns about safety of park users, with the California straightaway alongside the park, and reiteration of a desire for no change. Longtime Admiral community activist Dennis Ross said, “The park has served us well for 100 years, I would like to see it not change.”

To the safety concerns, one attendee said, “Bringing children into an area by definition makes it a safer place to be. Children have the right to play in parks. This park does not get used. Right now, it is just a lawn for some of the neighbors. Children should have a place to play in the North Admiral area.”

Others countered the suggestion that the park is not used, saying they walk by it, or have homes/apartments looking out at it, and they see people there all the time — playing pickup football, throwing Frisbees. The park’s simple nature is not a barrier to play, contended a woman who said she’d worked for six years on the playground committee at Lafayette Elementary: “We surveyed the entire community, and the number one thing kids needed in this area was grass, to run and play.” (Lafayette recently tore out some of its formerly all-blacktop playground, to create a grassy space.)

Along those lines, another woman suggested children already use the space to play, with their imaginations: “There are dinosaurs and penguins there every day,” she smiled.

But something more might not be harmful, suggested Sarah Airhart, who runs the Community School of West Seattle. “I’m here to support a place for people to be together. I would like it if you don’t think of a playground – think of a place for people to be together, people of every age to come and share experiences together. .. It doesn’t mean children are going to take over the space. It can be a true community space.”

Those opposed to the park are not opposed to children, another attendee noted later, but simply would “like the park to stay as is.”

And so it went through the 20-plus speakers, after which, Fearn offered: “I want to compliment you all on sticking to your two minutes; I’ve never been at a public meeting quite like this. But I want to caution you that, as neighbors, you still depend on each other for things … If there’s this kind of energy and love for the community, we want to make sure the community is whole once this thing is done.”

From there, a Q/A period ensued, with most asking about the process; park-change opponent Jan Bailey told the story of another park that had put in a “natural playscape” and, she said, “the children didn’t like it – they skinned their knees on the rocks. So (the community) went and got more money and put in a regular playground. I want to know, if children don’t like (a potential natural playscape) here, what kind of neighborhood input would there be into any changes?”

Same kind of process as this one, Jones assured her.

Other questions sought understanding of the process from this point — what will happen at the next three meetings. A landscape architect hired with the matching-fund money will be on board by the next one, Jones explained, and by the third meeting, that person would present three alternatives for the community to consider — one, she said, could be “no change at all.” At the fourth meeting, she said, the community would discuss a final “schematic” for the park.

If it’s controversial, Fearn added, there might be a formal public hearing before the Parks Board, before superintendent Gallagher would make the final decision.

Mark Etheridge wanted to know specifics of how the process worked — exactly who at any point along the way would have the final say, and how he would go about challenging something if he needed to. “What rights do I have?”

“You have the right to go to the city council, the mayor,” Fearn acknowledged.

The question then: “If 443 people signed against this, that’s 5 to 1 against (with FANNA’s 100-plus support signatures), so why are you going through this entire process, why go through this in the first place?”

At that point, Patricia Lopez from the Neighborhood Matching Fund program came forward to try to clarify the process, and how FANNA’s successful application for a $15,000 grant, with a community match of money and time, led to the opportunity to “explore options.”

Dennis Ross, noting his long experience with the NMF, pointed out that “broad community support” was a prerequisite; the city team stressed again that FANNA showed community support when it applied. To the suggestion that the strong presence of park-change opponents at the meeting would negate that previous demonstration of support, Fearn said, “A fundamental issue with this is that people who take the time to show up don’t necessarily represent … the total public will of a community. That’s why part of the process is to have enough public meetings to get a full sample of the community.”

The questioning from there grew more contentious and some questions kept resurfacing – no landscape architect has been hired yet, the city reps stressed over and over again. And, they had to repeat, just because the matching-funds money was granted doesn’t mean there will be a park.

To that, one man asked, “Is it possible, then, to just put up a bench and a sign that it’s a park, and not spend all that money?”

From the other side of the room, a passionate rejoinder: “Look at all the people who are here! What is that worth, why would you want to stop this process?”

Before the city team could try to bring the meeting to a close, park-change opponent Jan Bailey got up again and made an impassioned speech, suggesting FANNA had misrepresented some of that community support: “I have all the paperwork here. I have worked really hard to get the truth out. I have 443 signatures from people who want no change to the park.”

A woman who previously had spoken in support of FANNA started to say at that point that she believed those signatures were gathered with misrepresentation — and Fearn cut her off: “Stop right here. You have to be careful about doubting others’ motives. Neighbors HAVE to talk to each other without deciding there is a diabological group of people trying to pull something over on other people. We will discuss this and come to a decision. We are not going to have one group of people getting mad at another group of people.”

Someone else then returned to the contention that “this has not been an open process,” and that brought an emotional retort from FANNA co-chair Limbaugh (photo left): “We moved this forward with the best of intentions,” and she detailed the ways they’d gotten the word out, with press releases, doorknocking, going online, inviting people to meetings. “We’re a small group trying to do what we could. We got a lot of support for it. We found out we have done a significant amount of work, in fact. We feel pretty good about what we have done. There are no malintentions here. We worked together with the intent of making this a nice park.”

Before any more back-and-forth ensued, the meeting was brought to a close. Jones says no dates are set yet for the next three meetings; we’ll publish the next meeting date as soon as it is announced, along with other developments in this story (as we have for more than 4 months). If you have concerns or questions, you can reach Jones by e-mailing her at kellee.jones@seattle.gov; FANNA has a website at californiaplacepark.org; the park’s city webpage has little information now, but Jones promised that would change.

106 Comments

  1. It is nice that Sarah Airhart is interested in California Place Park. But I question why? She lives near South Seattle Community College and owns a Pre-School in White Center. Could she be part of the small special interest group who is supporting this playscape or just a friend of the spearhead of FANNA who also owns a Pre-school.

    Comment by TWAR — 8:29 am November 7, 2008 #

  2. Fresh NIMBY attack angle… TWAR questions why someone outside their NIMBY turf could have a voice. If Ms. Airhart is part of the implied Pre-School “owners’” special interest group, is that a problem? Is she not allowed north of Alaska/California?
    Community Play School was formerly in the Morgan Junction area and is now in Westwood. Both are in Seattle, not White Center. Besides, is White Center some sort of North Admiral NIMBY code? What is wrong with other less prestigious neighborhoods that allows them to be slurred so openly? Why is a community activist like Sarah singled out for nefarious implications? Our child and dozens more from all over Seattle attended Community Play School. We all volunteered and made contributions to help this community asset survive.
    I am at loss at how “pre-school owners” are so easily slurred.
    But at the heart of it all is, what ever happened to “Parks for All?”

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 9:54 am November 7, 2008 #

  3. A park is for everyone to use! Who cares where the person lives.

    Comment by Admiral Neighbor — 10:18 am November 7, 2008 #

  4. NIMBY nulu–it’s because they don’t want any “non-neighborhood” riff-raff around their houses. Comment from an earlier post: “If you build it they will come, because they saw it while speeding down California either up from the beach, or driving down to it.
    We are on California 4 blocks north of the park and the last thing we need is a reason for these “non neighborhood residents” to stay any longer than they already do.
    We want to keep it the safe neighborhood it is.”

    If you keep the park a plain space that is unattractive, then you won’t have any of the undesirables from south of Admiral bothering you, and jeopardizing the safety of your neighborhood.

    Comment by AJP — 10:38 am November 7, 2008 #

  5. And one thing I really don’t understand is how a group of people trying to build a playground is a “diabolical group of people”. Really? They are in league with the devil? Then I guess that playground will be a warm place for kids to play on a cold afternoon.

    Comment by AJP — 10:42 am November 7, 2008 #

  6. California Place Park is a nice Park as it is!! We need to work together to keep it that way–not change it!

    Comment by wards — 10:51 am November 7, 2008 #

  7. I live and work in West Seattle. I love West Seattle-the WHOLE of it. Since when did we divide ourselves into such small and exclusive groups? I serve families who live in the Admiral neighborhood and my life’s work is done on behalf of children and families-not to mention that I spend just as much money at Metropolitan Market as most Admiral residents :) And to clarify I do not ‘own’ a preschool anymore, I run a non-profit organization. I have nothing to lose or gain by this project-I’m just an interested citizen.
    I actually thought the people who spoke against changing the park had some eloquent and thoughtful insight-keeping the park in it’s most natural state and appreciating it for the simplicity it provides I think are powerful statements. I also heard that a park bench or a garden would not be so offensive, and how about water access so you no longer have to carry heavy buckets from your yard?
    There is a way to work together and have your thoughts heard-just because it was a group of families who want a play space who started this process does not mean that it will be exactly how they envisioned it. The point of community collaboration is to collect everyone’s thoughts and ideas and work from there. The opponents to the play space were well spoken and articulate and came out in high numbers I think they did a very good job of getting their point across. I think it’s a shame that you felt so left out in the process up to this point but clearly there were no intentions of that-you can only do so much but I am curious about the City’s process, I think perhaps having the meetings before awarding a grant would be more prudent on the part of the city and would certainly prevent these types of miscommunication issues.

    Comment by Sarah — 11:25 am November 7, 2008 #

  8. Completely off topic – but has there ever been thoughts of putting in a playground at Hamilton Viewpoint Park – in that flat area east of the viewpoint?

    Comment by RobertSeattle — 11:33 am November 7, 2008 #

  9. Throughout this process the City speaks of hearing from those who have a STAKEHOLD in a project. STAKEHOLD meaning(as per dictionary) a wager or risk. So those Nimby folks have a greater stakehold. It is their immediate enviroment at risk if the project impact is adverse. Such as a rise in crime, unattractive design, unwanted activities and noise impact. It will be the Nimby who will indure visits by the police,tagging,and reduced desirability of their neighborhood. So Nimbys, Keep speaking up, its your right.

    Comment by TWAR — 11:34 am November 7, 2008 #

  10. I find it pretty sad that some people wast time of their life on fighting a few logs, rocks and benches being added to a park.

    Comment by marco — 11:36 am November 7, 2008 #

  11. If the city had to have public hearings on every Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, I would imagine it would require a whole additional bureaucracy. As Patricia Lopez noted last night, NMF – which is a unique Seattle program – awarded more than 150 grants last year, big and small. (We covered the local event at which its 20th anniversary was celebrated – folks made scrapbooks about the funded projects, tacked slips onto a map to show ones they were familiar with, etc.)
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=10437
    BTW, anyone who wants to know more about the process can click the hotlinked Neighborhood Matching Fund phrase in the story (second paragraph under the park photo; we take the additional production time to provide inline links, so that you can jump out of a story at any given time and explore more). You might find something you’d be interested in pursuing – the Small Sparks grants, little sums for neighborhood projects as simple as a community-building block party, are especially intriguing – FANNA had one of those, as did Pigeon Point for its recent fall event, among others.

    Comment by WSB — 11:37 am November 7, 2008 #

  12. @AJP so you want to live in an unattractive neighborhood, just so no outsiders come in and disturb you?

    Comment by marco — 11:38 am November 7, 2008 #

  13. All this drama over a tiny park? Really?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 11:39 am November 7, 2008 #

  14. I just created an archive category so all stories on this can be found more easily, going back to our very first mention almost exactly five months ago:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?cat=90

    Comment by WSB — 12:01 pm November 7, 2008 #

  15. This is not exactly a “destination park.” It’s a postage stamp-size neighborhood park off a busy street with very little parking and no toilet facilities. I live in this neighborhood and have not made up my mind about what kind of changes, if any, I would like to see. But I highly resent the attitude of some posters that the neighbors are NIMBYs who don’t want riffraff coming to their neighborhood because of a previous posting from one slightly deranged neighbor. I have no problem with people from other neighborhoods coming to our neighborhood, but I can’t see why they would want to. If they need to drive to a park, there are so many others: Camp Long, Hiawatha, the Whale’s Tail. Any time people from outside your neighborhood make decisions about what happens on your block, there is going to be resentment. That’s what I saw last night. Those who were there learned that here is a lot of affection for this peaceful little space

    Comment by Jackie Dupras — 12:17 pm November 7, 2008 #

  16. At the meeeting last night I spoke to keep grass and trees in California Place Park and the adjoining property. I see both park spaces from my house where I have lived for 14 years and have been raising 2 kids. I love West Seattle and am actively involved in the neighborhood. I volunteer Lafayette Elementery (where I have been a member of the Playground Committee for 6 years) and Madison Middle school. As a volunteer, I coach flag football, two basketball teams and summer camps at Hiawatha and Delridge. I care about this community.

    California Place Park and the adjoining green space are used on a daily basis by children and adults. Curbs and traffic revisions are needed, but I support no change to trees and grass and here are some reason why:

    1. Keep the beautiful green space as grass
    -grass was #1 request in surveys during Lafayette Playground Design
    -individuals and families already use space for soccer, football, baseball, tag, relaxing, imaginative play and more

    2. There is no need for change
    -it will cost thousands of dollars to design and tear up what is now a beautiful and well used green space
    -there are many other parks near by with play areas and Alki beach is a huge natural playscape for free
    -green is good for the environment

    3. Safety
    -a playscape next to a busy street? (California Ave. SW)

    4. Up keep and maintenance
    -will city maintain changes?
    -who will weed and water? (neighbors currently water new trees)

    5. Litter and loitering
    -changes may encourage late-night loitering and littering
    -neighbors already pick up litter and don’t want more

    6. Waste of money
    -city could better help the North Admiral community with traffic revisions, curbs, lights and more. (ONLY CURBS, MAINTAINCE AND TRAFFIC REVISIONS FOR PARK)

    Comment by Sonya Elliott — 12:20 pm November 7, 2008 #

  17. RobertSeattle – I mention that in the story. A participant mentioned having tried to do that some years back but then finding out that it wasn’t possible at a viewpoint park; parks staffers said they would investigate that – they’ll be on my followup list. There is some new “4-10s” staffing going on in the Parks Dept. and not everyone’s in on Fridays, so I may not be able to find out today.

    Comment by WSB — 12:30 pm November 7, 2008 #

  18. Someone please drop off some unwanted logs and rocks at the park…while you’re at it, cut the logs chair height (like around a campfire) and theirs the solution. Everyone can still enjoy the park and we can have a party with what is left of the $15000!

    Comment by Set Hook — 12:33 pm November 7, 2008 #

  19. Is there some reason the playgrounds available at the neighborhood elementary schools aren’t enough?

    Leave the grass and trees as is. It needs no updating, no logs, no rocks, no playground equipment.

    If you take your child to this pocket park are they unable to use their imagination and find their own fun there?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–leave it the way it is–it’s a wonderful open green space that allows the visitor to use it in many different ways.

    And someone above mentioned a play set at Hamilton ViewPoint Park–no! Why must green space be polluted with a play set? I’ve enjoyed the open space and expanse of green many times at Hamilton and have seen plenty of others of all ages enjoying it just the way it is.

    Comment by JimmyG — 12:42 pm November 7, 2008 #

  20. Marco and Jackie–Sorry, maybe I wasn’t very clear in my post. I live south of Admiral, and so feel a bit slighted by a “deranged” poster from an earlier blog who makes it sound like they don’t want me in their neighborhood. But don’t worry Jackie, I know that’s one person who has an extreme opinion.

    People who are against the park for aesthetic reasons–open space, lots of grass, etc–have more valid concerns, in my opinon, than those who want to keep riff-raff out and think others are diabolical.

    I was just trying to highlight how silly those arguments sound.

    Comment by AJP — 1:01 pm November 7, 2008 #

  21. I’m not sure why we, as neighbors can’t have a civil, respectful and open dialogue about this without it turning into defamation, finger pointing and fear mongering. Ultimately we all want the same thing, a beautiful, natural, and green park(s) that can be used and appreciated by the entire community and its visitors. I didn’t hear anyone last night say that the trees should be harmed. Everyone seemed to agree that safety is a top priority. We all know that our parks are open and accessible to all regardless of age, nationality, race, zip code, profession (and the list goes on…) And let’s be realistic, the only constant is change. Let’s not be afraid of something new and different. Let’s open our ears respectfully to our neighbors thoughts and needs. Let’s share ideas rather than anger. And mostly, let’s respect that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and should feel comfortable expressing it without fear of being vilified or singled out.

    Comment by Flabbergasted — 2:09 pm November 7, 2008 #

  22. That brings to mind a meeting-conducting methodology we had to use at a former place of employment: Always start by aligning your goals – finding out what people CAN agree on (i.e. safety, accessibility, whatever) before getting into specifics.

    Comment by WSB — 2:19 pm November 7, 2008 #

  23. Seattle Parks needs to stop holding public meetigs that pit different views against one another. People with different views need to talk with, not at one another, to explore differences, find areas of agreement, and seek solutions. The proces will get nowhere if they keep at it like this.

    Comment by Chris — 2:22 pm November 7, 2008 #

  24. We’re ALL a part of the process and responsible for how we conduct ourselves. My intent was not to point fingers at the Parks Department. They graciously hosted this meeting and did their best to keep it clean. We need to start fresh and hold ourselves to a higher standard. I know the residents of this community are capable of much more than what I witnessed last night.

    Comment by Flabbergasted — 2:30 pm November 7, 2008 #

  25. I was at the meeting and I left very sad at the behavior I witnessed of many of my neighbors. What I thought I had heard through several public meetings about the park was that the proposal was to improve a park to make it more interactive with natural ingredients, adding places to sit for all, etc. What I heard last night was a bunch of whiney adults, who didn’t take the time to read up on the subject of what had been proposed, and generally felt that if they were not approached with a personal invite to each and every meeting that they were “not informed.” Hmm, I learned about the project right here on WSB, went to some meetings, etc. Yes, the park is lovely as it is – but let’s leave the tantrums to the toddlers in the neighborhood. If we all remember that we need to share and cooperate, perhaps a solution or middle ground can be found. Several possible solutions were floated last night that sound precisely like middle ground, but I get the feeling that those leading the opposition will never be satisfied.

    Comment by homesweethome — 2:45 pm November 7, 2008 #

  26. The citizens of Seattle just passed a Park Levy.
    Parks are for all ages including the elderly who reside at the assisted living facilities near this Park who could enjoy the mixed uses that could be envisioned. Seattle is getting denser and people including children need spaces to recreate, especially spaces near to thier homes. Citing existing parks that are not near this space is ridiculous. Safety is always a concern, however parents will be there to monitor younger children. Fear of change and fear of additional users is what I am reading betwenn the lines.
    Selfish attitudes prevailed at that meeting. I will attempt to attend the next meetings to promote a revised mixed use area for me and my new grandchild. People you need to grow up and be more inclusive.

    Comment by Gary Ogden — 3:01 pm November 7, 2008 #

  27. This site is no larger than a moderate back yard; so, to call it a park is ludicrous. Way too small for children to play. Let’s keep the foremost issue in mind. It is dangerous!!!! It abuts California Ave.; One if not the most traveled arterials in West Seattle. In a twinkle, a child could dart out in the street. Who would be held accountable? The city of course. Remember, the main idea is to provide a “play area” for children under 6 years of age. Open for discussion, a lone park bench (or two) for all who would like to leisurely use this postage stamp, so called “park”. A much better idea.

    Comment by mk — 3:02 pm November 7, 2008 #

  28. I attended the meeting last night and found very interesting that so many of the people against the park, stated “it gets used all the time and leave it alone”. In their next sentence they state “it’s not a place for kids”???? As it was stated very nicely by the lady in green, this is a place for everyone to use. You just can’t put a bench on a piece of state property and call it good. Like everything there’s a process. The indent of FANNA is to make it more useable for everyone. All those that are against the park stated they would like a bench. Okay well that is an improvement that suits you. The people with kids would like to add some natural elements and that suits them. Realize we are NOT talking about the entire glass area. That would be insane!! Everyone complained about the traffic if you would have listened Fanna is working to put in cross walk or something similar in that area. This would ultimately slow the traffic down in that area. How can the group that is against this project have an issue with that when this would slow traffic in front of where they live!!! This would benefit them the most. We all love the area and the trees. And yes the trees are NOT being touched. The person that started that rumor should not be allowed at any of these meetings. Again the goal is to add enhancements not turn it into Disneyland!!!

    Comment by Admiral Neighbor — 3:35 pm November 7, 2008 #

  29. All ideas are just that: ideas. A group of neighbors started the spark and now it is everyone’s opportunity to get on board and shape what we think is good for the community. Is that so bad? Can we talk about this, bring ideas, suggestions, have a dialogue? I can and I encourage all my neighbors young and old to participate and listen to others. We can do better than just say no because it is easier to say no than to work together and cooperate.

    Comment by mama o'four — 3:36 pm November 7, 2008 #

  30. This park should benefit all of the community, not just a select few. I was at the meeting also. I found it to be held in a very respectful manner. All people gave their points of view. If this tiny park is supposed to be used by all, why are some focusing only on children. Play equipment would not be appropriate. Benches and just plain grass is ample to entertain all. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch. Remember we are dealing with approximately 1900 sq. ft. of usable space only. This is not appropriate for play apparatus whether it be in the form of rocks, logs. teter totters, slides or whatever. Not big enough and way too close to the street. It’s been the way it is for over 100 years and noone has had to change it…What’s wrong with natural beauty????? If you want a playset, put it in your own backyard.

    Comment by mk — 3:52 pm November 7, 2008 #

  31. You should have attended the meeting as their will be no playsets, teter totters or slides in this area. A natural playscape can simply mean plants that ANYONE can touch and enjoy.

    Comment by Admiral Neighbor — 4:00 pm November 7, 2008 #

  32. The next time somebody bemoans the lack of community involvement in this town, I’m going to remind them of this park and this thread.
    .
    Most of us have to put up with enough drama, fifedom wars, conflict, etc. in our PAID jobs. I personally don’t want to volunteer for much more.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 4:27 pm November 7, 2008 #

  33. Having been to probably 100 community meetings in the past year alone, I would say this sort of thing is the anomaly, so I wouldn’t use it as a reason to shy away from involvement. At least people care. The more who show up, the more chance you have of diverse viewpoints – and that goes for situations that generally aren’t so contentious, like the 34th District Democrats, whose meetings we started staffing a few months ago — even though they are all arguably working toward the same goal, the meetings can get a little rowdy, but that’s preferable to a “yeah, whatever, tell us what to do and let’s get out of here” attitude, which I’ve seen (not in West Seattle) along this long road of reporting.

    Comment by WSB — 4:34 pm November 7, 2008 #

  34. bring on the plants!!!!!!sounds like a great play area to me!!!!ps I was at the meeting, btw and they is a constituancy that is vying for play equipment. Not just “plants”. Also, when did a crosswalk ever stop a small child from darting in the street?

    Comment by mk — 7:49 pm November 7, 2008 #

  35. I say that you all should can this park idea. Take the money that you are raising from this possible project and then also sell the land of that crazy butterfly reserve on Admiral Way and about 51st. Let someone build a Onmi home there. Have any of you ever seen anyone step foot in tha patk – or sat on one of it’s benches to enjoy the butterflies? WHAT butterflies congretate on Admiral Way? Take those funds and improve all of the existing green spaces in West Seattle. Update play equipment, add plants and trees all over for all children to enjoy. This park area is NUTS. I have three children under the age of 8 – I would never in my life want to play on this street or in this triangle area – on or in a natural playscape or on any type of play structure at this location. This discussion is crazy and should end.

    Comment by td123 — 8:05 pm November 7, 2008 #

  36. oops, meant to say there is a constituancy that ia vying for play equipment

    Comment by mk — 8:10 pm November 7, 2008 #

  37. The anti-change group wants “Green”, “Solace”, “Safety”. The FANNA group wants “Green”, “Solace”, “Safety”, AND “Subtle, Natural Play Features”. These two groups of close-by neighbors have nearly identical wish-lists. Why the anger? This is the most peculiar discussion I have ever seen. Here’s a group of neighbors trying to do something fun and collaborative together in their neighborhood(FANNA) and then you have a group of neighbors with a nearly identical wish list trying to shout them down… So please consider the design process could result in four designs:

    1. bench and a few plantings,

    2. bench, plantings, a few rocks and a log to balance on,

    3. bench, plantings, a few more rocks and 2-3 logs to balance on,

    4. a null option or no change option.

    People can comment on the options in good fun and neighborly spirit, one of the choices gets implemented, everyone has fun. This should be a case of enjoying some simple, relaxing, fun with neighbors…

    But wait, there were people at that meeting so angry they were talking with their eyes nearly bugging out of their heads– WHAT AM I MISSING HERE? When neighbors ultimately vote a no change option will be available, so listen to your neighbors with respect, have some fun, then vote for no change or for change as you see fit. Seriously, what am I missing here?

    Comment by Am I missing something? — 10:12 pm November 7, 2008 #

  38. @Am I missing something?
    No, you don’t! :)

    Comment by marco — 10:25 pm November 7, 2008 #

  39. Like I said earlier, bring on the plants!!!! You did miss the fact that some people want play apparatus. Obviously, they have since changed their minds, and that a good. We can therefore, all agree on a few plants and a log.

    Comment by mk — 4:39 am November 8, 2008 #

  40. I would love to hear from the people who were angry at that meeting– what am I missing? You can listen to your neighbors talk about their views on how the park might be improved, you can vote for a no change option and you can do this in a respectful, fun environment… why the anger? FANNA has consistently espoused a natural playspace for California Place Park in every public meeting since July — no play structures. Seriously, what am I missing…? Why the anger?

    Comment by Am I missing something? — 9:39 am November 8, 2008 #

  41. My god, it’s a park people. Not a terrible thing. I smell NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY!

    Comment by Steve — 10:04 am November 8, 2008 #

  42. The only folks talking about play structures seem to be those opposed to any change. I too have been mystified about the anger about this project since the first meeting I attended – is there something else going on that is not being said? Is it just opposition to change to the park or something else? If anyone leading the opposition would please speak up, I’m very interested to hear the root of the real problem here. I have followed each meeting – seems like FANNA has addressed each and every concern brought forward by the community,if we all take time to listen.

    Comment by homesweethome — 10:15 am November 8, 2008 #

  43. I guess the real isuue lies in the final design. Until then, we’ll all have to wait. Hopefully, whatever is done or not done all will be happy. I don’t sense any anger. Just fear that it will include things that will distract from the natural beauty and the potential danger factor from children running in the street. PLEASE remember we are dealing with only 1900 square feet of usable space which is already used as a serene, family park for appropriate activities condusive to the size. Some plants with perhaps some driftwood(small scale),a bench or two would be welcomed by all. Please remember that some of the people involved with FANNA have an adjacent day care and therefore, people are concerned as to what degree they want the “play” area to extend. Most children are not too interested in plants and maybe a bench or two. That’s why I have a hard time understanding this whole thing. Kids overall like to run and play in the grass in my experience as a mother and grandmother. Why can’t the daycare people just be happy with the green belt concept and maybe a bench. This perplexes me as a 35 year+ resident of the area. My kids as well as grandchildren have played there for years as is. So why the fuss to change it other than a few plants and a bench or two? This fretting by FANNA supporters makes no sense unless they want to put play apparatus on here. Please enlighten me as to the bottom line changes FANNA wants to implement. That is the real concern here. NO anger, just genuine, sincere concern as to their bottom line intent.

    Comment by mk — 11:05 am November 8, 2008 #

  44. Through the redesign of California Place Park we’d like to create a natural and green space that is inviting, safe and fun for all in the community. It should feel like a slice of nature tucked into a small city park. This new park should:

    -
    Provide a safe respite for all given its proximity to a busy street.
    -
    Entice young children to use their imagination and creativity to play and explore the area.
    -
    Accommodate and feel welcoming to parents and neighbors, young and old.
    -
    Serve as a place for thoughtful play and relaxation.
    -
    Be made from natural elements and contain as few manmade components as possible.
    -
    Provide continuity and connectivity to the empty parcel on SW Hill, a parcel targeted for future improvement.
    -

    We can accomplish these goals by leaving some open green grass for play, by adding natural seating for people to interact, relax or meditate, use landscaping to prevent children from running into the street. Landscape Architects have the expertise to address many of the concerns raised through smart design.

    Anger and fear mongering do not contribute to a constructive discussion about possibilities or even middle ground. We ask that you listen and try to understand our ideas and needs as residents and YOUR NEIGHBOR in this community.

    Comment by Supporter of Improvements — 12:20 pm November 8, 2008 #

  45. FANNA’s intent has been plainly and clearly posted for months on their website: http://www.californiaplacepark.org. The square footage of the park is much larger than 1900 sq. feet. This information is provided on the website as well.

    mk- you sound like a supporter of an open-minded and fun, collaborative effort to discuss park changes– and in the end you may vote for no change if you decide that no change is best. I applaud your community spirit.

    You gotta admit– There were people at that meeting that were genuinely angry. That is what I am trying to understand. You know if FANNA had not gotten together to have fun and raise the question of improving this park the small and simple grant would have been awarded to another neighborhood group– like in Madrona or Wallingford– this is not a waste of our tax dollars this is just a chance for N. Admiral to benefit from the small and simple program we all pay into.

    Let’s consider the upgrades in a civil manner and then vote for or against them. Thanks, mk and all the fun neighbors we have met in this process!

    Comment by Am I missing something? — 12:37 pm November 8, 2008 #

  46. Thanks for the insightful comment. I hope all concerned here will be happy in the end. Regards to all, mk

    Comment by mk — 1:29 pm November 8, 2008 #

  47. If children already use it, why not try to see if there are things we can do to make it safer? You have to wonder if there would be so much disagreement if the discussion were about making the park more accessible to someone who was disabled.

    Comment by LP — 5:19 pm November 8, 2008 #

  48. I am “listening” and still don’t quite understand the objective here. At the meeting, the drawing showed explicitely 1900 sq. ft. of usable space. Excuse me but did “I miss something here” The reference to as little as possible manmade components alarms me. Is that referencing maybe a bench? or Is that referencing play equipment. Again, I need to be enlightened as to how all of this can fit into 1900 sq. ft. Also, what kind of plants can keep a child from running in the street? Is the city committed to long term upkeep or is that the responsibility of the local
    neighborhood? I feel all of these questions are valid and should of been addressed before we ever got to this point. I guess we’ll just have to wait till the next meeting…Regards to all

    Comment by mk — 8:27 pm November 8, 2008 #

  49. Regarding maintenance, it is a city park and maintenance is Parks and Recreation’s responsibility; that was reiterated by the city reps at the meeting. That said, the department does have maintenance-funding issues at the moment that have been well-publicized. If you want an example of how Parks is involved with maintenance of something added to an existing park because of a community campaign, you can look at the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza, which we have covered thoroughly here over the past year-plus; Parks has been involved with the search to find an appropriate way to clean some of the donation-funded pavers that have turned up with legibility problems (check the Alki Statue of Liberty archive category in our sidebar list of coverage categories to browse stories).

    Comment by WSB — 8:43 pm November 8, 2008 #

  50. MK These have been answered many times but to make it clearer for you I have answered &&& below.

    MK comment: The reference to as little as possible manmade components alarms me. Is that referencing maybe a bench? or Is that referencing play equipment.

    &&& It is referencing play equipement

    MK comment: Again, I need to be enlightened as to how all of this can fit into 1900 sq. ft.

    &&& It’s not too hard to fit a few park ebnches, logs and a raised garden bed in 1900 sq ft-that’s twice the size of my house and I raise 2 children in it.

    MK comment: Also, what kind of plants can keep a child from running in the street?

    &&& Bushes, hedges, dense native plants, lavender, grasses etc…

    MK comment: Is the city committed to long term upkeep or is that the responsibility of the local
    neighborhood?

    &&& While it is a ‘park’ it will take the park service and the community together to maintain this park as it does with any park-we are all (or should be) stewards of the earth.

    Comment by SpeakLoud — 9:30 pm November 8, 2008 #

  51. To mk and SpeakLoud
    -
    The FANNA goal stated, “Be made from natural elements and contain as few manmade components as possible” is meant to convey that this park should be as NATURAL AS POSSIBLE. Sometimes it takes manmade components like garbage cans or metal stakes in logs to stabilize them to ensure a public area has all its needs met and safety concerns addressed. From FANNA’s perspective, there has never been a desire to install typical playground play structures.

    Comment by Supporter of Improvements — 12:03 am November 9, 2008 #

  52. Just remember these dense plants, bushes and hedges will become hiding and sleeping places for vagrants or assailants.. Making the bus stop less safe for those using it to go to and from work in the dark. As the park is now you can see all around and feel safe. This is a very busy street during the day and not a safe area for children to play unless well supervised. Children play there now with parents. It is natural and does not need any improvement. This was a poor idea from the very beginning. Makes you wonder if the Parks Department knew what they were approving in that they called it the “Renovation of a Playfield” in the Interdepartment Review For Small and Simple Projects Fund paperwork. California place Park was never a playfield, nor in need of renovation. I will never understand how this project got funded.

    Comment by TWAR — 12:04 am November 9, 2008 #

  53. The goals stated on the FANNA website are differant than the goals stated in the application to the Parks Dept. They stated in that application that “FANNA currently has 6 members all whom reside in the North Admiral neighborhood. We’ve banded together with a common interest in CONSTRUCTING a PLAYGROUND in the North Admiral area. Our goal is to work together with neighbors to BUILD and injoy an INSTALLED PLAYGROUND once the project is complete.” This does not sound like a few logs and plants to me.

    Comment by TWAR — 12:45 am November 9, 2008 #

  54. In my experience, a playground in usually cement????? with some type of play apparatus. Hence, what really was Fanna’s original intent. Maybe, since there is such great opposition to this “playground”, they have modified their original goals. Hopefully, this is the case. Rgards to all mk

    Comment by mk — 6:56 am November 9, 2008 #

  55. As we have stated on numerous occasions, GOALS HAVE EVOLVED TO REFLECT THE INPUT OF THE COMMUNITY. C’mon TWAR, these are just ideas until finalized with the help of the entire community. There’s nothing wrong with anyone throwing out ideas, FANNA or otherwise.

    Comment by Supporter of Improvements — 7:31 am November 9, 2008 #

  56. Please expound. Does that mean you have diverted from the original submission to the city? All of us, need to know. I can appreciate your modifications and reconsiderations if that is truly the case here. To be percise, no “playground equipment” in any coventional form. PERHAPS, a single log? Is that what FANNA is NOW seeking? In response to my earlier posting, “Speakloud” confused me by saying FANNA was referencing play equipment????? I was hoping for a bench as the response to my observation mk

    Comment by mk — 7:58 am November 9, 2008 #

  57. This is a E-Mail to some of the original play areas that FANNA showed to the community at earlier meetings. I think you can see why there is opposition. http://www.naturalplaygrounds.ca/page.aspx?page=218&app=178&cat1=439&tp=71k=n

    Comment by TWAR — 8:18 am November 9, 2008 #

  58. The opposition group has heard FANNA state repeatedly in face-to-face public meetings since July that any design they espouse will be natural, with no plastic or metal play structures. Even so this is one of two claims that incites the most fear and anger in neighbors so the opposition repeats this claim over and over to get people mad at FANNA. They have latched onto one or two words they found in the original application and repeat these words despite the face-to-face discussions they have had with FANNA about the simple, serene natural playscape idea.

    BTW- the other big fear and anger issue that resonates is the “this is all for one family/ one business/ only 2 or 3 people want this” argument”. FANNA has brought together dozens of people from all over N. Admiral to work on a fun project together.

    Please remember when you hear the claims about the artificial playstructures and the sole special interest group behind FANNA that you might as well be hearing that FANNA is a group of socialists who pal around with terrorists– FANNA is getting swift-boated with these arguments.

    Now is the time for the community to come together and have fun and consider design options in a fun friendly neighborly way.

    Comment by No swift boats in N Admiral please — 8:21 am November 9, 2008 #

  59. This doesn’t look like a single log. It looks like a playground consisting of plastic stuff as well as some plants, sand for cats to urinate in and alot of major upkeep all around. Websters dictionary describes a playground as “a place, often a schoolyard for outdoor games and play” Minus the school, isn’t that what we already have without one single addition. I believe it is fine just the way it is. Who needs all this stuff to maintain in 1900 sq. ft only. Enough already. Is this what Fanna really wants or have they chose to modify this? I can only hope that this is not their current vision for this small, beautiful area. thanks for listening mk

    Comment by mk — 8:56 am November 9, 2008 #

  60. Current FANNA website link for natural playscape. http://californiaplacepark.wordpress.com/natural-playscapes/

    Comment by TWAR — 9:24 am November 9, 2008 #

  61. Dear Swiftboat…I think you are a bit on the defensive. You need to check out FANNA’s website. The playscapes pictured are what they are. You can’t deny the vision represented here. In my humble opinion, HIGHLY UNSUITABLE. Something else needs to come to the table. mk

    Comment by mk — 9:29 am November 9, 2008 #

  62. It amazes me how many people are clearly reading what they want to hear! It has been stated a million times above the intent of this park.”To add enhancements that ALL ages will enjoy”. Give me a break…like these people are going to put stakes in the ground for ALL to enjoy. It is sad that so many people aren’t taking a second to think of what is being said. Sorry a rosemary bush is going to attrack a drug dealer to this park. Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by neighbor — 9:35 am November 9, 2008 #

  63. As we’ve said, there are no bad IDEAS, only bad attitudes.

    Comment by Supporter of Improvements — 10:35 am November 9, 2008 #

  64. Remember, this all are ideas, and at the end of the design process you will see what it looks like for this specific project and whether or not you are onboard to work on implementation. FANNA’s intentions have never been to impose anything on anyone. I wonder if people have been listening. Let’s be grateful some of our neighbors took the time to start somewhere, and now let’s help them accomplish what they set for and what the grant is for: A DESIGN THAT FITS THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

    Comment by mama o'four — 10:44 am November 9, 2008 #

  65. I guess bad attitudes are predicated on your perspective. Frankly, just because you don’t agree with something, it is not necessarily a bad attitude. All of us are just trying to get to the bottom line here. Shared ideas are good. However, I still don’t know what FANNA’s original concept WAS. We all need to know the starting point so we can work back or up from there. Maybe Fanna could post their original intent. I’m confused cuz it is way too vague. According to the orignal pictures that were presented (see previous post by TWAR at 8:18 am) I see examples that scare me…..sorry if that is a bad attitude,but I am intitled to my opinion. How much modifiaction do they intend, if any. These pictures are quite a stretch from a lone park bench. mk

    Comment by mk — 10:54 am November 9, 2008 #

  66. let’s look forward, not back

    Comment by Supporter of Improvements — 11:09 am November 9, 2008 #

  67. Let’s talk about the lone park bench that is already in the park. Yes, there is one right next to the bus shelter owned and maintained by the parks department. It has been tagged so deep that they cannot sand it out even though they have tried. Now more benches and additions will only be more places for tagging and if we allow structures down near the Church then it could be tagged too. This would be sad.

    Comment by TWAR — 11:27 am November 9, 2008 #

  68. In referencing “What they set for”. That’s been the main observation all along by those who question this project. Their intent has obviously gone from some circus type park(sorry if that offends, I’m only looking at the pictures posted) to possibly settling for a lone park bench. What do they want????? Remember, Fanna is the one who proposed SOMETHING to the city. We as neighbors are just trying to pinpoint this agenda….What is their definition of a playground. I realize “something” will be presented hopefully at the next meeting. Apparently we might be spending $15,000 (of taxpayers monies) on a drawing of a “lone” park bench. Those pics I saw do not fit the entire community, again in my humble opinion. Should we just ignore them and pretend they were never presented. Again, those pictures are a far cry from a lone park bench, which alot of people at the meeting were advocating, along with those who want nothing done to an already appropriate green belt play area.

    Comment by mk — 11:33 am November 9, 2008 #

  69. This is the most ridiculous public process I have ever seen or witnessed. A bunch of rather well off neighbors, fighting a park for children. A gentleman the other night at the meeting stated he “likes to sit and look at the park and smoke his cigar.” You have got to be kidding me – is this really highest and best use for public land – so people can sit and watch it while they smoke? Really, Admiral residents, do you not have something more important to rally against? How about the bars that send their patrons out at 2am into the neighborhood? Or the Yen Wor patrons that are still stumbling around the next morning at puking on CA Ave at 9am? I really enjoy the fact that some folks in the opposition state they are not kid-haters – if that is so, why bring up the fact that one of the project’s initiators operates a playschool? Or is there something in that argument I am missing? If someone out there would clarify why this is a problem, I’d really appreciate it. Is it that we don’t want preschools/parks/day cares in this neighborhood or is it that we don’t want anyone different from the majority living here?

    Comment by homesweethome — 12:42 pm November 9, 2008 #

  70. The so called opposition is actually foremost concerned about the safety factor here. Please be respectful of everyones intent. You are not a mind reader. btw, what’s with the well-off statement. I as a 35 yer. resident of this neighborhood take offense to that predjudiced statement. Rich, poor, middleclass or whatever, we all have a right to oppose or question this project!!!! Please downtone the hostility and get back to the subject at hand….Shame on you!!!

    Comment by mk — 1:19 pm November 9, 2008 #

  71. mk, in my opinion what we need is to move on and stop being angry. What if the original idea was a theme park? If this has evolved it means that FANNA is listening to us, can we listen to themand have a civilized dialogue? And please do not be afraid tomorrow when you wake up and walk by the park there will be a massive playground structure sitting there. This is a process and we all have been invited to join in.

    Comment by mama o'four — 1:38 pm November 9, 2008 #

  72. Safety has always been my main concern. It makes no sense to me to put something that would deliberately attract children to a space that is right on top of Califrnia Ave…Where is the common sense….No one wants a child to be injured or worse!!!!And don’t give me the bush idea. MAYBE (HA< HA) blackberry bushes. Most of the pictures formerly posted by TWAR shows a large black fenced in area. At the meeting, the city was adamently opposed to any fencing, right out of the “gate”

    Comment by mk — 1:54 pm November 9, 2008 #

  73. excuse me, who is TWAR? Is he/she a FANNA member shoving a playground down our throats? I can appreciate safety being your concern, mine, supporters, opponents and the city. We have a commond ground here, let’s have a dialogue and listen to other’s ideas and suggestions.
    Let’s all move on.

    Comment by mama o'four — 2:15 pm November 9, 2008 #

  74. Thanks for bringing this playschool person or persons to my attention “Home Sweet HOme”

    Please enlighten me to this playschool person or persons What is their envolvement in all of this? Are they in favor of this playground or against it. Are they envolved in the original presentation to the city? How close are they to the park in mention? This playground effort could actually benefit them if they are infact close to this park. Perhaps their own yard is too small and they need somewhere for their clients to play. Just a thought….

    Comment by mk — 8:31 pm November 9, 2008 #

  75. This playground effort would benefit any children in the neighborhood whether they live here, they attend a daycare/preschool in this neighborhood or if they happen to visit this area. What is your problem with the “playschool person or persons”, really?. We all already know the location of this preschool thanks to the shameful gossip and hatred going around the neighborhood. Don’t play innocent and suggest “perhaps their own yard…” Jan Bailey made sure she looked their property up and according to her it is too small and they are doing this out pure self interest because they needed to expand. We also know they have children of their own but their kids don’t count, do they?
    And we all know this “playschool person or persons” is one of the organizers of this idea.
    We should be thankful there are true leaders in our community, not just hate them!

    Comment by mama o'four — 8:43 am November 10, 2008 #

  76. excuse me…I don’t hate anyone and just became somewhat aware of this daycare issue at the meeting. I don’t know these people. Whoever is leading the charge never knocked on my door or any of my family’s doors so my first awareness was at the meeting the other night which I was made aware of by a blue card mailed to me. I do think it is important to note who might directly and most benefit from this since the spending of tax dollars are everyones concern. Remember, I am most aware of the danger factor here. I keep repeating myself. It’s way too close Calif. Ave. and if the revised park looks like any of the pictures I saw yesterday, (heaven forbid), it will be a deliberate magnet for potential disaster. Something not everyone obviously agrees with. NO BUSH can keep a child from darting in the street. I’m done with this nonesense and blind people who obviously don’t agree with my and many others observations. See who at the next meeting. regards to ALL mk

    Comment by mk — 9:17 am November 10, 2008 #

  77. We don’t have to agree, just be open to listening to others in a respectful manner. I am hopeful we can do as much.

    Comment by mama o'four — 9:52 am November 10, 2008 #

  78. NIMBY Concerns for SAFETY?
    A NIMBY favorite that should be laughed down. When lacking any rational arguments, fly the SAFETY banner.
    A few facts:
    California Ave. north of Admiral business district is the least traveled section. just take the drive.
    The NIMBYS’ claim of safety flies in the face of their claims that the park is currently used for exactly that dangerous activity, kids’ play. They point out that soccer, playing catch and frisbee have long been activities at the park. Yet where are their statistics for people being harmed pursuing such dangerous activities? If their true concern is for safety, they would be lobbying for a fence first, foremost and last.
    Of course parks such as Lincoln, Hiawatha, Holden, Delridge, Westwood, Alki, Alki Beach and even Whale Tail are more dangerous in terms of traffic volume, visibility and on-street parking.
    MIMBY safety mavens suggest walking children to Hiawatha Park which entails crossing much busier sections of California and the killer avenue Admiral Way – where adults are regularly maimed or killed attempting to cross.
    NIMBYS claiming that “safety has always been my main concern” should be embarrassed.

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 10:36 am November 10, 2008 #

  79. Sounds like the people living on the periphery of the park want to keep it for their own front yard, quiet and peaceful. The safety argument is a red herring. There are many playgrounds adjacent to streets, i.e. Whale Tail Park in the Alki neighborhood.

    Public properties belong to EVERYONE, not only those living next door. Any group of children are welcome to play there all day long, as are teenagers, adults, or any others. It is not private property.

    Comment by acemotel — 10:41 am November 10, 2008 #

  80. I see we made much the same points NIMBY nulu. We were writing at the same time…. (I wasn’t copying you, really!)

    Comment by acemotel — 10:42 am November 10, 2008 #

  81. MK – I may not be a mind reader but I have gone to every meeting and read each thread on this project. The safety issue is appropriate – but the opposition certainly didn’t start with that – squirrel habitat seemed pretty important about a month ago. I’m not sure why you feel the need to shame me – come on, Admiral is a very nice neighborhood filled with very expensive homes, condos and townhomes. Whether folks have lived here 1 month or 35 years, it takes some cash to live here, whether buying or renting. Further, for all those s concerned about crime – all crime stats are available online from SPD and accident reports are available from WSDOT. Once again, I would ask the opposition to clarify their argument – what is the root of the problem? If it truly is safety, then all the opposition’s earlier postings and comments completely confuse me. I am trying to understand the real problem here – it is completely unclear to me. What I have really failed to notice is this – the opposition just seems interested in opposing – how about acknowledging a community need and trying to help find a solution?

    Comment by homesweethome — 11:07 am November 10, 2008 #

  82. Nimby lulu or whatever : Hopefully, you won’t be embarrassed if someone is hurt there. Stop being a mindreader and accusing others of “hidden agendas”. Sounds a little paranoid. Like I said see you at the next meeting. Maybe by then people will have come to their senses and realize this “park” is fine the way it is.

    Comment by mk — 11:38 am November 10, 2008 #

  83. Oh, I forgot…What is NIMBY? Is this an organization like FANNA? Can I contact them. I have figured out FANNA’s intent but would like to know if NIMBY is for or against this project. Thanks for the input…mk

    Comment by mk — 12:10 pm November 10, 2008 #

  84. Some of us came to the meeting really angry because we were told some group led by a business owner were trying to destroy the green space and kill the trees. I came because I was curious to know who those people were. All I saw was a bunch of families with young children, their leader was a soft spoken woman that invited everyone to join the design process and thanked us for coming. Throug out the evening I learned there was no plan to kill the trees and that this is just the design phase. It seems like everyone is wondering what the underlying issue is here and I will spell it out for you because I saw it. Whether we want to admit to it in public or not, eventhough America chose to elect a black president on Tuesday, North Admiral residents attending the meeting chose to be angry at someone that started something because of the color of her skin. And yes, she is a minority not just because of her nationality but also because there are few people willing to stand up for themselves even if others might look intimidating or just plain irrational.
    3:50pm update: The woman with the orange slicker is at the park again! Can someone give her a real job? She came to the meeting and still didn’t get it: The process is moving forward!

    Comment by M Brown — 3:54 pm November 10, 2008 #

  85. 1. Safety

    2. Safety

    3. Safety

    I repeat there are folks who came, listened politely and concluded this is a stupid idea, regardless of anything else. Now were talking about skin color. Give me a break

    Comment by mk — 5:16 pm November 10, 2008 #

  86. WOW!It takes some guts to bring up the race issue even in forums like this. The issue came to my mind before but I was ashamed to even entertain the idea that something like this was going on in my beloved West Seattle. Someone else finally figured it out! There is so much hatred here. Even walking by your beautiful park feels ugly now. What a shame.

    Comment by T James — 5:41 pm November 10, 2008 #

  87. Everyone wants safety there’s absolutely no reason to call your neighbors or their ideas stupid– please see my post from above– I’ll paste it again here in this post. There were very angry, impolite people at that meeting. I am sorry to hear that racism is playing a part– I have heard this from others. M Brown– thanks for having the courage to identify a real concern. Here’s my post from before:

    The anti-change group wants “Green”, “Solace”, “Safety”. The FANNA group wants “Green”, “Solace”, “Safety”, AND “Subtle, Natural Play Features”. These two groups of close-by neighbors have nearly identical wish-lists. Why the anger? This is the most peculiar discussion I have ever seen. Here’s a group of neighbors trying to do something fun and collaborative together in their neighborhood(FANNA) and then you have a group of neighbors with a nearly identical wish list trying to shout them down… So please consider the design process could result in four designs:

    1. bench and a few plantings,

    2. bench, plantings, a few rocks and a log to balance on,

    3. bench, plantings, a few more rocks and 2-3 logs to balance on,

    4. a null option or no change option.

    People can comment on the options in good fun and neighborly spirit, one of the choices gets implemented, everyone has fun. This should be a case of enjoying some simple, relaxing, fun with neighbors…

    But wait, there were people at that meeting so angry they were talking with their eyes nearly bugging out of their heads– WHAT AM I MISSING HERE? When neighbors ultimately vote a no change option will be available, so listen to your neighbors with respect, have some fun, then vote for no change or for change as you see fit. Seriously, what am I missing here?

    Comment by Am I missing something? — 5:56 pm November 10, 2008 #

  88. Just something to think about…
    Will FANNA continue to support this project if the final design does not include the play area they envisioned? If the group is truly represents friends and neighbors of North Admiral (and I hope they are) then will the group still raise money and follow through with the completion of this project for the North Admiral neighborhood if the final neighborhood design includes only bushes, benches and a crosswalk?

    Comment by wsmom — 6:08 pm November 10, 2008 #

  89. To WSMOM:

    Thank you!!!!Your comment pretty much says it all.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful and insightful comment. Sincerely, mk

    Comment by mk — 6:26 pm November 10, 2008 #

  90. Just a proactive word of caution from your site admin here. Certainly any concern or question is valid to raise — and to be responded to — but a reminder that we do not and will not tolerate anything getting directly personal/ugly. Regarding issues of racism, those directly involved can offer their thoughts if/as they wish, in response to what’s been written in the last several comments. As the only journalist who has covered this story since the very first time the park-improvements idea was brought up in a public forum (Admiral Neighborhood Association, June), I do want to note – and I am only noting this since it has come up, because otherwise it would be no more relevant in a news story about a park than describing people’s hair color, eye color, clothing styles – I have seen people of multiple ethnicities speaking for park improvements, and people of multiple ethnicities speaking against them. Just a data point for anyone who has not been at meetings on this — TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:32 pm November 10, 2008 #

  91. Thanks WSB mk

    Comment by mk — 6:48 pm November 10, 2008 #

  92. I am amazed that so many of you have SO much time to spend writing messages here. I wish I had that kind of time …

    I was unable to attend the meeting because I had already dragged my kids to two other public meetings last wek. I understand that some neighbors are concerned about “vagrants” and “predators.” I live very close to Cottage Grove and Greg Davis Parks (some of you may have heard of the slum known as Delridge. Try visiting us, it’s lovely down here and you can see some excellent parks and public process). There are never vagrants sleeping on the benches. Since we back up to Camp Long and a ton of very well camouflaged green space, we do have homeless encampments back in our woods. NOT at the park! But, there is nowhere to hide at the park you are talking about. It’s all open. In working with homeless populations, what I’ve noticed is that individuals tend to congregate near to social services. Other than AA meetings, are there any social services in that area that are likely to attract “vagrants?” it’s unlikely that random “vagrants” will ride the bus by there, say “oh, look, a bench, I think I’ll go sleep on it.”

    Regarding “predators: “ the nice thing about play spaces is that when children are playing there, a caregiver is ALWAYS present. And where there is a caregiver, there is always a pair of watchful, vigilant eyes. Usually more than one. I have spent absolutely countless hours at Seattle playgrounds in the past 8 years and only a few times have I seen strangers behaving inappropriately. (Usually people with mental illness, or teenagers). On every occasion, I have called police who have responded immediately. Police take trouble near play areas extremely seriously when children are present.

    What does happen at Cottage Grove and Greg Davis parks is: families come and play Frisbee, baseball, and football. Folks walk their dogs, and sometimes they even pick up after them. Families ride their bikes, hike through the woods, and help with cleaning up trash and invasive species. The park has been a location for celebrations and festivals.

    What I do know is that people do not react well to change. When we are used to something being a certain way, we resist change, even when the change is likely to benefit us. We also like to have as much information as possible. Here in Cottage Grove, the Seattle Public Utilities just tore down two houses and removed a bunch of trees from a derelict lot. The neighbors were all up in arms – not at the removal of the houses, per se, but rather at the total lack of information and public participation. I know the public meeting phase is really difficult, but buy-in is critical.

    What I am seeing is two extraordinarily vocal opponents and lots and lots of reasonable, open minded folks. I don’t see a lot of resolution happening in this space, but I see a lot of potential for a wonderful outcome in the park space!!

    Comment by incredulous — 6:59 pm November 10, 2008 #

  93. What some people seem to be missing is that this isn’t FANNA’s park, nor the residents adjacent to it, nor a daycare owners – it doesn’t belong exclusively to the dogs, the kids, the meditators, those who gaze from their window or the passerbys, it belongs to the ENTIRE COMMUNITY. Therefore it will be redesigned by the ENTIRE COMMUNITY. This same group will decide what it should be, they will raise funds for any changes, they will implement these changes by volunteering their time, getting their hands dirty and will have fun doing it. And if this doesn’t happen – it seems all we’ll have left is an angry and divided community.

    Let’s stop creating factions of believers, let’s stop pointing fingers, let’s stop making assumptions, let’s just stop the madness!

    This is a park that could be safer for its users. These are your neighbors who deserve a listen. Isn’t that worth something?

    Comment by Flabbergasted — 7:17 pm November 10, 2008 #

  94. Let’s discuss “Green”, one of the consensus issues.
    NIMBY demands of keeping it “green” as in the grass that is there, is not a “green” option. Grass is not “green”.
    Park grass is a non native.
    Grass requires fertilizers to keep it the green color we so value. These fertlizers, organic or chemical, poison our water, wildlife and endangered salmon.
    Grass requires large amounts of piped in water to keep it’s green color during the summer.
    Grass has an enormous carbon footprint. Trucks are required to deliver workers and lawn mowers. These expand the carbon footprint. The gas powered lawnmowers pollute even more. Then the grass clippings are added to our waste stream.
    I and many other people are allergic to grass.
    Despite the fact that grass is the surface of choice for many sports fields, play areas and homeowners’ yards does not lessen the fact that grass is the least “Green” of common ground covers.
    We can all agree how a picnic or playing on the grass permeates our culture. But it is as “GREEN” and as anachronistic as giant SUVs.

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 7:45 pm November 10, 2008 #

  95. what is an alternate ground cover? are you thinking some kind of native plantings, or dirt, or ?

    Comment by acemotel — 8:19 pm November 10, 2008 #

  96. Nice try….Now some people are allergic to this park as it is. Remember, it’s been like this for over l00 years and noone has complained about its allergic impact. Regards, mk

    Comment by mk — 7:37 am November 11, 2008 #

  97. Nice try? The grass allergy is apparently all that one can object to, out of ignorance?
    Please read and inform yourself:

    “Grass allergy is one of the most common and prevalent form of allergy that affects people with histories of it during certain seasons.

    Grass allergy normally occurs all throughout the spring season and during the onset or ending of the summer season. Grass allergy is somehow directly linked to hay fever, because their symptoms and causes are somehow similar to each other.

    Grass allergy can also take the form of an inhalant kind of allergy similar to asthma. It is noted that in the United States alone, about 30% of overall yearly allergy reported or recorded is in the form of grass allergy.

    Grass allergy is caused by an allergen that invokes discomforting reaction upon body contact.

    Cause of grass allergy

    The most usual allergen or substance that cause or triggers grass allergy is pollen. Pollens are very tiny and small particles of ovulation structures owned by plants.

    During your primary education and even in your previous Biology classes, you have encountered the word pollen on subjects related to the proliferation or reproduction of plants’ flowers.

    Take note that pollens are so tiny and light that they can stick to the tiny feet of butterflies. Pollens are most of the time flying or are carried out in the air especially during summer and spring when trees, flowers, and mostly, grass pollinate.

    Because pollens are so light weight and they are carried over through the air, people can inhale them. Inhaling pollen can cause or trigger adverse reactions to the person.

    Symptoms of grass allergy

    Manifestations that indicate the onset of grass allergy are usually identified with breathing disorders.

    The most common symptom of grass allergy is severe or constant dry cough. Usually these cough will occur with sore throat. It can never be mistaken for a common viral colds or cough.

    The person with grass allergy also experiences difficulty in breathing. It s because the air passages are narrowed or constricted as a result of the body’s defense mechanism against grass pollen.

    It can be noted that since the air passage constriction is a body defense mechanism, it is not dangerous. The danger occurs when the person experiencing it panics and feel a thriving discomfort.

    Itchiness which can appear in several areas of the body can also occur at the onset of a grass allergy attack.

    In rare occasions, fever can also be detected. However, in such occurrences, immediate help from doctors and medical practitioners should be sought to detect the presence of complications.

    Fevers indicate the presence of viral and bacterial attacks in the body and should therefore be immediately attended at to avoid further complications.

    Treatment and prevention of grass allergy

    The most effective treatment for grass allergy is also its most potent prevention. That is, to avoid the grass allergy causing allergens, which are usually grass pollen.

    To avoid exposure to grass pollen or the possibility of grass pollen inhalation, people with histories are advised to stay indoors especially during summer and spring when grass pollens are carried out in the open air.

    Doctors also advise such people to install a working air conditioner in their home and room to make sure the ventilation is good and the probability of air contamination with grass pollen is reduced.”

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 10:11 am November 11, 2008 #

  98. I guess then as far as you are concerned all of West Seattle’s grass yards should be removed. What do you suggest astroturf? Take a Claritin (like I do) and call it a day.

    Comment by mk — 12:24 pm November 11, 2008 #

  99. My son is allergic to grass. I was so allergic to grass pollen growing up I had would sneeze till I dehydrated. Claritin hadn’t been invented yet. There’s a place for grass; humans evolved in grassy plains. Kids play in grass, dogs run in it. But, if I had a choice, yeah, I’d replace the majority of Seattle’s grass yards with zero-maintenance native planting and vegetable gardens! :)
    m.k., you just are not a lot of fun … I’m going back to my own neighborhood projects now, but I’ll keep an out and see what happens with this interesting endeavour. Good luck, Admiral neighbors, I hope you all manage to resolve this amicably without razor wire and bazookas. Oh wait, that’s Delridge. JUST KIDDING! JOKING, JOKING!!

    Comment by incredulous — 10:22 pm November 11, 2008 #

  100. SAFETY, — For those who don’t know there have been several major auto-pedestrian accidents at this location, including a fatality and another fatality at SW Holgate, one block north. This is an unsafe corridor!! Not suitable for a children’s only play area.

    Comment by dars — 3:58 pm November 12, 2008 #

  101. dito to dars

    Comment by mk — 5:09 pm November 12, 2008 #

  102. Ditto to dars & mk.
    We all want SAFETY. Who can argue that?
    BUT, how does this wide lower vehicle usage unsafe corridor compare to other parks’ corridors? Hiawatha, Lincoln, Holden, Westwood, Whale Tail, Alki Beach, & Alki all are unsafe corridors, some without the benefit of wide planting strips as in California’s.

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 9:08 am November 13, 2008 #

  103. for example (if you already don’t know) Hiawatha’s play equipment is approximately 30 yards from the street. This play area would be 5-10 yards from CALIF. AVE., a very busy street!!!If you don’t already know. The density factor has increased tremendously since Pop Hanaford was run down at this exact corner. Come on this street is way tooooooooooo busy for toddlers to be anywhere near. Where there’s a ball, a child will follow. And many other examples too many to mention. Do you really want to take the chance here? I don’t think so.

    Comment by mk — 3:04 pm November 13, 2008 #

  104. http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/tfdmaps.htm
    This reveals traffic data. Try comparing California at the park with California and Admiral.
    Hiawatha has several more dangerous elements. It has high retaining walls with no guard rails. It has a smaller planting strip. And it is closer to high traffic.
    NIMBY “safety” concerns also contradict their “keep it as it is” demands since they also claim the space is currently used for play. If kids are already playing in this “dangerous” area, then “SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY” advocates should be demanding a fence. If they don’t, then their argument rings false.

    Comment by NIMBY nulu — 9:42 am November 17, 2008 #

  105. Why do the kids in North Admiral need a “playscape” anyway??? Are you serious?
    Oh, the poor little kids that live in one of the richest neighborhoods in Seattle don’t have their own playground and have to go mingle with the Hiawatha riff raff! God forbid
    Why don’t you take your kids to the beach to explore at low tide? You live just steps away from one of the most beautiful waterfront parks in the city. Take them on a mommy and daddy garden tour of the neighborhood. Identify native flora and fauna yourself instead of expecting a park to do it for you. Take them to the hamilton viewpoint and pretend its a castle on the hill and they are king/queen. Take them to one of the port parks along the duwamish and talk to them about the big ships and river otters and native americans. Take a class at the Y with them.
    Most of all, stop pretending that your kids have nothing to do in North Admiral…I’m sure most of the kids around here have yards, big homes, and everything else they need. And stop pretending the community doesn’t offer enough parks or services, we live in one of the best cities in the world for that. Most of all, ackowledge that sometimes it’s good to do nothing with your children. They don’t need constant activities, providing them with nonstop entertainment is not parenting, it’s a competitive sport for overbearing supermom wannabes inadvertently raising their entitled children to think the world owes them a playground.

    Comment by renter — 9:54 pm November 20, 2008 #

  106. SAVE NEIGHBORHOOD GREENSPACES California Place Park and ajacent greenspace.(Calif. & Hill st.) 1. Keep the beautiful green space as grass -grass was the #1 request in surveys during the Lafayette Playground Design -Individuals and families already use space for soccer,football,baseball,tag,relaxing,imaginative play and more. 2. There is no need for change -it will cost thousands of tax dollars to design and tear up what is now a beautiful and well-used greenspace(ajacent triangle needs curbs and maintenance)-there are many other play areas, nearby Hiawatha, Lafayette,with play areas. Alki and Hamilton Viewpoint provide huge natural playscapes for free 3. Safety -a play area next to a busy street?(Calif. ave. S.W.) 4. Up keep and maintenance -will the city maintain changes?(neighbors currently water new trees) 5. Litter and loitering -changes may encourage late night loitering and littering -neighbors already pick up litter and don’t want more 6. Waste of money -city could better help the North Admiral community with traffic revisions,curbs,lights and more. (ONLY CURBS,MAINTENANCE AND TRAFFIC REVISIONS FOR PARK)************WATCH FOR UPCOMING CALILFORNIA PLACE PARK MEETING*********AND VOICE YOUR OPINION TO: CITY COUNCILMAN tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov (206-684-8808) DEPT. OF NEIGHBORHOODS stella.chao@seattle.gov (206-684-0465) DEPT. OF PARKS & REC timothy.gallagher@seattle.gov kellee.jones@seattle.gov (206-684-8022) ****SAVE OUR GRASS****NO CHANGE TO PARK*****

    Comment by NO CHANGE TO PARK — 5:11 pm November 30, 2008 #

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