California Place Park design proposals: “Where’s the playspace?”

March 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm | In California Place Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 29 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The question came about two-thirds of the way through this morning’s design workshop — second in a series of 3 exploring possible changes at tiny California Place Park in North Admiral:

“We wondered what happened to the playspace — it’s gone,” said the spokesperson for one of the tables that had spent the previous half-hour reviewing and chronicling comments on the design proposals with which landscape architect Karen Kiest (photo above) had started the workshop.

That was no small question, for many reasons. The whole idea of possible changes to California Place Park, which currently is a triangle of grass and trees that some thought was part of the property of adjacent Admiral Congregational Church, began with a playground proposal.

It evolved to “natural playscape,” Kiest reminded the gathering of nearly 100 this morning after the “what happened” question, adding: “All of the concepts shown today do show how the park can feel bigger and have more uses … the areas that are called ‘soft spots’ could have a sandbox, a piece of art. We don’t see any play equipment.”

With that, a central part of the big controversy that has hovered over this little park seemed to shrink. But before we finish going down that road, for those who couldn’t make this morning’s workshop – which, as noted in our brief report earlier, was vastly calmer than the first one – we’ll show the three designs (thanks to Kiest for providing digital copies):

At the meeting’s start, a bit of background was shared by Steven Gray from Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA), the neighborhood group that obtained a $15,000 city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to hire a landscape architect for this design work.

The one point Gray tried to make was that this process was not initiated by the city Parks Department, though Parks has the final say on what happens, if anything — he pointed out that a group of friends, talking about the neighborhood about a year ago, first focused on the “south parcel,” a largely barren triangle of land across SW Hill, till learning that it was SDOT land and, at the time, offlimits for consideration. Google Street View shows the site:


View Larger Map

So they turned their focus to California Place, which isn’t readily recognizable as a park (no sign aside from a warning about picking up after dogs). And, Gray said, “At the end of the process, we present to (Parks) a conceptual design and they give us the nod to proceed or not. … But there’s a whole lot to get to that level (proceeding). Permits, fundraising, work party organization …”

The only major disruptive moment of this meeting came before Gray finished speaking; a woman said she wanted the chance to ask a question, and didn’t settle for being told that questions would be discussed in the small-table discussions, as Kiest, her staff, and FANNA members circulated. So Gray offered to go outside the room to listen to her question. A man at that point shouted, “We’d like no change!” but after that, the meeting proceeded relatively peacefully.

Next, Kiest’s presentation, starting with a summary of comments from the first meeting. She listed interest in benches, walkways, access for the disabled, keeping all the trees and perhaps adding more plantings, “safe edge” along the park’s border with busy California Avenue SW. As she had done during the first meeting, Kiest showed a photo of Stevens Place Triangle Park on Beacon Hill; park-change opponent Dennis Ross called out from the back of the room to say that the plantings in that park “are now dead,” but Kiest kept moving and didn’t address that point. (We’ll check on that park soon.)

Kiest went on to explain the “lack of clarity” about where park property really begins and ends, particularly a stretch of asphalt along its north side, adjacent to a parking area for a nearby apartment building. This happened, she said, because the park previously was road right-of-way purchased over periods of time (there were trolley and cable car lines in the area in the first half of the 20th century, like this, leading downhill to a ferry terminal, and that history was again mentioned as something that could be showcased in the park).

That’s not the only undefined edge, she added: “The park goes all the way to the church – the grading that slopes down is within the park site … There’s a significant amount of land on the north side that could make the park feel safer and larger.”

Segueing to the actual design, she concluded, “I was asked to look at concepts for the site. The Parks Department reviewed all the concepts this past Tuesday with Kellee (Jones, project liaison)’s team and they wanted to make sure that we included this range of concepts for you to look at.”

First, “existing conditions”:

Kiest outlined the slope on the site’s west side, adjacent to the church, and a rockery that was allowed by the Parks Dept., and again mentioned the asphalt-covered area on the north edge.

Then, the “starting point”:

Adding a bit to the existing conditions, Kiest said, this could be seen with a few changes – three benches, landscaping for a “safer edge,” sidewalk repair to fix buckling blamed on tree roots, and adding a curb-cut ramp (as exists at many streetcorners).

Next, “inner circle”:

Right now, Kiest said, it’s difficult to get “from point A to point B” inside the park – particularly in winter, with saturated, muddy ground. This would add “a walk connecting the walks … giving us the chance to keep the lawn or add landscape beds. I’d call it the ‘traditional Olmsted look’” — a reference to the much-lauded designer of so many Seattle parks — “… it could have a small plaza, same size as Benefit Park in Southeast Seattle, about 20 feet wide.” All concepts but “starting point,” she noted, would “stretch” the park “a little bit to the west” — not adding land, but better defining where the park site truly begins/ends.

Another common factor: Kiest proposes moving the bus stop north, so that it doesn’t dominate the view from the southeastern corner. “If you relocate the bus stop north, suddenly you can
see into the park, the seating area – we’re looking at trying to make the park feel bigger.” You can see the stop in this photo we took earlier this week:

Next concept, “outer circle”:

This, Kiest said, “pushes the circle outside the existing walkway … and includes a place on the west side that could be a sandbox. … This is a straightforward thing within the existing park, retaining trees, retaining existing lawn.”

Next, “full stretch”:

This one was Kiest’s exercise “to see how much of the park we could use.” Besides reclaiming the asphalt-covered area, moving the bus stop, etc., it would include a “meander walk” in the southwestern section, and “the widest lawn … goes out beyond the trees … it IS a change beyond the existing conditions, but it shows how the park can feel larger.” It would also include an added garden. Kiest went on to say, “There is no magic, it’s not like we are making the property bigger – what we want to keep trying to do is, how to draw (the park) in a way that provides new opportunities and respects the existing park.”

Before finishing her presentation, she also presented a brief look at the “southern triangle” that FANNA’s organizers had originally eyed, recounting that while it’s still owned by SDOT, the Parks Department has taken responsibility for “managing” it:

While Kiest noted that FANNA isn’t interested in “stretching the project too far,” she felt it important to note the fact the two triangles together seem to make a whole and could have a complementary relationship – maybe the north site more about history and culture, south about nature; she drew laughter by briefly putting up the yin/yang symbol and saying the two sites have that kind of relationship. As for specifics, she didn’t offer much aside from suggesting the southern site “could be more of a bioswale that picks up water off the street and draings it,” since the neighborhood has a recurring problem with rainwater flowing downhill and deadending in what Kiest called “an area of wonderfully flat, bad existing drainage.” She pointed out that some have asked about P-Patch possibilities for the site, and she had concerns about the size, but said she would “leave (that) discussion to someone else.”

With that, the discussion broke into the small groups, table by table:

While the tables discussed the proposed designs and what they’d like to see in the park, FANNA’s Manuela Slye watched over two tables of small children making art:

After half an hour, each table was asked to have a spokesperson list a couple highlights of the discussion (with all written comments going to Kiest and FANNA for consideration in the next step of the process).

First table liked the idea of fixing the sidewalk, but expressed concern about the costs of any work on this park — “money’s tight, we’re closing schools.” They suggested perhaps a “phase two” somewhere down the road, when the economy improved; Kiest replied that she’s worked on many projects with multiple phases. They also liked the concept of replacing the asphalt area with greenscape.

Next table thought “a bench might be OK” and then asked the question: “We wonder, what happened to the playspace, it’s gone.” When Kiest explained the project had evolved, the table spokesperson pressed, “But why? That’s how this whole thing started.” Kiest’s reply: “What the group asked for in its proposal is a ‘natural playscape’. Working for them, as professionals, we are talking about making the site more enjoyable … We want children to feel safe and comfortable in our parks.”

At that point, a man elsewhere in the room interjected, “Taking over the asphalt can’t be done. You can’t limit the access to those properties.”

Kiest had a ready answer: “In even the ‘full stretch’ proposal, the asphalt (owned by an adjacent property) remains 44 feet wide, which is what’s required for access to a one-sided parking area.” She added that the Parks Department once had an agreement allowing the asphalt but it’s no longer in effect and they’d like it removed.

Another table thought the asphalt area could be turned into a “dog area,” and expressed interest in historical signs about the ferry history.

The spokesperson for the next table said that six of the seven people there did not want any changes to the park, but would like to see it better maintained. He added: “If the process could start again from the beginning, we might be open to some changes, but we think it has gone too fast.”

Next table’s spokesperson: “We like change. The current park is not that inviting. We like the ‘inner circle,’ expanding the park to the north, moving the bus stop.”

Dennis Ross spoke next, saying moving the bus stop “is not a good idea .. it would block access for property owners, as it is a heavily used bus area, and people would have to walk further — many walk several blocks already.” He also voiced “concern about the city’s economy … who’s going to pay for all this maintenance?” and reaffirmed support for the park as-is.

Next table: “Keep it simple – partly because of maintenance. Extending to the north is a good idea (but) we have concern about a sandbox because of animals in the area – cats, dogs, raccoons …” They said they would support adding benches.

Table after that: “We hadn’t previously known what part of this was city property. We like recapturing the asphalt area … That big intersection of asphalt there is rather treacherous.”

The following table suggested a kiosk in the south triangle with “pictures and story” about the area’s history.

Then a first-of-its-kind suggestion from the next table: “We’d like to see the park renamed after the former principal of West Seattle High, Gordon Hannaford, who was killed there while crossing the street.” (We don’t have the exact date of that crash, but it happened after Mr. Hannaford’s retirement in 1970; according to Seattle Public Schools‘ online history of WSHS, he had been with the school for more than 40 years. The naming suggestion was made by Mel Terrana.) That drew many murmurs of assent. That table also was interested in “maximizing the grass.”

Next table liked reclaiming the asphalt and fixing the sidewalks, while also expressing concern about cost, and about the possibility that too many improvements to the park would “invite vagrants.”

The table after that specifically opposed a sandbox but liked the asphalt reclamation and moving the bus stop.

With the table reports complete, Kiest outlined what happens next – “getting closer to a single drawing” at the 7 pm third and final workshop on April 16, at which she also promised to have “cost estimates so people can understand the priorities … and figure out what’s most important to you.”

The meeting ended with something that would have been unimaginable at the tumultuous first one – a round of applause. Some stayed afterward for one more look at the designs on an easel, and were still chatting as they moved out into the partly sunny morning.

Side notes: Our earlier coverage mentioned a man suffering chest pains during the meeting, requiring a call to 911. FANNA’s Ann Limbaugh posted a comment after that report saying he went to the hospital but is doing OK, and expressing thanks for those who helped. … FANNA has posted its recap of this morning here … Our previous coverage is all archived here, newest to oldest (so the older articles are below this one, when you go to that page).

29 Comments

  1. Thank you Tracy for the thorough report! The only thing I would like to add is that at the kids tables the question was “What would you like to see at “the park” (California Place)?” The kids kept it pretty simple, the most popular items being: trees, flowers, kids, and doggies with happy faces. It was great to watch the youngest members of our community work so diligently on their representations! Their feedback was handed over to Karen Kiest’s team at the end of the workshop.

    Comment by Manuela Slye — 9:18 am March 8, 2009 #

  2. Headline should read,”NASTY NIMBYs PREVAIL.”
    I wonder how much more than the original $15,000 has already been spent on these meetings bowing to the design demands of the few vocal seniors who have found their late life mission in denying children play areas.
    The Seattle Process continues to amaze and sicken me.
    Somehow these selfish whining seniors with apparently unlimited time and energy have managed to turn “playspace” into a dirty word.
    Although a “foreigner” from Gatewood, I attended yesterday’s meeting just to put a face to these grim “no change” zealots that I have been reading on WSB and on their West Seattle Herald rants to the editor.
    These gray fascists should be ashamed of their actions and the damage they have wrought to our community.
    Imagine if they had devoted such energy to positive actions – food banks, crossing guards, senior centers, mentoring?

    Comment by populist Nulu — 9:41 am March 8, 2009 #

  3. I checked the Social Security Death Index on-line, and found that Mr. Hannaford passed away in January 1984.

    .

    The listing doesn’t give the specific date, as most do. I also Googled his name, and didn’t find any further details. But, this gives us a general idea. Perhaps somebody out there remembers more of the details.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:59 am March 8, 2009 #

  4. Thanks, Mike, I should have recalled that research tool. The table that brought it up did say something about the 1980s. I got the retirement date, and confirmed the spelling, in the West Seattle High School history summary that the district has online, which explained that he had been a teacher at the school for decades before becoming principal 1958-1970 – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:08 am March 8, 2009 #

  5. Meanwhile, Cottage Grove, an area underserved by play areas and spaces, can’t get funding.

    Why more park space for North Admiral?

    Comment by Park Parity — 11:23 am March 8, 2009 #

  6. Well, actually, they’re kind of in the same spot. Both the Cottage Grove tot lot and the California Place Park project got $15,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grants. Cottage Grove had hoped somehow to make that cover the whole project – they got a landscape architect to volunteer design services – but then learned that what they hoped to do would cost $200,000 (most of that for landscaping and irrigation, not the play equipment itself).
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14348
    So now they are trying to figure out what might be more realistic.

    FANNA could find itself in the same spot after Design Meeting #3, when cost estimates are to be shared – and like the Cottage Grove folks would then have to decide what to do next. I don’t think I’ve seen a five-digit park project yet. (Someone please tell me if you have!)

    Comment by WSB — 11:48 am March 8, 2009 #

  7. This gray-haired old lady does not like being called a NIMBY or a fascist, especially with the implication that she hates children. The thought of a playscape in this tiny spot, right off of a busy street, scares the bejesus out of me, and I am not alone. The problem is the way this was handled from the start. I am not questioning the Slyes’ motives, and I am sure that they want the best for the neighborhood. But when you are the owner of a daycare and want to create a playscape in a neighborhood park, you have to get the neighbors’ support or people will become suspicious. This is simply human nature. I live two blocks away and was not notified, and I have talked to no one who was. A big mistake was not notifying the immediate neighbors who are now active in No Change. This should have drawn the neighbors together for a common purpose, yet all I see is a divided neighborhood.

    Comment by gray fascist — 11:54 am March 8, 2009 #

  8. gray fascist, you just proved Nulu’s point.

    Comment by Jeremiah — 12:44 pm March 8, 2009 #

  9. I’m not sure how much more notice you could have received. What is going on now is a DESIGN PROCESS, nothing more. I don’t see any playground equipment on any of the landscape architect’s designs. The whole “the street is dangerous” argument is really tired anyway, especially since the “NO CHANGE” people contradict themselves by saying the park shouldn’t be changed because it is already used by children, but it shouldn’t be changed because it is dangerous. If you are confused by that “argument,” you are not alone. Could we please just move forward from here and stop complaining about not being notified? Sorry, but my 14 karat gold invitation printing press is currently in the shop.

    Comment by Kelly — 12:55 pm March 8, 2009 #

  10. Quite frankly I don’t give a damn what they do with the park. But FANNA had over 200 signatures and no one I talked to was notified. If this is supposed to be Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, it just seems reasonable to talk to the people directly affected. They didn’t. I have talked to people, lots of people, and the suspicion is there whether you or I like it or not. What should have drawn neighbors together has turned neighbor against neighbor and it didn’t have to happen this way.

    Comment by gray fascist — 1:21 pm March 8, 2009 #

  11. You can call it suspicion if you like – but they level of personal attacks towards the Slye family has been – I don’t even know the right word as I go between pathetic on the part of the “no change” to appalling to unconscionable. Clearly we are in need of a new play area so that some folks in this neighborhood get a refresher in sharing. I still don’t get why on earth being a preschool operator in this neighborhood raises suspicion – of what exactly? That there are parents in the neighborhood that, gasp, use the neighborhood preschools? That there are children here that are better off silent?

    Comment by homesweethome — 2:39 pm March 8, 2009 #

  12. To Gray Fascist and others who wonder -

    At the time of our application we had 80+ signatures. These were gathered by talking to people on the street around the neighborhood, the church leaders and knocking on a few doors – all people who would have a stake or interest. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – people were genuinely interested in EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES. There is no minimum threshold of signatures for the grant and as I’ve said before, this is also called an organizing grant. Based on the work we had done thus far, Dept of Neighborhoods encouraged us to apply for the small and simple grant and said that the design process will help with additional outreach. Never having done this before, we proceeded forward with the intentions of drawing in additional neighbors through the design process.
    *
    Yes, Ms. Slye runs a daycare, but she also has three children and another on the way. These children live in the neighborhood and its not unreasonable to think that she would want the best for them. I know I do for my two. I also believe that community service and contributions are a vital part of what makes this world and our neighborhood a better place. The most difficult thing about this whole project has been trying to explain to my four year old why there are so many people in our neighborhood who believe that we shouldn’t and can’t seem to talk civilly about making the park into a place that everyone can use and enjoy.
    *
    It’s unfortunate that people want to immediately believe the worst about their neighbors intentions and assume that their interests could only be self serving. I try to look at things from a different angle. I give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove over and over again that I should think otherwise.
    *
    I do believe in this neighborhood and strongly believe we can get past this animosity. We made progress at the last meeting.
    *
    So I ask of you all, please just give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt.

    Comment by Ann Limbaugh — 3:34 pm March 8, 2009 #

  13. were you at the meeting? you were notified, then. sheeeeesh. People act as if this is a park in construction. Mr. Ross calling out: what are the costs? He has been a neighborhood volunteer for many years, he of all people should understand this was a PLANNING meeting, people. This is the part where you get to say what you want/don’t want, etc. None of the plans presented included a “playscape” that’s so scary to some of the oldies. What divided this community isn’t FANNA, it’s those who spread misinformation and fanned the flames of FEAR with lies and distortions. It’s scary how easily people will believe LIES. I thought you folks in North Admiral were smarter than that.

    Comment by acemotel — 3:37 pm March 8, 2009 #

  14. homesweethome, I think the real story is read in between the lines. And it’s too awful to articulate.

    Comment by acemotel — 3:39 pm March 8, 2009 #

  15. omg, acemotel, I never would have thought of that. Let’s hope that you are wrong, but unfortunately that seems to make the most sense. Ugh. Yucky.

    Comment by Kelly — 4:00 pm March 8, 2009 #

  16. No one expected an engraved invitation, but when you are making a dramatic change to a neighborhood park, the smart thing to do is talk to the people who live next to it. It’s just common sense. The people I have talked to knew nothing about it until a decision had already been made by the Parks Department. I think some felt blindsided and jumped to conclusions. That’s all. I am not casting any aspersions on the Slyes other than extreme naivete. There is nothing “ugly” here. Contrary to what you might think, a lot of the neighbors just happen to like the park the way it is.

    As for personal attacks thrown at the Slyes, I would like to point out that in a previous post I and all the other old ladies at the meeting were referred to as fascists, selfish, whining seniors and that we needed something better to do with our time than fighting children’s playgrounds, and we should work at the food banks instead. And this is the way to get community support? For all anyone knows, maybe some of us do work at food banks or do other volunteer work. I do.

    Comment by gray fascist — 5:25 pm March 8, 2009 #

  17. A decision hasn’t already been made by the parks department. That’s more misinformation.

    Comment by acemotel — 5:50 pm March 8, 2009 #

  18. Just for fact-checking’s sake, the Parks Department hasn’t made any decision. FWIW, here’s a little more timeline on the entire 9-month process to date (all of our coverage is archived here):

    -June 2008, Neighbor group’s first presentation was to Admiral Neighborhood Association (as reported here … it was also mentioned on the agenda that is sent out to members of the ANA mailing list, and we previewed it as well)
    -Neighbor group subsequently applied for Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, which is awarded (or not) by the city Department of Neighborhoods – this is the $15K grant that is funding the design process, and that’s where this current round of money stops
    -July 10, we published word of a July 23 community meeting organized by FANNA
    -As we reported July 24 in our story about the meeting
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=9269
    nobody expressed the “no change” opinion at the meeting. And also mentioned in our story, some had left “no change” comments in our previous coverage, so they obviously know the meeting was happening. I can’t speak to how or whether the meeting announcements were disseminated by West Seattle’s other news organization, but I recall from the “to” lines on the e-mail that the same press releases were sent to them as were sent to us.
    -FANNA had a series of meetings even before the application was approved. The next one we covered was August 20, at which some opponents did show up .. here’s our August 21 story:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=9918
    -Later that week, the grant was approved by DON:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=9950

    Because this involves Parks property, the announcement in October of the series of public meetings — one informational meeting followed by the three design workshops — came from Parks. We published it verbatim on October 28. Excerpt:

    Seattle Parks and Recreation will hold four public meetings to engage the public in the design of a small scale, natural play area at California Place, located at California Ave. SW and SW Hill St. … Parks is seeking input from the public on the elements they would like to see included and on what design best fits within the community.

    My takeaway from all this so far remains one point that applies to us all, regardless of where we live … if your neighborhood has a council/association, get involved with it. Even if that just means spending an hour and a half once a month (less often, in the case of some groups) to attend its meetings. That’s where first word of things like this always comes up. The meetings are invariably in the same place, at the same time, every month, and trust me — we cover every single neighborhood group meeting we can possibly get ourselves or a contributing reporter to – and from what we have seen week in and week out, all over the peninsula, there’s LOTS of room for newcomers. LOTS. And they’re generally friendly, informal meetings with lots of time for questions.
    Admiral, by the way, meets the second Tuesday of each month, 7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church basement meeting room, so that’s coming up this week – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:08 pm March 8, 2009 #

  19. I think what this park really needs is a boxing ring.

    Comment by Keith — 7:21 pm March 8, 2009 #

  20. I was very sad to see Ms. Kiest get attacked during the design meeting — she is an architect who was hired to do a job and is doing her job well, can we be respectful? Particularly distressing was when Mr. Ross claimed that the buffer plants at the 17th and Beacon park are all dead… this comment specifically calls into question Ms. Kiest’s professional aptitude as the job of a landscape architect is to choose plantings that will work in a given spot. By calling into question the viability of those plantings Mr. Ross attacked Ms. Kiest’s livelihood, and while she seems to have a thick skin (kudos to you Ms. Kiest), it really was sad for me to see this particular attack. Having driven over to the 17th and Beacon park and inspected the buffer zone at that park I am happy to announce that the plantings are alive and well– you have to look closely at some of the plants– this is winter after all– but they are alive. Some are a vibrant green. The others are in their winter dormancy. Yes, there is some dead plant material left from last summer, but the underlying plantings are alive and well and will be back in the spring in full force– most trees and bushes have visible buds. My question to the W. Seattle blogosphere: When Mr. Ross stood before 100 friends and neighbors on Saturday and reported that all the buffer plants were dead did he forget after 70+ years on this planet that plants go dormant during the winter?, or is this another in a long string of mean spirited lies meant to confuse the park issue and anger neighbors? I’ll let the WSB readership discern the answer to my question. As for me, I offer my apology to Ms. Kiest on behalf of a neighborhood that is much, much better than this one mean person.

    Please go visit Stevens Place park located where Beacon Ave S. meets 17th Ave. S. to see for yourself.

    Comment by Sad in N. Admiral — 9:02 pm March 8, 2009 #

  21. Speaking as a distant and neutral party in the park issue, I think gray facist is clear and reasonable with her comments. The arrogant and self-entitled disrespect for her by a few certain people on this comment thread is truly shameful.

    Comment by Alvis — 9:39 pm March 8, 2009 #

  22. TR, okay, I lied about the part of not finding any more info on Mr Hannaford. ;)

    .

    I should have said that I didn’t find any further details on a more specific date of passing.

    .

    I too found the info on his long run as WSH, and reminisced about the fact that my Mom and 3 Uncles may have had him as a teacher in the ’30′s & ’40′s.

    .

    I also seem to recall a Mr. Hannaford as my Driver’s Ed simulator teacher in the summer of ’74 at Sealth, but, don’t recall off the top of my head that his first name was Gordon.

    .

    Perhaps, besides being a crossing guard, it was something he did post retirement. Or, maybe it was a different Mr. Hannaford.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:43 am March 9, 2009 #

  23. Alvis who enjoys speaking as “a distant and neutral party” defines himself.
    Please read the whole history of this issue as exposed by posts on WSB and letters to the editor of West Seattle Herald.
    I too, was a “distant and neutral party” until I started following the issue.
    I was not aware of and have never used this park before.
    I attended Saturday’s meeting and witnessed Mr. Ross’s interruption. It was not “clear and reasonable” as Sad points out.
    How can it be “clear and reasonable” to continue to argue on both sides of the “safety” issue? The No Change group consistently argues that the park has been historically used as a play area, yet also argues as does gray fascist, “The thought of a playscape in this tiny spot, right off of a busy street, scares the bejesus out of me, and I am not alone.” Of course, this argument flies in the face of dozens of other park play areas even closer to their streets. At least this location has a sidewalk and a wide planting strip that separates the park from the traffic. Many do not.
    If this “safety” argument were valid, the No Change group would be the Big Fence group.
    The tired claims of not being informed first become a nakedly clear case of egos. As gray fascist wrote with inconsistency above, “Quite frankly I don’t give a damn what they do with the park.”
    If you don’t care, then quit being an obstructionist.
    The nastiness, specious & contradictory arguments of the No Change group is available to all, with a sincere thanks to WSB.

    Comment by populist Nulu — 11:35 am March 9, 2009 #

  24. I’m still awaiting a coherent explanation for the objection to changing this park:

    * Safety concerns? Flies in the face of the “fine at it is” argument. Every plan presented makes the park safer than it is “as is.”

    * Not notified? This is the third public meeting about the park, still with no plans to move forward on anything.

    * Vagrants? Are the other Admiral parks overrun with vagrants?

    * Money? Cities spend money improving themselves. Don’t like it? Live in a yurt in the middle of nowhere instead of in a community.

    I know those who don’t want change hold those feelings dearly. But without offering reason that holds water, (but instead, spreading misinformation), be aware that you come off looking just plain obstinate.

    Comment by Free Lunch — 6:27 pm March 9, 2009 #

  25. Actually, here’s an exercise that might help those opposing the park. Create persuasive arguments against the following:

    * A nice setting in which to sit and read a book
    * An outdoor spot to play chess or checkers with a friend
    * A way to walk though the park without muddying your shoes
    * A barrier to prevent a child’s ball from rolling out into California Ave.

    Do so, and you’ll win me over – I promise.

    Comment by Free Lunch — 6:30 pm March 9, 2009 #

  26. Free lunch,
    You are cool. In my opinion the truth finally comes out: The *NO CHANGE* in not about safety concerns, evil playgrounds, loving the place dearly because it has served this community for 100 years, or even the vagrant and sex offender paranoia. It has and always will be about not being the first ones to have the idea to do something to improve our neighborhood or not have been asked for permission to even think a forum could be created so everyone could speak out. I mean EVERYONE.
    To my fellow oldies: Welcome to the present time and please accept the fact that most likekly none of us over the age of sixty will be around in 40 years. Our children and grandchildren will be running the world then. I am confident they will do an excellent job. Namaste.

    Comment by Tina B — 7:48 pm March 9, 2009 #

  27. How could we waste money on this project??? we voted in the park levy– we’re paying the taxes. The only question is whether or not my tax money will improve a neighborhood park in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Capitol Hill, or in my own neighborhood. The angry crowd wants my tax dollars to be spent increasing the livability and therefore the property values in other neighborhoods. Thanks FANNA for trying to make our neighborhood better.

    The safety issue was so well addressed by Free Lunch and Nulu above– The opposers are just saying no to everything– they haven’t considered really making the park safer. If the opposers wanted safety they would have asked for more traffic/sidewalk improvements focused on safety. They would have called the DOT department– those guys have lots of ideas as to how they can make the park safer. Guess who is out in front on having those discussions with DOT and is really trying to make that park safer? Oh, that’s right, FANNA.

    Comment by Sad in N. Admiral — 8:32 pm March 9, 2009 #

  28. I’m disappointed that there is not “something” in the plan for kids to play on. My children spent hours at the old Whaletail Park climbing on the whaletail and playing in the old boat. I hope that FANNA can continue their good work and see this thing through to at least having some kind of sculpture (perhaps something recalling an old cable car??) to spark the imaginations of neighborhood children.

    Comment by WSMom — 8:14 am March 10, 2009 #

  29. Karen Kiest is still taking input from the community on the concepts. If there are things you’d like to see or comment on, please email info@californiaplacepark.org and all comments will be passed along to Karen. Thanks to all for the great ideas!

    Comment by Ann Limbaugh — 9:18 am March 10, 2009 #

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