One year ago – on June 11, 2008 – local preschool operator Manuela Slye stood before the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting and talked about a “dream” of a playground at little California Place Park, adjacent to Admiral Church. In that park today, she cuddled her six-week-old son while talking with us during the celebration organized by the group she co-founded, Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, marking the end of the design process for which they procured a $15,000 city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant.
Moments before we spoke with Slye, we talked with FANNA’s Ann Limbaugh, after she announced to celebration attendees that there’s only one certain change in the park’s near future: An official sign, marking it as a park. “That’s something we wanted all along,” Slye told us, “something to let people know this is a park.” According to Limbaugh, the group then hopes to secure volunteer time and donations — “less than $2,000” — for one element of this design crafted by landscape architect Karen Kiest as her contract, funded by the city grant, ended:
Limbaugh says the design element that FANNA hopes to pursue involves “buffer plantings” in the parking strips along the sidewalk that borders the park’s east and north sides; the lack of a buffer between the park space and busy California Avenue SW was one concern that repeatedly surfaced during months of meetings about the park. But they’re not needed, according to the “No Change to Park” group:
Standing next to the easels displaying the park design proposals at the celebration, holding her often-seen “No Change to Park” sign, Jan Bailey told us she is opposed to those plantings because of the potential expense. She and ally Dennis Ross, a longtime community activist in the Admiral area — also displaying a “No Change to Park” sign — continue to advocate for the park to remain unchanged. As for whether FANNA might pursue any more components of Kiest’s design – which would require a new round of fundraising and grant-seeking – Limbaugh said they want to “take a break” so nothing is planned. No Parks Department rep was in sight at today’s event (not that one was expected, as it was a community gathering and not an official meeting), so we will be checking with them on Monday regarding their official view of the park’s status, and the timetable for the sign installation.
To catch up on the backstory regarding this park, you can read newest-to-oldest in our California Place Park coverage archive here.