No, that’s not a rerun of the video featured here after the media tour of Beacon Hill Reservoir last year – it’s a brand-new look at the work to cover (underground) West Seattle Reservoir adjacent to Westcrest Park (map). When it’s done next year and ready to hold water, the man who had the idea to cover the reservoirs won’t be mayor any more – so he came out today for a firsthand look at part of his legacy. During the tour, we asked Mayor Nickels, now that much of the reservoir-covering work he started is done at several sites around the city, what he thinks about the decision to change from “floating covers” that originally were in the works:
The city decided to cover half of the original reservoir site (the southern half), and leave the other half as open space. The other city reservoir in West Seattle has been covered – Myrtle; it’s much smaller, but the project has taken longer because the waterproofing needed to be replaced (here’s the story we broke three months ago, and our most recent followup) – lessons learned from that will ensure that the same part of the process does not encounter the same problem here. Meantime, last time we visited the Westcrest site, in May, the uncovered half looked like this:
Now it’s been hydroseeded, and Canada geese have taken up residence on the lush grass – take a look at the difference. Bill Duyungan from Seattle Public Utilities is the voice you hear in this clip talking about it:
The grass-covered side also has special drainage features – it’s something of a swale, SPU managers explained. Though the undergrounding structure work is almost done, the entire project is more like half complete. The project manager from Seattle Public Utilities, Stephanie Murphy, gave a quick rundown on the numbers –30 million gallons capacity for the covered reservoir, with the covering work to be complete by year’s end (more concrete will be poured tomorrow; the pour’s been under way intermittently since March) and filling scheduled for next summer. She was asked how it’ll be connected with the existing park:
We also got a look at the workings inside – including the electrical vault, with pumps and earthquake protection equipment – as explained when we toured the site in May, it’s got a special setup to make sure the reservoir stays half full even if a seismic event causes it to lose some water. The vault is accessible from a set of stairs leading down from part of the north edge of the cover. Here’s part of what’s inside:
The completion of the reservoir will create 21 new acres of park space that will connect to the existing Westcrest Park; $3 million from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy passed last year will be used to design and build the park’s features – the community-involvement process hasn’t officially begun yet, but the Highland Park Action Committee will be closely involved – its next meeting is a week from tonight, fourth Wednesday of the month (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club building). As for the mayor – as much fun as it must be to come out and have a look at part of your legacy, a structure that will be in place for decades, he has an interesting rest of the week ahead; we asked what’s ahead for him in the next few days, and he mentioned that on Sunday, he plays host to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
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