The historic lodge at Camp Long is closed right now for renovation work. Separate from that project, the Parks Department is trying to map the unique park’s future, and both of West Seattle’s district councils have now heard presentations this month aimed at getting your thoughts, including one at Wednesday night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. Is it OK for Camp Long to become home to a “challenge course” in partnership with a well-known organization? What about other private partnerships? Read on for more – plus other major items from Wednesday night’s meeting, including community announcements and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw‘s appearance:
Among them, the city’s historic preservation officer, Karen Gordon, who came to present a bit of a primer on her specialty, including a nod to the theater’s namesake – Seattle’s first African-American teacher, who taught at the Youngstown building, now a Seattle landmark because of its history as the original Cooper School.
Citywide, Gordon said, there are about 400 individually designated landmarks. Council co-chair Pablo Lambinicio asked about the future of one of them – Fire Station 37, which will be taken out of service when its replacement is complete a few blocks south at 35th and Holden.
Gordon reiterated that because of its landmark status – shared by some other fire stations that were replaced by levy money – there will be “covenants” on the sale. (If you haven’t toured historic Station 37, check out our recent story, which includes a video tour.)
Though it’s not an official landmark, many consider Camp Long’s Lodge worthy of that designation. Its status, and matters of importance to the rest of the park’s future, were updated by Nathan Torgelson from the Parks Department, who has visited other area groups to spearhead the same discussion.
The million-dollar lodge work is about to start, he said, adding that Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher is taking the opportunity for a long-range look at Camp Long.
Partnerships are under discussion in a big way, to bring in money and to raise visibility. One specific project discussed Wednesday night and also at the recent Southwest District Council meeting: A “challenge course” to be built in conjunction with 4-H. That organization has put up $40,000 for part of the course, which is meant to help groups build teamwork and leadership, but that would only cover the “low” section of the course. A grant sought to pay for the “high” section didn’t come through, so other funding is being sought. So is community opinion – because, it was acknowledged, “it might be a little different at Camp Long” with this course in place. You’d see some ropes, you’d see a lane, you’d see “three or four feet off-the-ground activities” in places.
Even if funding isn’t found for the $20,000 cost of the “high” course, 4-H is said to be willing to go ahead with the “low” course. Council members had lots of questions – would it be open to the public when not booked by 4-H or other groups? Answer: Not without a trained facilitator. What about ongoing maintenance costs for the challenge course? About $1,000 a year. However, Torgelson pointed out, fees charged to use the course would be expected to generate revenue, to subsidize scholarships or other activities at the park.
Mark Ufkes, visiting from White Center for the later agenda item on annexation, noted that he’s a longtime Scoutmaster and has troops who “would be a big resource to build it and to use it” – right now, he said, those troops go many miles away to use a challenge course.
If you have an opinion on whether a challenge course would be a good fit at Camp Long, you can share your opinion with Torgelson – his contact information is here.
SUPPORTERS OF SEATTLE ANNEXING THE REST OF NORTH HIGHLINE: Ufkes and Peggy Weiss addressed the council, as they had done a few weeks earlier at Highland Park Action Committee (WSB coverage here), accompanied by Sharon Maeda and Don Malo. Weiss noted, “We’ve been conducting a conversation about annexation in White Center for more than 10 years.” The group talked about its hope that White Center could be “another great neighborhood of Seattle – we will be able to protect our sense of identity, and be part of something greater.” Ufkes suggested that White Center’s commercial core could be Seattle’s “eighth historic district.” Maeda compared White Center to Seattle’s Chinatown/International District, and noted that while Seattle seems to have lost some of its diversity, annexing White Center (and environs) could bring some back. Ufkes summarized their message as, “All we want is a vote – you don’t even have to take sides, let’s just have a vote.”
COUNCILMEMBER SALLY BAGSHAW: Her visit was more of a formal introduction to the Delridge District Council; she talked about her committee work, including her role as chair of the Parks and Seattle Center Committee. Bagshaw’s long had a special emphasis on law enforcement – she’s a former prosecutor – so Rhonda Smith from Highland Park Improvement Club asked her about the latest on the jail-planning process; Bagshaw explained the development we had reported earlier that day, with a council committee approving a 4-year extension of the contract for the county to provide jail services. The process of possibly building a new jail, though, continues, as the city may still need space, though Bagshaw said she’s hopeful that if Seattle and its “Northeast Cities” partners have to build one, they can build it near the current county facilities in Kent. Speaking of building, she was implored by council co-chair McBride not to allow the proposed Chihuly glass museum to go in at Seattle Center. Bagshaw said, “I’m so glad to hear you bring that up,” and explained why she’s not a fan of the idea, though she hasn’t closed the door entirely – maybe if it’s more accessible, “maybe if they include more artists.” She invited anyone interested in the proposal to come to a March 30th meeting at Seattle Center, 6:30 pm, not just to talk about what they don’t want to see at Seattle Center, but what they do want to see.
DELRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL RETREAT RECAP: Pete Spalding recapped the recent retreat, for those who hadn’t been there – if you haven’t already read it, he also kindly provided a summary to WSB, and you can see it here. McBride noted that he had recently visited the Southwest District Council and found its meetings to have a more organized, structured feeling, not that he was criticizing DNDC’s operational methods, but just observing a difference. He also mentioned the newly formed Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council, formed with SWDC’s help (WSB coverage here), and said he’d “like to see all area of Delridge spring up like that” – with more neighborhood groups. McBride also suggested it would be great for to identify the top three issues for the Delridge district “so if we’re ever asked, we can tick them off one, two, three” – asked by a politician, asked by a journalist from outside the area, etc.
OTHER QUICK NOTES: Spalding mentioned 150 Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund applications were received, about double what Parks had expected … HPIC’s Smith mentioned the Spring Clean event this Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, hoping for a big turnout, and noted the April 24th wine-tasting event the group’s working on … Department of Neighborhoods guests mentioned the ongoing city-grant cycles, with Delridge well-represented among recent grant winners and future applicants; more deadlines are coming up, and you can learn about the funds available by going here … DON’s district coordinator Ron Angeles had an update on Delridge Day, coming up June 5, in conjunction with other organizations including Sustainable West Seattle, which is playing a major role in Delridge Day in lieu of having its own standalone festival as it had done the past two years; Angeles says SWS will be signing up vendors for the event … There’s an All-Access extravaganza at Youngstown tonight – read about it on the center’s website.
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets the third Wednesday of the month at Youngstown Arts Center, 7 pm.