(Courtesy SiteWorkshop – click for full-size PDF version)
The final design meeting for the Highland Park Spraypark was a big part of the agenda last night for the Highland Park Action Committee‘s second meeting of the year – but two other much-anticipated HP projects were discussed too: West Seattle Reservoir Park, and the new Westcrest P-Patch community garden (which has a design workshop coming up this weekend).
SPRAYPARK MEETING: This has been long in the works – converting the Highland Park wading pool into a spraypark. Parks project manager Kelly Goold and landscape architect Mark Brands from SiteWorkshop went over the final design plan, the roots of which trace back to last August’s meeting at the park site near the current HP wading pool:
(WSB photo from August 2011)
Brands recapped the plan for a recirculating water system instead of a “passthrough” – more expensive yet more sustainable. The spraypark will be to the southeast of the wading pool’s footprint. They have two companies competing to provide spray features – a tunnel following one arc, smaller features for “younger family orientation” – including one known as a “bug” – and an overhead feature with an element of surprise, such as “tippy buckets.” The concepts are also on the graphics that were shown last night:
There will be interactive elements as well – when you plug one, another pops up, for example – The features will be organized into the planetary theme brought up at last summer’s design meeting, though it’s more abstract and proportionate than one costly idea, Brands said. The planetary roundup is missing Pluto, he noted, drawing “awww” from the crowd – there’ll be some planetary features laid into the pavement as well. There’ll be interactive features that can be used by kids on scooters, and seating elements nearby that can be used by families or others in the area. “A modest amount of furnishings,” as Brands summarized it, while noting that the design meeting had yielded a suggestion of more grassy area rather than an emphasis on picnic tables. They’re planning to repave part of the area near the spraypark, he said, though the path around the building that’s on site will be taken out. One more note: There will be some “splashes of color” in the concrete that comprises the spraypark surface – maybe the inner planets would have “a strong color,” Brands said.
The project is being considered for a “1 percent for arts” project, Goold said, though nothing is decided yet. With construction starting so soon, it was suggested to the project team that a month is not enough lead time for any collaboration on art; their reply was that they’d provide specific guidelines for a “set piece.”
Before the discussion ended, Pete Spalding mentioned that for the features not included in this phase, community members are certainly welcome to pursue more funding through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund‘s second round, which he says will be announced soon. (You can watch this website.) Pete, by the way, chairs the levy’s Oversight Committee.
Timeline at this point: The design will be finished in two weeks, and then will go out to bid. Construction is expected to start in late spring, continuing through late summer, and then “we’re going to push hard to get it open by late summer,” the project team promised.
(Courtesy SiteWorkshop – click for full-size PDF)
WEST SEATTLE RESERVOIR PARK UPDATE: Project manager Virginia Hassinger and landscape architect Brands (from SiteWorkshop, same as the spraypark project) both were on hand. Hassinger reminded those on hand that the park’s master plan components are not all funded – so they’ve been working at “what we can build with $3 million.” She mentioned the sidetrack they’d happened onto – reported here last fall – with sidewalks needed in certain areas adjacent to, and leading into, the park. They spent much of last year figuring out what could be done, as well as going back to the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee in search of more money (in the end, it granted more than $400,000, as reported here in December).
However, getting a sidewalk “all the way down Trenton Street … is really complicated,” Hassinger explained. Right now, she said, “We think we have our plan,” working with the other agencies, but it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point. They’re hoping to have park design complete this summer, and then will “get this project out for bid,” in mid-fall, and start construction next year.
Brands elaborated that they’re currently in the process of getting permits from the city for the park work, and there’s some complications because of which agency owns which component/part of the site. “It’s largely stayed true to the design that you saw last time,” he said – the upland area on the north side, the valley area where the reservoir (now covered) used to be, the play area relocation (with the current equipment, which “isn’t that old,” he said), the walking trails – since Westcrest already has so many, “this is just going to add to that,” Brands said. And then there’s the art (as announced and discussed last year – here’s one of our stories about it). What’s no longer in the plan – the “through parking” on the west side of the site, a few trails, some “hard-court” areas.
He walked through the site, with the northwest end leading to 60 parking spots. The first art installation, three “flyers,” will be at the restroom site at the midpoint of the parking area. Other areas on the east side of the park will include more of the installed art pieces. Getting closer to the Westcrest Off-Leash Area, they’re planning on the people/dog “interchange” area that was discussed at a previous meeting, “to really separate out traffic.”
The “ecology blocks” that are up at Cloverdale and 6th brought a question from one meeting attendee, who hoped they wouldn’t be there forever. Hassinger said they were there to keep cars off the park site, and described them as “a temporary measure because (Seattle Public Utilities) took down the fence,” saying SPU would be accountable for eventually taking them down, once it’s been decided what will be done with that part of the site “long term.”
Jim Curtin, neighborhood traffic coordinator from SDOT, answered another question about whether striping was in the works, to slow down through traffic, saying that they don’t usually stripe “non-arterial streets … I think we would encourage (the asker) and your neighbors to look at the Neighborhood Traffic-Calming Program, perhaps traffic circles or some other means.” What about speed bumps? he was asked on follow-up. He pointed those concerned to the program’s website (you can find it here).
Later in the meeting, more questions arose about the street improvements connected with the park project, some of which ultimately took money out of the park development itself, and whether they could stretch further to other parts of the area that are without sidewalks. Curtin tried to draw a parallel to what would be required of a private developer – they would have to build sidewalks, for example, so, he said, that’s the way the city process is working now, with a developing agency such as Parks required to make those kinds of improvements. He acknowledged it was unfortunate that this project wound up being the “guinea pig” for the new process the city’s been hammering out. Ultimately, he pointed the community members to the Neighborhood Street Fund, through which, he said, they could apply for up to $500,000 funding for a project such as a sidewalk.
HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer presented Brands with potential renditions of an idea for utilizing the slope from the hill to the valley, where she said there had been “awesome sledding” during this winter’s snow – a slide that could be used year-round. Brands said that Othello Park in South Seattle has the type of hillside slide she spoke of and took the idea under advisement.
WESTCREST P-PATCH COMMUNITY MEETINGS: The Westcrest Park P-Patch’s upcoming meetings were discussed by Phi Huynh. The first design workshop is this Saturday. The main mission: What would you like to see in the garden? he explained. (Formal meeting announcements are here and here.) “We’re excited to select Westcrest – there aren’t that many P-Patch community gardens in West Seattle,” he explained. Here’s the official announcement about the workshops coming up:
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods would like to invite you, your family and neighbors to participate in creating a new P-Patch community garden in Westcrest Park, 9000 8th SW, of West Seattle’s Highland Park neighborhood. Please attend the two meetings to learn about this project and to participate in the garden design process. Interpretation & children activities provided. Please bring snacks to share.
WHEN: March 3rd Saturday 10:00AM – 12:00PM Garden & Layout Ideas
April 7th Saturday 10:00AM – 12:00PM Final Design
WHERE: Jim Wiley Center – Joe Thomas Rm at Greenbridge, 9800 8th Ave. SW
MAIL THEFT: A concern was shared that small piles of unopened mail had been turning up in various parts of the area, so she wanted to raise awareness about mail theft. Also mentioned: A recent daytime burglary in the area.
HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB: That’s the building where HPAC meets, and a reminder was announced about its next Movie Night (third Friday every month, free). The annual wine event is set for May 5th, she also mentioned.
AWARDS: Receiving a shoutout at the start of the meeting – the current and future recipients of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s Westsider Awards, White Center Food Bank executive director Rick Jump, and Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee chair (among other neighborhood roles) Pete Spalding, both of whom were in attendance. Co-chairs Carolyn and Billy sprung from their presence to mention the Delridge Neighborhood District Council “Unsung Heroes” awards, which we reported the application period fr earlier today. Mike Shilley elaborated on it – the banquet will be at Neighborhood House.
WEBSITE: Carolyn made sure everyone knows that HPAC’s website is now part of the HPIC website – just look for the tab.