Roxhill Playground: Old ‘castle’ closed; date set for building new one

September 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, Westwood | 18 Comments

(Seattle Parks file photo)
2:34 PM: After 17 years, the wooden “castle” at Roxhill Playground is now closed forever – awaiting renovation of the playground site and construction of its successor. That word comes from Mat McBride, who is leading the “community build” plan for the new structure – which, like the old castle, will be made by Leathers and Associates. McBride says West Seattle-based Grindline, which is both building the adjoining Roxhill Skatespot and preparing the playground site for the new structure, will dismantle the old one soon; its plaques, he says, have been saved. The dates for the volunteer “community build” are now set for October 17th-21st, according to McBride, and you’re invited: “Still lots of opportunity to roll up sleeves for this park and community.” He is starting a website about and for the project – see it here; there’s history for starters, with information coming soon about other aspects including signing up to help build the new “castle.”

4:05 PM UPDATE: The dismantling already has begun; we went over for a photo and found that the north side of the play area had been taken apart, though the main part of the old “castle” is still standing:

18 Comments

  1. I want the old castle! Probably impossible to demo and move though. Still would be awesome to have in the back yard. :)

    Comment by HelperMonkey — 2:42 pm September 11, 2012 #

  2. $42 million, said the city when it was open: http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/update-new-4th-avenue-s-offramp-is-officially-open

    Comment by WSB — 2:48 pm September 11, 2012 #

  3. Dang, I know my son would have loved to have one last afternoon at the ‘castle playground’ I hope the new one has all the little twist and turns like the old one had. We look forward to it!

    Comment by Leann — 2:52 pm September 11, 2012 #

  4. What a tragedy! It really makes me sad to see all the same cookie cutter playgrounds all over this town. We will miss the character that the old structure gave to the area.

    Comment by Mrs. T — 3:00 pm September 11, 2012 #

  5. My daughter and I spent many wonderful hours at “Castle Park” as she called it. What’s wrong with it as-is?

    Comment by Fiwa Jcbbb — 3:07 pm September 11, 2012 #

  6. We covered this extensively through the design meetings, etc. The community love for the old structure was much appreciated and spoken of – heck, my son practically grew up on it; nice 1-mile walk from our house – but the old structure is deteriorating and not ADA-accessible. The “what’s wrong with it?” question was addressed at the first meeting – our coverage:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/08/from-plaza-to-castle-roxhill-skatespotplayground-projects-1st-round-of-community-discussion
    .
    The new structure, thanks to the strong community opinions (even though participation was certainly not what it could have been) voiced, is NOT cookie-cutter …
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/12/roxhill-park-playground-new-castle-climbing-dome-and-you

    Comment by WSB — 3:17 pm September 11, 2012 #

  7. What a loss of a great playground. I wish the city would support the castle!

    Comment by D-Mom — 3:32 pm September 11, 2012 #

  8. Well it may be like no other but it is still made up of the same plastic components every other playground is getting. Golden Gardens has a climbing dome just like this. Sad it could not have lasted longer

    For a ‘real’ playground structure this is what Hiawatha used to have:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/3971664643/lightbox/

    Comment by Delridge Believer — 3:36 pm September 11, 2012 #

  9. Sad! I too wish there had been an announcement for the final day kids could play. My son loves “Big Wood”. The castle will be missed.

    Comment by lox — 4:19 pm September 11, 2012 #

  10. My kids and I loved the castle but we are looking forward to the upgraded play space! The skate park is a welcomed addition as well. Change is hard, but this is a good thing.

    Comment by Castle Climber — 4:49 pm September 11, 2012 #

  11. Delridge Believer, that is fantastic! Thanks for sharing that 1912 photo! (Wondering how many arms/heads were broken…)

    Comment by Julia — 6:18 pm September 11, 2012 #

  12. It will always be ‘Castle Park’ no matter what they build and whatever it is I am sure thousands of children for years to come will enjoy it.

    Comment by Sarah — 7:42 pm September 11, 2012 #

  13. I didn’t know anything about it and just reading the story made me sign up to volunteer to build it! Thanks WSB for the service you provide to this community.

    Comment by jenn — 8:03 pm September 11, 2012 #

  14. Hi!
    .
    I love this park too. Not just because it’s a great park (it is). Not because it’s a unique park to Seattle, and those have been disappearing faster than you can say “didn’t a cool park used to be here?” (Okay, partly because of that), but because this park is an amazing statement and testament to the community it’s in. The community that lives in this neighborhood, and the community that visits it both.
    .
    The website referenced above (http://roxhillcastle.wordpress.com/) gives more info. I apologize that it is not yet able to answer every question, these things happen fast I am finding. I hope to have it fully realized very soon. In the interim, briefly, some answers to questions raised on this thread:
    .
    The play structure will be rebuilt along the same theme as the current/former play area. It will be made of wood (technically, it will be made of Trex), it will have tunnels to scamper in, it will be unique, it will be made by hand, it will be built by the community.
    .
    This project is only possible through the community. And it it not yet fully realized. Please check the website periodically to find out ways to get involved (there are plenty of opportunities that don’t involve heavy lifting.) Tell your friends.
    .
    Thanks for believing in this place.

    Comment by mcbride — 8:04 pm September 11, 2012 #

  15. I, too, love the castle style my kids grew up with (in other states), but also know that many of these older sites have been found to leach preservative contaminates into the soil, including arsenic. Most have been closed in the Northeast. So, the change, while a loss of an icon, may be a blessing. We aremuch more careful with materials today, because we know more. Glad the community is investing in Roxhill!

    Comment by Real — 12:04 am September 12, 2012 #

  16. That is cool that you’re using Trex. I’ve seen decks and walkways made from it and it’s good stuff. New doesn’t necessarily mean cookie cutter–I was recently at the new Dolores Park playground and it’s amazing.

    Comment by datamuse — 1:50 am September 13, 2012 #

  17. I helped build Castle Park, along with what seemed to be 100 other volunteers. As I recall the construction was over Friday through Monday, over Memorial Day weekend. I had Friday off so I showed up to volunteer a couple hours then go out of town for the weekend. Ended up working all four days. Built the bridge between the two towers and the slide. My son took great pride in pointing to his friends that any “anomalies” in the slats on the chain suspension in the bridge were my fault.

    Comment by zymurgist — 9:39 am September 15, 2012 #

  18. I really disappointed that they’re tearing this park down in building a new one. I love this park. It was so much fun to play in. Its very sad that its being rebuilt because there aren’t many all-wood playgrounds like it any more. I really hope they don’t put in a generic, all-plastic one.

    Comment by Veronica — 7:15 pm September 25, 2012 #

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