9:13 AM: Busy night and morning since this announcement was made at last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting (details on other items later) but we wanted to share before too much more time passed: Highland Park’s new spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) might open as soon as this weekend! The news came from Pete Spalding, the West Seattleite who chairs the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee. The spraypark is on the site of the former Highland Park wading pool; at one time it was proposed for a very simple spray feature, but Highland Park neighbors led by Carolyn Stauffer, now co-chair of HPAC, campaigned three years ago for a share of the levy’s first Opportunity Fund round, and the city eventually secured the funding for a more extensive project. Sprayparks are considered desirable not just because they’re fun but also because they conserve water better than wading pools and don’t require staffing. We’ll continue checking with Parks regarding the spraypark’s status for this weekend – Saturday is the date when sprayparks citywide are scheduled to start operation for the season; currently it’s forecast as cloudy and showery. (Our photo was taken through the fence after last night’s HPAC meeting.)
ADDED 10:21 AM: The spraypark area also is likely to get some money from the next round of Opportunity Fund spending. We just talked with Parks’ Rick Nishi for details of other items mentioned by Spalding at HPAC last night: The Oversight Committee is recommending funding for better pedestrian access to the spraypark/playground area, and the art project involving the small building at the site is in the plan too. Final approval will have to come from the City Council, but the committee made its recommendations at a meeting this past Monday night. Funding was freed up, Nishi explained, when a project involving improvements for Camp Long cabins had to be removed from the proposal because of logistical/bureaucratic challenges.
12:57 PM: Karen O’Connor from Parks e-mailed to say that while the spraypark is close to completion, they still need inspections that could take up to 2 weeks, so don’t get too excited yet. She adds that its dedication is likely in late July-early August, after artwork is complete at the spraypark.