West Seattle, Washington
Back in March, we wrote about renovation work planned this spring/summer at Southwest Athletic Complex – and now Derek McCloud from Seattle Public Schools (which owns SWAC) sends word that work has begun:
Construction has started on the track at SWAC … most of the old track has already been torn up. It looks like the installation of the new track will begin next week! Graduation for Chief Sealth (5 PM on the 21st and West Seattle on the 21st @ 8) will still take place at the complex.. After graduation the field, will be torn up, and our hope is it will be ready by mid- to late August/early Sept for high school football practice. We would like to let the public know the field will be closed most of the summer, and to please stay out of the complex (which is locked) during the construction project!
District documents say the $1.5 million project “will include replacement of the existing synthetic turf at football, softball, and baseball fields using cork infill, refurbishing the existing rubberized running track, and associated work.”
If you are in the Westwood area and noticing police at Chief Sealth International High School: They’re questioning three students in connection with what was first reported as an assault – another student hit and knocked down near 26th and Thistle – and then changed to a report of “strong-arm robbery” (no weapon). Police spotted someone described as a possible suspect and two companions walking into the school. We went down to find out more; police say they’re still talking to everyone involved to sort it out, and principal Aida Fraser-Hammer tells us school is proceeding normally. We’ll check back with SPD later.
You still have some time to get over to Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) in Westwood Village and wish the Keppler family a happy 13th anniversary! Wyatt’s is an independent family-owned business but as is traditional for many businesses celebrating anniversaries, they’re offering you the gifts – they’re having a sale! Open today until 5 pm. If you haven’t been there before, it’s in the middle of the shopping center, a couple doors north of Barnes & Noble. Tomorrow, by the way, if you’re going to WestSide Baby‘s CommuniTea, you’ll see Wyatt’s proprietors Kirk and Joni Keppler, who are the chairs of this year’s fundraiser. (WSB is a media sponsor, and we’ll be there too.) Their older son Wyatt is the shop’s namesake – he’s in the pic above too, as is brother Ryan.
9:25 AM: Thanks to Josh for the tip! We just confirmed via a trip to the Westwood Village post office that its drive-up/ride-up mailbox is being reinstalled, almost four months after removal last December. The removal came more than a week after it had been taped off, with a handwritten sign declaring it “broken and unsecure.” Its last removal, in 2015, also lasted about four months. As you can see in our photo, it’s just arrived, so don’t go rushing off to use it just yet.
10:36 AM: Just went back to the post office to check; the mailbox is operational.
SDOT has announced the “final design” for the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements project in Westwood, which you’ll recall was at one point going to be reduced, and then was restored to full size. From SDOT:
This project will improve connectivity, walkability, and safety for residents and students who currently use two unimproved and overgrown paths on 25th and 26th avenues SW, between SW Trenton and SW Cloverdale streets.
Project elements include:
• Two 10-foot-wide asphalt walkways on 25th and 26th avenues SW connecting SW Trenton St and the cul-de-sacs to the north
• Pedestrian lights along the two paths
• Removal of overgrown vegetation and installation of new trees and plants, where appropriate
This document has backstory from the original community proposal. Construction could start as soon as mid-May, says SDOT, which also says the final design is available for another NSF project, Harbor/Spokane, but as of right now still has not updated that project website to show it. Also, both projects will be handled by the same contractor, and SDOT says the bid/award process isn’t complete yet.
Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes the notice for a hearing appealing the approval of plans to build a 66-unit, no-offstreet-parking apartment complex at 2222 SW Barton, just uphill from the southeast edge of Westwood Village.
(Image from Design Review packet by Cleave Architecture)
According to documents in the online files, the appeal was filed by residents who live a block away from the site, saying they don’t believe the city adequately addressed concerns including crime, traffic, and parking, and alleging that the site is incorrectly characterized as being in an “urban village.” Lawyers for the developers have filed a request to have the appeal dismissed, showing that the site is indeed in the middle of the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village as well as calling other concerns “without merit on their face.” Regarding the parking concerns in particular, they note that the city has no authority to require it because the project is close to “frequent transit.” They cite a traffic study as showing that the project could result in a “peak demand” for 66 parking spaces on the street, but that, they say, would still not come close to maxing out what’s available now. Unless the motion to dismiss is granted, the hearing is set for the city Hearing Examiner‘s chambers on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown at 9 am May 3rd.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council continues to evolve.
Co-chair Kim Barnes says it’s now meant to function as more of a “support group for committees” – each one, small now and hoping to grow, taking on a particular area of interest. If any are of interest to you – or if there’s something else you’d like to help make happen in the area – jump in!
Among those areas of interest discussed at this month’s WWRHAH meeting:
ROXHILL PARK: The recent kickoff meeting for getting Roxhill into the Park Commons project went well. This would be a two-to-three-year project, Barnes said, “for us to develop ways and means” – some through assistance, some through guidance – “to create more interactive activities in the areas of the park that are less utilized and need ore positive activities in them.”
5:03 PM: Thanks for the tips about a police response on the east side of Westwood Village. It was wrapping up when we got there but the sergeant on scene was able to tell us that it wasn’t an incident response – they were there to arrest someone on a warrant. We don’t yet know who or what kind of warrant, but we’ll be watching the jail roster.
P.S. Crime concern/question? Tomorrow night is the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster), 7 pm. The briefing/Q&A with local police precedes the featured guest – this month, find out about regional drug trends from Steve Freng of the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
ADDED TUESDAY: According to online records, the person arrested is a 19-year-old man wanted in connection with an assault case. He got out of jail less than three weeks ago after two and a half months behind bars.
FRIDAY: Just heard from Southwest Pool – it was originally expected to reopen tomorrow after almost three weeks of maintenance, but they won’t be ready to go because it’s not heating up fast enough for the water to be warm enough for Saturday swimming. They’re hoping to be able to reopen on Sunday, instead. (We’ll check in again tomorrow.)
2:26 PM SUNDAY: As noted in comments, we’ve verified that the pool did reopen today. (Here’s its schedule.)
FIRST REPORT, 4:18 PM: After-school activities like athletics were in shelter-in-place mode for a while at the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus but it’s just ended. Police were searching in that area of Westwood, they tell us, because of a secondhand report that someone might have been seen in the area with a gun. Nobody found, and again, the shelter-in-place is over.
UPDATE, 7:35 PM: We’ve just received from Denny principal Jeff Clark the letter that he and Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer sent to families about the incident:
At approximately 3:30 pm today, two hours after Denny scholars had been released and one hour after Chief Sealth scholars had been released, we had a report of someone driving erratically on 27 Ave SW. School staff went up the hill to assess the situation. As a part of this disturbance, a car had hit a parked car. The police quickly arrived. As the police investigated, a report was made that someone had possibly seen a gun. As a safety precaution, the schools went into a shelter-in-place, securing the exterior doors and bringing in scholars who were still in the area. The shelter-in-place was lifted after the police had searched the neighborhood and deemed that the situation was now safe. Please let us know if you have any questions.
If you pay bills at, or have other business to transact with, the city’s Southwest Customer Service Center (2801 SW Thistle), just a reminder – it will be closed for floor work next week, Monday 3/12 through Friday 3/16. This is scheduled to be concurrent with the last week of the maintenance closure at adjacent Southwest Pool; co-housed SW Teen Life Center will be closed too, per Seattle Parks.
(UPDATED 11:28 AM with more info from SPD)
3:34 AM: SPD and SFD are investigating that car fire, reported about an hour ago in the Southwest Athletic Complex area. In radio discussion, the car was described as having been found fully engulfed in flames – as shown in the photo tweeted by Pat – with no one inside and no one around.
11:29 AM: SPD confirms that its arson detectives are handling the investigation. The car was a 1996 Toyota Corolla – not reported as stolen, in case you wondered (we did). But given the circumstances, it was impounded after the fire was out.
ADDED TUESDAY: In a West Seattle crime discussion at the Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith mentioned that investigators believe an accelerant was used in this fire.
5:59 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” going to a possible house fire in Westwood, in the 8400 block of 25th SW.
6:04 PM: First units to arrive are seeing light smoke. But the call is being downgraded, with just a few units to remain.
6:07 PM: SFD confirms that the fire is out and was small. Though it was dispatched as a “single-family residence” fire, they say it turned out to be an apartment.
Now that this is less than a week away – in case you haven’t already heard, the city library system has a one-day closure coming up next Wednesday:
All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at Central Library will be closed Wednesday, March 7 for a staff in-service day. Regular operating hours will resume Thursday, March 8.
West Seattle has four library branches, and South Park’s library is just a bit to the east. The map and list of all SPL locations citywide is here.
(Image from Design Review packet by Cleave Architecture)
From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin: The apartment project just uphill from the southeast edge of Westwood Village has received key land-use approval. 2222 SW Barton [map] – a project first reported here almost two years ago – is planned as a 4-story building with 39 apartments and 27 “small efficiency dwelling units” (microstudios), no offstreet-parking spaces. Southwest Design Review Board members gave their final approval at a meeting last September (here’s the city report). The decision (PDF) published today opens an appeal period – the official notice explains how to file one; March 12th is the deadline.
West Seattle’s only city-run year-round pool has an almost-three-week maintenance closure coming up. Seattle Parks says Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle) will close starting next Monday (February 26th) through Friday, March 16th. During the closure, Parks says, “Crews will install an energy efficient circulation pump in addition to normal upkeep. The Teen Life Center gym and multi-purpose room floors will also be refinished.”
Giannoni’s Pizzeria in Westwood Village has closed permanently, confirms proprietor Donna Burns. Earlier this month, they had planned to close for renovation, long overdue after 10 1/2 years in business, but the plan has changed, she told WSB, and they will not be reopening:
Giannoni’s would like to thank all of our wonderful and very loyal customers over the last 10+ years. You have been the best part of our days!
After being faced with many challenges while attempting to update and renovate the space, we ultimately decided that there were other opportunities we would like to pursue.
Westwood management will get pizza back in the mall very soon and we hope that the area continues to grow and be a great place for West Seattle to shop!
We inquired after someone sent us a photo of a notice that mall management had taped to the restaurant’s papered-over windows. Burns says they have been in contact with them. This is the third WWV closure so far this year, following Fresh Vitamins and Carter’s.
Another stolen vehicle you might be able to help find – Adam reports his fiancée’s car was stolen this morning in the Westwood area:
The car is a 2010 White Ford Edge. On the back right there is an obvious spot where there used to be a Detroit ‘D’ magnet. There is also another Michigan sticker on the back window. The front windshield is cracked.
Unfortunately we do not have the license plate number. We moved from Michigan not too long ago and do not have the new Washington plates memorized or written down.
They have filed a police report. If you think you see it, call 911.
Almost a year and a half after they were chosen for funding, two Neighborhood Street Fund projects proposed by West Seattleites are going out to bid. A notice in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce announces that the city is seeking bids on a package of five NSF projects meant to improve walking and biking safety, two of which are in West Seattle – the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements and the Harbor Ave. SW/SW Spokane St. Intersection Improvements Project. The notice says bids will be opened March 7th; we’ll be checking with SDOT on the anticipated construction schedule.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Some promising news emerged on multiple fronts at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting.
CRIME DROP: WWRHAH was briefed by Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The area covered by this community group, he said, has had 56 incidents in tracked categories compared to 119 a year earlier. That includes one fewer robbery, one more aggravated assault, 7 crimes against persons compared to 5 – but property crime is down dramatically – one more burglary, one more commercial burglary (3 compared to 2), but larceny (much of it shoplifting) is down dramatically, about a fourth of what it was. Also: 15 car prowls compared to 17, 8 car thefts compared to 13. 49 property crimes in all – less than half it was at this point last year. Police continue working harder to get repeat offenders kept in jail – including for example making sure the “(law enforcement) objects to release” box is checked on reports.
The subject of the arrest of officer-assault suspect Jorge Cruz-Benitez two nights earlier came up; he was allegedly first spotted doing graffiti vandalism in the area (Delridge/Henderson). Lt. Smith echoed what we noted in a previous discussion, that not all tagging is gang-related. (This meeting was on Tuesday night; one night later, on Wednesday night, Cruz-Benitez was released from jail, according to the KC Jail Register.)
(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from 2014)
ROXHILL PARK AND BOG: WWRHAH has been pushing forever to get the bog water-flow fixed –
here’s an extensive report we published in 2014 – and is making progress. Your involvement can accelerate things. First:
4:57 PM: A texter told us about a “smell of smoke” at Westwood Village Barnes and Noble just as SFD was dispatching four units that way. They’ve arrived and so far have NOT found a fire but are checking it out as an electrical problem, so they’re calling for City Light (whose map shows some power trouble in the area).
5:16 PM: SFD cited a “widespread” electrical problem, which we’re also hearing about from some in the area, so we’re headed to WWV shortly to check.
5:43 PM: Just spun around WWV. B&N was the only store clearly dark & closed.
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition usually meets on first Tuesdays – but not tonight, given the proximity to the holidays. However, WWRHAH is helping coordinate these two special upcoming community discussions that you’re encouraged to be part of. First – imagine more events in Roxhill Park!
On Tuesday, January 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 at Southwest Library, we’ll join Parks Commons and Arts in Parks Coordinator Randy Wigner to discuss ways Roxhill Park could be a good location for this program. The goal of the Parks Commons Program is to develop community capacity and civic engagement in event production, and the program is assigned to parks that experience long-term public safety issues and where those issues would be improved by increased community use of these parks. We’ll discuss park needs and if the program is a good fit.
Next – looking ahead to the RapidRide H Line, but not about the buses or routing:
On Thursday, January 18, community members and kids are invited to join artists from Oakland’s WowHaus studio for a discovery walk to help inform art projects coming to our neighborhood as part of the redevelopment of the 120 into the Metro Rapid Ride H line. Around 2:30 pm, we’ll meet at Roxhill Elementary under the main entry awning, then walk over to the 26th and Roxbury stop and hop on the 120 bus to the stop at Trenton and Delridge (so bring your bus fare). Members of the public can also meet at between 3:30 and 4 at the corner of Delridge and Henderson (where the largest concrete triangle is located in the right-of-way), and join the walk from there. What ideas do you have? Join us and share! Learn more about our selected artists here.
Hannah hopes someone does, so she can thank him for helping them Christmas Eve in Westwood:
We were involved in a car accident and this kind man gave us hand warmers and a warm blanket for our baby. We would love to send this man dinner to thank him for what he did for our family.
We were coming down SW Barton St and about 23rd and there were two cars in the middle of the road. In order to avoid hitting them, and we were sliding down the street we hit a pole. Baby was in the car and we are all okay. But I am hoping to thank the kind neighbor who gave us hand warmers and gave our baby a big red blanket to keep him warm. Everything was so crazy so we didn’t get a chance to thank him and I would love to bring him dinner or something. I know I probably won’t find him but it’s worth a shot.
He was wearing a light-up Seahawks Santa hat, a Seahawks jersey and had a beard. I’m assuming he lives near Barton and 23rd. if anyone hears about someone helping a family in a crash, please let me know!