West Seattle, Washington
(WSB file photo, Highland Park Spraypark)
It’s sunny, it’s warm, and Memorial Day weekend is days away. That means spraypark season is almost here! West Seattle’s only spraypark, at Highland Park playground (1100 SW Cloverdale), opens Saturday, May 26th, and will be open daily, 11 am-8 pm. (That’s also the first day of the first pre-season weekend for Colman Pool, but wading pools don’t start until almost a month later – Lincoln Park wading pool will be the first to open, on June 23rd.)
Big spring weekend ahead … and if you can give one hour of your time at the start, you can make a difference: 10 am, meet at 29th and Barton to join your neighbors for Spring Clean at Roxhill Park. You don’t have to bring anything – gloves, bags, and safety gear will be provided. It’s a partnership of community members and city departments including Seattle Public Utilities, Parks and Recreation, Neighborhoods, and SDOT.
This weekend we’ll be featuring some of your summer-camp options, since school’s out in just two months. First: Sheila Brown from Camp Long wants to make sure people know about the new Survivor Quest Summer Youth Camp, a day camp to introduce “youth ages 12-15 to wilderness survival, backpacking skills, first aid, environmental science, and more. As explained on Parkways:
In an effort to individualize education, campers are given the opportunity build some of the SurvivorQuest curriculum. On the first day of each five-day session, campers and counselors will plan the week’s activities together to incorporate campers’ goals into the planned survival and environmental learning objectives. Not only will they learn survival skills and environmental science, but they will get to choose outdoor skills to focus on for the week.
Another component of this camp is that six of the eight sessions of SurvivorQuest include Camp Long’s 4-H Challenge Course and the famous Schurman Rock for facilitated rock climbing. … Camp Long’s Challenge Course facilitators follow the principles of Experiential Education, with heavy focus on team-building, communication, decision-making, and accountability.
SurvivorQuest starts the week of July 2nd and runs for eight weeks. Each session lasts five days, Monday through Friday. The camp is held at Camp Long, except for the weeks of July 23rd and 30th, which will be at Schmitz Park, and will not include the 4-H Challenge Course. Sessions cost $325, with scholarships and sibling discounts available. … For more information or to register your teen, call Camp Long at 206-684-7434.
You can also use the Seattle Parks online system – go here and look for activity camps at Camp Long.
The arrival this past Monday of new, lockable fire rings at Alki Beach Park – replacing all seven of the old ones – raised some questions, and now we’ve received answers from Seattle Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch:
*Policies for when they’re unlocked and locked? “The exact hours/procedures for locking the lids is being determined with staff. Currently, the lids are unlocked. We will post hours and procedure information on our website in the next couple of weeks once the information has been finalized.”
*Why were the old ones replaced? The closable lid “helps to put out the fire,” Hirsch says, adding “we also ask that folks douse their fire with water.” They hope the lockability “will help prevent fires on off-hours and prevent bonfires during burn bans.” And the previous ones “were old, rusty and beginning to fall apart.”
*How much did the new ones cost? “The new pits were designed and created in-house and are like the pits we installed at Golden Gardens Park. Each pit costs approximately $1,500 (not including delivery and installation).”
Thanks to everybody who e-mailed to let us know that new fire rings have arrived at Alki Beach. These photos were taken this morning by Vlad Oustimovitch – here’s a closer look at one of the new rings, notably lockable:
One last look at the old ones:
Alki is one of two city-owned beach parks where fires are allowed, as long as they’re in the rings and following the rules, which you can read here. The other park, Golden Gardens, already has these types of rings, which Parks staff unlocks at 4 pm; we’ll be checking with Parks tomorrow about the official procedures planned for these.
(May 2013 aerial of Dragonfly Garden/Pavilion, by Long Bach Nguyen)
We’ve been spotlighting some Earth Day-related events (with more to come!) and here’s a heads-up for Sunday: You’re invited to join Friends of Dragonfly Park and Gardens for a potluck brunch in the park on Sunday, 11 am-2 pm. Laura Bruco says, “Kids and dogs (on leashes) are welcome. Bring a dish of some sort, a camping chair or blanket, and hopefully your sunglasses. We’ll give an update on the mission of our group this year, and folks who want to can pitch in with some basic weeding in the park.” It’s on 28th SW in North Delridge, between Yancy and Adams (map); here’s some backstory about the park and the group in this item from last October.
Judy thought you might want to know, if you are heading to Alki any time soon, that the sign above was up for a while this morning after Seattle Parks sprayed herbicides in the 2800 block:
This morning the parks department sprayed roundup and another chemical on the new landscaping by the obelisk. Picture attached. The worker pulled up the signs after 30 minutes for the inexplicable reason that people panic if they forget and leave them too long. Talked to Brad, the parks employee, listed on the sign. He said he was spot hitting the weeds that popped up. Noticed on the sign afterwards that he also sprayed the sidewalk.
The city has said it is working to use less herbicides and pesticides.
It’s a special spot in West Seattle, unlike any place in the entire city … Schmitz Preserve Park, a 53-acre forested oasis with old-growth trees, streams, and more. So special that it draws visitors from many miles around … including this high-school group from Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds:
Their visit to the park on Tuesday with teacher Chris Brown included work to assess the value of a tree – from a variety of viewpoints. And studying their value leads to appreciation for preserving them. Brown has a special link to this forest – he’s a member of the Schmitz Family, whose donated land created the park more than a century ago. And so another Schmitz Family member dropped by the park to say hi while Brown’s students were doing their work in the woods:
Standing in front of Brown are, from left, Vicki Schmitz Block, Jack Block, and Bruce Stotler – the Schmitz Park neighbor who made news recently for selling his home to the city, far below market price, so it will become part of the park when he’s gone. Its enduring importance was exemplified by the students’ project; Brown explained that the students spent 10 weeks “combining environmental science with art, PE, and (other disciplines).” After we talked with them briefly, they continued northbound on the main park trail to Alki:
If you’ve never visited Schmitz Preserve Park – its main entrances are on the east side of Alki Community Center and from Admiral Way east of the historic bridge. (Here’s a map.)
As Earth Day approaches, the spotlight on environmental consciousness brightens, and today we have a report on how students at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) are working with Seattle Parks to make a difference by saving water – and money. The report and photo are from the school:
The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department is making an effort to examine park water usage and implement ways to conserve and reclaim water. Seattle has the highest water and sewer rates in the country.
Students at Seattle’s Explorer West Middle School were invited to share their ideas on water conservation and reclamation to the Seattle Parks Department. Four teams of eighth graders researched solutions and brainstormed ways to be more conscious with Seattle park water usage.
Three executive staff members of Seattle Parks attended the presentations at the school. As a result of this meeting, the teams have been invited to present their findings and ideas to the Seattle Parks Department Board of Commissioners on May 10th at 6:30 pm. Interim Parks Department Superintendent, Christopher Williams, will also be in attendance.
One student noted, “The average Seattle citizen uses fifty gallons of water daily. Water is a limited resource that we need to preserve. There are simple ways to preserve water, but these plans need to start somewhere.”
The students wrote comprehensive research essays and collaborated on their live presentations. Their innovative ideas ranged from water irrigation management; low flush and composting toilets; rainwater cisterns; sustainable wading ponds and spray parks instead of pools; and creative ways to reinvent golf course water usage.
“Students volunteered for the opportunity to pass along inventive approaches to water consumption and conservation,” said Explorer West Social Studies Teacher Tim Owens. “It was a stimulating conversation.”
By using these suggestions, the Seattle Parks system could preserve our precious water. Hopefully in the future, these propositions will benefit our park system and move towards ending our ongoing worldwide water crisis.
“I was impressed by how passionate the students were about the subject matter,” said Joelle Hammerstad, Seattle Parks sustainable operations manager. “The presentations were well-researched and engaging. They even introduced us to new products that we didn’t know about, which inspired us to do some of our own follow-up research.”
Next move in the community-powered plan for Roxhill Park is yours! Here’s the announcement from one of your West Seattle neighbors, Kim Barnes:
Bring your ideas for Spring and Summer activities in Roxhill Park this Wednesday, April 18th.
The hint of warmer weather, longer days, birds singing, and those dependable tulips waking up from the winter makes it easier to get up and emerge out of the house, as if we have been hibernating since November.
Roxhill Park is starting to wake up as well!
The Roxhill Park Development Program has partnered with the Seattle Parks Commons Program to plan activities and promote use of the park, including the wetlands, play/picnic area and sports fields.
Those who have ideas and passion for our local park to make it a vibrant recreational and meeting place are invited to help build our events calendar for Spring/Summer 2018. We need YOU!
We are looking for volunteers with all sorts of skills and experience to bring their ideas.
Anyone interested in learning more is welcome to join us April 18th at 6:00 pm-7:30 pm at Daystar Retirement Village. For the meeting location details or to contact the group, go here.
That’s what part of the field at Myrtle Reservoir Park looked like last Sunday, damaged by a driver. The photo is from Karen Berge of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network, who shared it along with followup photos taken today after she noticed Seattle Parks has taken repair and prevention measures since then:
I went through Myrtle Reservoir Park this afternoon and was happy to see a solution in the SW corner of the park that should keep people from driving vehicles in – strategically placed boulders.
A day or two ago I noticed that they had graded and reseeded the lawn. They’ve positioned a big sign there asking that folks stay on the paths.
The park was built in 2010, after the city covered what had been an open-air reservoir.
Another idea for your weekend, if you’re not out of town for spring break – one of West Seattle’s newest parks could use some help this Sunday. From Stu Hennessey:
Get an early start on Earth Week by attending the Puget Ridge Edible Park garden party this Sunday from 4-6 pm. We will be ready to plant a few beds of lettuces and other greens. We also will need some muscle to erect a grape trellis and move a table.
Peas, parsnips, and radishes are already up and doing well. This year we have over 40 planting beds so come help us bring local and nutritious food to Puget Ridge.
The park is at 5265 18th SW and has been years in the making.
(WSB file photo)
On a chilly, gray, early-spring night, here’s a reason to think summer: Seattle Parks‘ reminder today that Colman Pool, on the shore in Lincoln Park, will open on May 26th. That’s the start of pre-season weekend operations, and then it goes 7 days a week on June 18th. Registration for swim lessons is open as of today. The year’s full schedule is here.
Thanks to Jeff Hogan for the video of Seattle Police motorcycle officers riding in Lincoln Park this morning. We checked with SPD media relations to see if there was a particular occasion or operation; just a training ride for the Traffic Enforcement Unit (which is based downtown), they tell us. Not the first time they’ve been seen in the park – WSB archives include these reader photos from 2012.
As noted here last week, the EC Hughes Playground overhaul project is gearing up (along with others in West Seattle). This is the playground at 2805 SW Holden, same park as the wading pool, although that’s not part of the project. Two ways to let Parks know what you’d like to see in the project:
#1 – Answer this new online survey
#2 – Join Parks staff for two meetings – first, to talk about the new play area’s design, 5-6:30 pm Thursday, April 19th, at Southwest Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle); second, to review the “preferred design,” 1-3 pm Wednesday, June 13th, at the park. Kids welcome at both meetings – the playground users have the best input!
The play equipment is being replaced because of damage discovered in an inspection that followed the discovery of wood damage that forced the Lincoln Park South Play Area structure (which is ) to be closed last year.
Thanks to Martha Sidlo from the Rotary Club of West Seattle for the photos and report:
This morning, several West Seattle Rotarians held a landscaping cleanup at the Rotary totem pole park on 35th Avenue SW, next to the golf course. [Read the park and pole’s history here.]
Seattle Parks and Recreation helped by providing tools and wood chips for the project.
11:41 AM: A hectic and happy morning at Seattle Parks community centers all over the city – including five in West Seattle – that hosted egg hunts. Our first photos are from Southwest TLC, which held its hunt on the big field to the west where Denny International Middle School used to be. Hunters were separated by age group, and each area had one special egg that could be redeemed for a prize basket. Here’s our video looking eastward over the field at the peak of the hunt:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 31, 2018
Anybody who had a question didn’t have to wonder who to ask – just look for the bunny ears!
Meantime, on the north end of the peninsula, we also had a photographer at Hiawatha Community Center. Egg-hunters of all ages there too:
High fives for the bunny:
Easter-time is known for hats – these egg-hunters made creative choices:
If you have a photo from any of the other community centers that had hunts this morning – Alki, Delridge, High Point – we would love to add a few! firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
ADDED 2:11 PM: Thanks to Crystal for a photo from the High Point hunt:
She explains, “This is Gaby. She got an Easter basket when she found a golden ticket in one of the eggs :)”
Which type of play equipment would you like to see at Puget Ridge Playground (6029 21st SW) when it’s renovated? The images above are from the a Seattle Parks survey that just opened – and you’ll also be able to talk about it at the newly announced community meeting, 5-6:30 pm Monday, April 16th. This is one of three local park playgrounds that’ll be overhauled in the months ahead.
Thanks to Kenneth for the tip that the sign’s up at EC Hughes Playground (2805 SW Holden), where play-area renovations are starting soon. We first reported last fall that Seattle Parks decided the play equipment needed to be replaced, after inspections done following the discovery of wood damage in a similar structure at Lincoln Park South Play Area.
The sign does not mean work at EC Hughes is starting soon, though. We checked in with Parks’ project point person Libby Hughes, who tells WSB that two public-outreach meetings are planned, in April and June (dates/times/locations soon), and construction is expected to start this fall, “after school starts.” The goal of the project, she says, is “to renovate the play equipment with structures that meet current safety standards and are accessible to children of all abilities, ages 2-5 and 5-12 years, and to make some ADA improvements for access to the play area.” The EC Hughes wading pool is not involved in the project. Hughes adds that she’s also working on yet another play-area renovation in West Seattle, “similar scope and timeline” – Puget Ridge Playground (6029 21st SW). More details on that one soon.
We’ve been reporting on the planning process for the first of three “landbanked” park sites in West Seattle awaiting development, the one on 40th SW in the West Seattle Junction. We’ve been asked, what about the other two?
They are, above, the Morgan Junction Park expansion site, north of the existing park, where the city demolished a commercial building in 2016. And below, the 48th SW/SW Charlestown site, which remains a meadow behind a low fence:
Both will go through a planning process, and we have an update on the city’s timeline – official planning for Morgan will start in the second quarter of this year, and for 48th/Charlestown, in the third quarter. That’s according to page 18 in this slide deck prepared for a briefing to be given to the City Council’s Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee at 2 pm tomorrow. The slide also lists the levy funding planned for developing those (and other) landbanked sites into parks – $1.4 million for Morgan and $1.2 million for 48th/Charlestown.
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.)
Half a year after firefighters moved out of the temporary Station 32 set up on the future West Seattle Junction park site on 40th SW between SW Alaska and SW Edmunds, the tents that housed their apparatus are being taken down. Justin from Sound & Fog next door caught the unveiling-esque scene above as the canvas was taken off one of the wire frames today. Crews were based there for two years, having been moved out of the old Station 32 months before construction started on the new one, which opened last summer; the tents had gone up three years ago.
We’ll be checking with the city to see where they’ll be used next.
P.S. Design work continues for the future park, which is to be built next year. The city has posted results of last month’s online survey, and Option 2 was the most popular among the 275 respondents (see all 3 options here). One more public meeting is planned for the project; no date yet.
If you missed the first “project development” meeting tonight for this year’s Your Voice, Your Choice process to figure out which of hundreds of community-suggested park/street projects will get a share of $3 million … you have four more to choose from. Participants at each meeting are evaluating a specific group of projects – different at every meeting – as grouped and color-coded on this map. Next one is tomorrow night in South Park (6 pm at SP Community Center, 8319 8th Ave. S.), to review the suggestions for that area; then there are three more meetings in West Seattle, one daytime and two nighttime (all listed here). And if you can’t make it to the meeting for the project area you’d like to evaluate, the city says you can access the project lists for all areas of each district (ours is D-1) at any meeting in that district. After this round, the next step is voting, with online and in-person opportunities starting in June.