Five years ago, Seattle Parks‘ then-Superintendent Tim Gallagher decided to ban smoking in all city parks. But instead, as recommended by the Parks Board, the system ended up with a rule banning tobacco use “within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.” Today, there’s a new proposal to ban smoking in parks – here’s the memo spelling it out. Mayor Murray has already issued a statement saying he’s for it. Next step: The Parks Board will have a public hearing at 6:30 pm April 16th at Parks HQ downtown. (WSB file photo: Container of cigarette butts found on beaches, shown at Alki last year)
(Photo courtesy Joe Paar)
The long-planned Little Free Library is now in place in Morgan Junction Park, reports Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association: “Thanks go to Joe Paar, Morgan resident; Tyler Jamison of Village Builders; Seattle Parks staff; and the Friends of Morgan Junction Park for getting this installed!” As shown in the photo, you can see it right next to the information kiosk at the park, which is at 6413 California SW. If you’re not familiar with the concept, as explained on the official LFL site, it’s “a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”
With so much Seattle Parks land in West Seattle, it’s a city department of extra interest here. Now, we’re about to find out who Mayor Murray wants to have in charge of that department. Almost six months after he announced that Christopher Williams would end almost five years as acting superintendent, moving to the role of deputy superintendent, the mayor says he’ll announce his nominee tomorrow morning at 11. Williams, a former West Seattleite (Chief Sealth alum), took over after Tim Gallagher resigned in spring 2010.
What happens at your local community center(s) – a long list of activities, classes, and events, featured in the seasonal brochure – isn’t just the work of the city staffers who work there. A community-based advisory council is hard at work behind the scenes, too. The Alki Community Center Advisory Council is inviting new members, and center coordinator Marc Hoffman asked us to share the invitation for you to “support the community center staff’s efforts to meet our recreational needs – use your talents to better our community!” The council usually meets at the center on second Wednesdays. If you’re interested, contact Marc at 206-684-7430 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or council president Roberta Fowler, email@example.com.
Yet another car prowl at Lincoln Park. Today’s report is from Luna:
We had our car broken into between 8:15 and 8:50 this morning in the Lincoln Park south lot. There was nothing in the car for them to take. Everyone that stopped while we were cleaning up and getting someone to come and pick up our kiddo was so nice and surprised, it makes me glad to live in West Seattle even if this happens at our local park! We also chatted with a couple who were broken into in the same spot last week, so be careful, everyone! There really was almost nothing visible in our car and they didn’t take the kids Patagonia jacket that was on the floor, so it seems like they were definitely looking for a purse/wallet. Just wanted as many people as possible to be aware!
This is the third reader report we’ve received this week about Lincoln Park car prowls; we tried checking the police-reports map again for the latest tally, but it’s not working so well at the moment. We also have a message out to local police leadership to ask how they’re tackling this problem, and will add whatever we hear back.
Since the crash that damaged a Longfellow Creek footbridge three weeks ago, we’ve been checking with Seattle Parks about the status of repairs. This morning, Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells WSB the footbridge has reopened:
While working to make repairs to this bridge … we determined that the main structure is sound. We have re-opened the bridge and re-installed temporary fencing where the railing was damaged. The repairs/upgrades will take longer than expected but patrons, will be able to use the bridge while our carpentry staff order supplies and fabricate needed parts.
As reported here last week, the driver who crashed the pickup eastbound on SW Yancy, through the railing, and into the creek, 40-year-old Rossindo Ramos, is charged with DUI and reckless endangerment. He and his passenger escaped serious injury. We’re following up with Parks on what the repairs will cost and whether they’ll pursue restitution.
Lynne texted this photo taken in the south parking lot at Lincoln Park this afternoon:
She was parked next to that vehicle and reports that she returned to her car around noon, same time as the prowled vehicle’s owner. Police were called. As signs in the parking lot warn – and as is the case with many parks – Lincoln Park continues to be a hot spot for vehicle break-ins; Colleen has also e-mailed with a Crime Watch report, saying her car had been broken into twice in two weeks in the north parking lot, first on December 23rd, then again on yesterday. She said she had noticed “a large green truck with tinted windows pull up very close next to my car” yesterday before discovering her window had been smashed again. Both incidents, Colleen said, have been reported to police (who offer prevention advice here).
P.S. The police-reports map (which you can configure for date/type of crime) shows at least six car break-ins reported in Lincoln Park lots in the past month; that number could be low, as we know from e-mail exchanges that people don’t always report the prowls, especially if nothing was taken. (In another one-month check in mid-December, the map showed 11.) Do report it if it happens to you; you can even do so online.
The SW Yancy footbridge over Longfellow Creek in North Delridge is expected to remain closed for weeks. That’s the latest from Seattle Parks, ten days after an allegedly drunk driver crashed through the bridge’s wooden railing and into the creek. As we reported the night of the crash, neither the driver nor his passenger were seriously hurt. But the bridge was left with major damage. Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells WSB that there’s no firm date for repairs yet, but it’ll likely be a matter of weeks – well into January. “Until then we will keep an eye on this to make sure the barricades stay up, and would appreciate the cooperation from the public to stay off the bridge.” Meantime, we’re trying to find out the status of the case against the 40-year-old man arrested at the scene.
ADDED 3:24 PM: We’ve finally obtained the aforementioned information. According to Seattle Municipal Court online records, 40-year-old Rossindo Ramos of Highland Park is charged with DUI and reckless endangerment, and also was cited for a license violation and driving without insurance. He is not shown as having been jailed after this incident, but he is out on bail with stipulations including electronic home monitoring. He did spend four days in jail less than three weeks earlier, after an incident that resulted in a charge of property destruction, related to alleged domestic violence.
As promised, we went back to check on the footbridge over Longfellow Creek at SW Yancy in North Delridge (map), damaged when a driver went through the dead end, onto the bridge, through its railing, and into the creek early this morning (WSB coverage here). The “closed” sign was posted by Seattle Parks, which has responsibility for the area; we talked with regional manager Carol Baker, who tells us that Parks carpenters went out for a look at it earlier today but won’t be able to thoroughly assess the damage and plan for repairs until next week.
ADDED MONDAY: We finally have police confirmation of an arrest in connection with this – a 40-year-old man suspected of DUI. (The footbridge is still closed off – we’ll be checking on Tuesday to see if there’s a repair plan yet.)
If you use the off-leash area at Westcrest Park – West Seattle’s only official public off-leash area – can you spare a few minutes for a survey? It’s part of a project that’s just getting going with a $7,500 grant from King County Wastewater Treatment meant to help manage the off-leash area’s runoff problem, with water coming down the slope from the covered-reservoir area. A much-larger amount is being sought via grants, sponsorships, and private donations to pay for general improvements to the park, in partnership with Seattle Parks, King County, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Animal Shelter and COLA (Citizens for Off-Leash Areas). The survey is collecting opinions on what improvements you’d like to see at Westcrest. Answer ASAP; they’re planning to report results next month.
Mark your calendar before checking out for the holiday – if you’re interested in the Highland Park Opportunity Fund project, improving the play area at, and access into, the park at 1100 SW Cloverdale – next community meeting is set for January 13, 2015, at Highland Park Elementary School from 6:30 – 7:45 pm. Above is the presentation from the first meeting (last month); notes from that meeting are online too.
Thanks to West Seattleite Art Cazares for the quick clip and this report:
It has been one or two years since I last witnessed the birth of a new clutch “eaglets” at Lincoln Park, in West Seattle. I watched meticulously last time the Bald Eagles produced their clutch resulting in two chicks; one which died or fell out of the nest. Even more exciting, was to witness the successful raising on the one chick who grew into young adulthood and eventually flew away. Many at the park marveled each day and set up cameras and lawn chairs to witness the daily feedings and events.
Well, I’m pleased to report that the eagles have returned and once again; the warbled communication of their cries can be heard as they rebuild the nest that was partially destroyed by wind storms just a couple of months ago. I’ve included footage that i took just yesterday as the female returned to her nest with twigs and branches. It’s exciting to see that this mated pair might be planning for a new family next year. I’ve been to Lincoln Park 3 days in a row in the early morning to witness this rebuilding.
If you stand below the nest (which is about 100 feet up), you can see many branches sitting at the base of the trunk of the evergreen tree…auspiciously, the eagles have done some remodeling! :)
Cheers and best of luck to the “love birds!”
Just might be the same eagle photographed by Trileigh Tucker and shown here two weeks ago (or that eagle’s mate)! (She also documented, 2 years ago, the eaglet that Art mentions.) Read more about bald eagles here.
Patti McCall sent the photos, and tonight Karen sent a tip about it too, saying one side showed up yesterday, the other today. (Thank you both!) Backstory, anyone?
This isn’t the only house being demolished in West Seattle today, but we’re pretty sure it’s the only one with a backstory like this: It’s the house at 3823 SW Willow in Gatewood that was mentioned here three months ago, as Seattle Parks notified neighbors about the plans to turn it into a pocket park, thanks to a “reserved life estate donation” from George Watton, who lived there with wife DeLayne Watton for more than half a century. He built the house after returning home from World War II and had arranged the donation of the site, plus money to cover demolition, long before his death last year at age 95 (his wife died in 2007). Parks has said that after the site is cleared – today’s teardown follows a long period of more-gentle “deconstruction” – they will embark on site restoration and turf establishment, to be complete by next spring.
P.S. Thanks to Joseph for sharing the photo!
ADDED: And thanks to Ron for this view hours later, as the final wall of the house was brought down:
During today’s Green Seattle Day, Orchard Street Ravine got the TLC it was looking for. Cindi Barker shared photos and reports, “Over 30 people came, including 3 full families. All the plants got in the ground and are now well protected for the winter ahead.”
Cindi says that’s the youngest worker who showed up today, 6-year-old Evan, with his mom Jane. Here are the pots that held the plants now in the ground:
Thanks to everyone who volunteered somewhere today!
If you missed this week’s first meeting about the next round of Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund improvements in Highland Park – don’t worry, two more chances are ahead. The first round was the spraypark completed and opened last year; now, the nearby park space is the focus of a community-initiated project to address park access and play-equipment suitability, as outlined in the original proposal.
Seattle Parks landscape architect Pamela Alspaugh and planner Jeron Gates were at Highland Park Elementary School for the project’s first community meeting this past Wednesday night. Two major issues for the park are the age of its playground equipment – which dates back to the ’90s – and its noncompliance with the accessibility laws. Also a concern: Safety and crime prevention, with suggestions for more lighting and CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) features. Synergy with the school’s upgrade plans also was discussed; Highland Park Elementary parents are looking into grants, and it was suggested that play equipment for that project and this one be complementary rather than redundant. The Opportunity Fund project budget is $374,000 for design and construction, and it’s expected to be done in two years. A meeting early next year (no date yet) will bring a “schematic design” back to the community for review and discussion; then a “preferred design” will be presented in the spring.
*Highland Park Playground Public Meeting #1* will be held tonight, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.at Highland Park Elementary School, 1012 SW Trenton St. An Opportunity Fund Grant was awarded to the park with the goals of improving access into the park, and making better connections to SW Thistle, 10th Ave SW, and SW Cloverdale so that it can evolve into an easily accessible node between Riverview and Westcrest. Participants can learn about this community-initiated project that will improve the access, usability, and safety of Highland Park. More information on their website.
(Photo courtesy Amanda Kay Helmick)
Thanks to Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick for sharing the photo of liftoff for the community-created turret at Roxhill Park‘s “castle” play structure. She observed its removal this morning and said the Parks staffers worked very carefully and respectfully.
(This photo and next by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
As first reported last Thursday, safety concerns regarding the turret led to the closure of the castle until it could be removed. We got there this morning after the turret, created during the play structure’s construction a year and a half ago, was bundled onto a Seattle Parks truck:
Helmick says she’s been told that Parks hopes to replace it on the structure by reinforcing the area beneath, and the structure itself, so it can bear the weight. No timeline yet; we’ll be checking in with Parks. Meantime, the play area is expected to reopen today (if it hasn’t already reopened since we were over there about an hour ago).
12:59 PM UPDATE: Just went back over – fence is gone, play structure is reopened:
Fence is down at Roxhill Castle – playtime! pic.twitter.com/9G36CJnXJa
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 29, 2014
(WSB photo from last Thursday afternoon)
The community-built play area at Roxhill Park is closed for a fifth day, according to Seattle Parks, because removing its distinctive turret isn’t going to be as easy as hoped. That’s according to Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad, who says an onsite meeting is planned with its artist tomorrow, to strategize. As first reported here last Thursday, the metal turret was noticed early this month as leaning significantly; after checking that out, a Parks structural engineer voiced concern that the turret’s tiles might be too heavy for the play structure to bear. They subsequently closed and fenced off the play area as a precaution. They had hoped removing the turret to take it away for reinforcement might be an easy job, but now have found its not. Other parts of the play area are closed; the fencing is just around the “castle” at the heart of the play structure put up in a community collaboration a year and a half ago.
Also closed today: Roxhill Park ‘castle’ play structure; community-crafted turret to be removed for reinforcementOctober 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 12 Comments
12:46 PM: Thanks to the person who texted us that photo of the suddenly fenced-off play structure at Roxhill Park and asked what was going on. We’re still investigating, but according to one round of e-mail forwarded to us, there is a safety concern with the custom-created metal “turret” on the community-built castle structure, which might be removed as a result, or moved. We’re working to find out more, but in the short run, please note for starters that the play structure – opened a year and a half ago after an extensive community funding/building project – is closed off.
1:12 PM UPDATE: Even the group that reported the safety problem didn’t get notice that the play area would suddenly be shut down, according to this e-mail just received from Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick:
On October 8th, the WWRHAH Community Council wrote an email to Carol Baker at Parks mentioning the way the turret was leaning substantially to the left, and we were concerned that although, it has always leaned, it looked worse. We let her know that we are dead set on keeping the turret if indeed it needed to come down – and re-purpose it elsewhere at the playground.
Carol Baker emailed back on the 17th saying that “We had our parks engineer, architect and trades staff out earlier this week. They are developing plans but it will be repaired on site. Won’t know timeline until plans are finished but will let you know when I do.”
WWRHAH received confirmation today from Carol that “Initial plan was as I said below (above). However, there are people in the department who are concerned that the safest approach will be to temporarily remove the head. When it comes to safety we must error on the side of caution. ” Parks management has been reminded how important this special artwork is to the community who supported the play area rebuild. I will let you know when I know more.”
We are dismayed that the Community was not informed that the work would be taking place immediately, and the park closed. We have a call into Parks now to get a timeline and confirmation that the turret will be saved and re-purposed.
1:57 PM UPDATE: Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad answered our inquiry:
The turret over the play structure is an art project that is filled with reflective tiles that are quite heavy. A recent inspection has our structural engineer concerned that the tiles may be too heavy for the Trex structure onto which they have been attached.
Out of an abundance of caution, we closed the structure — for the moment. We’re going to bring in a truck to pluck the turret off the top of the structure and re-open the play equipment to kids.
We’ll take the turret back to our Westbridge maintenance facility (located in West Seattle) to strengthen it before taking it back and replacing it.
We don’t know when that truck will be out, but it will be ASAP.
Our preference would have been to notify the community before the fences went up, but we felt it was important to act quickly.
2:48 PM: Update from Hammerstad via Twitter – Parks will be putting up explanatory signs at the play area this afternoon. Turret removal is not likely before tomorrow.
Though the Parks and Green Spaces Levy expires this year – with the newly voter-approved Park District to follow as a source of extra funding – some of the projects it funded are still in the pipeline. And the design process is getting going for one in West Seattle – the Highland Park play-area upgrade. We just received word via a postal-mail postcard that a community meeting is set for 6:30 pm October 29th at Highland Park Elementary (1012 SW Trenton). As first proposed more than two years ago, the plan here is to “improve the usability and safety (of) the play area” at the park (1100 SW Cloverdale), which also is home to West Seattle’s only spraypark, another project largely funded by the 2008-2014 levy. What kind of play equipment and access do you want to see? Everyone interested is invited to get involved with planning, and this meeting is the next step.
(Click image to see full-size aerial photo on city website)
The southeasternmost corner of West Seattle is along Myers Way, south of the east end of Roxbury. On both sides of Myers, which continues on into unincorporated North Highline, you’ll find vacant government-owned land – some state, mostly city – and a few other uses, such as the city’s Joint Training Facility (outlined in red on the city aerial view above).
On the Friends of Lincoln Park website, Mark Ahlness has written about a new suggestion for the city to keep 31+ acres of land in that area (outlined in orange above), as “Myers Park,” instead of selling it. It’s not a suggestion FROM his group, or from him, but they were contacted by the person proposing it, Cass Turnbull, a greenspace advocate known for work including founding Plant Amnesty. The city website says the area was declared surplus – and therefore sellable – in 2006. A sale fell through back then, but the city is still looking for one or more buyers, according to 2012 documents like this one, which included a city recommendation that one part of the site be kept, and the rest be sold to cover original acquisition costs (estimated at $13 million).
If you’re interested in getting involved in a campaign to keep it as open space, Turnbull’s contact information is included in the post on the FLP site.
When Mayor Murray‘s budget proposal went public on Monday, our quick search of the document for specific West Seattle callouts netted a few items we’ve since been following up on. Among them: A proposed miniature golf course at West Seattle Golf Course.
WSGC is part of the Seattle Parks and Recreation system, though managed by a private firm, so we went to Parks for more info. The reply below is from Joelle Hammerstad, who explains that the miniature-golf proposal has its roots in part in the 2011 decision canceling plans for a driving range at WSGC:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is considering the installation of a mini-golf course at West Seattle Golf Course. A mini-golf course would be a replacement for the driving range that had been planned for the golf course.
This work comes as a result of the Golf Master Plan, which was adopted in 2009. The Plan calls for several large, revenue-generating projects at Seattle’s public golf courses. When it became clear that the West Seattle community did not want the driving range, the money, which comes from general obligation bonds, was redirected to driving ranges at Jefferson and Jackson golf courses. (The Jackson driving range is scheduled to open next month, and the Jefferson driving range will open next spring.)
A mini-golf course would have two benefits:
1) It would open the course to children and families, expanding the use of a public amenity to the larger community.
2) It would partly replace the revenue anticipated from the driving range. (A mini-golf course is expected to bring in around $225,000 in revenue a year. A driving range was anticipated to have brought in $800,000 a year. The revenue is used to pay the debt on the general obligation bonds purchased to undertake the Golf Master Plan, and to make improvements to Seattle’s publicly owned golf courses. )
The process for developing the course will include public meetings, and community input.
The mayor’s budget declares “The West Seattle miniature golf course is scheduled for construction in the latter half of 2015.” Providing the budget is approved. P.S. One of the other three city golf courses has miniature golf already – Interbay.
SIDE NOTE: While the Golf Master Plan called for perimeter trails at city-owned courses as its “highest priority,” Hammerstad tells us the perimeter trail for West Seattle Golf Course remains unfunded, but: “With the influx of funds from the revenue-generating projects, there may be an opportunity to develop the trail.”
After several texts and e-mails asking what was going on in Schmitz Park – crowd sounds and music, carrying for a distance – we went over just in time to see everybody leaving, with someone explaining it was a “one-time theater performance” for which the producers had a permit until 9 pm. Just got back and now a web search turns up more details. “Din V: A Convergence” was a joint production of Washington Ensemble Theatre and the band Kithkin, free but with only 100 tickets available, given out at a Capitol Hill coffee shop earlier this month. Full description on this Facebook event page.
(Photo courtesy Karin Beck)
Meet some of the youngest volunteers helping keep local parks from being strangled by overgrowth. These are fifth-graders from Tilden School (WSB sponsor), and their teacher Karin Beck shares the update:
In 2010, Tilden School officially adopted Dakota Place Park. Since then, the students and faculty have been removing invasive species, weeds, and trash from the park grounds. This week, the new crop of fifth graders began their role as park stewards, something they’ll continue throughout the school year. Additionally, this community service project will tie in with an ongoing learning partnership with IslandWood and Nature Consortium. The goal is for these kids to be more aware of their impact on nature and to understand their ability to create positive change.
Around the city, 50+ parking spaces have become parklets for a few hours, including 2 in West Seattle, continuing until 3 pm:
Amber, a citywide PARKing Day organizer who has been making the rounds, tweeted the photo of the West Seattle Bike Connections parklet in front of Mashiko and Husky Deli in The Junction, in full swing with bike-powered milkshakes among other attractions:
— Amber Raynsford (@ambervarie) September 19, 2014
We’re stopping by there shortly and should have a pic to add. Both are up and running until 3 pm, as are almost 50 others citywide. Even if you’re off-peninsula – check the map; might be one near you.
ADDED 1:56 PM: Our photo overlooking the parklet in The Junction:
As noted in our daily preview, Michael Oxman brought the greenery. Go test the bike-powered blender!
This year’s PARKing Day – when temporary mini-parks are set up in streets around the country – is this Friday, September 19th, 9 am-3 pm. We know of at least one parklet planned for our area that day; Kathy Dunn says West Seattle Bike Connections is sponsoring it in front of Husky Deli and Mashiko: “There will be games and activities with a bicycle/ice cream-oriented theme. We hope the word gets out so that lots of West Seattleites can come and enjoy the parklet!” (Anybody else with a PARKing Day parklet this year in West Seattle/White Center? Please let us know!)
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