Speaking of play areas: Tonight’s the night to be in Highland Park

October 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | No Comments

Too busy a day for a calendar preview (please go directly to our calendar to browse everything that’s up) but there’s one spotlight event, as the Highland Park Action Committee reminds us:

*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.

Roxhill Castle followup: Turret lifted off, play area reopens

October 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, Westwood | No Comments

(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:

Roxhill Castle still closed: Strategizing turret removal

October 27, 2014 at 10:07 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, Westwood | 2 Comments

(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 reinforcement

October 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.

Design process to start for Highland Park play-area upgrade

October 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | No Comments

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.

‘Myers Park’? Suggestion for southeast West Seattle sites

September 28, 2014 at 11:33 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 10 Comments


(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.

Miniature golf in West Seattle? Following up on mayor’s budget item, here’s what we’ve learned

September 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS & Sports | 41 Comments

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.”

If you wondered what was going on in Schmitz Park tonight …

September 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS culture/arts | 12 Comments

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.

More West Seattle volunteering: Tilden 5th graders @ Dakota Place

September 20, 2014 at 7:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

(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.

Happening now: Go play! West Seattle’s PARKing Day parklets are in Westwood, The Junction

September 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 9 Comments

Around the city, 50+ parking spaces have become parklets for a few hours, including 2 in West Seattle, continuing until 3 pm:

That’s Sona and her mom in the PARKing Day parklet by Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) in Westwood Village, second year that Wyatt’s has set one up with games to play and a place to sit.

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:

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!

PARKing Day parklet Friday by Husky, Mashiko in The Junction

September 15, 2014 at 10:56 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

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!)

Camp Long Mountain Fest tomorrow: See the schedule!

September 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm | In West Seattle festivals, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

“The day is jam-packed with awesome.” So says Mat McBride from the advisory council for Camp Long, which – as previewed here last month – invites you to its Mountain Fest tomorrow. You don’t have to take his word for it – here’s the schedule he forwarded tonight, pointing out that there are activities for kids as well as adults:

If you can’t see it embedded above, here it is in PDF format. The festival is set for 11 am-5 pm tomorrow (Sunday); Camp Long’s entrance is at 5200 35th SW.

Hot tub at Southwest Pool shut down for weeks of repairs

September 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

While the pool itself isn’t affected, the hot tub (spa) alongside city-owned Southwest Pool in Westwood has been shut down, Seattle Parks has announced:

Effective immediately, the spa at Southwest Pool will be closed for several weeks for the repair of the spa’s drain assembly.

To remain in compliance with federal law and Washington state health regulations, a temporary repair is not possible. A permanent repair requires replacement of the drain sump, patched cement, plumbing, tile work and more.

The spa will remain closed until this extensive work can be completed.

The entire Southwest Pool building was closed for a week of maintenance work recently, but apparently (we’re checking) this didn’t come up until after that.

ADDED 3:45 PM: The reply to our question: “The pool was closed in August so the gym floor could be refinished. There was no pool maintenance scheduled at that time. The spa maintenance is a new issue.”

New Fairmount Playfield restrooms finally about to be built

September 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 6 Comments

More changes ahead for Fairmount Playfield – just in the past few months, there’s a new gravel path on the south side to lead from Fauntleroy Way to reopened Fairmount Park Elementary, and then came the removal of the remaining street trees (reported and explained here last month). Now, construction is finally about to start on the new restroom building. It’s been three years since we mentioned the plan to replace it, using money from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. This afternoon, Parks sent the announcement:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is replacing the comfort station at Fairmount Playfield (5400 Fauntleroy Way SW). The new comfort station will meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and provide upgraded amenities.

Seattle Parks will demolish the existing comfort station in late September 2014. Parks is providing two porta-potties during the closure. The new comfort station will be installed and opened in February 2015. Parks will work to minimize construction impacts that may include truck traffic and construction noise.

The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces levy allocates $200,000 for planning, design and construction. The Oversight Committee recommended levy inflation funding be allocated to much needed major maintenance projects such as this replacement.

Notice the difference? Friends of Morgan Junction Parks, Peace Lutheran volunteers team up for more cleanup, restoration

September 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Another Morgan Junction-area public space is in better shape tonight because of hard work by community volunteers. Thanks to Barry for the photos and report:

A delegation from Peace Lutheran Church again joined Friends of Morgan Junction Parks on a neighborhood cleanup effort. The two groups put in a solid shift on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the SDOT property on the corner of Fauntleroy and Juneau, where restoration work was begun last fall. The two groups have also been restoring the triangle property next to the Thriftway in Morgan Junction.

Tall, thick weeds had taken over the parking strip at the Juneau site. These were removed, in addition to a lot of dead wood on trees and plants in the interior. We’ll return later in the fall to add some new plants to the parking strip area.

You can connect with Friends of Morgan Junction Parks via its Facebook page.

This party will rock! Camp Long Mountain Fest set for next month

August 27, 2014 at 10:04 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

(Schurman Rock at Camp Long; photo from seattle.gov)
Celebrate climbing without going too far above sea level, at a special Camp Long celebration just announced for next month. From Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites you and your family to celebrate Camp Long Mountain Fest and the 75th anniversary of Schurman Rock from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.

Camp Long Mountain Fest celebrates Seattle’s mountain climbing history and community. Visitors can challenge themselves on the high ropes course and try climbing and rappelling on Schurman Rock (with waivers). There will be mountain games and interactive workshops for people of all ages and abilities and prizes will be awarded. Jim Whittaker, the first American to climb Mount Everest, is scheduled to attend.

Schurman Rock was constructed between 1938 and 1939 by the Work Progress Administration, and is believed to be the first man-made climbing structure in America. It was originally named Monitor Rock because climbing instructors could monitor their students from all sides of the structure. In 1957, it was renamed to honor Clark Schurman who designed it.

Schurman, known as “The Chief,” was the chief climbing guide on Mount Rainier from 1938 to 1941. As a climber, he sketched and painted his journeys into a book published by The Mountaineers in 1939. Schurman thought it was important for novice climbers to have a practice rock. Schurman Rock stands as a legacy to his vision.

Seattle Parks says this will be a free event; find out more about Schurman Rock here.

Weeklong closure ahead for Southwest Pool, starting Tuesday

August 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

As you make your end-of-summer plans, here’s one more note about city aquatics facilities – Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle) is closing for a week, from next Tuesday (August 26th) through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 1st). It’s a maintenance shutdown, but it is concurrent with the final full week of operation for Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park, so you’ll have that as a city-run alternative while SW Pool is out of service. (As of Sept. 2nd, when Southwest Pool reopens, Colman will be closed except for one “post-season weekend” Sept. 6-7.)

Mayor launches search for Seattle Parks & Recreation superintendent

August 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

Since taking office at the start of the year, Mayor Ed Murray has hired department heads including a new Police Chief and new Transportation Director, and now he’s launching a search for another one – a new Parks Superintendent. Just in:

Mayor Ed Murray today thanked Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the past four years, who is stepping down to the role of Deputy Superintendent. Williams is returning to his previous role with the department as he manages some personal health issues.

“I want to thank Christopher for his dedication and service to Seattle Parks and Recreation and the people of Seattle over the last four years as Acting Superintendent, and for many years before that in other capacities with the department,” added Murray. “Under his leadership, the department has successfully weathered significant budget reductions as the result of the Great Recession, including both service and staffing cuts. Seattle’s park system will benefit from Christopher’s work for years to come.”

The Mayor will conduct a national search to find a new leader for the Parks and Recreation Department. The search is underway and will be completed by January of 2015.

Williams lived in West Seattle while growing up and is a Chief Sealth International High School graduate. (Photo: WSB file, from 2011)

Election 2014: Despite (or because of?) park proliferation, Seattle Proposition 1 on losing side here

August 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle police | 35 Comments

checkbox.jpgAt week’s end, King County Elections published the legislative-district-by-legislative-district breakdown of the first night’s results in the August 5th election. Though the citywide total has been in favor of Seattle Proposition 1 – creating a Park District with taxing authority for extra parks funding that has previously come via levy – parkland-rich West Seattle is in the “no” column. West Seattle has the bulk of in-city voters in the 34th Legislative District (map), and the district’s opening-night vote was 42 percent “approve,” 58 percent “reject.” That was the lowest “approve” percentage of any legislative district with some Seattle voters; next lowest was the 32nd District (map) in northwesternmost Seattle, at 43 percent “approve.” The strongest support, meantime, was 63 percent “approve” in the 43rd District (map), which includes downtown, Capitol Hill, and Green Lake.

If you’re interested in other King County races’ election-night district-by-district breakout, it’s all in this PDF. No precinct-by-precinct breakout yet; the final vote won’t be certified until next week. (And again, what’s reported above is from a breakdown of the first count, made public election night, and does not include ballots counted and reported since then. The “approve/reject” gap has widened a little citywide since that first round; as of Friday afternoon, “approve” was ahead with 53.2 percent, while on Election Night, it was at 52.4 percent.

Election 2014: 2nd vote count widens lead for Park District measure

August 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle politics | 34 Comments

Quick note in case you’re wondering: The second ballot-count update is out for the August 5th election, and the proposal to create a Seattle Park District has widened its lead a bit. Last night, the yes vote was 52.4 percent; today, it’s 52.7 percent. Next ballot-count update will be out by this time tomorrow.

Pocket park planned in Gatewood neighborhood, thanks to a donation dating back long before the donor’s death

August 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 19 Comments

That Gatewood home is scheduled for demolition – but not to be replaced by new development. You might call it “un-development.”

For the past few months, a small sign in front of it has been the only clue it’s set to become a pocket park, aside from this webpage. Seattle Parks owns it because its owner made a “reserved life estate donation” for that purpose. The sign has long promised an upcoming public meeting for neighbors, and now the date is set – 10 am Saturday, August 16th, at the site known as the Watton property after the donating family, 3823 SW Willow. It’s scheduled for demolition a month later, in mid-September; George Watton, who died last January at age 94, bequeathed the money for that, too. He and wife DeLayne Watton (who died in 2007) had lived there since building the house after he returned from World War II in the late ’40s. After demolition, the city will work on site restoration and turf establishment, and promises it “will work with the contractor to minimize the impact to the neighborhood.”

Long before today’s announcement, we had done some research after getting a tip about the site. Donald Harris with Seattle Parks told us that George Watton had said, dating back to 1992, that he was interested in donating his property to the city after he died. The city won’t accept “just any property,” but this one appealed, Harris explained, because “you can see how it could be this great little overlook for the neighborhood.” Mr. Watton’s health went downhill after he took a fall late last year; he had to leave his beloved home and move in with family in southwestern Washington. According to Harris, they said they wanted to start the process of transferring the site, and there was some hope it might be transformed into a park before he died, but that didn’t work out. Mr. Watton did stay engaged with the planning process for a long time, Parks says. His monetary donation to cover demolition and some park development totaled about $60,000, and because of the special type of account it went into, it grew over time. The demolition won’t be simple, but eventually, Harris said, people will be able to go up onto the site and sit and enjoy it.

Why the street trees by Fairmount Playfield are being cut down

August 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 21 Comments


The trees in the planting strip along Fauntleroy Way by Fairmount Playfield have caused some trouble in recent years – we can think of at least two cases of branches falling on the sidewalk/cars, like this one last September.

Still, some were concerned to see that all but a few have been removed this week. It’s partly related to the impending reopening of Fairmount Park Elementary, according to the response we received from Seattle Parks, and partly in advance of an impending sidewalk project:

The trees were removed for hazard. The species and growth of the tree (have) made them unreliable. They were pruned to mitigate hazards and slated for removal as part of the sidewalk replacement program in 2015 in cooperation with SDOT. We are removing the current trees to assure that the new grade-school-bus loading zone is safe this year. A plan is in development to replace similar-size trees in a manner that will not disrupt the new sidewalk.

Two trees had been taken down previously. Parks also recently put in a path along the south side of the park, leading from the sidewalk to the school.

Followup: Alki, Seacrest showers to be turned back on following pollution-concern-related shutdown

July 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 25 Comments

Just in from Seattle Parks, following our Tuesday report:

Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on the showers back on at Alki Beach Bathhouse today, and have the showers at Seacrest Park open by Thursday, July 31.

The water had been turned off temporarily after Seattle Parks received notice from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that the two showers were draining directly into the Puget Sound, which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.

Parks and SPU have jointly developed a temporary solution to the problem while a more permanent one is created. Seattle Parks and Recreation will install a charcoal or vitamin C treatment system to address the chlorine in the water, and post signs that say “no soap, no chemicals, no dumping.”

Parks will work with SPU to develop a method and schedule for the long-term fix, which will likely include connecting the showers to the nearby sanitary line.

Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.

Thanks again to Paul for the tip on the shutoff – he e-mailed us over the weekend, we inquired Monday, and published the first report after Parks replied Tuesday morning, updating the story late yesterday following a conversation with SPU. We welcome news tips 24/7 – if breaking, text or voice to 206-293-6302; otherwise, editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

Pianos in the Parks: West Seattle, White Center parks included

July 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS culture/arts | 12 Comments

(The Alki piano – photo courtesy Pianos in the Parks)
If you weren’t already planning to spend part of your summer at city/county parks – a public/private-partnership plan announced today is meant to give you a reason to visit. It’s called Pianos in the Parks, and it’s placed 20 donated and decorated pianos in 20 Seattle and King County parks, for one month, starting today. The parks, listed here, include Alki Beach Park in West Seattle and Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center. Since those are both fairly sizable parks, we asked a Pianos in the Parks spokesperson where to find the pianos. Reply: “The Alki piano is located just across from Spud Fish & Chips at the edge of the grassy area and the Steve Cox piano is roughly in the middle of the park by the picnic huts and the playground.” (Above, that’s the Alki piano, decorated by artist Kerstin M. Graudins, before it was to be placed at the beach, where we’re hoping to get a photo of it this evening.) And yes, the pianos are playable – that’s even at the heart of a contest. What happens to them after August 17th? They’re being auctioned off; you can bid on any or all of them online by clicking any individual park photo here to see its piano.

Create a Seattle Park District? Days before ballots arrive, yes/no sides make their cases to Admiral Neighborhood Association

July 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle politics | 13 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When the August 5th ballot arrives in your mailbox next week, it will include one major issue for you to decide: How will the City of Seattle raise extra money for its park system from here on out?

In recent years, the city has done that by taking a levy/bond measure to the public every so often. The most recent one was the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which expires this year.

But what the city’s asking you to approve this time has no expiration date. If you approve Seattle Proposition 1, you’ll be voting to support creation of a permanent Park District with taxing authority – no further votes needed.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association spent most of its July meeting on a mini-forum about Proposition 1 – with some pointed questions, and responses.

Click to read the rest of Create a Seattle Park District? Days before ballots arrive, yes/no sides make their cases to Admiral Neighborhood Association…

Followup: Repairs complete, so Colman Pool reopens Tuesday

July 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

(WSB file photo)
After a three-day shutdown because of mechanical trouble, Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park WILL reopen tomorrow, Seattle Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad just confirmed. We asked earlier for details about the breakdown, and along with apologies from Seattle Parks for the closure and inconvenience, she explained:

One of two pumps for the main circulation system failed. This was a 40hp motor attached to a pump; the coupler sheared off of the motor that was attached to the pump. There would have been a loud explosion noise, but was not heard by the caretaker because of the 4th of July noise.

The broken pump allowed water to drain out of the pool into the sanitary sewer. No water went into Puget Sound. An estimated 200,000 gallons drained out until detected about 4 a.m. on July 5. The pool capacity is 450,000 gallons.

The pool was refilled overnight on July 5 and 6 during the highest tide. The pump has been repaired and is being laser-aligned this afternoon.

The clarity of the water is poor and needs at least 6 hours of circulation to meet Health Code requirements. The temperature of the pool is cold, currently 70 degrees. The water when it comes in from Puget Sound is around 60 degrees. The ideal temperature for the pool is about 82 degrees. We expect the pool will be close to 80 degrees for swim lessons on Tuesday.

Regular pool pricing will be in place when we reopen. Those with 30-day swim passes can be extended by three additional days if request is received at the pool by July 9.

P.S. Remember that the pool will be closed to the public this Friday and Saturday for a swim meet, so you have three days to swim there before that.

Colman Pool update: West Seattle’s outdoor pool closed again Monday

July 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 4 Comments

We have an update this evening on Colman Pool, the only city-run outdoor pool in West Seattle, closed all weekend because of a circulation-pump breakdown: The parts needed for repairs are expected to arrive tomorrow (Monday) and Seattle Parks hopes to reopen the pool on Tuesday – with the water likely to be colder than usual, since they can’t refill the pool until the pump’s fixed, and can’t heat the water until it’s in the pool. The pump failure, discovered Saturday morning, drained much of the water in the pool. Your city-run swimming options, in the meantime, include indoor Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle; schedule here) and, for the littlest West Seattleites, wading pools and Highland Park Spraypark (schedules/addresses here). Thanks to Allison at Colman Pool for the updates – including the latest photo of the sign outside.

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