Another house making way for a park: Demolition under way at Puget Ridge Edible Park site

April 21, 2014 at 11:03 am | In Gardening, Puget Ridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | No Comments

On West Seattle’s Puget Ridge, this house demolition happening now is big news – it’s the long-awaited removal of the house on the future site of Puget Ridge Edible Park (18th/Brandon). Thanks to Stu Hennessey for the photo and word that demolition has begun. PREP has been in the works for years – here’s our March 2011 report about volunteers working on the plan after the city agreed to buy the 3/4-acre site with Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money. As noted on the project page, the vision for PREP is “to create an urban community farm which is a neighborhood meeting place, a community food garden and a test site for environmentally conscientious sustainability.” We’ll be following up on where the park-development plan goes from here, now that the site’s being cleared.

West Seattle scene: Is this where the Easter Bunny hides?

April 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 4 Comments

“Can you see the petrified Easter Bunny in the photo from Schmitz Park?” asked the photographer who sent us the image. (Closer look here.)

West Seattle’s first city-approved ‘parklet’ planned outside EQ Fitness

April 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 42 Comments

(Potential concept for the parklet – not an exact overlay – just a lengthwise comparison)
Until now, West Seattle wasn’t represented in the city’s pilot program turning a few street-parking spaces around the city into “parklets” – a program inspired by other cities including Vancouver (BC), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

But today, SDOT confirms West Seattle’s first parklet is one of a dozen-plus in the works around the city (map added).

It will be at 3270 California SW, in front of Equilibrium Fitness (WSB sponsor) in the south Admiral area. Lora Swift of Swift Media Solutions is working with EQ Fitness on the plan, which is still taking shape, and, she says, will next go through “a couple of rounds of public comment,” as well as searching for a designer, and funding. With all that ahead for parklet plans, the approval is just the start – all the hosts around the city “will work with SDOT over the next several months to design, permit, and construct their parklets, with the goal of opening this summer,” according to today’s announcement.

The pilot program started with three test parklets, including a Capitol Hill bar whose parklet – open since last September – you can see here. If you’re curious about the rules and requirements, from size to mandatory insurance, you can read about that here.

Stand by for updates on how to have a say as the parklet plan takes shape.

Why plant palm trees on Alki? ‘Beach-y whimsy,’ says Parks, among other reasons

March 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 61 Comments

In case you missed it – our Friday mention of those palm trees, just planted at Alki Beach Park (hat tip again to Connie), were the most-discussed WSB story of the weekend. We promised to follow up today with Seattle Parks, whose Joelle Hammerstad responded, first checking out the comments and then putting together this Q/A:

Q: Why are there palm trees at Alki?

A: The palm trees planted last week are part of a larger project to improve and beautify the landscape along Alki Beach. For the past several years, Parks landscape architects and plant horticulturists have been working to add interest to the landscape along Alki. Among the many projects undertaken include planting sea grass, arranging interesting and attractive and driftwood along the beach and adding an element of beach-y whimsy with the addition of palm trees in this location.

Q: How many trees are there?

A: There are 9 palm trees located in this landscaping area. The two most recent trees planted were by far the most mature. There are seven smaller palm trees grouped with the two larger ones. The addition of these last two trees completes the landscaping plan for this area of the beach.

Q: How much did the trees cost?

A: The trees were free. L & B Nursery in North Seattle donated the trees to Seattle Parks and Recreation. We received the donation last year, but only put them in the ground recently. After receiving the donation, we allowed their root system to mature a bit more before planting them. Mature palm trees are sold for around $125 a foot. We estimate that the donation for these trees is between $2,500 and $3,000.

Q: These trees are not native to the Pacific Northwest. Why did Seattle Parks and Recreation plant them?

A: These trees are native to China. They are a temperate species called Windmill Palm trees, and come from a region of China that gets colder than Seattle. Seattle Parks frequently plants non-native species in Seattle’s parks. When park visitors encounter a flowering tree in Seattle’s parks, they are usually seeing a non-native species. These include flowering cherry trees and dogwood trees, but also non-native ornamental trees, such as Japanese Maples. Nearly all the flowering annuals that bring bright colors to flower beds in the summer are non-native.

Q: The trees will impair the view.

A: Palm trees have an inherently small canopy. As they get more mature, they simply get taller. Their small canopy will grow higher and higher and impinge less and less on views. They will reach a height of about 35 feet.

The palms in our photo are near Alki’s 53rd Street Pump Station.

And the citywide basketball champions are … the ‘Lil’ Storm’!

March 24, 2014 at 1:40 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS & Sports | Comments Off

Once again this year, two local teams faced off for a citywide Parks & Rec championship – Mike Jensen shares the photo and report:

Two teams from West Seattle’s Hiawatha Community Center faced off again in the Seattle Parks & Recreation Girls U12 Competitive Division Championship game. The “Lil’ Storm” came out on top in a hard-fought game. Congrats to both teams on a great season.

Players, left to right: Ruby, Mikayla, Maddie, Jaeley, Jordan, Izzy, Madi, Hannah, Kelsey

Coaches left to right: Mike, Noel, Sharman

We also heard from Mike a year ago when two Hiawatha teams met for the U11 championships.

Sports are just part of the wide range of activities and programs you’ll find at local city-run community centers – all conveniently listed in one regional brochure you can see here.

You can help! ‘Share your ideas, talents, and abilities’ via the Southwest Advisory Council

March 23, 2014 at 8:21 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Activities, programs, and events at Seattle Parks facilities involve more than city staffers … many also result from the work of citizen advisory councils. And right now, the Advisory Council at Southwest Pool and Teen Life Center in Westwood is looking for new members:

The Southwest Advisory Council is a group of citizens dedicated to the enrichment of our community through supporting people and programs at Southwest Pool and Teen Life Center. Its support enables us to offer a variety of programs and services for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Our Advisory Council is always looking for new members. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 7-8:30 pm to talk about programs, policies, and financial issues. Citizen direction, input and participation are vital to our continued success. Advisory Council members also create scholarship opportunities through grant writing and other fundraising activities. If you would like to get involved, please contact Diane Jones at 684-7440 or Stephanie Berry at 684-7438. We would love to have you share your talents, ideas, and abilities. You can make a difference in our community!

The pool and center are at 2801 SW Thistle.

Video: Dakota Place Park expansion site gets City Council committee OK

March 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 7 Comments

The city’s deal to buy 5,750 square feet of land to expand Dakota Place Park is one vote away from being final.

On Tuesday, the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Gender Pay Equity Committee, chaired by Councilmember Jean Godden, gave the purchase its unanimous approval. Before getting to the action item, the committee heard from two West Seattleites voicing support, including Lafayette Elementary student Ethan Jones, who said that since he is on the student council, “I know what it’s like to make hard decisions, but fortunately, this isn’t one.” It’s all right at the start of the video above, which features the entire meeting of the committee (whose members include West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who first told us about Ethan’s appearance). Six minutes into the video, the presentation/discussion begins.

We first reported the deal a month ago. Parks staffers reviewed the history, saying they had been in negotiation with the owner before, then turned their focus to other Junction-area sites – purchasing two on 40th SW – and then, the owner sold this to a developer. When they were talking to that developer about another site in Ballard, it was explained, he told them he’d be willing to sell the city this one. The purchase, funded by the passed-by-voters-in-2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, is expected to close in early April. The city expects to tear down the three unoccupied cottages on the site as soon as possible, but the commercial building will remain until there’s a plan for developing that part of the site, which will take “some creativity,” Parks acknowledged, since the purchase hadn’t happened by the time they factored “land-banked sites” into the next park-funding proposal.

The purchase price of $715,000 is more than the original owner had sought (and more than the current owner paid less than a year ago, as we reported here) and that was the subject of some questioning by City Councilmembers. “How do we know it’s a good price?” asked Councilmember Bruce Harrell. They had two appraisals and it was within that value, said Parks. They also said the previous negotiations had involved a “pre-2007 value.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The full council is expected to vote next Monday (March 24).

Video: Mayor Murray visits Hiawatha to announce park-district proposal

March 13, 2014 at 12:32 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 38 Comments

(UPDATED FRIDAY MORNING with full Seattle Channel video at end of story)

(3:10 pm: Short WSB clip added, still awaiting full archived city video)
12:32 PM: Mayor Ed Murray is making his first major West Seattle appearance since taking office – but it’s a matter of citywide interest; he’s at century-old Hiawatha Community Center for a news conference about parks funding.

(Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
The event just started – click “play” in the window above to see and hear the live video; if you have any trouble with the feed, you should also be able to see it via the mayor’s webpage. We’ll publish notes as well as the archived video, and photos, later.

12:38 PM UPDATE: Just one topline so far – the mayor has confirmed his proposal is for a park district, “an independent taxing authority,” which he says would guarantee a sustainable funding source, though he also pledges to protect Parks’ basic funding source in the regular city budget. He acknowledges there are concerns, but, “I believe we can address” them. He described it initially as a $54 million proposal which he says would cost the average homeowner $14/month.

(With the mayor, Steve Daschle of Delridge-headquartered SW Youth and Family Services at left, West Seattleite Bruce Bentley at right)
1:15 PM UPDATE: The Hiawatha event is over – we’ll re-add archived video when Seattle Channel makes it available. In the meantime, you can read the official news release on the city website, which in turn links to a webpage devoted to more info about the proposal, including the projects proposed for initial funding. (We will put together a West Seattle breakout soon as we can.)

3:27 PM UPDATE: We’ve added a video clip shot by our crew at the event, and two photos. Here’s a background document showing how the initial funding is proposed to be spent.

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Here’s the full Seattle Channel video of the event:

ADDED FRIDAY MIDDAY: Here’s the map showing the projects proposed for funding. If you use the buttons at left to zoom way in, you can find out more about each one.

Mayor coming to West Seattle to announce park-funding proposal

March 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Since Mayor Ed Murray took office two months ago, he hasn’t made an official West Seattle appearance that we’ve heard of, but that’s changing later this week. His office has announced that the mayor will come to Hiawatha Community Center on Thursday afternoon for “a press conference to discuss his recommendations for a park-funding ballot measure.” As noted here February 28th, the advisory committee working on that issue is recommending creation of a special district to raise extra park money, instead of a fixed-term levy, as has been used in the past. The mayor’s Thursday appearance is not a public event so far as we know, but we’ll be doublechecking on that and will update if that changes.

Followup: What the city will pay for Dakota Place Park expansion

February 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 9 Comments

(King County Assessor’s Office photo of 4041-4045 California SW)
One week ago, we reported that the city was moving forward on buying a 5,750-square-foot site north of Dakota Place Park so the park, dominated by its remodeled, landmarked ex-substation building, can be expanded. One key piece of information was missing at the time, however: How much the city will pay. That information is available today, along with other details of the city’s plan for the site, now that the legislation is officially in the council’s online files. From its “fiscal note” document:

… The City presented several offers to the previous owner; however, there was never any agreement on price. A developer acquired the property, subdivided it into two parcels, each now owned by a different limited liability company controlled by the same managing member. Both limited liability companies are willing to sell to the City. The two parcels will be acquired under separate purchase and sale agreements and conveyed under separate deeds. It is anticipated that after the acquisitions close, the City will manage the site until park design/construction funding becomes available by demolishing the three residential cottages and two small outbuildings on one parcel and managing the lease in the commercial building on the other parcel until it is time to develop the park, depending on the terms of the lease and the condition of the building. …

The current budget for this project is $795,087. The costs of negotiations with previous owner were $20,087. The current purchase price is $477,000 for one parcel and $238,000 for the other for a total purchase price of $715,000. The additional budget of $60,000 is for appraisals,administrative time, title insurance and closing costs, environmental testing, survey, and demolition of the residential structures and outbuildings. The acquisitions are scheduled to close at the end of March 2014 with demolition of the structures happening at the end of 2014. …

We checked on the site’s history; its longtime owner sold it for $550,000 last October, according to county records. The subdivision mentioned in the city “fiscal note” above was not actually a step taken by a developer, but a confirmation they sought from the city that the site could be considered two separate lots, since there is currently a commercial building fronting California and three homes behind it. The city issued a confirmation letter last December.

Will you support a Metropolitan Park District to raise extra tax $ for city parks, instead of a levy?

February 28, 2014 at 10:53 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 15 Comments

Tacoma has one, and now it looks like Seattle voters will be asked if they want a Metropolitan Park District too. The citizens’ advisory committee that’s been working on the next parks-funding measure to send to Seattle voters is recommending creating a district with its own authority to raise money via new taxes, instead of sending voters another multi-year levy (the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy was the last one). The committee’s vote last night was 11-1. Our partners at The Seattle Times have meeting details here; you can read the rationale behind the recommendation in this document from the meeting, starting with Item 7. If this proposal had been in effect this year, it would have cost the owner of a $400,000 home about $168, according to the document.

WHAT’S NEXT: The City Council will be asked next month to approve the district, and then it would be up to voters, likely in August, to give final approval. If a district is created, councilmembers would double as the district’s board.

Memorial service Saturday for Cecil O. Hansel, 1934-2014

February 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Family and friends will gather this Saturday to share memories of Cecil O. Hansel, a half-century-plus West Seattle resident who died last week at 79. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing now:

Cecil O. Hansel
April 21, 1934 – February 20, 2014

Cecil Oscar Hansel was born in New England, North Dakota on April 21, 1934, to Pete and Mary Hansel. He was soon joined by brother, Larry and sister, Joanne and later by Royal and Suzanne. Cecil graduated from Larimore High School in 1953, where he was an all around athlete, playing football, baseball, basketball and track. He was also active in drama, on the Annual Staff and President of the Lettermen’s Club. This is where he met the love of his life, Janice Morstad, a cheerleader and two years his junior.

After high school, Cecil was offered a scholarship to play football, but decided instead to enlist in the Army and was sent to Korea for a year. After leaving the military, he attended NDSU. Cecil and Janice eloped and were married on January 21, 1956.

They moved to Spokane, Washington, where Cecil attended a trade school while working at Ideal Concrete Company. Cecil and Janice’s family grew with the birth of sons Jeff, Greg and daughter, Mary Jo.

In 1963, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, and settled in West Seattle. Cecil began working at the Corps of Engineers. The family continued growing with the additions of sons, Mark and David.

Cecil played American Legion Baseball and enjoyed coaching little league football, basketball and baseball. He also enjoyed taking his family on vacations to Spirit Lake, Deer Lake, and other places, eventually retiring to Lake Trask to enjoy the fishing. He retired after 30 years at the Corps of Engineers as Chief of Photogrammetry. He enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids play sports, spending time with family and friends, and fishing.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Janice and his parents. He is survived by his sons, Jeff, Greg (Denise), Mark, and David (Diana), his daughter, Mary Jo Dunlap (Brian), his brothers Larry (Leah), and Royal, his sisters Joanne Hanson and Suzanne Green (Greg), his grandchildren Christina (Jonathan), Tom, Drew and Drake, four great-grandchildren, and also nephews and nieces.

A funeral will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Saturday, March 1st, at 1:00 pm. It is located at 6701 30th Ave SW.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

West Seattle parks: City plans more work in upper Me-Kwa-Mooks

February 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 5 Comments

From the city:

Seattle Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Green Seattle Partnership, is undertaking another project to preserve portions of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park off SW Jacobsen Road. Activities will include control of 4 acres of invasive weeds, planting thousands of native plants, erosion control and litter removal with the help of urban forestry crews and volunteer support.

The public can expect to see activity throughout the year on Parks-owned properties that lie along Jacobsen Road between the western boundary of SW Hudson and SW 56th Ave.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle parks: City plans more work in upper Me-Kwa-Mooks…

From the mayor’s office: Land deal to expand Dakota Place Park

February 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 8 Comments

More than a year ago, when the city bought land for a future park in The Junction in an about-to-be-development-laden zone on 40th SW, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw noted in a meeting that it came when the city turned its focus away from pursuing land adjacent to Dakota Place Park. Now, that particular land is back in play. Mayor Ed Murray‘s office says he has signed and sent to the council a bill authorizing “the acquisition of two adjacent parcels of approximately 5,750 square-feet in total, located at 4041 and 4045 California Avenue SW, adjacent to Dakota Place Park …” The mayor’s office says the urgency of acquiring this site has increased because of a developer’s deal to buy the site; the city’s chance to buy it expires March 31st. We’re told the authorization will be introduced at the Council meeting on March 3rd and voted on shortly thereafter. No word yet on the proposed purchase price; the original/current DP Park site is a former Seattle City Light facility.

A forest is more than its trees: Plea from park advocates

February 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 43 Comments

A plea for support – or, a change of habits, if you are part of the problem – from Denise Dahn and Trileigh Tucker, who co-chair the Alliance for Seattle Park Nature:

Help! Schmitz Preserve is in trouble.

This rare old-growth remnant forest has become the go-to place for people who let their dogs run loose through the forest understory. The forest floor is being stripped bare throughout and it’s getting worse by the day. The forest floor is a delicate and essential part of the habitat — it cannot withstand this type of mis-use. Recently, 1500 new plants were planted and a large section of the forest was fenced off to prevent them from being trampled, but still the problem grows. Please help by writing the City Council, the Mayor, the Parks Department, or your local community association and ask them to do something to help preserve the Preserve.

Thank you,
Alliance for Seattle Park Nature

Read about Schmitz Preserve Park history by going here.

West Seattle scenes: Sparkling jewels, drop by drop

January 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 10 Comments

Here’s another way to look at the fog that has blanketed us so – relentlessly? enthusiastically? snugly? choose your adverb – recently: Up close. Trileigh Tucker, nature photographer/writer who often shares her work on WSB, headed into Lincoln Park for these photos of what she calls “dew jewels.” These first two photos are from a witch-hazelbush:

Two more views ahead:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle scenes: Sparkling jewels, drop by drop…

Summer-camp signups: Seattle Parks readies for registration

January 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Only one month into winter, but it’s not too soon to think about summer – especially if you’re planning to enroll your child(ren) in local summer camps. Seattle Parks has announced it’s almost signup time for its camps:

Online and in-person registration for summer camps begins Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 12 noon. Pay for the camp at time of registration, or pay a $15 deposit to hold a spot with the balance owing two weeks before the camp begins. Participation is contingent upon submittal of the appropriate waiver forms TWO WEEKS PRIOR to the start of camp. Online registration ends two weeks prior to the first day of each camp, but in-person registration will be available until all spots are filled.

The brochure with details on Seattle Parks’ camps is here.

West Seattle wildlife: Face-to-face with a falcon

January 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, Wildlife | 8 Comments

Now THAT’S a game face. West Seattle nature writer/photographer Trileigh Tucker shares photos of a peregrine falcon encountered Saturday at Lincoln Park. And it had opponents, too:

(Click image for larger view)
Trileigh tells her story of the encounter here, with more photos.

You might recall reports of peregrines nesting beneath the West Seattle Bridge – like these 2008 photos and story about a banding expedition there, and baby falcons photographed by SDOT in 2011.

Hot stuff! Brand-new sauna open at Southwest Pool

January 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm | In Health, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

The new sauna at city-run Southwest Pool is open – so in case you hadn’t heard, we’re sharing the news, and photos, from assistant aquatics coordinator Matt Richardson:

Southwest Pool’s new sauna is open!

We invite all of our adult swimmers and water exercisers to try out the new sauna. Use of the sauna is included in your regular swim fee during adult and senior programs. Please read and follow the posted safety rules.

Come on in and smell the new cedar.

We are really excited and know that it was worth the wait.

The sauna measures 10 X 12 feet and is kept at 160 degrees. It was purchased with a loan from Rev-Eck and Meadowbrook Councils. It is part of our fitness-room-upgrade project. The remainder of the project is waiting on DPD construction permits. It should be completed over the next six months to a year. It includes leveling a concrete floor, HVAC, emergency egress, electrical and weight equipment for a total investment close to $120,000. It should not require shutting down the pool to complete the project.

Call the pool at 206-684-7440 for information about adult swimming and water aerobics.

Haven’t been to Southwest Pool? It’s at 2801 SW Thistle; you can see its schedule online.

What should Seattle Parks ask local voters to approve? Speak up January 25th

January 8, 2014 at 6:07 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

checkbox.jpgMore than five years after voters passed the Parks and Green Spaces Levy in 2008, Seattle Parks and Recreation is expected to bring a new measure to the ballot this year. First, it’s holding three community meetings, one here in West Seattle, to see what you think of the work done by a citizens’ advisory committee to get to this point. The meeting is set for 1 pm Saturday, January 25th, at High Point Community Center (free child care provided); read on for the Parks announcement of what it’s about, and how to offer your thoughts even if you can’t be there:

Click to read the rest of What should Seattle Parks ask local voters to approve? Speak up January 25th…

West Seattle community centers’ winter brochure available online

November 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

It might be the most fun-packed publication in West Seattle – the quarterly combined brochure for Alki, Delridge, Hiawatha, and High Point Community Centers, Southwest Teen Life Center, and Southwest Pool. And Seattle Parks says the brand-new one, for winter quarter, is now available online – browse it here, and if you’re interested in events/classes/etc. requiring pre-registration, get ready to sign up starting at noon next Tuesday (December 3rd)!

Not just for recreation: Seattle Parks facilities offer help to teens in crisis

November 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Five of our area’s city-run community center, Teen Life Center, and pool facilities now have a new alter-ego: Safe Place for teens in crisis. This announcement from the city explains:

Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities are the first City of Seattle agencies to become part of the Safe Place network in King County. As of November 1, the start of Runaway and Homeless Youth Prevention Month, 37 Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities, are a Safe Place where youth ages 12-17 can ask for help when in crisis. These facilities include Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 26 community centers, eight indoor pools and three teen life centers.

“We are excited to be part of the Safe Place program. This program is in line with our mission to provide safe, welcoming places for the public,” said Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent. “Being a Safe Place expands our ability to help youth in our centers.”

Community center doors now bear the distinctive yellow decal that signals to young people that they can find help and safety inside. Facility staff have been trained in the protocol to follow when a young person asks for help: offer the young person a safe and quiet place to wait and rest, and call the Safe Place hotline to notify the Safe Place coordinator of the situation. Within 45 minutes, a Safe Place coordinator will arrive to assess the teen’s needs, helping them either return home or go to a youth shelter, as appropriate.

Click to read the rest of Not just for recreation: Seattle Parks facilities offer help to teens in crisis…

Update: West Seattle man found dead at Jack Block Park

November 21, 2013 at 9:37 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 7 Comments

9:37 AM: Port of Seattle Police are investigating the discovery of a body on the beach at Jack Block Park early today, and while they investigate, officers told us there, the port-owned park is off-limits to the public. Seattle Fire responded to the scene around 4:30 am and spokesperson Kyle Moore says the body that washed up was that of a man, possibly in his 20s. No other details so far.

10:58 AM: WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli reports from Jack Block that the park has reopened and police are no longer there.

12:09 PM: Our partners at The Seattle Times quote port police as saying there were no obvious signs of foul play. No ID yet – that’s likely at least a day away.

11 PM: The Times quotes the Medical Examiner’s Office as identifying the man as 22-year-old Levin Van Le, who is shown in public records with a Highland Park address.

What should next Seattle Parks ballot measure ask you to pay for?

November 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 5 Comments

Seattle Parks has just announced the new list of priorities recommended by the Citizens Advisory Committee that’s looking at a possible parks-funding ballot measure for next year. The Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved by voters in 2008 is expiring, so a ballot measure potentially would pick up where it leaves off. The proposed list – split into three parts – can be seen here; note that the top of the list is maintenance, which was not part of the PGS levy plan. You can give your thoughts in person at a public hearing next Thursday, November 7, at Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill (330 19th Ave. E.), signups at 5, hearing at 6, or e-mail your comments to parkslegacy@seattle.gov.

Happening now: First-ever West Seattle Wedding Showcase

October 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 1 Comment

The doors are open at Dakota Place Park‘s historic building and local vendors are set up for the first West Seattle Wedding Showcase, on until 4 pm today. Admission’s free – check out the building, the park, and local sources for everything from your cake to your flowers. Just north of The Junction, at California/Dakota.

How will you be asked to be taxed for Seattle Parks, and what the $ would fund: Park development? Off-leash law enforcers?

October 3, 2013 at 11:20 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 26 Comments

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved by Seattle voters in 2008 is expiring, and that’s a major reason why the Parks Department has been working on a “Legacy Plan” including what to ask voters for next. The Legacy Plan Citizens’ Advisory Committee meets downtown tonight, and the agenda includes a briefing on potential options that could eventually wind up as part of your property-tax bill, as well as a look at proposals for how to spend the money.

First: The briefing suggests possible temporary or permanent levy-lid lifts, bonds, or creating a permanent Metropolitan Parks District – like Tacoma has – that would have its own property-taxing authority. From the city website, here are the slides for tonight’s briefing:

Seattle Parks presentation for possible voter-approved funding



If you can’t see the slides in that window, you can see the PDF version here. The committee is working toward a December deadline for making recommendations to the City Council and Mayor. Tonight they also will look at the long list of “Investment Initiatives” – what might be funded with whatever money is raised by the next voter-approved measure.

Items of potential West Seattle interest from the 37-proposal list include:

#14, $1.4 million to develop parks at sites where the city has bought or is buying the land – including three in West Seattle. Explanation excerpt:

Thanks to the support of the people of Seattle, voters approved the Parks and Green Spaces Levy in 2008. Included in the Levy were funds for new park acquisition. However, there were not funds in the 2008 Levy to develop the newly purchased properties into parks or to maintain them. Fourteen neighborhood park sites have been acquired with 2008 Levy funds but are land-banked – held in their current condition. The land-banked sites are throughout the City, many in some of the densest neighborhoods, experiencing the greatest population growth. The sites need to be developed to become true assets to their neighborhoods, and to keep faith with the voters who supported their acquisition as park land.

(The three in West Seattle would be 48th/Charlestown, the 40th SW site in The Junction, and the site north of Morgan Junction Park.)

#26, which would include funding 2 new park rangers and 2 animal-control officers:

The most frequent complaints Parks receives from our park users are about dogs off leash. Additional support from dedicated Animal Control officers is also needed to respond to dog off-leash issues in our parks. Park Rangers and Animal Control officers would work outside the downtown parks with special focus on random patrols of parks where there have been complaints of dogs off leash or where there is observed ongoing damage to turf, trails or natural areas by dogs off leash. Park Rangers and Animal Control officers would work in cooperation to provide education and solicit compliance of the leash law.

There is a public-comment period at tonight’s meeting, which is at 6 pm at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).

You can help: Revegetate Schmitz Park at ground level

October 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 7 Comments

(That’s Schmitz Park in the center of pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen‘s 2012 image)
From above, it’s an oasis of unbroken lush green. At ground level, parts of Schmitz Preserve Park need help – and that means you. Shared by Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is undertaking a project to revegetate damaged areas in the Schmitz Preserve stream corridor. Activities will include planting native plants, erosion control and fencing off redundant foot trails that crisscross Schmitz Creek. The project will help conserve one of Seattle’s rare old-growth forests while supporting the overall environmental stewardship goals of the urban forest system. Schmitz Preserve Park is located in West Seattle at 5551 SW Admiral Way.

Friends of Schmitz Preserve, a group of dedicated community members, are key partners in this preservation and restoration project in the park.

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