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.
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!)
“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.
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.”
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, restorationSeptember 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.
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.
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.)
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 hereAugust 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle police | 35 Comments
At 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.
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