West Seattle, Washington
Even if you’re not a full-fledged birder, you know West Seattle is a great place for bird-watching. And now it’s drawn a special designation related to that: Kersti Muul tells us that Lincoln Park is now part of Seattle Audubon‘s Neighborhood Bird Project:
The NBP started in 1995 and Lincoln Park is the first new addition in over a decade!
Basically, the NBP utilizes citizen science to monitor species diversity throughout the city of Seattle.
Audubon volunteers, under the guidance of a group leader for each park (I am the leader for Lincoln Park), conduct bird surveys once a month on a set date and time. The data we gather is then entered into a master database. The data are used to monitor urban bird abundance, assess the effectiveness of restoration projects, and to educate volunteers regarding their neighborhood habitat, phenology, etc.
Audubon encourages volunteers to pick a park that is in their neighborhood for this reason, as it makes them a stronger and better educated advocate for their locale. Anyone interested can contact Toby Ross, science manager at Seattle Audubon (email@example.com).
You can find out more about the NBP here.
Seattle Audubon, by the way, is the source for the BirdWeb infopages we link to species names in the captions of the bird photos featured atop many morning previews on WSB (thanks to the wonderful local photographers who share them, some of whom are involved in the NBP) – BirdWeb provides a wealth of information about each species found in Washington, including what the birds look like, what they sound like, and where their habitats and ranges are.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:04 PM: Yes, the no-pets-on-the-beach law is enforced at Alki and other waterfront parks sometimes – and at least one citation recipient is unhappy about it. We took that photo this morning after someone called to tell us about the sign. A first-time violation will cost you $54, according to this list of city fines, which has the reminder that it’s “unlawful to permit any dog to run at large in any park, except in designated off-leash areas, OR unlawful to permit any dog to enter any public beach, swimming area or wading area, pond, fountain, stream, or organized athletic area.” We’re checking to see if Seattle Animal Shelter (aka “animal control”) has any stats on how many tickets it’s issued so far this year.
3:16 PM: Perhaps a coincidence, but while our information request to SAS has not yet been acknowledged, we received this news release from the city minutes ago:
Spring is blossoming and hatching in Seattle, and now is a particularly important time to ensure that immature wildlife have their best opportunity to flourish in the Northwest. Because of this, the Seattle Animal Shelter will be conducting emphasis patrols on all saltwater beaches in the city.
Dogs are not allowed on any of Seattle’s public saltwater beaches, whether leashed or unleashed. This law helps to protect the fragile ecosystem along our shorelines. Marine mammals, such as seal pups who are typically born in April, use the city’s beaches to rest and warm themselves. Shore birds also frequent our beaches. Wildlife that interact with dogs are less likely to reach adulthood.
Uniformed animal services officers will be patrolling city parks with a focus on saltwater beaches and may issue citations to violators.
If you would like to report Seattle beaches where dogs are frequently seen, please submit a service request here. You can also contact the shelter directly by calling 206-386-PETS (7387) or by visiting seattleanimalshelter.org.
3:44 PM: Our request for stats has been answered by Kara Main-Hester at Seattle Animal Shelter:
The Park District team started in 2016. Since the start of the program, they have written 905 violations and conducted 1002 patrols. (Data: 1/1/2016 – 3/31/2017). During that time, they wrote 29 citations at Alki parks (Alki Beach Park + Alki Playground) and 34 at Lincoln Park.
This morning also brought the annual egg hunt at Lincoln Park‘s south meadow, presented by Eastridge Church, which has branches in The Junction and on the Eastside, each one presenting a hunt with 40,000 treat-filled eggs promised between the two. Sometimes, just a few are enough to make a little one stop and consider:
The Eastridge event also offered other activities for kids, including face-painting.
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is happy to announce that the design for the resurfacing of the West Seattle Stadium track is nearly complete and construction will begin this summer. During construction, the stadium track will be closed. SPR and the contractor hired for the project will work to minimize impacts to the neighborhood.
SPR hired DA Hogan as the lead design and engineering consultant for the project, which is located at 4432 35th Ave. SW, adjacent to the West Seattle Golf Course. This project will replace and resurface the existing rubberized track at the stadium.
The Seattle Park District provides $950,000 for this major maintenance project. Approved by Seattle voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for SPR including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.
We have a followup question out to ask about how long – whenever it starts – the work is expected to last.
3:15 PM: Christina Hirsch from Parks replies:
We are finalizing documents to put this out to bid. We have a project window of May – end of August. The construction portion and closure will be approximately 7 weeks. We worked with our field scheduling group to identify this time. This track resurfacing project is a major maintenance project identified in our Asset Management Plan.
We are reaching out to the community now to let them know about the work. Once bids are open, we will be able to narrow down the exact construction schedule and we will be sure to share that with the community.
Many have asked about the disappearance of the longtime zipline/cable ride by Lincoln Park‘s south-end play area. Apparently it vanished, unexplained; we asked Seattle Parks if it was coming back, and spokesperson Christina Hirsch says no:
We’ve installed a new cable ride at the new Lincoln Park north end play area, near the wading pool. The south-end cable ride has been permanently removed. It did not meet current safety standards and was no longer maintainable.
The south-end play area will be renovated within the next five years.
The renovated North Play Area opened last October.
P.S. Somehow we can’t find a photo of the now-gone zipline/cable ride in our archives. YouTube, however, has immortalized many rides … here’s one clip from 2007 that clearly shows the entire installation.
The first-ever Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets process for what used to be the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund is now on to the next phase. We first told you in January about the chance to suggest ideas for these grants of up to $90,000, with $2 million to be spent citywide; then the city invited community members to review the suggestions – in City Council District 1, West Seattle/South Park, 211 came in – and now the Department of Neighborhoods has announced which 10 are moving on to the next phase of review. You’ll find them on the map above (which also includes the 60 from the six other council districts around the city – grab the map with your cursor and pull it up to see the rest of D-1, and click on any marker to bring up more information about that specific proposal); here’s the list:
Project #17-006: Trail improvements at Roxhill Park
Neighborhood: South Delridge
Project #17-014: Improve 5-way intersection at Dallas Ave S, 12th Ave S, and Thistle St
Neighborhood: South Park
Project #17-019: Bus stop improvements on Barton St
Neighborhood: South Delridge
Project #17-031: Crossing Improvement along SW Henderson St
Neighborhood: Highland Park
Project #17-044: Improved crossings on S. Cloverdale
Neighborhood: South Park
Project #17-068: Crossing improvements at 35th Ave & SW Dawson St
Neighborhood: West Seattle
Project #17-085: Add sidewalks to S. Sylvan Way
Neighborhood: High Point
Project #17-145: Install marked crosswalk along SW Alaska St.
Project #17-153: Install crosswalk near Youngstown
Project #17-163: Traffic-calming on Avalon Way
The proposals that make the final cut after SDOT and Parks reviews will go for district-by-district community votes in June; the city promises more information on that when it gets closer.
(Delridge Community Center file photo from seattle.gov)
4:40 PM: Heads up if you use Delridge Community Center – it’s closed through Friday, according to Seattle Parks, which says the closure is for “routine maintenance.” But the center is scheduled to reopen by Saturday, when its annual egg hunt is set for 10 am. (Here’s our list of all this week’s egg hunts, services, and other seasonal activities!)
ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: Delridge CC’s Angie Ramirez tells WSB that the maintenance includes refinishing of the center’s hardwood floors in the gym and multipurpose room, and “other deep cleaning of the center.”
West Seattle/South Park residents proposed more than 200 ways to spend almost $300,000 in city grant money for park/street projects … and tonight is your last chance to help decide which ones will move on to a vote. From Jenny Frankl at the Department of Neighborhoods:
This will be the final meeting to decide what projects will move forward. Meeting kicks off @ 5:30 p.m. @ the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library (9010 35th Ave SW).
*If you are just now plugging into this process, first and foremost, welcome! Secondly, just wanted to quickly catch you up – In the previous three meetings for District 1, each D1 project that has been submitted has been reviewed and scored twice (with the exception of those listed below). This meeting tomorrow will be to select from the projects that received the highest scores from those two reviews.
*For those of you who have attended one of these prior meetings, this meeting will be slightly different than the others so far, so I also wanted to give you a better idea of what to expect.
We will be reviewing three sets of projects, that you can find on the updated District 1 Project Map:
*The projects that were scored the highest in the previous District 1 project development meetings and indicated by green pinpoints
*The projects that were scored twice, but the two scores varied greatly are indicated by yellow pinpoints
*The projects that still need to receive their second review are indicated by red pinpoints
In tonight’s meeting, you all will review the orange & red projects first. Once we receive their additional scores, we will tally up their collective scores, and add the highest scored projects to the other list of projects that have scored highly in this process. You will all then review and prioritize the overall list of highly-scored projects.
The goal for the meeting is to select 10 of these projects that will first advance to SDOT/Parks for a thorough feasibility and cost assessment, and then on to the ballot in June!
Anyone is welcome to participate tonight, whether you’ve been to one of the previous review meetings or not.
As first reported here back in January, this is the city’s new process replacing what had long been vetting of proposals and projects through neighborhood-district councils, until the mayor’s decision last year to cut the city’s ties with, and nominal funding for, those groups. (The two in West Seattle, Southwest and Delridge, are continuing on as independent organizations meeting monthly.)
Youth Outdoor Adventure Day will be a free day of fun activities open to the public, for boys and girls aged 10-20. Planned activities include: archery, high-wire challenge course, rock climbing, rifle shooting, dutch oven cooking, orienteering, fire building, tomahawk throwing, geocaching, robotics, and s’more!
Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops will host fun activities designed to excite youth who are not already involved in Scouting, and give them a taste of what Scouting is all about. Existing Scouts can bring their friends and participate in all of the activities, or people can come on their own to meet local Troops and Scouts and enjoy the day on their own.
This is a friendly reminder in case you missed it in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. Camp Long is at 5200 35th SW – if you’re not walking, biking, or taking the bus, consider a shuttle up the hill from West Seattle Stadium to the north.
Someone asked us that question recently, recalling that a miniature-golf course was supposed to have been built at the city-owned West Seattle Golf Course by now.
Indeed, it was on page 101 of the 757-page 2015-2016 budget plan announced by Mayor Murray in September 2014.
We published a followup about it two days later, with more details from the Parks Department, including that it “would be a replacement for the driving range that had been planned for the golf course.” (The driving-range plan was canceled amid a wave of concerns in 2011, after a quarter-million dollars had been spent on its design.)
In late 2015, we checked on the project’s status. Parks told us that the miniature-golf course was in the “planning, permitting, and budgeting stages” and that a community meeting was expected soon.
And that was the last we heard of it. 2016 went by. And then, here in early 2017, a reader question. We took it to Parks, and spokesperson Rachel Schulkin replied:
I have talked with our team here at Parks and Recreation about the mini golf project at West Seattle Golf Course.
What I have learned is that project is indefinitely on hold as the funding set aside for this development were required to address the emerging safety issues at the Jefferson Park golf course on Beacon Hill.
Recently there has been an increase in safety concerns from golf-ball trespass due to the age and decline of the trees that surround the golf course. The money originally slated for the mini golf is now held in reserve to go toward addressing these imminent safety issues.
We found a mention of the Jefferson problem in a course newsletter from last June, citing ball-trespass problems after “numerous trees” along the course were “removed or topped.” The newsletter also said that the city and course operator were “working toward a permanent solution” but didn’t get into funding details. We so far haven’t found any previous public mention of the plan to shelve the West Seattle miniature-golf course plan and move the money elsewhere.
–Tracy Record, WSB editor
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:13 AM: At 9:30 this morning, the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Waterfront Committee agenda includes a Parks Department request for approval to seek state grants for three boating-related projects, including one at West Seattle’s Don Armeni Boat Ramp. From the slide deck for the meeting, here are the details:
The grant would cover two-thirds of the $1.5 million cost; the city funding comes from the voter-approved Park District levy. You can watch the discussion live during this morning’s committee meeting via Seattle Channel, online or on cable channel 21, and you can find more details of the meeting via its agenda, here.
10:56 AM: The council-committee meeting is over. Parks got approval to pursue the grants. The briefing included an explanation that of the three projects for which those grants are being sought, Don Armeni – the only one in West Seattle – is the highest priority, because waves have caused so much damage to the old floating docks. So even if the grants aren’t received, the committee was told, the Don Armeni project will happen anyway.
The next Seattle Parks play area set for renovation in West Seattle is in High Point. Two public meetings have just been announced so you can see and talk about the design options, and whether or not you can make one or both of those meetings, the Parks Department has an online survey up about the project right now. You can answer the survey here. The meetings are both at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW), both on Saturday afternoons, 1-3 pm February 25th and 1-3 pm April 8th. The project – which is south of HPCC, near the tennis courts – has $700,000 in funding from the Seattle Park District levy.
After questions came up in the comment section on Monday, we confirmed with Seattle Parks that the fences up at the Highland Park playfield/playground area (1100 SW Cloverdale) are for the start of the HP Playground Improvements project.
This is *not* related to the playground project at nearby Highland Park Elementary, but it has been long in the works. The city’s description:
The scope of this work for the project is to relocate and replace the existing ballfield to allow t-ball, coach pitch ball and U-9 and under soccer, as well as provide access and safe bleachers for all. The ballfield relocation project will install ADA access to the ballfield by providing hard paving around the new backstop, into the dugouts and to the field, as required by ADA. Relocating the field will provide enough room on the south side of the field for an ADA path to the east side of the park and for an extension of the Cloverdale walk.
Project manager Kelly Goold tells WSB that while the official projected end date of construction is late June, the contractor hopes to be done by mid-May – reaching that goal depends on how the weather goes, “given the amount of site-work and paving involved in this project.”
The pink dots are where the city has off-leash dog parks now – in West Seattle, for example, Westcrest Park is the only one. Will more be added – and if so, where? A key step toward deciding that could come next Thursday night, when the Seattle Parks Board discusses, and might vote on, the draft People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan.
You can see documents for the meeting here – including the points that board members are being asked to decide on Thursday night, spelled out in this “decision agenda” memo. It includes proposed changes to the draft plan, and also asks the board to affirm whether new off-leash areas would only be fenced sites – ruling out “leash-optional trails.” And the board will be asked to affirm the plan’s proposed policies for regulating professional dog walkers if they use off-leash areas – with a $100 annual license and requirements for certification if they seek to bring more than three dogs to an OLA after the first two years following passage of the plan.
Ahead of next Thursday’s meeting, the group Citizens for Off-Leash Areas has been circulating a survey asking for more suggestions for “pilot” off-leash spots – find it here. The survey’s introduction says Seattle Parks asked the group to come up with more possible locations. We asked Parks if that was indeed how they were soliciting site suggestions, rather than putting out a call to the public. Spokesperson Christina Hirsch replied:
When the final People, Dogs and Parks Plan is released in March, it will outline a process for the public to submit applications for off-leash locations. This process will be open to all, including groups and individual residents. Seattle Parks and Recreation will form a committee to review the applications and the Superintendent will make the final decision. This process will go through a public involvement process and community outreach.
COLA has worked in collaboration with SPR during the Off-Leash Area Master Plan process. COLA came to SPR with a list of off-leash location recommendations and we suggested that they develop a more comprehensive and geographically balanced list. It appears they are developing that revised list by soliciting community feedback.
COLA’s recommendations will go along with submissions from the community application process.
In the meantime, Thursday night’s board meeting considering the strategic plan is open to the public – 6:30 pm January 12th, at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).
The Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project – centered on a million-gallon tank to hold overflows during major storms – is almost done. An update from King County today says the next big step is restoration work across the street at Lowman Beach Park, which held construction trailers and also crews working to upgrade the pump station beneath the park’s southeast side:
King County’s contractor recently completed major roadway and sidewalk restoration on streets surrounding the project site. Before the end of the year, the contractor will paint new roadway lines and install roadway signs.
Landscaping on site continues as crews prepare to begin restoration in Lowman Beach Park. Before planting grass in the park, the contractor will prepare the soil by grading, turning over the subsoil, and adding new topsoil. A fence will remain in place around the park until the new grass is well established.
No work is scheduled for Dec. 24 – 26 or Dec. 31 – Jan. 2. While work will continue into 2017, you can expect to see smaller crews and fewer pieces of equipment on site (see schedule in attached update for additional information).
We appreciate your continued patience as we work to safely complete the project as quickly as possible. We will continue to provide you with updates on project progress in 2017.
What to expect in 2017:
• Work to occur on weekdays 7 am-6 pm and occasional Saturday work 9 am-6 pm.
• Smaller crews and fewer pieces of equipment on site and in Lowman Beach Park
• Streets near the site open and accessible
• Periodic sidewalk closures while landscaping work is underway
• No public access to the staircase on site until all work is complete
• Fence to remain in place around Lowman Beach Park until grass is well established
Please direct any concerns or inquiries to the project hotline: 206-205-9186.
The overflow-control facility itself has been operational for more than a month.
One of West Seattle’s crown-jewel parks, Camp Long, celebrated its 75th anniversary this year (WSB coverage here). Even if you went to the party – there’s more to learn about its past, and its future. Above is Camp Long education supervisor Sheila Brown, inviting you to tomorrow afternoon’s SouthWest Stories presentation, co-sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society (which shared her video invitation) and Seattle Public Library. Come to Delridge Library (5423 Delridge Way SW) at 2 pm Sunday to hear what she has to say about “The Diamond Anniversary of Camp Long: Rocking Outdoor Recreation for 75 Years.”
From Anthony at Southwest Pool:
Southwest Pool is collecting nonperishable food and snacks for the West Seattle Food Bank. Last year we brought in 300 pounds of donations. The food drive is now through Friday (December 16th).
To give back for community support, today through Friday, the Southwest Pool will also have specific discounted swims for persons who donate 3 or more nonperishables to the activity.
Here’s the schedule for that:
Southwest Pool is at 2801 SW Thistle.
The unsung heroes of local city-run community centers are their advisory councils – and the one at Hiawatha Community Center recently said goodbye to its longtime president, and wanted to publicly share words of thanks:
The Hiawatha Community wishes to thank Rob Wunder on his 25 years of service to the West Seattle community as President of Hiawatha’s Advisory Council.
Rob grew up in West Seattle and spent a great deal of his childhood enjoying the activities offered at Hiawatha’s Community Center. As an adult, he felt that it was his calling to give back to a place that provided so much enrichment to him during his youth. Rob, in his capacity as President, has been instrumental in leading positive change for the community and the Seattle Parks system. All his actions were driven by his view of the big picture and his passion to make a difference for the community.
Rob was instrumental in two special projects that families will enjoy well into the future; The Hiawatha Field Replacement Project and Dakota Place Park Project. Do you remember when the beautiful turf and track was just dirt? Or when Dakota Place Park was an old City Light station? We now enjoy these beautiful amenities because of his countless volunteer hours, his ability to speak for positive change, and his passion for equity and access with affordable programs across the community, expanded programs in West Seattle, and support of our youth.
During Rob’s tenure as President at Hiawatha, important programs were implemented and grew, such as child care, athletics, preschool, tween, recreation, ballet, summer camp … the list goes on and on! Hiawatha’s special events attracted thousands, such as summer concerts, Halloween carnivals, and pancake breakfasts, because Rob was a strong advocate for his community.
While this is a short list, it doesn’t come close to covering Rob’s hard work or expressing our gratitude to him, as he is truly an exceptional individual. His selfless commitment to community, hard work, and strength as a leader has created a lasting legacy upon the residents of West Seattle, past, present and future. We thank him for all that he has done for our community over the years.
(The Associated Recreation Council partners with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide lifelong learning opportunities and advocating for the success of recreation services at Hiawatha.)
Seattle Parks is working on a plan for the future of its “Soft Surface Trails” around the city. Your thoughts are being sought – including at a December 20th meeting – not in West Seattle, but not far:
This meeting provides an opportunity to learn about soft surface trails in Seattle and to provide input on the plan for trails within SPR’s natural areas. The final plan will include recommendations for trail-maintenance standards, levels of service and trail hierarchy, a determination process for how new trails are formed and overall guidance for the future of trails throughout Seattle. This plan is not specific to one particular park or area.
The trails meeting is at 6 pm December 20th at the Jefferson Horticulture Building, 1600 S. Dakota. The preview on this Parks website also includes a contact for questions and comments if you can’t make it to the meeting.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 20, 2016
West Seattle artist Troy Pillow (below) has the most visible art in The Junction – the kinetic sculpture “Transpose,” dedicated today (above) – and more on the way, as he has designed art you’ll see all around the peninsula’s biggest project, The Whittaker.
Some of the backstory for the new installation stretches to a project across the street from that one.
As explained at today’s ceremony (11 minutes, recorded in its entirety in the video above), the roots of this public art are in the project at 39th/Fauntleroy/Alaska, first known as Fauntleroy Place, then as “The Hole” when it stalled for years after excavation, and then as Spruce, after it was sold at a foreclosure auction and completed. $25,000 was part of the “public benefit” package that development owed because of its alley vacation, approved by the City Council.
The importance of “public benefits” was discussed briefly during the ceremony by the West Seattleite who was on the council then, Tom Rasmussen. Also present but not speaking, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Because of the years it took for this to become reality, there were other sets of then-and-now – former West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose and her successor Lora Swift, former Junction Neighborhood Organization leader Erica Karlovits and her successor René Commons. While Karlovits didn’t join the ribbon-cutting lineup, her son Connor helped:
The sculpture, for its part, spun gently in the breeze; it was created from concepts originally shown to the public at an open house in The Junction last February. The day’s intermittent rain kept itself on pause for the 20-minute event, in which Seattle Parks reps also participated – Robert Stowers, a former West Seattleite, and Pam Kliment. You can see the sculpture, standing against what had been considered West Seattle’s biggest blank wall, in the park on the northwest corner of 42nd and Alaska.
10:57 AM: You’ll see something new at Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska) next time you go by: The 20-foot-tall kinetic sculpture that’s been in the works for a while. We last reported on the plan when concepts were shown at a Junction open-house event during last February’s West Seattle Art Walk; now, local artist Troy Pillow has completed the work, and it’s being installed this morning. It’s funded by public-benefit money from local development as well as a city grant. Update later, after it’s fully installed!
ADDED: By the time we got back in late afternoon, the base was already in shadow, but you can see the top of the sculpture:
(2012 Lowman Beach aerial photo – pre-Murray CSO Project – by Long Bach Nguyen)
If you missed it in our coverage of the latest Morgan Community Association meeting: Seattle Parks has a short survey for Lowman Beach Park fans, and it’s about to close. The questions are about how, and how often, you use the park – or, how often you did before all the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Project work. Results will help them determine the fate of Lowman Beach’s tennis court, among other things, when final decisions are made about the park’s compromised seawall. Find the survey here.