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

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

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

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

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

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

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

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

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

Followup: Repairs complete, so Colman Pool reopens Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Colman Pool closed again tomorrow after ‘mechanical problem’

July 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

1:26 PM: Thanks to Anne from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) for the tip: Colman Pool (on the shore at Lincoln Park) is closed today, with a sign up citing “mechanical” problems (Anne also shared the photo of the sign). Another reader had e-mailed earlier in the day saying they’d walked by and noticed the pool was almost empty, but at the time there was no sign about its status. The lifeguard who answered the pool’s phone is tracking down more information for us to share, and we’ll add to this as soon as we get it; meantime, the city’s indoor pool in this area, Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle), is open as far as we know – here’s its schedule.

2:11 PM UPDATE: More information from the pool – one of the main circulation pumps failed overnight and the pool lost a lot of water. They’re working right now to find the part they need, and if it can be found and installed today, the pool could be refilled tonight and could reopen tomorrow – but note, as the sign in the photo says, the water would be cold, since there wouldn’t be time to fully reheat it, so, we’re told, they would have discount pricing. They’re promising to update their phone message and website, and we’ll update too.

5:52 PM UPDATE: Just got word that they haven’t yet procured the part they need, so the pool will be closed tomorrow too. It’s already noted on the pool website, which also makes note of the previously scheduled swim-meet dates during which Colman Pool will NOT be open for public swims – next Friday/Saturday (July 11-12).

SUNDAY NOTE: The part is expected Monday, which means the pool’s likely to reopen Tuesday. We’ll have a separate story a bit later.

Morgan Junction Park expansion: City closes the deal

July 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 33 Comments

(WSB file photo)
ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY NIGHT REPORT: Seattle Parks has notified the Morgan Community Association that it’s closed the purchase of the Morgan Junction Park expansion site at 6311 California SW. The plan has been in the works for almost two years – we first reported the sale negotiations in September 2012. The site just north of the current park includes the building housing a minimart and dry cleaner to the north, and some undeveloped land to the west. We don’t have word on the final purchase price yet; the site had originally been listed as a potential development site for $2 million. There is no money budgeted yet for developing the site, which will officially be “landbanked” for starters, but it’s one of the projects for which money is earmarked in the Park District proposal on next month’s ballot (a preliminary version was noted here last October). According to what the city has told MoCA, the timetable for demolition of the building is not set yet, so the businesses will be there a while longer; the site needs some cleanup too because of its past.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: Parks says the purchase price was $1,887,000. The site is a little more than a quarter of an acre.

West Seattle 4th of July: Security, lights at 3 local fields

July 1, 2014 at 10:17 am | In Holidays, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 6 Comments

Seattle Parks is again planning to keep the lights on at synthetic-turf fields to discourage fireworks, and says security will monitor for extended hours, too. This time, it’s planned for both Thursday and Friday (July 3-4). Three West Seattle fields are on the list for security monitoring 9 pm-4 am and lights 8:45-11 pm: Delridge, Hiawatha, and Walt Hundley, all of which have been renovated in recent years. We’re adding this to the WSB West Seattle 4th of July page, still open for other holiday info if you have something to share – editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

Followup: Car found in the water off Beach Drive was stolen in Queen Anne

June 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Continuing to followup on incidents that made news over the weekend – Seattle Police confirm the empty car that went into the water off Emma Schmitz Viewpoint on Beach Drive (map) was stolen. Beach Drive Blog not only reported the incident early Sunday (photo at right is republished with their permission) but also, based nearby, was on the scene before authorities, and checked in case anyone was in the car. According to the official SPD report, the car was stolen from a Queen Anne man who didn’t even know it was missing until an officer showed up at his house, but said he had left his keys inside it. The SPD report says the ignition key was found inside the car, which was locked with its windows rolled up when found upside down in a foot of water. Police believe the car was pushed off the embankment but haven’t found any witnesses yet. Later Sunday morning, BDB published aftermath photos and reported potential seawall damage; we have an inquiry out to Seattle Parks today to see if they have assessed the site yet to find out if repairs will be needed. (Earlier this year, BDB reported city plans for a new seawall there next year.)

West Seattle wildlife: Stop and smell the … dandelions!

June 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, Wildlife | 9 Comments

It’s not just nuts that will stop a squirrel in her tracks. Trileigh Tucker shares the photos:

I encountered this incredibly photogenic squirrel foraging along the south part of the Lincoln Park beach. She appeared to be a nursing mother; maybe eating the dandelions somehow provides special nourishment to provide for her young?

Trileigh writes about nature and publishes more of her photos at naturalpresencearts.com.

Also tomorrow: Explore Hiawatha’s Olmsted Parks history

June 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Just got word of this, and it’s a rare opportunity: Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks is offering a free public walking tour tomorrow (10 am Saturday) of Hiawatha Playfield, designed by John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago. Meet by the park entrance at Walnut/Forest. Prepare with this history lesson (and find out about the other Olmsted parks in West Seattle via this clickable map).

Trail-building project at Fairmount Playfield to close playground for the next three weeks

June 12, 2014 at 9:02 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

As newly expanded Fairmount Park Elementary gets closer to its fall opening, three weeks of work on the south end of adjacent Fairmount Playfield starts next Monday. The work will close the playground for the next three weeks, the project team just confirmed. Here’s the official notice:

Seattle School District is constructing a path in Fairmount Playfield. This path will be built from Fauntleroy Way SW to Fairmount Park Elementary School. To facilitate construction, the south portion of Fairmount Playfield will be closed. However, the ball field will remain open.

The purpose of the path is to provide a safe walking surface from the new bus load zone on Fauntleroy Way SW to the school playground. It also provides a new paved, barrier-free access to Fairmount Playground at its southern boundary.

The Seattle School District is working with the contractor to minimize construction impacts that may include truck traffic and construction noise.

The district expects almost 300 students at Fairmount Park when it opens in September, seven years after it was mothballed in a districtwide round of closures.

North Delridge Neighborhood Council: Outdoor meeting Monday

June 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

A few years ago, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council started holding its summertime meetings outdoors in various locations. The announcement of this coming Monday’s meeting has just arrived, and they’re doing it again:

Join the NDNC for our monthly meeting on Monday, June 9, at 6:30 pm. We’re starting our summer meetings in the park series with Cottage Grove Park – 26th and Brandon, the one with the kids’ play area at one end. Bring outside chairs, blankets, or anything else you need – depending on the weather, it gets cool towards the end.

We don’t have much in the way of a set agenda, so we’re holding an open meeting for you to bring any and all issues, concerns or other items.

Happening now: Kids fishing with West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club

June 7, 2014 at 10:03 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

About another hour left – unless supplies run out sooner – at the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club kids’ fishing pond on the dock at Seacrest.

It’s free for kids under 14 – pole and bait provided – under the tent on the dock.

First day of second year for West Seattle’s only spraypark

May 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Cloudy and 60s when we stopped by, but that wasn’t going to keep these two from being among the first to visit the Highland Park Spraypark this morning when it opened for the first day of its second year in operation. (They weren’t the only early visitors, either – the grownup keeping an eye on them told us that youth baseball players came over to run through the water after a morning game nearby!) The spraypark is scheduled to be open daily 11 am-8 pm through September 1st; it’s at 1100 SW Cloverdale. (As noted here earlier this spring, wading pools don’t start opening for another four weeks.)

Video: Seattle Park District campaign, pro and con, previewed at Delridge Neighborhoods District Council

May 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

On the August 5th ballot, you’ll be asked to vote for or against creating the Seattle Park District to raise more money for city parks, as the most recent park levy – the approved-in-2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy – is expiring. We reported last month on the council vote placing the proposal on the ballot. This past Wednesday, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council got a preview of the campaign, hearing from three guests over the span of an hour and a half – City Councilmember Jean Godden, who chairs the council committee that deals with parks; Terry Holme, a longtime Parks Board member representing the pro-Park District group Seattle Parks for All; and Carol Fisher, representing the anti-Park District group Our Parks Forever. Except for a moment toward the end when we had to change cameras, the entirety of the statements, and ensuing Q/A, can be seen/heard in the two video clips above. So if you get some time this long weekend, listen in – it’s a big decision to make.

BACKGROUND INFO: This was the result of the Parks Legacy Plan process; the ordinance setting up the ballot measure creating the Park District is here; here’s how the first six years of money would be spent; here are even more details about the individual parts of that spending plan.

Another Saturday reminder: Dakota Place Park cleanup

May 16, 2014 at 9:54 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Lots going on tomorrow, as you’ll see if you take an advance look at the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. One spotlight event to mention again in advance: Spring cleanup time at Dakota Place Park, home to the city-landmark former substation, soon to get extra space to the north. Join community volunteers 10 am-noon tomorrow. More details here, including a reminder to bring (and label) tools!

Jump into Seattle Parks’ outdoor-swimming-season preview

May 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Walking along the Lincoln Park shore this evening, we noted that sign inside the front door of Colman Pool, posted after last season ended, looking ahead to the season that’s about to begin. Just today, in fact, Seattle Parks published its roundup of the dates for the start of outdoor-swimming season. We’ve already reported the start dates for local wading pools (Lincoln Park first, on June 21st – assuming that’s a 70-degree day! – others to follow) and for Highland Park Spraypark‘s second season – May 24th, which also is the first day of the first pre-season weekend at Colman Pool (schedule here). Read the citywide breakout here, and check out Parks’ Summer Guide here (PDF).

In case you wondered too: See this year’s city wading-pool schedule

April 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 1 Comment

(WSB file photo of Hiawatha wading pool)
None of the Seattle Parks-operated wading pools/sprayparks will be open in time for the early heat that’s about to hit, but in case it makes you wonder about this year’s schedule – we discovered it’s already out. See it here. Highland Park‘s spraypark will start its second season on May 24th; after that, Lincoln Park‘s wading pool will be the first to open, on June 21st, and again this year, it will be open 7 days a week. The Delridge Community Center wading pool will start its season June 23rd and will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays; June 25th will be the first day for the EC Hughes (Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays) and Hiawatha (Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays) wading pools. South Park will start up on June 23rd, open Mondays, Tuesdays, Sundays.

Create a Park District to raise more money for Seattle Parks? Council approval today means you’ll vote in August

April 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle politics | 26 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A month and a half after Mayor Murray came to Hiawatha Community Center to announce the proposal to create a Park District to raise extra money for Seattle Parks and Recreation in the years ahead, it’s ballot-bound.

That’s because, during their meeting this afternoon (archived Seattle Channel video above), the City Council voted unanimously (8-0, with West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen absent) to send it to voters.

This will replace – now and into the future – the more-recent pattern of sending ballot measures to voters every few years, levy or bond, to raise extra money for Parks. Most recent one was the five-year Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved in 2008. It was set to raise $146 million over six years, ending this year. Before that, the Pro Parks Levy approved by voters in 2000 raised $198 million over eight years.

But this time around, city leaders decided to go for a permanent way to raise extra money, instead of a fixed-term levy. The Park District would be accountable to the City Council, sitting as its board, but would have its own taxing authority. As laid out in this memo, councilmembers want the Park District to raise about $48 million a year for the first six years, 11 percent less than the $54 million the mayor had suggested. So what about the money Parks gets from the city budget now? According to the mayor’s website: “The City will continue to use City revenues to fund Parks and will continue to allocate a minimum of $89 million per year of General Fund revenues (2014 level of funding) to support Parks’ services and facilities unless the City Council by a three-fourths vote determines that a natural disaster or exigent economic circumstances prevent the Council from maintaining this level of General Fund support.”

Meantime, here’s the bill councilmembers passed to ask voters whether they will approve creation of the Park District.

In public comment before the vote, they heard from several critics who expressed concerns about accountability and about the fact that unlike the levies, citizens won’t be voting on how much they will be taxed – they will be instead voting to give the Park District taxing authority. One critic suggested few citizens had heard about this and accused the council of being “in an insulated bubble.”

Councilmembers disagreed with that. They also said an “interlocal agreement” between the city and the proposed district – set up in a second bill they passed today – would increase accountability.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who chairs the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, said it would help solve the problem of Parks’ huge unfunded maintenance backlog, estimated at more than $260 million, because 60 percent of the money raised would be spent on that. She said that over three years of trying to figure out what’s next for Parks funding, she had looked at and listened to thousands of comments.

Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant both acknowledged the Park District proposal wasn’t perfect, but considered it to be acceptable.

Councilmember Sally Clark described it as a tool to be used “without the council going all evil and using it for unintended purposes.”

Mayor Murray said in his announcement last month that the Park District would be able to tax up to 75 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The slightly larger funding package he was supporting at the time would have used about 42 cents of that authority, so the one the council is supporting would be a few cents less than that. After today’s council vote, he issued a statement saying the principles of his proposal “remain intact.” The mayor’s website has Q/A with more details on how the district would work.

If you’re a Seattle voter, you will be part of the final decision in the August 5th election.

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 | Comments Off

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.

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