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.
Quick note in case you’re wondering: The second ballot-count update is out for the August 5th election, and the proposal to create a Seattle Park District has widened its lead a bit. Last night, the yes vote was 52.4 percent; today, it’s 52.7 percent. Next ballot-count update will be out by this time tomorrow.
Pocket park planned in Gatewood neighborhood, thanks to a donation dating back long before the donor’s deathAugust 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 19 Comments
That Gatewood home is scheduled for demolition – but not to be replaced by new development. You might call it “un-development.”
For the past few months, a small sign in front of it has been the only clue it’s set to become a pocket park, aside from this webpage. Seattle Parks owns it because its owner made a “reserved life estate donation” for that purpose. The sign has long promised an upcoming public meeting for neighbors, and now the date is set – 10 am Saturday, August 16th, at the site known as the Watton property after the donating family, 3823 SW Willow. It’s scheduled for demolition a month later, in mid-September; George Watton, who died last January at age 94, bequeathed the money for that, too. He and wife DeLayne Watton (who died in 2007) had lived there since building the house after he returned from World War II in the late ’40s. After demolition, the city will work on site restoration and turf establishment, and promises it “will work with the contractor to minimize the impact to the neighborhood.”
Long before today’s announcement, we had done some research after getting a tip about the site. Donald Harris with Seattle Parks told us that George Watton had said, dating back to 1992, that he was interested in donating his property to the city after he died. The city won’t accept “just any property,” but this one appealed, Harris explained, because “you can see how it could be this great little overlook for the neighborhood.” Mr. Watton’s health went downhill after he took a fall late last year; he had to leave his beloved home and move in with family in southwestern Washington. According to Harris, they said they wanted to start the process of transferring the site, and there was some hope it might be transformed into a park before he died, but that didn’t work out. Mr. Watton did stay engaged with the planning process for a long time, Parks says. His monetary donation to cover demolition and some park development totaled about $60,000, and because of the special type of account it went into, it grew over time. The demolition won’t be simple, but eventually, Harris said, people will be able to go up onto the site and sit and enjoy it.
The trees in the planting strip along Fauntleroy Way by Fairmount Playfield have caused some trouble in recent years – we can think of at least two cases of branches falling on the sidewalk/cars, like this one last September.
Still, some were concerned to see that all but a few have been removed this week. It’s partly related to the impending reopening of Fairmount Park Elementary, according to the response we received from Seattle Parks, and partly in advance of an impending sidewalk project:
The trees were removed for hazard. The species and growth of the tree (have) made them unreliable. They were pruned to mitigate hazards and slated for removal as part of the sidewalk replacement program in 2015 in cooperation with SDOT. We are removing the current trees to assure that the new grade-school-bus loading zone is safe this year. A plan is in development to replace similar-size trees in a manner that will not disrupt the new sidewalk.
Two trees had been taken down previously. Parks also recently put in a path along the south side of the park, leading from the sidewalk to the school.
Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on the showers back on at Alki Beach Bathhouse today, and have the showers at Seacrest Park open by Thursday, July 31.
The water had been turned off temporarily after Seattle Parks received notice from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that the two showers were draining directly into the Puget Sound, which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.
Parks and SPU have jointly developed a temporary solution to the problem while a more permanent one is created. Seattle Parks and Recreation will install a charcoal or vitamin C treatment system to address the chlorine in the water, and post signs that say “no soap, no chemicals, no dumping.”
Parks will work with SPU to develop a method and schedule for the long-term fix, which will likely include connecting the showers to the nearby sanitary line.
Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.
Thanks again to Paul for the tip on the shutoff – he e-mailed us over the weekend, we inquired Monday, and published the first report after Parks replied Tuesday morning, updating the story late yesterday following a conversation with SPU. We welcome news tips 24/7 – if breaking, text or voice to 206-293-6302; otherwise, firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
(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 AssociationJuly 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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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.
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 – email@example.com – thanks!
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.)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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