Playground plea for Westcrest Park: Please don’t take the toys!

October 4, 2015 at 10:44 am | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 16 Comments

This reader report is from Vanessa, whose daughter plays at Westcrest Park:

Recently kids in Highland Park have started donating riding toys to the playground at Westcrest. Everyone here loves Ercolini with all the riding toys, and the new playground and trails are a perfect place to ride.

Unfortunately most of the toys have been stolen from the playground. Everything has been clearly marked “donated to Westcrest playground.” There are a few toys that are still there but the thieves have taken a big wheel, a tricycle, and a push car. The kids that are donating these toys are also frequent visitors to the park and one mother shared how her girls were upset to go back and see that the toys they put there to share with their neighbors had been stolen.

Maybe you could share this story in Crime Watch or somewhere. I know that there isn’t actually a crime here but it’s still a bummer to see this happening.

That’s Vanessa’s daughter in the photo, taken last weekend, featuring a donated toy that’s since disappeared.

West Seattle scenes: PARKing Day 2015, official and unofficial

September 18, 2015 at 11:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

On Thursday night, we pointed out that West Seattle had just one pop-up mini-park planned for PARKing Day this year:

… and that was it, the third consecutive year for a mini-park outside Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) at Westwood Village. That’s co-proprietor Kirk Keppler. They offered visitors a chance to play “ladder ball,” among other things.

Though no one else was registered for the SDOT map, we found out tonight that there was at least one unofficial pop-up park:

Thanks to Amy for the photo from their unofficial mini-park on Admiral Way near 63rd. PARKing Day is a global celebration of urban open space held every year.

West Seattle projects included in mayor’s first Parks District budget proposal

September 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments

One year after voters approved creating the Seattle Park District to provide more money for the city’s park system, Mayor Murray has gone public with his first full-year budget proposal for the district. He was in South Park this morning for the announcement; above, you can watch Seattle Channel‘s archived video of the event. The news release is here – and probably of most interest locally is the list of what will be funded if his proposal goes through. See it here; we’ve excerpted specific West Seattle mentions below (but note that some items on the list are very general, so these are not necessarily ALL the ways in which WS facilities/locations would get funding):


Renovate play areas with new play equipment and make any necessary safety and ADA improvements. Complete Lincoln Park (North), Webster Park and Gilman Park play areas in 2016. Begin the following 7 renovations: Prentis Frazier, Georgetown, High Point, Dearborn, Discovery, Hiawatha and South Park play areas.


Condition assessments under way for the following community centers: Green Lake, Hiawatha, Jefferson, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Queen Anne, South Park, Lake City. This information and the Community Center Strategic Plan will inform priority projects


New Third Shift Crew of journey-level trade positions (electricians, painters, carpenters and plumbers) maintains recreation facilities at night to avoid disruption to the public during operating hours and to work more efficiently. In 2016, the Third Shift Crew will work at 14 sites Camp Long, Rainier Beach CC, Van Asselt CC, International District/Chinatown CC, Alki CC, Miller CC, Yesler CC, Montlake CC, Laurelhurst CC, Ravenna-Eckstein CC, Magnolia CC, Green Lake CC, Loyal Heights CC, South Park CC. These are in addition to 10 sites already funded for preventive maintenance in the department’s base budget: Colman Pool, Mounger Pool, Mount Baker Bathhouse, SW Crew Quarters and the following facilities which will require closures: Evans Pool, Southwest Pool, Amy Yee Tennis Center, Madison Pool, Queen Anne Pool. This means improved maintenance at 24 facilities in 2016, and moving from a 5-7 year cycle of visits to a 2-year cycle. Because much of the work is done at night, there will be fewer 2-3 week closures and fewer interruptions of child care programs, before- and after-school care, sports and many other activities.


Improve parks grounds maintenance, landscaping, and tree work by adding a third tree crew to protect the long-term health of park trees (decreasing tree maintenance cycle from once every 50 years to once every 14 years); increasing support for the Seattle Conservation Corps; and increasing park maintenance including doubling weekly cleanings of comfort stations during peak season at 41 locations: Cal Anderson, Powell Barnett, Volunteer, Madison Beach, Madrona Beach, Washington, Pratt, Garfield, Seward, Atlantic City, Genesee, Othello, Jefferson, Judkins, Alki, Rainier, Van Asselt, EC Hughes, Seacrest, Highland Park, Lincoln Beach, Riverview, Roxhill, Lincoln Wading Pool, John C. Little, Gas Works, Upper Woodland, Lower Woodland, Central Woodland, Green Lake, North Acres Spray Park, Carkeek, Golden Gardens Upper, Golden Gardens Beach, Soundview, Maple Leaf, Matthews Beach, Magnuson, Viewridge, Dahl, Meadowbrook.


Working with the Office of Arts and Culture, recruit and select artists to “activate” parks through approximately 40 performances and temporary installations. While not limited to these sites, the following parks have high priority for activation: Cal Anderson, Dr. Blanche Lavizzo, First Hill, Judkins, Flo Ware, Powell Barnett, Denny, Ballard Commons, Lake City Mini Park, Mineral Springs, Salmon Bay, University Playfield, Hutchinson, John C. Little, Othello, Pritchard Beach, Delridge, Duwamish Waterway, Roxhill.


Start planning and design from 2016 to 2018 for 14 new parks all over the city on land acquired with 2008 Parks and Greenspaces Levy including: Lake City Hub Urban Village, Baker Park Addition, Greenwood Park Addition, Greenwood/ Phinney Residential Urban Village, Wedgwood, U District UCV, Fremont HUV, Denny Triangle, International District UCV, 48th and Charlestown, North Rainier HUV, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction RUV, South Park Plaza (bold indicates the sites planned to start in 2016).

The local “land-banked sites” mentioned for West Seattle are, in the Junction, the one on 40th SW south of SW Alaska, current interim home to Fire Station 32, and in Morgan Junction, just north of MJ Park, the site currently housing a commercial building. Those two and 48th/Charlestown are all now city-owned but there’s no money to develop them as parks, pending this proposal (or something else in the future). Again, LOTS more in the full list linked above, but these are the items that include specific, called-out-by-name West Seattle locations. Next year is the first year that property taxes will be collected to fund the Park District and its projects.

What’s happening behind closed doors at Colman Pool post-season: Cleaning and restoration of its 75-year-old mural

September 18, 2015 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS culture/arts | 6 Comments

(WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When the doors open at Colman Pool for its 75th-anniversary season next summer, be sure to look up as you walk in.

The 6′ x 13′ mural over the reception window in the lobby is getting some TLC right now, following the end of the 2015 season for the city-owned outdoor, saltwater pool on the shore of Point Williams at Lincoln Park.

We stopped in earlier this week to talk with Peter Malarkey, the conservator who is cleaning and repairing the mural for what might be the first time in its three-quarters of a century:

The mural was painted by Ernest Norling for the pool’s completion and dedication on July 4th, 1941.

Malarkey, who cleans and restores privately owned paintings as well as public artwork like this, says he’s seen worse – but still, here’s proof of what he’d removed in the first few days:

Since the pool is only open to the public a few months a year, and there are no other sources of “emissions” to contribute to the grime, that’s likely why it’s in what Malarkey terms “surprisingly good shape.” You have to look hard to see the spots he’s repairing – a few nicks and scratches, one long line of “graphite” that he suspects might have been caused by someone with a pencil. A few spatters, too.

And then, a protective coat of varnish will go over the entire mural – not too glossy, so it doesn’t detract from the art itself, “as invisible as possible,” says Malarkey. “It’s meant to be panels of color, not a lush oil painting.”

Talking about the mural restoration led to a discussion of the mural itself, which reflects many aspects of the time, and the interests of Laurence Colman, for whom the pool is named. You can read about the mural, titled “American Youth and Freedom,” on interpretive signage in the lobby (which has other items of interest, even an old-fashioned phone booth):

We discussed the mural’s style – which Malarkey sees as a reflection of American Regionalism, and the so-called “American Scene” painters. He has another term for it – “late ‘Public Deco’.” The mural, he observes, “clearly responds to the building,” including its curves

Back to Peter Malarkey’s work as a conservator. “All the materials I will use are reversible,” he said. His work is “to influence the painting as little as possible” – everything is soluble in case at some point it needs to be removed. “Reversibility” is important in the kind of work he does. When you see the mural again next year, “the fresher colors will give you a chance to look at (Norling’s) work again, the way he intended it to look.”

Malarkey expects to be done by the middle of next week. Of the project (publicly and privately funded, for an estimated total of $15,000), he says, “It’s good of Parks and the city to be taking care of this – it shows a lot of dedication to the building (and its history). It’s an example of a wise investment in the city’s culture.”

TOMORROW: One PARKing Day pop-up park in West Seattle

September 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

If you go to Westwood Village tomorrow, stop by the PARKing Day park outside Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor), any time after 10 am. Once again this year, they’re participating in the worldwide festival of creating temporary mini-parks … and this year, according to the SDOT map, theirs is the ONLY pop-up park in West Seattle.

Left a love lock at Duwamish Head? Go get it before it’s gone

September 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 21 Comments

Thanks to Lynda B for texting the photo this evening – first we’ve heard that Seattle Parks is planning to remove the “love locks” that have turned up on the fence at Duwamish Head. They’re a tradition in some spots around the world – even other spots in the city – but we’ve only noticed them here relatively recently. The sign says they’ll be removed on Friday, so if you have one you’d like to retrieve (and you didn’t throw away the key!), better go get it. We’ll check with Parks tomorrow to find out why they’ve decided to remove the love locks.

What city-run community centers will offer IF there’s a Seattle Public Schools strike

September 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, West Seattle schools | 12 Comments

In our area, Alki, Delridge, Hiawatha, High Point and South Park community centers will offer all-day camps as an expansion of current before-/after-school care IF there is a Seattle Public Schools strike. That news and other related info from the city is just in via this announcement:

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced that Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), will expand currently scheduled before- and after-school care into all-day camps on September 9, 10 and 11 in the event of a strike by Seattle Public Schools teachers.

“While we still hope that an agreement will be reached to allow school to start on time, the City is making arrangements to provide some relief to impacted families juggling childcare arrangements,” said Murray. “That’s why, for families with children already participating in Seattle Parks and Recreation before- and after-school programs, we will be expanding those program hours for them.”

“The heart of our work here at Parks and Recreation is to support kids and families,” said Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “If the strike takes place, we will do just that.”


Click to read the rest of What city-run community centers will offer IF there’s a Seattle Public Schools strike…

FOLLOWUP: Artist Troy Pillow chosen for Junction Plaza Park project

September 2, 2015 at 9:21 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS culture/arts | 4 Comments

Another quick note from tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting: An artist has been chosen for the Junction Plaza Park project (42nd SW & SW Alaska). Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association told the SWDC that the decision had been made at a meeting earlier in the evening: The artist will be West Seattle resident Troy Pillow, whose public art you can see here. He also is the artist commissioned for The Whittaker (there’s some information on that plan in our report from last December’s city Design Commission meeting). The $25,000 budget for this project was part of the “public benefit” from what became the Spruce project (3922 SW Alaska). No specific design yet, Melrose said, but she says Pillow is “very collaborative.” Watch for updates.

What all the digging’s about at Southwest Pool and Seacrest Pier

September 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 6 Comments

We’ve just dug up details on two Seattle Parks projects you might have noticed:

(Seattle Parks photo)
SOUTHWEST POOL/TEEN LIFE CENTER/NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICE CENTER: You’re being asked to enter via the south side while this work is happening on the north side of the building at 2801 SW Thistle. A leaky water pipe was detected, and has to be replaced; once that’s done, the cement that’s being removed to get to the faulty pipe will have to be replaced, and this is all expected to continue for another week and a half.

SEACREST PIER: Remember last year’s controversy after the city temporarily shut off the Seacrest shower used by divers, because it drains into Puget Sound? Parks mentioned a “permanent solution” was being sought, and this project is apparently it.

When the work is done, the shower will drain into the sewer system instead. The $71,500 project is expected to be complete by the end of next month. (Thanks to Paul for the tip.)

Going up? Celebrating climbing @ new Camp Long Mountain Fest

August 27, 2015 at 6:48 pm | In Fun stuff to do, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

(Schurman Rock photo courtesy Seattle Parks)

Long before climbing walls and other ways of heading up without going to the mountains, there was Schurman Rock. It’s just one big reason Camp Long is hosting the new Mountain Fest on September 13th. Here’s how Seattle Parks is announcing the event:

Rock climbing is fast becoming the sport of choice for many in search of an athletic activity with both grit and Zen. Climbing, it seems, is scaling into the mainstream. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, over 10 million people in the United States participate in rock climbing on some level, and Seattleites in particular have embraced this sport with a passion, with rock climbing gyms and venues, both indoor and outdoor­, growing exponentially all the time. To celebrate both this coming-of-age time for the sport of climbing and Seattle’s long-standing mountain and climbing history/community, Seattle Parks and Recreation will open up its historic Camp Long for a Mountain Festival on September 13th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — where anyone, from novices to hard-core enthusiasts, can get their hands on the rocks and feet off the ground.

Visitors to the Camp Long Mountain Fest will find an exhilarating mix of climbing, conviviality, and challenge.

Click to read the rest of Going up? Celebrating climbing @ new Camp Long Mountain Fest…

What West Seattleites told Seattle Parks’ new superintendent as his ‘listening tour’ stopped in Alki

August 20, 2015 at 1:33 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 5 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“I’m not here to promise we’ll fix everything you tell us about,” warned new Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre as his citywide “listening tour” made its third West Seattle stop last night, at Alki Community Center.

Alki CC coordinator Katie Fridell introduced him to the 20+ or so in attendance (not counting the half-dozen-ish other Parks Department managers and staffers, including Aguirre’s predecessor, longtime acting superintendent Christopher Williams, who is now deputy superintendent).

The bullet-point slide deck with which he began spelled out Parks by the numbers:

Click to read the rest of What West Seattleites told Seattle Parks’ new superintendent as his ‘listening tour’ stopped in Alki…

Election 2015: It’s officially Lisa Herbold vs. Shannon Braddock in November, as final primary vote totals are certified

August 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 19 Comments

The last ballots have been counted, and, as of this afternoon, the August primary-election results are official. In the new Seattle City Council District 1, West Seattle and South Park, about 18,000 ballots were tallied, out of more than 60,000 sent, for a 30 percent voter turnout (see all the King County stats here). Here are the final totals for the nine candidates who were on the primary ballot in District 1:

Lisa Herbold – 30.15% – 5234 votes
Shannon Braddock – 27.78% – 4824 votes
Phillip Tavel – 18.18% – 3156 votes
Brianna Thomas – 10.17% – 1765 votes
Chas Redmond – 7.30% – 1268 votes
Jody Rushmer – 2.12% – 368 votes
Karl Wirsing – 1.41% – 245 votes
Arturo Robles – 1.38% – 240 votes
Pavel Goberman - 1.17% – 204 votes

So the general election contest is between Herbold (above left), a 48-year-old Highland Park resident who is longtime legislative assistant to retiring City Councilmember Nick Licata, and Braddock (above right), a 45-year-old Admiral resident who is chief of staff to County Councilmember Joe McDermott. Several forums are in the works in the district before the November 3rd election, so watch for details on those.

P.S. You’ll also be voting on the two at-large City Council seats – Position 8 will be Tim Burgess vs. Jon Grant (primary results here); Position 9 will be Lorena González vs. Bill Bradburd (primary results here). All election results from around King County can be seen here.

West Seattle wading pools: Season over for 3, after this week

August 18, 2015 at 2:36 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

It’s been a hot summer in Seattle, and the city-run wading pools have helped countless kids cool off. But their season is short, so we’re reminding you that three of West Seattle’s four wading pools will be closed after this week: The E.C. Hughes wading pool’s finale is Friday (August 21st); for Hiawatha, it’s Saturday (August 22nd); and for Delridge, it’s Sunday (August 23rd). Our area’s only seven-days-a-week wading pool, at Lincoln Park, is open daily until September 7th, which is also the last day of the year for Highland Park Spraypark and for outdoor Colman Pool. (See hours and addresses for all of the above by going here.)

West Seattle scene: Downed tree at Lincoln Park, post-storm

August 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Thanks to Barbara for the photo from the north-side beach at Lincoln Park – part of a big tree, apparently downed during last Friday’s storm.

She observes, “Must have been a mighty roar going down.” The final official rainfall total for Friday afternoon, by the way, was 1.2 inches.

Reader video: New Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre at Hiawatha

August 12, 2015 at 9:36 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

Thanks to Michael Oxman for recording and sharing video from new Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre‘s first “listening tour” stop in West Seattle, last night at Hiawatha Community Center. The tour includes four more West Seattle stops – two are next week: Tuesday, August 18th, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way) and Wednesday, August 19th, at Alki Community Center (5817 SW Stevens), both at 6:30 pm.

‘Think big’: Artwork ahead for Junction Plaza Park. Want to create it?

July 31, 2015 at 4:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks, WS culture/arts | 7 Comments

“Think big”! That’s the invitation for artists who are interested in creating something to enhance Junction Plaza Park in the heart of the West Seattle Junction. From the Junction Association, which is heading this up with partners:

Request for Artists

(Photo by Laurel Mercury)
Project: Public Art Installation
Where: Junction Plaza Park (NW Corner of SW Alaska St & 42 Ave SW)
Deadline for submission: August 17, 2015

The West Seattle Junction Association, Junction Neighborhood Organization (J u N O), and Seattle Parks Department are seeking an artist for an exciting opportunity in Junction Plaza Park. While Junction Plaza Park’s dedication was in 2010, funding for this major art installation has only recently come to fruition.

Junction Plaza Park in located in the West Seattle Junction business district which is also the heart of the neighborhood both literally and figuratively. This pocket park acts as a respite for neighbors, is a welcome burst of green amongst much development, a gathering place for events and programming, and is highly visible from the busy vehicle and transit corridor. We are seeking a significant art installation that will have a positive impact for not only park users, but also enhance the broader area.

Art Location and Intent
It is imperative that all applicants visit the park and evaluate the site. The location of the art will be in the area of the large blank wall at the central north side of the park (see right). The intent is to have a very large, prominent, and impactful piece that has a large presence in the park and beyond. Please think big! The installation with be anchored in the ground.

The total, all inclusive budget for the art is $25,000. This includes all material costs, tax, and any other expenses.

How to Apply
Please submit a response with qualifications by August 17, 2015 including:
· A selection of your past work that you feel is most applicable to this project. Include 5- 10 examples.
· Written letter of intent which includes what direction you’d like to take this project and general size of proposed piece. Consider including a sketch to illustrate how you’d use the space.
· Email: – not to exceed 5MB and preferable in one PDF, or
· Mail: WSJA, Attn Junction Plaza Park, 4210 SW Oregon St., Seattle, WA 98116

· Submissions due: August 17, 2015
· Finalist selected: Sept 15, 2015
· Art installation: Nov 2015 – Jan 2016

Please contact Susan Melrose, Executive Director, 206-935-0904,

West Seattle wading pools: Hiawatha closed for the rest of the day

July 30, 2015 at 4:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Thanks to Brian for the tip – Seattle Parks has closed the Hiawatha wading pool for the rest of the day, citing “contamination.” They expect to reopen the pool tomorrow, but we wanted to let you know in case you were planning to combine a trip to the wading pool with a visit to tonight’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha (which otherwise is unaffected). If you’re just looking for someplace, any place, to cool off, EC Hughes wading pool is open until 7, Lincoln Park until 8, and that’s also closing time for the Highland Park spraypark – addresses are all in the citywide brochure. (4:42 pm update: Per Parks, the “contamination” was from a child, who had recently been sick, throwing up.)

PHOTOS: Celebrating Westcrest Park’s expansion

July 25, 2015 at 5:45 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 3 Comments

More than six years ago, work began to “bury” West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, creating land for a Westcrest Park expansion. And now, the park work is finally done. A ribboncutting ceremony this morning kicked off the official celebration, two weeks after the fences came down to open the expansion to the public. See the man with the white beard helping cut the ribbon? That’s Marshall Dunston, who named the park Westcrest decades ago:

We’re told that was the result of a contest (update: see a 1976 photo on the Parks website). At the podium in the photo above is Brian Hawksford, who represented Mayor Murray’s office today; Michael Shiosaki from Seattle Parks represented Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. Also represented in abundance: West Seattleites having fun at the 20-acre park expansion!

In addition to the newly built features including ziplines and play equipment, Parks brought in a bouncy house for today’s celebration:

Also invited, local food vendors, including White Center-headquartered Full Tilt Ice Cream, whose founder Justin Cline was staffing the truck:

If you haven’t checked out the park, the expansion end is near 8th/Cloverdale.

5 West Seattle stops on new Parks superintendent’s listening tour; also, online survey that’s open now

July 22, 2015 at 9:13 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 7 Comments

Seattle Parks‘ new superintendent Jesús Aguirre is moving into the job with a “listening tour.” As just announced via the department’s Parkways website, it starts July 28th in South Park and includes five West Seattle stops (all 6:30 pm events)

· Hiawatha Community Center, Aug. 11
· Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, Aug. 18
· Alki, Aug. 19
· Delridge, Aug. 25
· High Point Community Center, Oct. 28

All are billed as chances for you to tell Superintendent Aguirre your ideas about Seattle Parks. An immediate way to do that is via an also-just-announced online survey – we just previewed it; just five questions. Go here to take it.

SATURDAY: Westcrest Park celebration to include bouncy house, art dedication, obstacle course, food truck, music…

July 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 4 Comments

2:37 PM: When Seattle Parks officially opened the five-years-in-the-making Westcrest Park expansion almost two weeks ago, they mentioned a July 25th celebration. That’s coming up Saturday, and today Parks shared more details: Music, balsa-wood planemaking, a bouncy house, and an obstacle course from Camp Long will all be part of the 11 am-1 pm party next Saturday. Plus the dedication of Flyers (part of which is in our photo above), the park expansion’s wind-spun public art by David Boyer. If you’re new – this all happened because the city decided to bury what had been an open-air reservoir in this area of Westcrest Park, and that made room for more park space on top, including a new permanent play area.

6:16 PM: We’ve verified a few more details with Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor: The What Up Dog food truck will be there (maybe you’ve seen it recently at Don Armeni Boat Ramp) and music will be by Correo Aereo.

Don’t ignore what’s on the floor! New Lincoln Park signs to remind you

July 15, 2015 at 2:51 am | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 8 Comments

Thanks to Mark Ahlness of Friends of Lincoln Park for the photo of one of two new signs installed at the park, “part of an effort to raise awareness that the forest floor is alive, that the habitat (home to many creatures and essential to our well being) is in the process of being restored by Friends of Lincoln Park volunteers, and that it needs protection and ongoing maintenance.” He says FLP worked with the Seattle Nature Alliance, whose initial membership drive funded the signs, installed by Seattle Parks, as were two similar signs placed in Schmitz Preserve Park last September. (For more on why staying on the trails matters, see this story we reported and published last March, about a student researcher’s work with FLP on the issue.)

The wait is over: Westcrest Park expansion atop West Seattle Reservoir finally opens tomorrow

July 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 11 Comments

(City of Seattle photo by Jason Huff: ‘Flyers,’ installed @ park expansion last year)
More than five years in the making, the Westcrest Park expansion at West Seattle Reservoir finally opens tomorrow.

On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, Seattle Parks and Recreation will open the 20-acre expansion of Westcrest Park at the West Seattle Reservoir, located at 9000 8th Ave. SW in the Highland Park neighborhood of West Seattle. The new park expansion is the fifth reservoir lid-park collaboration between Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

The 20-acre expansion of the park captures panoramic views of the mountains and city skyline, while integrating a range of multi-generational amenities. Features include a flexible great lawn, a new play area with two zip-lines and a hillside slides, swaths of native prairie, strolling paths, parking and streetscape improvements, restrooms, and public art.

(Added: WSB photo taken today)
A mix of oak species will provide strategic shading, frame views and contribute to Seattle’s urban forest and habitat for generations to come. Site Workshop collaborated with the community, Seattle Parks and Recreation and SPU on designing the park and Mid-Mountain Construction built the park.

A new public artwork by David Boyer, “Flyers,” was installed in the park [photo above]. The piece consists of 15 bird- and plane-like kinetic sculptures mounted on steel poles. Grouped in three locations around the park, the sculptures will move to face the wind and the articulating tails will pivot as the wind blows. His inspiration for Flyers comes from airplanes in the SeaTac flight path and birds in the Duwamish Greenbelt. The artist worked with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation and local community members to develop the wind-driven artwork. Flyers was commissioned with SPU and Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 1% for Art Funds and managed by the Office of Arts and Culture.

In addition, the Department of Neighborhoods constructed a P-Patch in Westcrest Park featured in our park design. This feature is funded by the community garden funding included in the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Seattle Public Utilities has replaced open reservoirs with underground structures to improve the quality and security of Seattle’s water supply. That replacement also provided for new park space at Jefferson Park, Cal Anderson Park, Myrtle Reservoir Park and Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will host a community celebration for Westcrest Park expansion at West Seattle Reservoir on Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

West Seattle 4th of July 2015: Fireworks plea; pet protection

July 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm | In Pets, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 8 Comments

Two more 4th of July notes:

FIREWORKS PLEA: The photo is from Shelly, who found fireworks debris while running through Lincoln Park the morning after the 4th last year. She warns, “The park is extremely dry now and it wouldn’t take much to set the whole park on fire.” She is hopeful people will heed that and obey the fireworks laws this year – the park is far from the only place that’s full of dry grass, brush, shrubs, and trees. And just as we were writing this – the National Weather Service has just extended the “heat advisory” AGAIN, continuing through Sunday night.

Speaking of fireworks laws, we already published the official reminder from Seattle Police a week and a half ago, but are sharing it here one more time, as conveyed by Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores:

The Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department would like to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle. The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries. The holiday-related fires and injuries are preventable.

On the 4th of July, 911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. DO NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics. Unnecessary 911 calls block people with real emergencies from reaching 911 and getting help.

Any fireworks-related fires or injuries should be reported directly to 911. Other fireworks violations may be reported by calling the Seattle Police non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

Listening to the scanner the past few nights, fireworks calls *are* broadcast, so those lighting fireworks shouldn’t assume they’ll never get caught.

PROTECTING PETS: Another side effect of fireworks – they tend to scare pets, which means that invariably, we get many more lost-and-found pet reports to publish on the WSB West Seattle Lost/Found Pets page. We hope you won’t need to use it, but if you do lose or find a pet, please e-mail a description, phone number, and photo if available (if not, just be sure the description is detailed) to The Seattle Animal Shelter, meantime, has published information on how best to protect your pets at this time of year.

VIDEO: See what the Parks Board heard about proposal for new ‘guidelines’ governing greenbelts & natural areas

June 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 8 Comments

Will the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners – aka the Park Board – recommend approval of new guidelines for the natural areas and greenbelts under Seattle Parks jurisdiction? Intense discussion preceded and followed our preview of the board’s public hearing last Thursday night. Now the video’s available online – embedded above, or watch it directly on the Seattle Channel website here. The board is expected to make its recommendation next month; even if you didn’t get to the hearing, you can get your comment(s) to the board as long as you do it by July 16th.

West Seattle weather: Wading-pool season starts tomorrow; how hot it did, or didn’t, get

June 26, 2015 at 6:39 pm | In Fun stuff to do, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

6:39 PM: As the temperature headed up into the upper 80s today … the Lincoln Park wading pool remained empty. But today is the last day you’ll find it that way – tomorrow is opening day! It’s in the upper north-central park and scheduled to be open 11 am-8 pm daily starting Saturday, unless the weather’s below 70 degrees. Also from the citywide wading-pool/spraypark schedule, the Delridge wading pool (Delridge/Genesee) is the next to open (Monday, 4-day-a-week schedule); Wednesday is the first day for E.C. Hughes (2805 SW Holden) and Hiawatha (Walnut/Lander). Of course, you can already take the kids to Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale) every day, 11 am-8 pm – it’s been open for five weeks!

9:42 PM: National Weather Service says today’s high was 89, not a record, but:

However, it is noteworthy to mention that today was the 9th of 80+ degrees this month in Seattle. That is good for 2nd place on the list of occurrences of 80+ degrees in June. It’s all but a foregone conclusion that we will see day 10 tomorrow which would tie the all-time record of 80+ degree days in June. On Sunday, we’re likely to reach new territory with day 11…something that has never happened in 70 years of records at Sea-Tac airport.

New Seattle Parks ‘guidelines’ for natural areas/greenbelts? Public hearing Thursday; petition drive under way now

June 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 49 Comments

(West Seattle section of Parks map showing ‘natural areas’ in purple, parks in green)
Remember the GoApe/Lincoln Park kerfuffle three years ago? In short – Seattle Parks spent one year talking with a commercial zipline operator about a potential facility in Lincoln Park without any public notification/discussion. A local advocate got wind of it, asked us about it, we reported on it, local community advocates organized against it, the proposal was withdrawn.

No specific proposal of that type has emerged since. But natural-space advocates say they’re afraid a new Seattle Parks policy proposal that has a public hearing this Thursday (June 25th) – sparked by the controversy over a mountain-bike course elsewhere in the city – would open the gates for it, and for much more. They are circulating an online petition and sounding the alarm.

You might already have seen discussion of this in the WSB Forums. The “briefing paper” about what’s formally known as “Natural Area and Greenbelt Supplemental Use Guidelines” explains in this preface:

The purpose of the Supplemental Use Guidelines is to provide a transparent tool to evaluate use proposals in Parks’ classified Natural Areas and Greenbelts. (See map, Appendix B of the Guidelines.) The impetus to develop use guidelines came from the difficult process Parks, the Board and the community have been through regarding locating a new use – a bicycle trail – in the Cheasty Greenspace, one of Parks classified Natural Areas. We need to ensure that as an agency, we are meeting the needs of all of our residents and that policies reflect the
changing needs of residents and long-term goals for the city and Parks.

Here’s the full document:

One of the loudest opposition voices is from the Seattle Nature Alliance statement, which has major roots in West Seattle. Its statement includes a link to its petition:

Seattle Parks Department proposes to change the use policy for Natural Areas and Greenbelts, allowing previously prohibited uses in protected areas. After heated community debates over a proposed commercial zipline in Lincoln Park (2012), and more recently, a mountain-bike skills course in the Cheasty Greenspace, Seattle Parks seems to be proposing this policy change to streamline future projects and is ignoring the growing concerns about Seattle’s booming development and its effect on natural areas.

Concerned by equitable access to nature and potential damage to wildlife habitat from overuse, the Seattle Nature Alliance launched a petition. – ‘Preserve Seattle Parks Natural Areas and Greenspaces’. The Seattle Nature Alliance is opposed to the expansion of ‘specialized’ recreation in our natural areas and greenspaces. Co-director Denise Dahn believes “these revisions give privileges to a select few at the expense of everyone else. This is unfair as well as environmentally unsustainable. Parks are for everyone.

Parks staff is recommending that the Parks Board approve the new guidelines. First comes this Thursday’s public hearing, during the board’s 6:30 pm meeting at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.) Their vote is expected four weeks later, on July 23rd.

Morgan Junction Park expansion update: Demolition not likely before 2016, city says

June 18, 2015 at 3:14 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 11 Comments

When you go to the Morgan Junction Community Festival this weekend, you might wonder about the status of the Morgan Junction Park expansion. It’s been a year since the city bought the quarter-acre parcel to the north for $1.9 million in Parks and Green Spaces Levy Acquisition Fund money, after two years of negotiations. And at the last quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, it was reported that the businesses on the site might be vacating this spring. No sign of that so when we noticed a demolition-permit application in city files, we asked the Parks Department about the status. Spokesperson Karen O’Connor tells WSB they’re not likely to be demolishing the commercial building that’s on the site until next year, because the current tenants are looking for new locations:

The businesses are involved in a relocation process which will involve identifying new space that will possibly undergo tenant improvements. The process will take several months. The timetable is based on landlord negotiations at the new site, the scope of the tenant improvements, permitting, etc. In the meantime, tenants are continuing their operations at the Morgan Junction site.

Once the building’s gone, remediation will have to be done, including, according to O’Connor, “soil removal and disposal, importation of clean soil.” Before the city purchase, the site had been up for sale as a potential redevelopment site.

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