West Seattle, Washington
(WSB file photo)
While doing research for the WSB West Seattle Halloween Guide, we discovered Southwest Pool is NOT having a pumpkin swim this year – because Halloween weekend will happen during its maintenance closure. We asked Seattle Parks for more information on the shutdown, set to start next Monday, and here’s what spokesperson Christina Hirsch tells us:
There is a two-week pool closure that is needed as preventative maintenance to rebuild pumps, check boilers, and critical systems. It is also an opportunity for repair or repaint throughout the building. This closure is a regular part of an 18-month cycle with the next closure planned in spring of 2018.
The final week of the three-week closure will result in full facility shutdown including Neighborhood Service Center, Teen Life Center, child care, and pool. During this time, wood floors will be resurfaced using products that prevent anyone from being in the building for several days. Gym floors require this treatment every two years. Other wood floors in the building have not been refinished for four years and are overdue for this essential work.
The facility will reopen on Monday, November 14.
Again, the closure is set to start next Monday, October 24th.
Lincoln Park play area is open. The renovated north play area features ‘tree house’ elements, a cable ride, new play equipment, a plaza and interactive information on migratory birds that can be found in Lincoln Park. The park also features inclusive and accessible play elements for all such as a group saucer swing, an accessible cable ride, an accessible sand table, and a small alcove for sensory sensitive children.
Pathways between the shelter and the play area, additional plantings around the play area, and the accessible pathway connection to Fauntleroy Way SW is anticipated to be completed by the end of October 2016.
The Seattle Park District provided the funding for this renovation. Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.
Extra touches in the play area include bird photos/info – including this one with a photo by Trileigh Tucker, the local photographer/writer who has long shared photos here on WSB:
(P.S. The Northern Flicker photo on another sign is also by Trileigh, and she says there’s a raven photo by Mark Ahlness, another local photographer who’s shared images here too.)
Meantime – as mentioned in the Parks announcement above, the play area also features “inclusive and accessible” elements.
You might recall those resulting from participation by former Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students who had been advocating for exactly that type of a play space (here’s our original report, and our December followup). If you’re not familiar with the location of the north play area – walk into the park heading north from the north end of the central parking lot at 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, or from the northernmost kiosk-enhanced entrance along Fauntleroy a bit further north.
Kid(s) in your family waiting for the renovated north Lincoln Park play area to reopen? Won’t be long, according to an update today from Seattle Parks. In a post on the blog-format Parkways website, focusing on Park District-funded play-area projects around the city, there’s a detailed update concluding with: “We are thrilled to report that we are still on target to open at the end of October!” Work on the $600,000 project began two months ago.
One last reminder in case this is an issue about which you feel strongly: Tomorrow night is the public hearing for the draft citywide People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan. The citywide Board of Park Commissioners is presiding over the public hearing, 6:30 pm at Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill (330 19th Ave. E.). Here are the details, as first published in August on the Parks Department’s Parkways website; we first wrote about the draft plan when it was made public back in June, including the improvements it recommends for West Seattle’s only off-leash park, Westcrest Park in Highland Park.
P.S. If you can’t make it to the public hearing, you can comment via e-mail – send your thoughts to Rachel.Acosta@Seattle.Gov by October 14th.
Just in from Seattle Parks:
Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 due to an all-staff in-service day. The majority of classes and programs will not be running.
The facilities and programs that WILL operate in our area are listed as:
West Seattle Golf Course
Also – the following “enrichment programs” at community centers:
· Alki Community Center, School-Age Care
· Alki Community Center, Preschool
· Delridge Community Center, School-Age Care
· Delridge Community Center, Preschool
· Delridge Community Center, Rec Tech
· Hiawatha Community Center, School-Age Care
· Hiawatha Community Center, Preschool
· Hiawatha Community Center, Teen Programs
· High Point Community Center, School-Age Care
· South Park Community Center, School-Age Care
· South Park Community Center, Rec Tech
If you need to know about programs outside this area – see the full citywide list here.
Going up? Many of those attending Saturday’s big party at Camp Long were: The all-day celebration marked the park’s 75th anniversary as well as its annual Mountain Fest. Photojournalist Leda Costa was there for WSB. Of course, there was an anniversary cake:
One week from tomorrow, you are invited to the 75th anniversary celebration for Camp Long, “the most unique city park in the country.” 11 am-5 pm on Saturday, September 10th, the big party will be held at the 68-acre park along with Mountain Fest. You can join in activities including rock climbing, ropes course, orienteering, nature exploration, outdoor skills, historical exhibit, falconry, crafts, and art. And don’t miss the flag ceremony at 1:30 pm. The park is at 5200 35th SW [map]. (It’s been six years since the last really big party there – the 2010 celebration of the Camp Long Lodge’s million-dollar renovations.)
9:21 AM: We’re at South Park Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre are about to announce what’s billed as “new investments to reduce barriers and increase access for residents to the City’s community center system … part of Mayor Murray’s proposed 2017 budget.”
It’s been five years now since Murray’s predecessor, Mike McGinn, came to High Point Community Center (WSB coverage here) to deliver news of big cuts and changes that left the community-center system reeling. Then in March 2014, Murray visited Hiawatha Community Center (WSB coverage here) to announce the Park District proposal, subsequently passed by voters. It included promises of funding for “Community Center rehabilitation and development.”
He begins, “I’m here to announce a series of proposals and changes that we will send to the City Council (as part of the budget process),” with funding from the Park District levy, “stabilizing our ability to fund our park system.” He says the proposals will add staff and/or hours to nine community centers, focused on “underserved” areas. Free programs and elimination of drop-in fees at certain centers will be part of the proposals. Here at South Park CC, “we propose to expand operating hour and explore innovative partnerships with the community … to develop culturally relevant programming … In the long term, Parks and Recreation will undertake a long-term planning process in 2017-2018 for the (entire system)” to find out how to “better serve” the people in the city. He also mentions performance measurement “so people can go online and be sure we are meeting the goals in the process.”
9:27 AM: The mayor then goes on to attack the “divisive rhetoric” heard from presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday and says that Trump’s proposals “would bring our state’s economy to a halt,” among other things, “if we turn away immigrants.” He then turns the podium over to Parks Superintendent Aguirre, who mentions that he himself is an immigrant. He says he has seen the need for what the mayor is proposing. And he has warm words for the 100+ employees who work in the community centers around the city each day. “This plan at its core is about equity,” Aguirre adds. He says the elimination of fees for some drop-in programs may not seem big to some, but for many families, it will be a huge improvement in accessibility. He talks about scholarships provided for the first time this year for adults as well as children, and about the importance of partnerships. “We know that every community in Seattle is going to be excited when they see this plan.” (We’re still awaiting the document with details.) He next introduces South Park community advocate Paulina Lopez, who expresses gratitude about what a difference this will make for the community.
In media Q/A, we asked about what this means in the context of the cuts made five years ago. The mayor’s reply: “Our hope is to get back to a level of service that we saw prior to the Great Recession – but that doesn’t mean the exact same programs – the question is what are the programs that this (fast-changing city) needs? We’re seeing two things that are different from a generation ago – an increasein children, and in people who are choosing to retire her. So given that we have stabilized funding, what is the best place to invest that funding? Superintendent Aguirre has spent a year evaluating how we need to reorganize our department and is now going to evaluate how we spend this additional new money.”
Superintendent Aguirre, asked what this change means for South Park CC, said “standardizing hours … (which will become) 10-8 daily Monday-Fridays, representing an increase from 40 to 65 hours that the center will be open weekly. “We’re also adding more staff – making some that’s part time, full time, and we’ve added an additional staff member.” And he said that staff will be working more closely with community members to be tuned in to their needs.
9:43 AM: The event has wrapped up. Though citywide media is here too, there’s no hard-copy news release so far, and the full list but we’ve obtained the full document to see which West Seattle-area centers are involved. No West Seattle centers are proposed for increased hours, but both Alki and Delridge are proposed for increased staffing. We’ll have a few more details as we go through the document.
10:14 AM: Here’s the full document titled “Community Center Strategic Plan.” We’re searching it for other references to West Seattle’s community centers. For one, it explains that while High Point CC might have been eligible for the equity pilot program that is proposed for South Park and four other (non-WS) centers, it wasn’t chosen because HPCC “is currently piloting other promising equity-focused initiatives, with partners such as the Seattle Housing Authority and the UW School of Public Health.” Another mention of note is Hiawatha Community Center, proposed for $1.2 million in maintenance/renovation work, following its previously announced evaluation (along with seven other centers around the city).
We’ve already reported on two of the schools opening this fall in West Seattle – the new Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill elementaries – and here’s one that’s opening WITHOUT a new building, without any building at all, in fact: Tiny Trees Preschool.
Tiny Trees got big attention last year for announcing its plan to launch outdoor preschools in Seattle city parks, and the list of parks now includes West Seattle’s Camp Long, where the nonprofit plans two classes starting next month. Teacher Anne Churchill, a West Seattleite, tells WSB that teachers and other staff will partner with parents later this week to set up the outdoor “classroom” areas they’ll be using at Camp Long “to make a quality education in reading, math and science affordable for families and to give children a joyful, nature rich childhood – one full of play, exploration and wonder.” They’re expecting the two classes at Camp Long to serve up to 64 children.
Two Lincoln Park notes today:
NORTH PLAY AREA UPDATE: We have an update today on construction of the North Play Area renovations. Seattle Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter tells WSB that the contractor is a week ahead of schedule and has finished demolition, poured the concrete curbs for the new play area, almost finished the grading work, and is rerouting an electrical line. By this weekend, she adds, “The new picnic seating area will be open and ready for use by this coming weekend.” Next week, you won’t see work at the site, because they’ll be waiting for the new play equipment, with delivery expected in early September. After receiving the aforementioned updates, we asked about one other part of the project:
That’s the framework for the new “cable ride” northwest of the play area. It is a kid-sized “zipline,” no trees involved. P.S. You can find more project info here, including notes from the planning meetings last fall and winter.
SATURDAY TREE WALK: In case you haven’t already seen the listing for this in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – the city’s reLeaf program is reminding you that this Saturday, you’re invited to go along for a free guided walk to learn about the park’s trees. Meet by 10 am at the information kiosk along the north parking lot (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW).
If you’re wondering what Seattle Police are doing in Schmitz Park … they are investigating the discovery of a body not far from the Admiral Way entrance. The person was reported to have a gunshot wound but police and the Medical Examiner (who just arrived) are investigating to confirm whether it’s suicide, and when it happened – the person clearly had been dead for a while, as there was not a major medical callout, just one SFD crew, which has long since departed. Our crew at the park talked to officers but there’s no further information about the person who died. We did confirm that the park remains open.
A first-of-its-kind festival is happening in West Seattle this Sunday! Here’s the announcement we received for Festival Centroamericano, coming to Westcrest Park:
The first festival in Seattle that is dedicated to learning and sharing the cultural expressions from Central America, the Festival Centroamericano, will bring together members of the various Seattle Neighborhoods that are from Central America or have family from the seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama).
Embracing our Central American heritage and culture to a community that is not well exposed to it can also offer a great opportunity to learn something new especially with the different ethnic groups (Indigenous, African, Mestizo, Latino) that are involved in the festival. The organization will unite the different ethnic groups from each of the Central American countries to exchange cultures and learn from one another.
The Festival Centroamericano will be a family-oriented and free-for-the-public event, therefore, everyone is welcome to experience a Central American community at Westcrest Park, 9000 8th Ave SW on August 28 from 11AM to 7PM. The festival will have live performances and vendors providing food, art, information, other great services, and more!
Want to be outdoors – and be cool? The meadow at Camp Long is the perfect place right now. We just arrived at the Arts In Nature Festival, presented by Nature Consortium, which is sponsoring WSB right now to promote the annual festival. It’s on until 9 tonight, and again 11 am-6 pm Sunday – you still have lots of time to get here to see this evening’s headliners in the meadow at 7 pm, Big World Breaks, playing on the Nancy Stage [named for NC founder Nancy Whitlock, who’s here right now, as is former NC leader Merica Whitehall and David Bestock of DNDA, with which NC is merging – photo below].
Big World Breaks is in fact doing a sound check right now, before Etienne Cakpo (video added below) takes the stage around 6 pm.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) August 21, 2016
And this is just the main stage – one of four major spots around the park that you’ll find music, dance/performance, or activities. Most of the latter two are done for the day, but music continues until 9, as does the Beer Garden (top photo), where you can also buy and drink Ethiopian coffee:
Camp Long’s famous cabins have artists in residence throughout the weekend, with “installations that mix sound, auditory arts, music, and visual arts.” (Added) That includes poetry, and you can write your own:
Lots more to explore:
On the south end of the meadow, YAMS (Yesler Art Mobile Studio) is here with all-ages activities.
Festival ticket info is here; the park is at 5200 35th SW, with the main entrance off northbound 35th at Dawson.
P.S. One more addition from Saturday evening – the installation inside the Camp Long Lodge that managed to make its subject (“Dust Motes”) seem magical:
(Mouse over the image to reveal the “play” button so you can click it.)
Six days after it began, demolition of the former commercial building on the Morgan Junction Park expansion site is almost complete. Our photos from this morning shows the crew clearing the rubble, though the former Short Stop Market sign is still standing.
As discussed in our coverage last week, this was originally purchased by Seattle Parks for $1.9 million as a “landbanked” site – to hold until money was found to design and develop actual park features. That money, as we also reported, will come from the Park District levy that voters passed in 2014. So the remaining question is: When?
We tried reaching some of the directly involved Parks staffers last week, without success, so today we asked the communications team to help us find the answer. Spokesperson Dewey Potter replied, “The planning and design processes for landbanked sites will take place in the order in which they were acquired, and we’re starting the processes for them as Seattle Park District funding becomes available. All will have begun planning and design by 2018. The Morgan Junction site is scheduled to begin planning and design in 2018.” The original Morgan Junction Park to the south opened in 2009, so it’ll be a decade old before the expansion is fully developed.
P.S. While landbanked sites are NOT on the agenda, the Park District oversight committee is having a meeting tonight, 6:30 pm at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.), with a public hearing on “major projects challenge” proposals.
If you missed “Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre” Saturday night at Roxhill Park – you have another chance to see it Sunday night. And “see it” doesn’t go far enough, as it involves audience participation – in our top photo, those in attendance learned a dance they would get to do during the show. (As the announcement we published last week explained, “Each performance will preclude with a professionally-taught latin dance lesson, the learning of a song from the show, and an an invitation for the audience to participate in the wedding scene.”) We were only able to stay for a few minutes, but they included the opening moments of the play:
This bilingual drama/dance/music production is the first by 1-Off Productions, “a joint venture between Seattle theatre artists Tina Polzin, Ana Maria Campoy, and Matt Sherrill“; Polzin is the director. The second and final West Seattle presentation is tonight (Sunday, August 14th), 6 pm at Roxhill Park (29th/Barton), free; it will also be performed in nearby South Park at 6 pm, Saturday, August 27th, in Duwamish Waterway Park (7900 10th Ave. S.)
12:47 PM: Thanks for the tip! Another long-in-the-works demolition has just begun – this time, on the former market/cleaners building at the Morgan Junction Park expansion site. Both of the businesses closed earlier this year, months after the demolition permit was issued. The city bought the site two years ago for $1.9 million. The plan for the site has yet to be designed, but the Park District levy will provide money for design and development, along with more than a dozen other “landbanked” sites including two others in West Seattle (40th SW in The Junction and 48th/Charlestown)
2:29 PM: They’re making fast work of it – just passed by again a few minutes ago:
Close to half gone.
We just found out about this unique, free performance coming to Roxhill Park next Saturday and Sunday nights, “a bilingual multidisciplinary telling of the Spanish play ‘Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre‘ by Federico García Lorca, with live music and dance.” Here’s the full announcement:
Rural Spain. A story of love, longing, and bitter revenge. Families in a small village are divided, rankled with old grudges, but their children, despite it all, seek love instead of acrimony. A classic since its inception, Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Blood Wedding demands that we ask: Is it up to us or fate in deciding who we love?
This inaugural production by 1-Off Productions, Blood Wedding, is translated by Caridad Svich and directed by University of Washington graduate Tina Polzin. Through collaborative work done by Polzin and a cast of bilingual actors, Blood Wedding will be presented bilingually, using Lorca’s original text alongside Svich’s translation.
1-Off Productions is a joint venture between Seattle theatre artists Tina Polzin, Ana Maria Campoy, and Matt Sherrill. Its intent is to bring professional theatre to communities with limited access, to represent diverse stories onstage employing a multidisciplinary approach, to create theatre reflective of the community artists serve, and to build and strengthen community through shared theatrical experiences.
As a core tenant of 1-Off’s mission of creating community through a shared theatrical experiences, all performances will be free of charge.
Each performance will preclude with a professionally-taught latin dance lesson, the learning of a song from the show, and an an invitation for the audience to participate in the wedding scene. The live music will continue post show, allowing the audience members to meet and greet with the actors and each other.
Blood Wedding features a diverse ensemble of Christen Gee (Brooklyn Bridge), Jordan Taylor (American Idiot, Bad Apples), Michael Blum (Blood/Water/Paint), Angela Maestas (The Passion As Told by Antígona Pérez), Marissa Castillo (The Brothers K), Meg Savlov (Electricidad), Carolynne Wilcox, Maddy Noonan, Alex Huffman, and Miranda Sieg. Creative team includes Jonathan Shue (music director), Amy Johnson (choreography), Danielle Pekus (stage management), Brandon Estrella (scenic design) and Melinda Hare (costume design).
It’s described as suitable for all ages, and it’ll be performed at Roxhill Park (2850 SW Roxbury) at 6 pm Saturday and Sunday (August 13-14). You can also see it at South Park’s Duwamish Waterway Park (7900 10th Ave. S.) at 6 pm August 27th.
With the new school year still more than a month away, so are the school-provided meals that some kids and teens rely on. But anybody under 18 can still get free meals through summer programs that continue into late August. Here’s the reminder we were asked to share:
This summer, hundreds of sites across Washington State are providing free meals for kids and teens! Places like local high schools, elementary schools, community centers, parks and apartment complexes will serve breakfast, lunch and snacks for kids under the age of 18. It is open to everyone! There is no enrollment or registration is necessary. Meal times and days of the week will vary among sites, along with the actual meals served. To find a Summer Meals site near you: Call 888-4FOOD-WA, visit parenthelp123.org or Text MEALS to 96859.
Summer Meals sites in West Seattle include these three, all continuing through August 26th, Mondays-Fridays:
High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW)
Breakfast: 9:30 – 10:00AM
Lunch: 12:30 – 1:15PM
Highland Park Playground (1100 SW Cloverdale)
Lunch: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Snack: 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
E.C. Hughes Playground (2805 SW Holden)
Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Snack: 3:00 – 3:30 PM
12:01 PM: Thanks to everybody who tipped us on this (and thanks to Lorraine for the photo)! Fencing is up around Lincoln Park’s north play area by the wading pool so that construction can begin on the renovation project. We reported last fall/winter on community discussions during planning for the work; after we contacted Seattle Parks to ask about it today, project manager Katie Bang told WSB that signage is going up this week, adding: “The project was awarded to LW Sundstrum Inc, who has worked on many Seattle Parks and Recreation play areas as well as other play areas around the area. The contractor will begin work at the cable ride. This was an additive alternate that was discussed in the public meetings that we were hoping to fund and were able to do so! He also will be removing and recycling the old play equipment materials. The work is scheduled to be complete by the end of October. The wading pool and shelter 5 will remain open during construction.” You can see images of the new equipment on the project website, which notes that the $600,000 cost is from the Seattle Park District levy.
1:35 PM: You might recall that during the planning period, we reported on a group of Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students sharing ideas they had been promoting for “accessible” play areas. We asked Bang if any of those ideas made it into the final project:
We have integrated some of the ideas from the 8 students from Explorer West into the design of the renovated play area at Lincoln Park along with all of the other public input.
In our conversations with the middle school students and other community members, we emphasized that the Lincoln Park North play area was probably not the location for a “state of the art” play area for children in the autism spectrum for the following reasons: lack of ADA compliant restroom, lack of ADA compliant parking and compliant pathways in Lincoln Park, the size of the play area, and overall budget.
However, as part of this current project, we are making the play equipment and the immediate area of the play area ADA compliant and we have incorporated some nice features that will appeal to children on the autism spectrum as well as all users. A few of these features include the tactile sand play area which features an accessible play table, tactile rocks, many ground element features of the play equipment are accessible, an accessible group swing, and an accessible cable ride.
Thanks to Mike for the tip that Hiawatha Community Center‘s new outdoor exercise equipment has been installed, by the east lawn. It’s not quite done – still fenced off – so we stopped by Hiawatha (a very busy place this summer – 20 day camps!) today to ask when it will be open to the public. Answer: The grand opening is exactly one month from today, currently planned for 11 am-1 pm Saturday, July 30th (you’ll see posters soon), and the celebration will include something for everyone, including a construction event (“like sandcastle-building, but with cardboard boxes,” we’re told). The Hiawatha installation is one of two announced for West Seattle last year, with the help of nonprofit partners – we’ll be checking on the status of the other one, at Delridge CC.
(WSB file photo, Lincoln Park Wading Pool)
Today’s forecast is for sunshine and a high around 80, so it’s perfect timing for the first full week of Seattle Parks‘ wading-pool season.
*Lincoln Park Wading Pool opened on Saturday and will be open 11 am-8 pm seven days a week (provided 70+-degree sunshine is in the forecast); it’s in the upper park, not far from the big parking lot.
*Delridge Wading Pool is scheduled to open today; it will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, noon-6:45 pm, same weather caveat, and you’ll find it in the park north of Delridge Community Center, south of the skatepark at Delridge/Genesee.
Other outdoor splashing opportunities:
*Highland Park Spraypark, which opened Memorial Day weekend, continues its 7-day-a-week, 11 am-8 pm schedule. It’s West Seattle’s only spraypark, and you’ll find it at 1100 SW Cloverdale.
Heads up if you usually walk into and/or out of Schmitz Park via the staircase to Admiral Way – its wooden steps have fire damage. Thanks to Dannie for the photo and tip this morning: “The steps on the SW corner of the Schmitz Park reserve were burned, very recently. I came upon them when walking the trail this morning. Strong scent if burning… The whole middle section was destroyed.” Dannie called to report it and a Seattle Fire team was dispatched to investigate; they were gone before we arrived, so we don’t know what they determined, and won’t likely be able to get official information until Monday, but will follow up then.