West Seattle, Washington
During the next West Seattle Art Walk – one week from tonight – it’s your chance to offer your thoughts about the public art installation that’s on its way to The Junction. We reported last year about the plan for art in Junction Plaza Park, the greenspace at 42nd/Alaska where the community gathers for events including the annual Christmas-tree lighting and special features during West Seattle Summer Fest. As mentioned briefly in our report on last night’s Southwest District Council meeting – with a promise of this followup – the artist chosen for the project, Troy Pillow, will be at Cupcake Royale from 6-8 pm on Thursday, February 4th, showing proposed designs for the art installation, which is partly funded by a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods and partly with “public benefit” funding from the nearby Spruce development. So drop in while you’re visiting for Art Walk, evening shopping, dinner, etc. – here’s more info from the West Seattle Junction Association.
10:44 AM: Just went to Roxhill Park to check on the work to ready the “castle” play structure for the return of its turret – and discovered the turret had just been brought in and set in place! It was a handcrafted add-on to the community project but was removed in 2014 for fear the 2013-built “castle” couldn’t support it. After reinforcement work, it’s back, and a Seattle Parks manager at the site told us the play area could reopen later today.
3:22 PM: Just went back to check. It’s open!
It’s a crown jewel of West Seattle – and it’s yours: The city’s largest contiguous stretch of forest, known as the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Some trails provide access now, and more might be in its future. Your chance to help shape that future starts this Saturday morning. In case you haven’t already seen this in our calendar, here’s the invitation, from Paul West:
On Saturday, January 30, neighbors, trail users and other stakeholders are invited to a two-hour workshop at South Seattle College to discuss what the future trail system in the West Duwamish Greenbelt might look like.
The West Duwamish Greenbelt extends from the West Seattle Bridge south to Westcrest Park. … Currently a network of informal and improved trails provide some access. Participants will discuss potential connections to destinations such as South Seattle College, the Duwamish Longhouse, Pathfinder School, Riverview Playfield, and others.
The workshop will be held at the Chan Center at South Seattle College. It is at the north end of campus next to the arboretum. The workshop runs from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, with doors opening at 9:15 am. All are welcome.
SSC is on Puget Ridge, at 6000 16th SW. Find out more about the greenbelt and the trails here.
It’s been a busy night in West Seattle – starting with the Southwest Pool Fitness Room celebration. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold was there before heading over to the Highland Park Action Committee meeting (coverage coming up), as was Christopher Williams, deputy superintendent of Seattle Parks, which runs SW Pool. She said it’s great to have a way for people to get more exercise; he talked about neighborhood pride – he grew up nearby and attended across-the-street Chief Sealth. The room is open during regular hours at the pool (2801 SW Thistle), which you can find on the schedule – it’s in a space by the shallow end of the pool, unused after gym renovations:
A little more background about the 10-years-in-the-making fitness room is here.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27) at 5 pm, you’re invited to Southwest Pool for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the brand-new fitness room. Assistant coordinator Anne Barnes says there’s an extra incentive – a free gift for everyone who attends, and a discounted fee for those who stay for the 5:30 pm lap swim or Masters swim program afterward ($2/lap, $3/Masters). It’s also your chance to find out more about what’s at Southwest Pool – more than just swimming. The Fitness Room has been a decade in the making, as Parks announced:
The Southwest Pool fitness room project began following a proposal from the Southwest Advisory Council in April 2006. The room was originally an unutilized space following the completion of the gym at the then Southwest Community Center. Construction and planning was led by Seattle Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Southwest Advisory Council and Ravenna-Eckstine Advisory Council and the Associated Recreation Council.
The fitness room was completed in December 2015 and provides machines for weight training (powered by compressed air), stretch bands and balance discs, and space for static stretching. The space will allow for community members and regular swimmers to diversify their workouts while still in the same facility, decreasing the risk of overuse injuries and promoting cross-training. The fitness room is located at the south/shallow end of the pool deck. Hours of operation are identical to Southwest Pool hours of operation and may change quarterly based on public program schedules.
SW Pool is at 2801 SW Thistle.
Thanks to Bill for the tip: Almost two years after the City Council approved the purchase of 5,750 square feet of land to expand Dakota Place Park, a milestone for the project has finally happened – the demolition of old structures to clear most of the site.
When councilmembers approved the $715,000 purchase in March 2014 – using money from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy – Parks had said it would demolish the three 1927-built houses, plus a garage and shed, “as soon as possible” but that the California-fronting commercial building would stay for now.
We talked today with Donald Harris from Parks. He says the tenants in the commercial building could be there for up to five more years, under terms of the lease they had worked out with the property’s previous owner, so “you’re not going to see any full redevelopment of the property for a while.” (He says there’s a chance the building’s tenant might be interested in leaving sooner.)
They’re talking with neighbors about what they’ll be doing in the meantime with the area that’s now being cleared – Harris says they’ll likely “plant some grass, do a little landscaping, make it usable, at least.” Before anything more is done with it, money would have to be found and a design process would follow. It’s not in the budget right now, not even with the Park District funding approved by voters – “this addition occurred after the work program was in place,” Harris told WSB.
Dakota Place Park itself, centered on a city-landmark substation building, opened in 2009.
Besides what we publish here on WSB, we also receive and answer questions via various contact channels that don’t always lead to stories – but we resolved recently to share more of the resulting info in case it could help someone else.
That brings us to the question e-mailed by Doug this morning. He found a discarded needle in North Delridge’s Greg Davis Park and wondered what to do about it. We found this page on the city website. Doug’s followup note to us: “The police non-emergency dispatcher sent me to SDOT, which is only open M-F. After contacting the number at your link, I got a call back within 5 minutes. And the guy who called back said he’d just been doing maintenance at Greg Davis, so I had an opportunity to thank him for his beautiful work too.”
What will be proposed in the city’s “People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan” – formerly the off-leash plan? We won’t know for another month. That’s the latest word from the city; thanks to Mike Dey from the Fauntleroy Community Association for the alert. When the new project lead, Susan Golub, spoke to the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council in November (WSB coverage here), it looked like the draft plan would be out in early January. Now the city says “tentatively … late February.” You can watch this city webpage for updates – or be at the city Parks Board’s next meeting, as they have a “preliminary discussion” about the forthcoming plan. A briefing paper just posted in connection with that meeting offers these questions for Parks Board members to discuss:
1. Should we allow/encourage sponsorships and advertising? …
2. Should we have unfenced, hours-only off-leash areas? …
3. How should new OLAs be added to the system? …
4. Should there be a restriction on the number of dogs an individual can bring to an off-leash area?
The Parks Board meets 6:30 pm next Thursday (January 28th) at Queen Anne Community Center. No dog-plan-specific meeting dates/times are set yet
Southside Revolution Coed Junior Roller Derby skaters (and parents) are out volunteering on this MLK Day: They’re cleaning up at Roxhill Park/Skatepark (where we photographed the trio above) and then heading to the South Park Skatepark to do the same. They were planning to do some skating at both parks, too, before practice tonight at their home base, Southgate Roller Rink (9646 17th SW). That’s also where you can see their second bout of Southside Revolution’s second season, in less than two weeks – 5:45 pm Saturday, January 30th; it’s a Harry Potter-themed bout against Spokane’s Cherry Bomb Brawlers. The evening will include a 50/50 raffle and bake sale to benefit Brawlers coach Ti “Smartass” Marchand in her own “brawl” against cancer. More info here!
As reported here earlier this week, the play structure at Roxhill Park is now fenced off as Seattle Parks gets going on work to enable to return of the custom-crafted turret originally installed with the rebuilt playground in 2013 and removed for safety concerns in 2014. We checked with Parks to find out how long it was likely to take and a few other details. From spokesperson David Takami:
Our crews, specifically, the Concrete Crew, is indeed starting the work to reinforce the section of the Roxhilll Park play area that supports the turret. The unexpected heaviness of the turret had caused it to lean and the underlying structure to slightly sink. The work involves lifting the underlying structure, pouring a new concrete foundation at that location, and reinforcing the recycled plastic structure supporting the turret. Once that is done, the crew will reinstall the turret. Staff will monitor the turret in the weeks and months after the repair work. I’m not sure of the cost but it will be absorbed as part of our annual maintenance budget. The work is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks.
Miss the November open house regarding the renovation of the north play area at Lincoln Park? You have one more chance to get involved – and the date has just been announced: Tuesday, February 2nd, 6:30-8 pm, at Gatewood Elementary (see the flyer here). You’ll have a chance to see the “schematic design” and offer your thoughts about play equipment – at least some of which is expected to facilitate the inclusivity discussed with Seattle Parks by the former Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students whose ongoing work we’ve been covering. Find the LPN Play Area project info here, including the photos/drawings of potential play equipment as shown at the November open house.
Thanks to Amanda Kay Helmick from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council for the photo and word that the playground at Roxhill Park is fenced off for the start of work to enable returning the play structure’s turret. It’s been more than 14 months since the custom-crafted turret was removed for safety concerns; it was created and installed during the 2013 community-powered project that replaced the park’s old wooden “castle,” but Parks determined reinforcement would be required to be sure the structure could safely hold it. We’ll be checking with Parks on the expected timetable for this closure and the reinforcement/restoration work.
Over the next few days, we’ll look ahead at some of what will be making news early in the new year. First – the latest on the West Seattle Mini-Golf project:
Back in fall 2014, we reported on the plan for a miniature-golf course at West Seattle Golf Course, after finding it mentioned in Mayor Murray’s 2015 budget plan. At the time, Seattle Parks described it – in response to our followup inquiry – as “proposed,” though the mayor’s budget said it was expected to be built before the end of 2015, after community discussions.
With 2015 ending, absent community discussions, let alone construction, we followed up again. First, we received a tip that a Parks letter dated October 2015 had been posted on the West Seattle Golf Club website this month. It included a new timeline, projecting that the course will be built next summer, and open by summer’s end. The letter also identified Parks’ Garrett Farrell as senior project manager, so we asked him about the project’s status. Farrell told WSB that the mini-golf project is now “in the planning, permitting, and budgeting stages,” with a community meeting (promised in the letter) getting closer: “Once we get some of the parameters set including schedule, we will post a project sign and hope to schedule the meeting shortly after the New Year.” He adds that a Parks website for the miniature-golf project is under development.
The folks at our area’s only year-round city-run aquatic facility, Southwest Pool, asked us to let you know they will be open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for:
Adult and Senior Swim 12-1:30 pm
Senior Water Exercise 1:30-2:30 pm
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A play-area renovation in West Seattle may ultimately be even more inclusive than envisioned, thanks to advocacy by four local teenagers, based on work they did in their final year at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor).
We told you about their “Change the World Project” work seven months ago. Their main goal was to raise awareness about West Seattle’s lack of an “inclusive” playground – one with features that can be enjoyed by children of all ability levels, including those with physical and/or developmental challenges. There’s only one such play area in the entire city (the Children’s PlayGarden).
With the four – Makenzie White, Cyrus Storlie, Tess Wassermann, and Ellen Applewhite – leaving Explorer West just after completing the project as part of their work with teacher Tim Owens, they weren’t sure about its fate, nor about what additional work they could do. When summer was over, the four former classmates were enrolled in four different high schools, further complicating any plans to collaborate.
(Photo courtesy Kerry Hughes)
A whole lot of volunteer power is involved with Seattle Parks – and some of those who give their time and talent are honored every year at the Denny Awards. This year’s recipients included one big group – everyone who served on the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee over the levy’s six-year life. West Seattleites who served included Pete Spalding, who chaired the committee in its final years, as well as Cindi Barker, Bruce Bentley, and Dorsol Plants. Spalding was among those who accepted awards in person at this year’s Denny Awards celebration at the Museum of Flight this past Tuesday – that’s him at the podium in the photo above. The PGS levy was the predecessor to the Park District levy passed by voters last year and was in effect 2009 through 2014. Projects funded with levy money are indexed on this page – in West Seattle, they range from playfield improvements at Delridge and Walt Hundley, to the recently opened Westcrest Park expansion atop West Seattle Reservoir, to West Seattle’s first and only spraypark at Highland Park, and more. Seattle Parks has presented Denny Awards since 2003 – this fact sheet explains the criteria.
Swimming lessons, sports leagues, art classes, field trips, cooking, dancing, workouts … it’s all in the next round of registration for Seattle Parks facilities, starting today. If you haven’t browsed the all-in-one brochure for our area’s five city-run community centers, one Teen Life Center, and Southwest Pool, where it’s all listed – you’ll find it here. And if you think it’s all kid stuff, wrong! All ages, up to “lifelong.”
If you’re interested in the city’s policies regarding off-leash dogs in parks – whether you think current policies are too lenient, too tough, or just right – you’ll be interested in this Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting. The agenda includes a discussion of the People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan (previously called the Off-Leash Area Strategic Plan) that’s under development, with a draft plan to go public in early January. Scheduled guests include reps from Seattle Parks and from the Seattle Nature Alliance. The under-development plan was a topic at last week’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, as reported here. The DNDC meets at 7 pm Wednesday (November 18th) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.
P.S. If you can’t be there, the city is also taking comments via this form.
On this Green Seattle Day, the Friends of Lincoln Park led one of two West Seattle planting parties – and it was big. According to FLiP – whose Mark Ahlness shared the photo – before the day was done, 34 volunteers participated in planting 300 trees and shrubs, west and south of the north ball field, where the group’s been working much of the year. Read about how they got “green and grubby,” and see more photos, by going here.
#1 – Answer this survey
#2 – Come to the open house on November 19th (two weeks from tomorrow), 5:30 pm-6:30 pm at Southwest Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle), to see design options and offer your ideas
This project will replace play equipment, provide access improvements, and improve other features at the park. The scope of these projects provides improvements to bring the play area into compliance with current play area safety standards and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access.
The estimated $600,000 cost of the project is coming from the Seattle Park District levy, and the work is expected to be done next year.
Seattle Parks wants you to have two weeks notice of this – many of its facilities will be closed November 17th for an “all-staff in-service day.” Read on for the citywide announcement of what WILL be in operation that day:
Looking ahead to next weekend – Saturday (November 7th) is the 10th annual Green Seattle Day, your next chance to spend a little time doing something big in local greenspaces. Two West Seattle locations are looking for volunteers – Lincoln Park (with Friends of Lincoln Park) and the West Duwamish Greenbelt (with Nature Consortium). Trees will be planted and fun will be had. No experience needed – all ages welcome – plants, tools, gloves, coffee, snacks provided. Sign up ASAP and get more info on times and locations by going here.