West Seattle parks – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 04:04:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 CLOSURE ALERT: Hiawatha Community Center, starting Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/closure-alert-hiawatha-community-center-starting-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/closure-alert-hiawatha-community-center-starting-saturday/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 05:49:02 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909113 Seattle Parks wants to be sure you know that Hiawatha Community Center has a week-plus closure ahead: Saturday (February 17th) through Sunday, February 25th, Hiawatha is scheduled to shut down so its floors can be refinished. (Note that ALL city-run community centers, and many other Parks facilities, will be closed Monday for Presidents Day – full list here.)

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FOLLOWUP: Bruce Stotler finalizes his gift to Schmitz Park’s future http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-bruce-stotler-finalizes-his-gift-to-schmitz-parks-future/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-bruce-stotler-finalizes-his-gift-to-schmitz-parks-future/#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:17:06 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909038

Six weeks after the City Council signed off on the deal for Bruce Stotler‘s Schmitz Park-neighboring property, so that it’ll eventually become part of the park, he signed the final paperwork in a small ceremony at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Log House Museum headquarters.

With Stotler in the celebratory photo above are, from left, Chip Nevins from Seattle Parks, Vicki Schmitz-Block, former City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who had worked for years to help make it happen – and SWSHS vice president Nancy Sorensen. The photos are courtesy of SWSHS executive director Jeff McCord, who says, “The Southwest Seattle Historical Society was pleased to host the signing at the Log House Museum, and we believe property owner Bruce Stotler is doing a great thing for our West Seattle community!” Backstory is in our previous coverage – here, here, and here.

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YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: City gets 1,000 more park/street grant ideas; here’s how to help narrow down the list http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/your-voice-your-choice-city-gets-1000-more-park-street-grant-ideas-heres-how-to-help-narrow-down-the-list/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/your-voice-your-choice-city-gets-1000-more-park-street-grant-ideas-heres-how-to-help-narrow-down-the-list/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:33:15 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908910 For the second year, the city invited park/street grant ideas through what it calls “Your Voice, Your Choice” – and citywide, it’s just been announced, 1,000 new ideas came in, in addition to almost 400 ideas getting rolled over from last year. Next up, you’re invited to “project development” meetings to help narrow the list down (which is also being done right now through city staff’s feasibility reviewing). Here’s where and when the meetings are in District 1 (West Seattle/South Park):

February 26, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
South Seattle College, Chan Education Center, Rm 202 – 6000 16th Ave SW

February 27, 6 – 8 pm
South Park Community Center – 8319 8th Ave S

March 12, 10 am – 12 pm
Southwest Youth and Family Services – 4555 Delridge Way SW

March 14, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
West Seattle Branch Library – 2306 42nd Ave SW

March 26, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Southwest Branch Library – 9010 35th Ave SW

The “project development” process is explained here. After that, there’ll be a list you can vote on, so stay tuned for that in June-July. The citywide fund this year for all projects totals $3 million.

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VIDEO: Seattle’s golf courses are no longer moneymakers, city says, so here’s what’s being done about that http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-seattles-golf-courses-are-no-longer-moneymakers-city-says-so-heres-whats-being-done-about-that/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-seattles-golf-courses-are-no-longer-moneymakers-city-says-so-heres-whats-being-done-about-that/#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 21:21:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908660

That’s Seattle Channel video of this past week’s meeting of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, which included a briefing on a subject of West Seattle interest – a study focusing on the future of the city’s public golf courses/facilities, including the West Seattle Golf Course. As explained in the briefing – which starts 44 minutes into the video – the city’s golf program not only no longer generates extra revenue for Seattle Parks, something it did for a long time, but isn’t even covering its expenses. So the city has commissioned a study to help figure out the public golf facilities’ future.

The study is under way, and at Thursday night’s meeting, the Parks Board got an update on how it’s going so far. The briefing document provided to the board included the following findings from early stakeholder interviews and market research:

Preliminary Feedback from Stakeholder Interviews Conducted to Date and Market Research Findings

Seattle’s municipal golf courses provide benefits beyond the game of golf.

o Public golf is misunderstood and stereotyped in a way that is not consistent with the demographics of who plays at municipal public golf-courses. Nationally, 70% of all rounds nationally are played at public golf courses, not private clubs.

o Expanding access and creating new opportunities to experience golf and Seattle’s public golf facilities is desired.

o There are opportunities to build partnerships and to use Seattle’s municipal golf courses to meet the needs of the growing Seattle population who need open space and recreation opportunities within the City. (Seattle’s population grew by 21,000 from July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2016)

The golf program is not meeting financial policy targets.

o The Golf Master Plan strategy has not been implemented as planned and has contributed to revenue challenges.

o Rising labor and utility expenses in the City were not anticipated in budget projections.

Preliminary Market Research Findings:

o A 2007 State golf economic analysis reported that of 280 courses in the state at that time, 219 were public, and 47 were municipally-owned.

o Nationally interest in golf is declining, especially among millennials; however, golf in Seattle and the State of Washington exceeds the national participation rate. (7% of total population nationally, 10 12% in Seattle.)

o Seattle golf participation rates are in the mid-range of popular recreational activities: walking, picnics, bike riding are the most popular and rugby, surfboarding, lacrosse the least popular.

o The 2017 Parks and Recreation Study conducted by EMC found that 43 percent thought the City should spend less on golf, although the survey did not provided information on the revenue contributed by the golf courses to the City Parks and Recreation Budget.

o Nationally, minority participation is about 20%, primarily among Hispanic and Latino Americans. Seattle has not tracked minority participation rates at its courses; however, the first African American and Asian American golf players clubs in the State were founded at Jefferson and are still active, and First Tee and Bogey Bear programs have successfully introduced the sport to diverse youth in Seattle.

o Seattle’s female participation at its golf courses ranges between 10-17 percent while nationally the average is 23 percent.

You can see the full document from the board briefing here. Beyond the discussion at the Parks Board meeting, it does not appear there are any open feedback opportunities related to the study – and in fact, the board was told “it’s not a big public-outreach (opportunity).” They plan more stakeholder interviews later this month and a “focus group” in March, with the final report to be presented in May, including three potential “scenarios” for the future of the city’s golf program.

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FOLLOWUP: City gets state grant for Don Armeni Boat Ramp project http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-city-gets-state-grant-for-don-armeni-boat-ramp-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-city-gets-state-grant-for-don-armeni-boat-ramp-project/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 19:47:13 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908384 (From February 2017 presentation about this project and others – obviously the timeline has slid)

11:47 AM: One year ago, we reported on Seattle Parks‘ plans to renovate Don Armeni Boat Ramp with two new floating ramps. The expected start date was listed at the time as last fall, but it hasn’t happened yet. Parks was pursuing a grant to cover part of the $1.5 million cost, and now there’s word the city is getting it – a mayoral announcement on Wednesday mentioned the $374,950 state grant for the project. We’re checking with Parks to get the new timeline.

ADDED 1:57 PM: Christina Hirsch with Parks tells WSB, “Due to the uncertainty with funding over the last year, design and permitting was put on hold. We will be restarting our efforts in March 2018 once agreements are in place and will get a status update out in the second quarter of 2018.”

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FOLLOWUP: After open houses for new West Seattle Junction park, you can now vote online for your favorite design http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-after-open-houses-for-new-west-seattle-junction-park-you-can-now-vote-online-for-your-favorite-design/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/followup-after-open-houses-for-new-west-seattle-junction-park-you-can-now-vote-online-for-your-favorite-design/#comments Sat, 03 Feb 2018 20:28:18 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907900

Whether or not you made it to one of Thursday’s open houses for the new West Seattle Junction park (4700 block of 40th SW), you might be interested in the next step – the online survey you can use to see and choose which of the three designs you like best. Just got word from Seattle Parks‘ Karimah Edwards that the survey is now available online. The survey page also gives you a closeup of each design option, and has links to the “virtual tours” – Option 1 is here, Option 2 is here, Option 3 is here. The park will be on two-thirds of an acre that the city bought five years ago and “landbanked” until now; $1.9 million from Park District levy proceeds is budgeted to develop it, with construction expected next year.

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Missed midday open house for West Seattle Junction park design? Here’s why you’ll want to go tonight http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/missed-midday-open-house-for-west-seattle-junction-park-design-heres-why-youll-want-to-go-tonight/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/missed-midday-open-house-for-west-seattle-junction-park-design-heres-why-youll-want-to-go-tonight/#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 22:02:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907736

That’s Karimah Edwards from Seattle Parks, holding a tablet to show us the “fly-through” renderings of the three design concepts for the future West Seattle Junction park in the 4700 block of 40th SW [map]. We checked them out at the first of today/tonight’s two “open house” sessions, to show you what you’ll find if you stop by the site tonight for the second drop-in event, 5:30-7 pm. You’ll see the three concepts on easels, too:

GGLO worked with Seattle Parks to create the concepts, using the 10 features that were most popular in last year’s feedback (hundreds of people took the online survey and/or visited the drop-in Farmers’ Market meeting). All three concepts have some things in common – like lots of seating, and garden-style plantings – but otherwise, some dramatically different central features, like a boardwalk in Option 2 and a 6-foot climbing wall in Option 3. The open-house location, by the way, is at the site but fully covered, inside the big tent that was used as a temporary fire station there for more than a year, so don’t worry about the weather:

Refreshments are from the indie coffee and wine bar that’s literally next door to the park, Sound and Fog:

If you just can’t stop by tonight either, a survey will be available online soon – watch the official project website for that. The city bought the 2/3-acre park site five years ago for $1.4 million and has had it “landbanked” until money ($1.9 million) was available for developing it; that’s coming from the Seattle Park District levy.

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Marine theme wins for new Lincoln Park South Play Area – and you still have time to have a say http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/marine-theme-wins-for-new-lincoln-park-south-play-area-and-you-still-have-time-to-have-a-say/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 00:01:02 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907135 (Seattle Parks’ Pamela Alspaugh with two young meeting-goers)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you’re going to design a playground, you might as well get young potential users involved.

That’s why Seattle Parks made a point of encouraging families to come to the design meetings for the new Lincoln Park South Play Area – a project accelerated by the termite damage that led to the sudden closure and removal of play equipment there last summer.

The second and final meeting, last night at The Kenney, resulted in some clear favorites – an orca climbing structure, for example, as part of the marine theme that resulted from an attendee’s suggestion at the first meeting (WSB coverage here).

But even if you weren’t there, you still have time to offer your opinions too:

As the meeting began, Parks’ Susanne Rockwell went over some toplines on what they had heard from more than 300 people providing online and in-person feedback:

Slides, swings, climbing elements were the most-requested components in online and in-person feedback.

Top response for frequency of visiting the park: 42 percent, at least twice a month. When do they visit? More than 80 percent “in the afternoon.” Where are they from? The two main zip codes in the area are where most responses came from – as well as other parts of West Seattle, and a smattering from South Park and Georgetown. What play-area style do you prefer? Top response, a play area with a theme. The idea of a marine theme blossomed at the first public meeting. Also a popular suggestion – netting for climbing.

Parks landscape architect Pamela Alspaugh went into design details:

The previous play area was 20 years old, and this is bringing it up to ADA design standards. Here’s the schematic design for the play area’s location west of the north side of the south parking lot:

It keeps the overall structure, with an existing block wall that Alspaugh says “is in really good shape.” Some of the walls will be modified a bit.

The play equipment for 5-to-12-year-olds will be on the north side, the one for younger children on the south side, and the swings where the old, termite-ravaged play structure previously stood.

They’ve addressed concerns about a need for more seating. They’re looking to add more on the west side, and also hoping to add an accessible route to the picnic area on the northwest side of the area, depending on how money goes – they want to “get the most play-area value” for the allotted money.

About the marine theme:

An area resident offered an anchor that’s been at their home for a long time, found off Fauntleroy, to Seattle Parks – the community will be asked whether they would prefer to place it at Cove Park (the small beach north of the ferry dock) or Lincoln Park.

Along with tiles like the one shown above, there also will be climbing rocks – the marine-themed options are a 6’5″ orca, a 2’9″ starfish and an even-lower rock-crab climber. The final design can incorporate one of the three, Alspaugh said. She said repeatedly that the orca is costliest, so they would like to hear people’s priorities.

The pavement can include molds that resemble scallop shells and sand dollars; “stars or other elements” are possible as well, Alspaugh said.

The Allplay Systems climbing equipment is already set (but won’t include the orange color shown on the boards):

For the 5- to 12-year-olds’ play equipment, here’s Option 1 (which drew the most support).

Along with the slides, it includes a firepole-type element, as well as a ramp and a hexagonal deck with different toys that someone in a wheelchair could use. A similar play element has just been installed at Discovery Park, Alspaugh said, and is already proving to be popular. The safety rails on the top level are designed to resemble twigs.

#2 also has an accessible ramp up to a deck, and the tower is the same, but here’s the difference:

It includes a bridge to a hexagonal deck, with a spinner and overhead ladder.

The 2-to-5-year-olds’ structure would include “very small” elements, as requested, for the very young children. It’s at the bottom of this rendering:

About the new swings: At least four can be included – six, if some other elements are removed. Alspaugh thinks four will be enough – mentioning another park where that number is sufficient, “because there are other things for the kids to do.”

Comment time:

“It’s very cool,” the first person declared. She asked the Parks team which elements were the most expensive; the answer boiled down to, a lot of mixing-and-matching is possible, depending on what people most want to see.

The first kids to speak up said they liked the orca climbing element the best. One also supported the crab. A mom said her two kids enjoy the climbing structures at Highland Park‘s new playground – Alspaugh said that was designed by the same company.

Another young attendee said she likes “climbing stuff” they best. Alspaugh promised her “climbing bars.” (That sentiment was echoed by another parent on behalf of their 8 1/2-year-old.)

Another mom wondered about rubberized cushioning under the play equipment, or wood chips. Alspaugh explained that the cushioning can be extremely expensive and also hardens over time. There’s now a new type of binder for the wood chips helping them stay together longer.

Also among the ~25 attendees, Fauntleroy Community Association president Mike Dey said he likes the marine theme, including the orca climbing structure. He asked about a specific area where the 4-foot-tall, 400-pound to-be-donated anchor would go (he was the first person contacted by the donor) – Alspaugh said they’re still contemplating possible locations – it would be have to set in concrete so there would be no chance someone would try to move it – maybe toward the south-center of the general area.

Taking the marine theme beyond the plans for panels and seashell molds, someone wondered about maybe marine-type fossils added, like some playgrounds that have dinosaur fossils.

More feedback favored Option 1.

Asked about the fate of the play area’s existing concrete-walled sand pit – which was pretty much voted off the island at the first meeting – Alspaugh said it wasn’t in the plan.

The proposed design feature of “twigs”/”sticks” (near the top of the tower in the Option 2 play structure) was suggested as something that could be tossed out in favor of more money being available for the orca climber.

Also noted: This site doesn’t have room for exercise equipment. There are safety standards applying to everything on the playground, “and we’re very strict about covering all the safety standards,” said Alspaugh.

She also said there’s a choice to be made between parent-and-baby side-by-side swings, or baby “bucket” swings – they could start with the latter and then switch to the former if people preferred, but they can’t mix-and-match. Kids’ opinions of these were asked too, and Alspaugh warned semi-sternly that the older kids will need to stay away because a 12-year-old got stuck in one once!

More families continued pouring in as the meeting continued. Every new arrival was invited to come up and show what s/he liked. One dad said “they all look amazing,” adding that it appeared there would be room for lots of kids to play. Maybe up to 80 at a time, Alspaugh suggested! And the spaciousness would be good news for one child who was worried about having to wait for her turn on some of the equipment.

Asked about the safety of the tall, long slide that either Option 1 or 2 would have, Alspaugh said it’s no problem for kids, but warned parents not to go down the slide with a child in their lap – that’s been resulting in lots of injuries across the country.

In further discussion of swing configuration, Alspaugh thought the pairs including baby swings might be something for the beach swing set. And more discussion ensued about whether four swings would be enough. (If you have an opinion on swings – how many, what kind – the Parks crew especially wants to hear from you ASAP!)

The crowd’s opinions:
-Option 1
-the (not-orange) net climber
-marine theme
-sea shells
-panels on the structure (they’re not expensive, Alspaugh said)
-some element in the paving

When they have a final design, they’ll post it online, and e-mail word of that to people who have participated. In the meantime, speak up – they hope to put this out to bid and start construction this summer, maybe even as soon as late spring – they will work with Parks event scheduling for “minimum impact” to surrounding areas. Construction will likely take about 70 working days – four to five months. Rockwell said there’s no way around the schedule even though they realize it’s not ideal. “We’re working in coordination … we’ll open it as soon as we can.” The picnic area and the pathway will be accessible throughout the summer. ADA pathway improvements also are planned but will be “done in a separate phase,” Rockwell said, “not at the same time” as the playground work, maybe later in the fall, after this is done.

For the new play area, a fall opening is most likely. And once this is open, it’s expected to last about 20 years – the old one fell a few years short of that because of the termites.

(And they recapped that EC Hughes, which had the same problem, is being redesigned and will be rebuilt too.)

TO SHARE YOUR OPINION: E-mail Rockwell, susanne.rockwell@seattle.gov

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BUSINESS IN PARKS: Call for concession proposals; plus, Lincoln Park ‘outdoor preschool’ meeting reminder http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/business-in-parks-call-for-concession-proposals-plus-lincoln-park-outdoor-preschool-meeting-reminder/ Thu, 25 Jan 2018 00:06:32 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907125 Two notes about businesses in city parks:

CALL FOR CONCESSIONS: Looking ahead to summer, the city wants to be sure you know about this, in case you operate – or know of – a business that might qualify:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is seeking proposals for seasonal partners to operate food service, recreational activities, and group fitness concessions in various park locations throughout Seattle. Locations vary with sites appropriate for carts, food trucks and other self-contained service businesses. Proposals are due by March 16. Details here.

Among the documents you’ll find on that page is this one that includes specific locations open to food concessions this summer – including, in West Seattle, two at Alki Beach and one at Lincoln Park.

PRESCHOOL MEETING: We first reported last month that another city park in West Seattle will be the site of an “outdoor preschool” starting this fall. One has been operating at Camp Long, and now Parks is also opening Lincoln Park to a preschool program. A new operator called Roots and Sky Nature School is expected to get the contract, Parks confirmed in early January, and a meeting is planned 6-7 pm this Friday (January 26th) at Dakota Place Park (4304 SW Dakota) for anyone with questions about the plan.

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WEST SEATTLE SCENE: TLC on MLK Day for Fairmount Playground’s forest http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/west-seattle-scene-tlc-on-mlk-day-for-fairmount-playgrounds-forest/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:01:59 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906479

Last week we previewed an MLK Day work party for the forest at Fairmount Playfield … and forest steward Christine Deppe just sent us that photo of everyone who showed up on Monday!

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READER REPORT: Tree blocking Schmitz Park pathway http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/reader-report-tree-blocking-schmitz-park-pathway/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/reader-report-tree-blocking-schmitz-park-pathway/#comments Sat, 13 Jan 2018 16:27:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906206

ORIGINAL SATURDAY MORNING REPORT: Thanks to the reader who just called to share the news that she discovered while out for a walk this morning that a tree is down across the Schmitz Park pathway near the Alki Community Center entrance to the park. We asked her to report it to the Parks after-hour maintenance hotline, which is reachable via 206-684-7250.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Still blocked, another reader reports, sending the photo we have added above.

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Next step in developing new West Seattle Junction park: 2 chances to see ‘design concepts’ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/next-step-in-developing-new-west-seattle-junction-park-2-chances-to-see-design-concepts/ Fri, 12 Jan 2018 19:43:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906142 More than five years after buying and “landbanking” the future park site in the 4700 block of 40th SW [map], Seattle Parks is moving forward with designing the new park. And the next round of input is set for two drop-in events on the same day: 11:30 am-1 pm and 5:30-7 pm Thursday, February 1st, at the site. The project team from Parks and GGLO Design will be there to “review design concepts and gather input” from everyone who shows up. Last September, you might recall, Parks held a drop-in event at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market to gather votes on potential design elements. The city bought the park site in 2012 for $1.4 million and “landbanked” it; until last summer, it was home to temporary Fire Station 32 while the new station was being built.

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MLK DAY: Help out in a West Seattle greenspace http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/mlk-day-help-out-in-a-west-seattle-greenspace/ Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:35:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906048 Off work/out of school on Monday, and not signed up for a “day of service” project yet? Here’s one looking for volunteers, in case you haven’t already seen it on the WSB calendar:

Fairmount Park Forest Work Party
January 15, 2018 10 am – 1 pm

Give back to your community park this MLK Day! Fairmount Park Playground is a small green space along Fauntleroy Way next to Fairmount Park Elementary. We started restoration in Spring of 2017, removing invasives, like blackberry and ivy, moving compost piles and replanting it with beautiful Native plants. Come help continue our efforts. It’s a small park that needs a lot of help.

Here’s where to go for more information and registration.

(Anybody else looking for volunteers on Monday? Not too late to let us know.)

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HELP SPEND $3 MILLION: 2018’s ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ seeks park, street project ideas http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/help-spend-3-million-2018s-your-voice-your-choice-seeks-park-street-project-ideas/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/help-spend-3-million-2018s-your-voice-your-choice-seeks-park-street-project-ideas/#comments Wed, 03 Jan 2018 22:41:10 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=905378 Last year was the first time the city tried “participatory budgeting” – under the banner Your Voice, Your Choice – for park and street projects. After ideas were proposed, then vetted, then voted on, each City Council district got a share, and four transportation-related projects were the winners in our area. This year, the city’s starting the process earlier – right now! – with more money to spend, $3 million citywide. So this is your official alert that if you have a “small-scale” park or street improvement idea – something that wouldn’t cost more than $90,000 – you have a month to tell the city about it – either online by going here, or via a paper form you’ll find at Seattle Public Library branches. February 2nd is the deadline; see the full announcement here.

P.S. If you contributed an idea last year but it didn’t make the final cut, it may have been rolled over for reconsideration this year – 400+ of those ideas are on this city-created Google Map and don’t need to be resubmitted.

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FOLLOWUP: Schmitz Park expansion purchase gets unanimous final approval http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/followup-schmitz-park-expansion-purchase-gets-unanimous-final-approval/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/followup-schmitz-park-expansion-purchase-gets-unanimous-final-approval/#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 23:08:44 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=905269 (Circle shows expansion site on park’s southeast edge)

Three weeks ago, we reported on a City Council committee giving its OK to a small purchase with big potential – Schmitz Park neighbor Bruce Stotler (right) selling rights to his property for far below its value, so that after he’s gone, the site will become part of the forested park. This afternoon, the full council gave its unanimous approval to the $225,000 deal.

It’s been years in the making, initiated back when West Seattleite Tom Rasmussen was still on the council, and shepherded after that by Councilmember Lisa Herbold. As she noted before this afternoon’s vote, the city Parks Department was originally reluctant, but eventually was convinced. The funding will come from the Seattle Park District levy. Those speaking at the start of this afternoon’s council meeting included Rasmussen, who said he was “thrilled” to see it finally coming to fruition, and Vicki Schmitz-Block, on behalf of the family that originally donated Schmitz Park land, saying she hoped it would inspire others, and that it will eventually help enable better access to the park. The council also heard from Jeff McCord, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, supporting the purchase (as originally announced), and finally from Bruce Stotler himself, who told the council, “Thank you for allowing me to fulfill my dream.” (He elaborated in this recent Seattle Times report that he felt it’s “the right thing to do.”)

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