West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle parks http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 03:05:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Pianos in the Parks: West Seattle, White Center parks included http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/pianos-in-the-parks-west-seattle-white-center-parks-included/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/pianos-in-the-parks-west-seattle-white-center-parks-included/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:12:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=279697

(The Alki piano – photo courtesy Pianos in the Parks)
If you weren’t already planning to spend part of your summer at city/county parks – a public/private-partnership plan announced today is meant to give you a reason to visit. It’s called Pianos in the Parks, and it’s placed 20 donated and decorated pianos in 20 Seattle and King County parks, for one month, starting today. The parks, listed here, include Alki Beach Park in West Seattle and Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center. Since those are both fairly sizable parks, we asked a Pianos in the Parks spokesperson where to find the pianos. Reply: “The Alki piano is located just across from Spud Fish & Chips at the edge of the grassy area and the Steve Cox piano is roughly in the middle of the park by the picnic huts and the playground.” (Above, that’s the Alki piano, decorated by artist Kerstin M. Graudins, before it was to be placed at the beach, where we’re hoping to get a photo of it this evening.) And yes, the pianos are playable – that’s even at the heart of a contest. What happens to them after August 17th? They’re being auctioned off; you can bid on any or all of them online by clicking any individual park photo here to see its piano.

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Create a Seattle Park District? Days before ballots arrive, yes/no sides make their cases to Admiral Neighborhood Association http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/create-a-seattle-park-district-days-before-ballots-arrive-yesno-sides-make-their-cases-to-admiral-neighborhood-association/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/create-a-seattle-park-district-days-before-ballots-arrive-yesno-sides-make-their-cases-to-admiral-neighborhood-association/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:48:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278733 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When the August 5th ballot arrives in your mailbox next week, it will include one major issue for you to decide: How will the City of Seattle raise extra money for its park system from here on out?

In recent years, the city has done that by taking a levy/bond measure to the public every so often. The most recent one was the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which expires this year.

But what the city’s asking you to approve this time has no expiration date. If you approve Seattle Proposition 1, you’ll be voting to support creation of a permanent Park District with taxing authority – no further votes needed.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association spent most of its July meeting on a mini-forum about Proposition 1 – with some pointed questions, and responses.

Speaking for the Park District measure, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and former Parks Board member Terry Holme, who also appeared when the Delridge District Council had its own mini-forum in May (here’s our coverage with video). Speaking against it, Don Harper from Our Parks Forever.

Rasmussen began by noting that while he chairs the Transportation Committee now, he chaired the Parks Committee when the 2008 levy campaign was under way. He contended that even if the Park District is created, “the parks will still be Seattle parks, you’ll still have the same kind of control, it’s simply a way of raising funds specifically to be used for the Parks department.” And he pointed out that the Council had created a Transportation Benefit District a few years ago, in the same vein. “In order to not be so limited, we are needing to create special taxing districts for what we used to be able to pay for out of our regular city budget.”

Holme, who’s been on the Parks Board for nine years, said the taxing rate envisioned for the Park District is only slightly higher than the current levy – $4 more if you have a house with a $400,000 valuation. He also was on the committee that reviewed options for finding extra funding once Parks and Green Spaces expired – the Legacy Committee – and said its members preferred creating the Park District instead of sending voters another levy.

According to Holme, every six years, a citizen committee will review the progress and set priorities for the years ahead, as set up in the “interlocal agreement” that is proposed as part of this (explained in the FAQ on Mayor Murray’s webpage about the proposal). That would ensure citizen participation and accountability, he contended.

Harper then gave his introduction, including his background with the Queen Anne Community Council, whose parks committee he chairs, and time on the city’s Levy Oversight Committee.

Levies are preferable, he said, because “you get to vote on levies – you get to look at the projects you’re getting … they are named projects ..there’ll be a dollar number assigned to them … so when you vote for them, you now you’re going to get them. and you’re part of the process of what’s going to go into them.” Voting on a levy, he suggested, also represents your review/opinion of how the city handled your money last time around.

Though Park District supporters are circulating a list of priority projects, Harper said, that’s not what voters are voting on – instead, he said, they’re voting for the district name, its boundaries (the Seattle city limits), who’s going to be on its board (the Seattle City Council), and its potential tax rate, which would raise about $100 million a year. “I don’t see why the council and mayor are so hellbent on taking away your right to vote,” Harper said. Observing that supporters have emphasized that a major plan for the first six years is to rustle up money for park maintenance, he said, “When Parks asked for more maintenance money, who didn’t give it to them? The city council and the mayor.” He wrapped up by saying it’s a matter of control – if you don’t mind just handing over some money from hereon out, this measure is fine, but “if you want to maintain some control,” creating a new taxing district is not the way to do that.

After both sides’ opening statements, ANA president David Whiting opened the discussion to Q/A.

Rasmussen stressed that creating a Park District would guarantee a permanent source of extra park funding, contending it’s not a given that the council would just keep sending levies to voters instead. He said the Parks and Green Spaces Levy almost didn’t happen, that its predecessor was expiring and that then-Mayor Greg Nickels didn’t want another park levy “so we almost didn’t have one.” (Here’s our coverage from 2008, when the council sent the levy to voters though the mayor had wanted to delay it at least two years.)

He also urged faith in the “interlocal agreement” that will govern how the money is spent, saying the city has many of them already. Ultimately, he said, councilmembers will be accountable, and if citizens don’t like the decisions they make with the Park District (or anything else), “vote us out of office.”

Harper at that point called attention to how other park districts are run, with their own elected boards – Tacoma, for example. He said he’s concerned that “the Council has so much else to worry about, how are they going to be able to concentrate on parks?” He also voiced concern that the only “named projects” are “landbanked sites” and Woodland Park Zoo. And then he said he has confidence that city leaders have “a Plan B if this gets voted down – there WILL be a levy, we WILL move forward, and we’ll move forward with our park system.”

Regarding concerns that somehow this will pave the way for city budget money that used to go toward parks instead getting “supplanted,” moved to something else, Holme pointed to the Intralocal Agreement, which will stipulate that Parks funding in the budget’s General Fund remains at least at its current level, $89 million.

Other questions/concerns voiced by ANA attendees included whether the upcoming changes in the council’s makeup – with all but two members elected by district starting next year – would affect the way the councilmembers planned to manage the potential Park District. Holme said he felt confident that the “public process … baked into this” would work. And he reiterated that the first list of priorities for the money included “major maintenance,” unlike the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which was tilted more toward acquisition.

Harper said he was bothered by the fact that the general-fund money for Parks isn’t enough to maintain them – “Where is the $135 million [annual budget] going?” He said that while “(Rasmussen) is a good guy, what happens when it’s a different councilmember different mayor – this is ‘forever’.” Perhaps the Park system should be audited, he suggested. “We’re rushing into this.”

Rasmussen then described the audit suggestion as “a typical anti-government kind of response.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Harper protested that he hadn’t had as much of a chance to answer questions as the two Park District supporters had; ANA members pointed out that the questions were asked more from a skeptical viewpoint, so his side was already represented.

What you’ll see on the ballot, including the pro/con arguments and rebuttals, is here. Background from the process that led up to the Park District proposal is here.

ALSO AT ANA: Councilmember Rasmussen mentioned that the 47th/Admiral signal long sought by ANA should be built within a year; he was told that SDOT had promised to return with a design update in June but hadn’t contacted them yet, so he’ll check on it … The group celebrated its achievement of 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, long in the works … The concession sales at the 4th of July Kids’ Parade afterparty at Hamilton Viewpoint were hailed as a success again, with $1,000 raised after expenses, up from about two-thirds of that last year … ANA is working on a wintertime event – Santa Claus and more – details to come, but save the date, December 7th … No August meeting, as is the case for most community councils.

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Followup: Repairs complete, so Colman Pool reopens Tuesday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/followup-repairs-complete-so-colman-pool-reopens-tuesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/followup-repairs-complete-so-colman-pool-reopens-tuesday/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 23:53:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278609

(WSB file photo)
After a three-day shutdown because of mechanical trouble, Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park WILL reopen tomorrow, Seattle Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad just confirmed. We asked earlier for details about the breakdown, and along with apologies from Seattle Parks for the closure and inconvenience, she explained:

One of two pumps for the main circulation system failed. This was a 40hp motor attached to a pump; the coupler sheared off of the motor that was attached to the pump. There would have been a loud explosion noise, but was not heard by the caretaker because of the 4th of July noise.

The broken pump allowed water to drain out of the pool into the sanitary sewer. No water went into Puget Sound. An estimated 200,000 gallons drained out until detected about 4 a.m. on July 5. The pool capacity is 450,000 gallons.

The pool was refilled overnight on July 5 and 6 during the highest tide. The pump has been repaired and is being laser-aligned this afternoon.

The clarity of the water is poor and needs at least 6 hours of circulation to meet Health Code requirements. The temperature of the pool is cold, currently 70 degrees. The water when it comes in from Puget Sound is around 60 degrees. The ideal temperature for the pool is about 82 degrees. We expect the pool will be close to 80 degrees for swim lessons on Tuesday.

Regular pool pricing will be in place when we reopen. Those with 30-day swim passes can be extended by three additional days if request is received at the pool by July 9.

P.S. Remember that the pool will be closed to the public this Friday and Saturday for a swim meet, so you have three days to swim there before that.

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Colman Pool update: West Seattle’s outdoor pool closed again Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/colman-pool-update-west-seattles-outdoor-pool-closed-again-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/colman-pool-update-west-seattles-outdoor-pool-closed-again-monday/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 01:22:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278539 We have an update this evening on Colman Pool, the only city-run outdoor pool in West Seattle, closed all weekend because of a circulation-pump breakdown: The parts needed for repairs are expected to arrive tomorrow (Monday) and Seattle Parks hopes to reopen the pool on Tuesday – with the water likely to be colder than usual, since they can’t refill the pool until the pump’s fixed, and can’t heat the water until it’s in the pool. The pump failure, discovered Saturday morning, drained much of the water in the pool. Your city-run swimming options, in the meantime, include indoor Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle; schedule here) and, for the littlest West Seattleites, wading pools and Highland Park Spraypark (schedules/addresses here). Thanks to Allison at Colman Pool for the updates – including the latest photo of the sign outside.

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Update: Colman Pool closed again tomorrow after ‘mechanical problem’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/no-swimming-today-at-colman-pool-closed-for-mechanical-problem/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/no-swimming-today-at-colman-pool-closed-for-mechanical-problem/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 20:26:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278422

1:26 PM: Thanks to Anne from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) for the tip: Colman Pool (on the shore at Lincoln Park) is closed today, with a sign up citing “mechanical” problems (Anne also shared the photo of the sign). Another reader had e-mailed earlier in the day saying they’d walked by and noticed the pool was almost empty, but at the time there was no sign about its status. The lifeguard who answered the pool’s phone is tracking down more information for us to share, and we’ll add to this as soon as we get it; meantime, the city’s indoor pool in this area, Southwest Pool (2801 SW Thistle), is open as far as we know – here’s its schedule.

2:11 PM UPDATE: More information from the pool – one of the main circulation pumps failed overnight and the pool lost a lot of water. They’re working right now to find the part they need, and if it can be found and installed today, the pool could be refilled tonight and could reopen tomorrow – but note, as the sign in the photo says, the water would be cold, since there wouldn’t be time to fully reheat it, so, we’re told, they would have discount pricing. They’re promising to update their phone message and website, and we’ll update too.

5:52 PM UPDATE: Just got word that they haven’t yet procured the part they need, so the pool will be closed tomorrow too. It’s already noted on the pool website, which also makes note of the previously scheduled swim-meet dates during which Colman Pool will NOT be open for public swims – next Friday/Saturday (July 11-12).

SUNDAY NOTE: The part is expected Monday, which means the pool’s likely to reopen Tuesday. We’ll have a separate story a bit later.

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Morgan Junction Park expansion: City closes the deal http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/morgan-junction-park-expansion-city-closes-the-deal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/morgan-junction-park-expansion-city-closes-the-deal/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 02:38:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278123

(WSB file photo)
ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY NIGHT REPORT: Seattle Parks has notified the Morgan Community Association that it’s closed the purchase of the Morgan Junction Park expansion site at 6311 California SW. The plan has been in the works for almost two years – we first reported the sale negotiations in September 2012. The site just north of the current park includes the building housing a minimart and dry cleaner to the north, and some undeveloped land to the west. We don’t have word on the final purchase price yet; the site had originally been listed as a potential development site for $2 million. There is no money budgeted yet for developing the site, which will officially be “landbanked” for starters, but it’s one of the projects for which money is earmarked in the Park District proposal on next month’s ballot (a preliminary version was noted here last October). According to what the city has told MoCA, the timetable for demolition of the building is not set yet, so the businesses will be there a while longer; the site needs some cleanup too because of its past.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: Parks says the purchase price was $1,887,000. The site is a little more than a quarter of an acre.

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West Seattle 4th of July: Security, lights at 3 local fields http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-security-lights-at-3-local-fields/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-security-lights-at-3-local-fields/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 17:17:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278024 Seattle Parks is again planning to keep the lights on at synthetic-turf fields to discourage fireworks, and says security will monitor for extended hours, too. This time, it’s planned for both Thursday and Friday (July 3-4). Three West Seattle fields are on the list for security monitoring 9 pm-4 am and lights 8:45-11 pm: Delridge, Hiawatha, and Walt Hundley, all of which have been renovated in recent years. We’re adding this to the WSB West Seattle 4th of July page, still open for other holiday info if you have something to share – editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

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Followup: Car found in the water off Beach Drive was stolen in Queen Anne http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/followup-car-found-in-the-water-off-beach-drive-was-stolen-in-queen-anne/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/followup-car-found-in-the-water-off-beach-drive-was-stolen-in-queen-anne/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 20:34:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277301 Continuing to followup on incidents that made news over the weekend – Seattle Police confirm the empty car that went into the water off Emma Schmitz Viewpoint on Beach Drive (map) was stolen. Beach Drive Blog not only reported the incident early Sunday (photo at right is republished with their permission) but also, based nearby, was on the scene before authorities, and checked in case anyone was in the car. According to the official SPD report, the car was stolen from a Queen Anne man who didn’t even know it was missing until an officer showed up at his house, but said he had left his keys inside it. The SPD report says the ignition key was found inside the car, which was locked with its windows rolled up when found upside down in a foot of water. Police believe the car was pushed off the embankment but haven’t found any witnesses yet. Later Sunday morning, BDB published aftermath photos and reported potential seawall damage; we have an inquiry out to Seattle Parks today to see if they have assessed the site yet to find out if repairs will be needed. (Earlier this year, BDB reported city plans for a new seawall there next year.)

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West Seattle wildlife: Stop and smell the … dandelions! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-stop-and-smell-the-dandelions/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-stop-and-smell-the-dandelions/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 04:46:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277054

It’s not just nuts that will stop a squirrel in her tracks. Trileigh Tucker shares the photos:

I encountered this incredibly photogenic squirrel foraging along the south part of the Lincoln Park beach. She appeared to be a nursing mother; maybe eating the dandelions somehow provides special nourishment to provide for her young?

Trileigh writes about nature and publishes more of her photos at naturalpresencearts.com.

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Also tomorrow: Explore Hiawatha’s Olmsted Parks history http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-tomorrow-explore-hiawathas-olmsted-parks-history/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-tomorrow-explore-hiawathas-olmsted-parks-history/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 00:17:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277060 Just got word of this, and it’s a rare opportunity: Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks is offering a free public walking tour tomorrow (10 am Saturday) of Hiawatha Playfield, designed by John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago. Meet by the park entrance at Walnut/Forest. Prepare with this history lesson (and find out about the other Olmsted parks in West Seattle via this clickable map).

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Trail-building project at Fairmount Playfield to close playground for the next three weeks http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/trail-building-project-at-fairmount-playfield-to-close-playground-for-the-next-three-weeks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/trail-building-project-at-fairmount-playfield-to-close-playground-for-the-next-three-weeks/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:02:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276266 As newly expanded Fairmount Park Elementary gets closer to its fall opening, three weeks of work on the south end of adjacent Fairmount Playfield starts next Monday. The work will close the playground for the next three weeks, the project team just confirmed. Here’s the official notice:

Seattle School District is constructing a path in Fairmount Playfield. This path will be built from Fauntleroy Way SW to Fairmount Park Elementary School. To facilitate construction, the south portion of Fairmount Playfield will be closed. However, the ball field will remain open.

The purpose of the path is to provide a safe walking surface from the new bus load zone on Fauntleroy Way SW to the school playground. It also provides a new paved, barrier-free access to Fairmount Playground at its southern boundary.

The Seattle School District is working with the contractor to minimize construction impacts that may include truck traffic and construction noise.

The district expects almost 300 students at Fairmount Park when it opens in September, seven years after it was mothballed in a districtwide round of closures.

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North Delridge Neighborhood Council: Outdoor meeting Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/north-delridge-neighborhood-council-outdoor-meeting-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/north-delridge-neighborhood-council-outdoor-meeting-monday/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 21:22:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275833 A few years ago, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council started holding its summertime meetings outdoors in various locations. The announcement of this coming Monday’s meeting has just arrived, and they’re doing it again:

Join the NDNC for our monthly meeting on Monday, June 9, at 6:30 pm. We’re starting our summer meetings in the park series with Cottage Grove Park – 26th and Brandon, the one with the kids’ play area at one end. Bring outside chairs, blankets, or anything else you need – depending on the weather, it gets cool towards the end.

We don’t have much in the way of a set agenda, so we’re holding an open meeting for you to bring any and all issues, concerns or other items.

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Happening now: Kids fishing with West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-kids-fishing-with-west-seattle-sportsmens-club/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-kids-fishing-with-west-seattle-sportsmens-club/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 17:03:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275806

About another hour left – unless supplies run out sooner – at the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club kids’ fishing pond on the dock at Seacrest.

It’s free for kids under 14 – pole and bait provided – under the tent on the dock.

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First day of second year for West Seattle’s only spraypark http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/first-day-of-second-year-for-west-seattles-only-spraypark/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/first-day-of-second-year-for-west-seattles-only-spraypark/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 20:50:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274335

Cloudy and 60s when we stopped by, but that wasn’t going to keep these two from being among the first to visit the Highland Park Spraypark this morning when it opened for the first day of its second year in operation. (They weren’t the only early visitors, either – the grownup keeping an eye on them told us that youth baseball players came over to run through the water after a morning game nearby!) The spraypark is scheduled to be open daily 11 am-8 pm through September 1st; it’s at 1100 SW Cloverdale. (As noted here earlier this spring, wading pools don’t start opening for another four weeks.)

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Video: Seattle Park District campaign, pro and con, previewed at Delridge Neighborhoods District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-seattle-park-district-campaign-pro-and-con-previewed-at-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-seattle-park-district-campaign-pro-and-con-previewed-at-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 05:46:48 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274190

On the August 5th ballot, you’ll be asked to vote for or against creating the Seattle Park District to raise more money for city parks, as the most recent park levy – the approved-in-2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy – is expiring. We reported last month on the council vote placing the proposal on the ballot. This past Wednesday, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council got a preview of the campaign, hearing from three guests over the span of an hour and a half – City Councilmember Jean Godden, who chairs the council committee that deals with parks; Terry Holme, a longtime Parks Board member representing the pro-Park District group Seattle Parks for All; and Carol Fisher, representing the anti-Park District group Our Parks Forever. Except for a moment toward the end when we had to change cameras, the entirety of the statements, and ensuing Q/A, can be seen/heard in the two video clips above. So if you get some time this long weekend, listen in – it’s a big decision to make.

BACKGROUND INFO: This was the result of the Parks Legacy Plan process; the ordinance setting up the ballot measure creating the Park District is here; here’s how the first six years of money would be spent; here are even more details about the individual parts of that spending plan.

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