West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle parks http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 09 Oct 2015 04:43:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Playground plea for Westcrest Park: Please don’t take the toys! http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/playground-plea-for-westcrest-park-please-dont-take-the-toys/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/playground-plea-for-westcrest-park-please-dont-take-the-toys/#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2015 17:44:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324773 This reader report is from Vanessa, whose daughter plays at Westcrest Park:

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

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

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

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

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West Seattle scenes: PARKing Day 2015, official and unofficial http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-scenes-parking-day-2015-official-and-unofficial/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-scenes-parking-day-2015-official-and-unofficial/#comments Sat, 19 Sep 2015 06:56:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323389 On Thursday night, we pointed out that West Seattle had just one pop-up mini-park planned for PARKing Day this year:

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

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

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

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West Seattle projects included in mayor’s first Parks District budget proposal http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-projects-included-in-mayors-first-parks-district-budget-proposal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-projects-included-in-mayors-first-parks-district-budget-proposal/#comments Sat, 19 Sep 2015 02:15:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323321

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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What’s happening behind closed doors at Colman Pool post-season: Cleaning and restoration of its 75-year-old mural http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/whats-happening-behind-closed-doors-at-colman-pool-post-season-cleaning-and-restoration-of-its-75-year-old-mural/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/whats-happening-behind-closed-doors-at-colman-pool-post-season-cleaning-and-restoration-of-its-75-year-old-mural/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 18:11:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323283

(WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TOMORROW: One PARKing Day pop-up park in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/tomorrow-one-parking-day-pop-up-park-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/tomorrow-one-parking-day-pop-up-park-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 04:24:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323231 If you go to Westwood Village tomorrow, stop by the PARKing Day park outside Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor), any time after 10 am. Once again this year, they’re participating in the worldwide festival of creating temporary mini-parks … and this year, according to the SDOT map, theirs is the ONLY pop-up park in West Seattle.

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Left a love lock at Duwamish Head? Go get it before it’s gone http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/left-a-love-lock-at-duwamish-head-go-get-it-before-its-gone/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/left-a-love-lock-at-duwamish-head-go-get-it-before-its-gone/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 04:49:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323136

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

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What city-run community centers will offer IF there’s a Seattle Public Schools strike http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-city-run-community-centers-will-offer-if-theres-a-seattle-public-schools-strike/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-city-run-community-centers-will-offer-if-theres-a-seattle-public-schools-strike/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:39:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321872 In our area, Alki, Delridge, Hiawatha, High Point and South Park community centers will offer all-day camps as an expansion of current before-/after-school care IF there is a Seattle Public Schools strike. That news and other related info from the city is just in via this announcement:

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

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

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


The day camps, which will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will take place at 16 designated community centers around the city with capacity for approximately 850 children. They are for youth aged 5 to 12 who are enrolled in regular Parks and Recreation/ARC 2015-2016 school year before- and after-school programs. These day camps will operate only if school is not in session and will operate at no additional cost to families.

Parents or guardians can still register children by phone or at their home community centers.

Registration is first-come, first-served. Before- and after-school program registration paperwork must be completed to be eligible.

Please note: In the event of a strike, preschool programs will be canceled at all community centers for the duration of the strike. Families will receive a pro-rated credit for days missed. Displaced families can call the City of Seattle’s Childcare Hotline at 206-386-1050 for assistance in finding alternative child-care.

· Children will be asked to bring a sack lunch. ARC will provide breakfast snacks and afternoon snacks, and will provide lunches for any children who do not bring one.

· Parents or guardians must drop children off by 9 a.m. or Parks and Recreation will activate the waiting list.

· At day’s end, Parks and Recreation/ARC will release children only to the authorized person, with identification, listed on the registration form.

· Parks and Recreation and ARC will make every effort to accommodate a child’s special needs; however, the 1:15 ratio of child to staff does not allow for the extra attention provided in regular before and after school programs.

The day camps will take place at these centers:

· Northwest Seattle: Ballard, Bitter Lake and Magnolia community centers
· Northeast Seattle: Meadowbrook, Northgate and Ravenna-Eckstein community centers
· Central Seattle: Miller and Queen Anne community centers
· Southwest Seattle: Alki, Delridge, Hiawatha, High Point and South Park community centers
· Southeast Seattle: Rainier, Rainier Beach and Van Asselt (with Jefferson) community centers

In addition, Parks and Recreation’s Teen Life Centers (TLC) at Meadowbrook, Garfield and Southwest community centers will be open two hours earlier than normal from 11 a.m. each day until their regular closing times, available here.

Late Night Recreation programs will operate on their regular schedules at Bitter Lake, Delridge, High Point, Rainier, Rainier Beach, South Park and Van Asselt community centers and at the Garfield, Meadowbrook and Southwest TLCs.

Information about community centers is available here.

Additionally, all locations of The Seattle Public Library are open regular hours and Library staff members are ready to support students and families with resources and programs. Visit spl.org or call 206-386-4636 to find out the nearest library, the hours of operation and scheduled programs.

The *possibility* of a strike was raised by a vote taken last night by educators in the Seattle Education Association, to strike Wednesday if there is no deal with the district. The union and district were scheduled to resume talks today, with a mediator present.

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FOLLOWUP: Artist Troy Pillow chosen for Junction Plaza Park project http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-artist-troy-pillow-chosen-for-junction-plaza-park-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/followup-artist-troy-pillow-chosen-for-junction-plaza-park-project/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:21:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321705 Another quick note from tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting: An artist has been chosen for the Junction Plaza Park project (42nd SW & SW Alaska). Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association told the SWDC that the decision had been made at a meeting earlier in the evening: The artist will be West Seattle resident Troy Pillow, whose public art you can see here. He also is the artist commissioned for The Whittaker (there’s some information on that plan in our report from last December’s city Design Commission meeting). The $25,000 budget for this project was part of the “public benefit” from what became the Spruce project (3922 SW Alaska). No specific design yet, Melrose said, but she says Pillow is “very collaborative.” Watch for updates.

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What all the digging’s about at Southwest Pool and Seacrest Pier http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-all-the-diggings-about-at-southwest-pool-and-seacrest-pier/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-all-the-diggings-about-at-southwest-pool-and-seacrest-pier/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:37:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321632 We’ve just dug up details on two Seattle Parks projects you might have noticed:

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

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

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

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Going up? Celebrating climbing @ new Camp Long Mountain Fest http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/going-up-celebrating-climbing-new-camp-long-mountain-fest/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/going-up-celebrating-climbing-new-camp-long-mountain-fest/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 01:48:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321019

(Schurman Rock photo courtesy Seattle Parks)

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

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

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

They can test themselves on the high ropes course*, and swap stories afterwards, or simply enjoy some downtime and spirited conversation with kindred climbers. Vertical World, a local climbing gym, will run a climbing wall where individuals can scale the same rock that Clark Schurman and Fred Beckey, living legends among Northwest mountaineers, used to practice on*. Mountain Madness, a west-Seattle climbing guide and mountaineering company, will run a rappel station down the camp’s “Glacier Wall.” Visitors will also find numerous vendor booths, mountain games and interactive workshops for people of all ages and abilities—prizes to be awarded.

With a nod to the past, Camp Long and the Seattle Bouldering Project will also conduct a special outdoor bouldering clinic on Schurman Rock (space is limited so early arrival to the festival and sign-up is encouraged.)*

Schurman Rock was constructed between 1938 and 1939 by the Work Progress Administration, and is believed to be the first man-made climbing structure in America. It was originally named Monitor Rock because climbing instructors could monitor their students from all sides of the structure. In 1957, it was renamed to honor its designer, Clark Schurman, who saw the need for novice climbers to have a practice rock and thus created it. Schurman, known as “The Chief,” was the chief climbing guide on Mount Rainier from 1938 to 1941. He loved mountaineering for all that it has to offer, and his Rock stands to this day as a legacy to his vision.

Last but not least, Erden Eruc, a Turkish adventurer and the first person in history to complete an entirely solo and human-powered circumnavigation of Earth, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the event. Eruc’s list of accolades and awards include the Men’s Journal 2015 list of 50 most adventurous men; the Outside Magazine 2013 Adventurer of the year list; and the Explorers Club 2013 Citation of Merit. Now a West Seattleite, Eruc focuses full-time on his non-profit foundation, Around-n-Over, with its goals of inspiring and informing young people. Festival participants will delight in hearing Eruc share insights and experiences from his life of purpose and adventure.

All events are free and take place at Camp Long (5200 35th. Ave SW). This 68-acre park offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, and learn about natural history. A talented staff of naturalists and ropes course staff lead ongoing group environmental education and rock climbing classes. Programs at Camp Long are designed to be fun, educational, and interactive experiences for all ages.

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What West Seattleites told Seattle Parks’ new superintendent as his ‘listening tour’ stopped in Alki http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/what-west-seattleites-told-seattle-parks-new-superintendent-as-his-listening-tour-stopped-in-alki/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/what-west-seattleites-told-seattle-parks-new-superintendent-as-his-listening-tour-stopped-in-alki/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:33:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320391

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

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

$144 million operating budget for 2015, 983 employees (the number almost doubles to 1897 in summertime), seven divisions, 6200 acres of land, 465 individual parks, 26 community centers, 4 golf course, 4 environmental learning centers, 165 tennis courts, 85 athletic fields, 205 basketball hoops, 7 motorized boat launches, 14 off-leash-dog areas … Aguirre’s presentation also included a list of challenges such as “public perception of (the department) has not always been positive” as well as “looming ‘retirement bubble’” and “don’t always collaborate well with other agencies.”

His previous role was as a superintendent of schools and his bullet points belied that – noting that parks are asked to do more as schools cut back on things such as extracurricular activities, and that parks find themselves with roles in public safety, such as helping teens/young adults stay busy before and after school.

Then he acknowledged the changing city and world – most City Councilmembers about to be elected by district, city’s population booming, people’s lifespans lengthening, etc.

With all that as a backdrop: He says Parks must be clear about what it does and “what we DO NOT do.”

After going over all that in the course of about 20 minutes, he stopped for questions.

First one: How long has Parks’ mission statement been in place?

He didn’t know, offhand.

Then he started to get a question that might have become a complaint – and he instead insisted that people tell them what they’re doing well and need to do more of, at least in the early going, though that vein of discussion was relatively short-lived. That led to an attendee’s kudo for maintenance of the center, keeping it clean. Next: “Cleaning the beach.”

Next: Green Seattle is working well, said an attendee – trail-building, native-plant installation, etc.

Then: “Good fitness programs for seniors.”

And: “We’re doing well with having the programs we have here, given we’re only open for (limited hours).”

A pitch for more people to join the volunteer Advisory Council followed.

And then, an expression of envy regarding the newer community centers around the city.

With that, Aguirre said Alki is #7 on the priority list for $3.4 million of the forthcoming Park District money earmarked for community-center projects. “We can’t build a brand-new community center but certainly we’ll give (Alki) a lot of love and care. … Even out of those seven, someone’s gotta go first, someone’s gotta go last,” so not everyone is going to be happy.

The Alki Beach boardwalk/promenade needs some TLC after damage caused by king tides, Aguirre was told. “Those are the type of things we need to take into account as we spend this money,” he agreed.

But: “My goal as superintendent is not to come in and immediately restructure because I don’t think that’s what we need,” he said.

He says there will be lots of plans and documents to read, when asked how all the plans would be communicated to community members.

Shifting gears from community centers, “you need to do more to protect natural areas,” Aguirre was told, first reference to the ongoing controversy about potential changes in the Supplemental Use Guidelines for those areas (see the revised proposal here).

Will he have meetings like this again, or just now when he’s starting the job? He promised the former.

Next, a concern: Some community centers, like Alki, are geared up for kids’ activities – how can seniors safely use them too? “We have to be able to balance that,” acknowledged Aguirre.

Schmitz Preserve Park steward Ken Shaw told the story of what he faces, taking care of the park for many years, saying he had picked up the baton from previous stewards as they aged, and now understood what that was like. “We still don’t have anyone taking care of (sites like Schmitz). The last person to get drunk and shatter a bottle threatens everyone else. If no one on Parks staff is (accountable) for finding that and cleaning it up, then it remains until (somebody does).” He says he’s even seen “day care kids, little toddlers” climbing in areas where somebody left a knife behind: “It’s just God’s love that protected those kids because I missed it, 15 years in that one instance. … That’s just a minor detail in a torrent of grievance I can explain to you.”

Aguirre countered, “We’ve got lots of people whose job it is to clean the parks and maintain the parks … we just don’t have enough. We rely heavily on volunteers and probably shouldn’t because we’re putting them” in harm’s way. … We’re never going to have enough people to go to every one of our 6,200 acres and look for the things that people will do.” So, he said, they need to focus on education of young people, so that “as they grow up maybe they’ll think twice about doing it.” Shaw suggested asking city leaders “to encourage every citizen to take a chore that they perceive is not being done fully enough and to become part of the solution … (otherwise) we are all part of the problem.”

Aguirre brightened at that, saying “individual responsibility” could indeed help solve the problem. “It is a challenge, and one that we’re going to keep thinking about.”

On to the list of problems:

*Doors on appliances taken outside need to be disabled or removed
*Fumes from materials being used in treatments in the Alki CC gym – find something that “doesn’t smell as bad as what we have now”
*Better parking


*”We need more nature and more high-quality nature” with the population growing

Next, concerns about trees being cut on public lands – SDOT, Seattle Public Utilities – maybe Seattle Parks should take ownership and help save the canopy, suggested the attendee. Aguirre responded by mentioning a city policy requiring replacement of trees that are cut. That was followed by someone wondering about the conflict between accessibility and sustainability, a resident concerned about the Pelly Place Natural Area. He segued into the Supplemental Guidelines for Natural Areas, saying that the process surrounding it has been anything but transparent, despite Parks’ contention that transparency and inclusiveness are among the department’s goals. The lack of those, especially in this process, has “damaged the relationship” between the city and neighborhoods/communities, he contended.

The topic of expanding volleyball usage on Alki Beach then came up (as it has several times in the WSB Forums). It covers much more of the sandy beach than it used to, contended the attendee. “I have nothing against volleyball, but … there is a limit to how many games you can have. These people, I’m sure, they’re very nice people, but they’re aggressive, they take over the sidewalks, they bring in barbecues, they bring in tents …”

“We’re working on it … it’s something we’re concerned about as well .. they shouldn’t be taking over the beach … there’s a very specific permit they’re given” but they’re going beyond it, Aguirre said.

An attendee then said that he had some context behind the increased interest – beach volleyball is becoming a sport through which youth can get college scholarships. He contended that some of the volleyball is just “people looking for a good time after work” but the organizations are getting blamed for “taking over the beach” because they’re the only identifiable people in charge and their activity is right up against the organized games. He then segued into his concern: Illegal beach fires.

“I know the department has struggled with that,” Aguirre replied, saying it seemed to be a matter of signage among other things. (Here are the rules.)

David Whiting, president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, then brought up the after-hours problem at Hamilton Viewpoint Park in North Admiral. He said the standard response is “call it in to the non-emergency police line,” but things are getting worse, and security is inconsistent. Several others chimed in with word of suspicious activity there, though the previous night’s robbery and gunfire (WSB coverage here) were not mentioned.

When the talk turned back to balancing greenspaces and activity spaces, “it’s going to be a balancing act and we’re going to navigate it as best we can,” Aguirre said.

He then said he had time for one last group question, before hanging around to talk one-on-one, and that turned out to be a request: Be clear about the process by which decisions are made. Aguirre said the intent wasn’t to just throw out decisions fully, or almost fully, formed before the community has had input (such as the 2012 GoApe Lincoln Park case, which remains vividly top-of-mind in the memories of local natural-areas advocates).

And with that, about an hour of group Q & A concluded, and an online survey was briefly mentioned – same one linked in our original announcement of the “listening tour.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Aguirre will visit two more city-run community centers in West Seattle – Delridge CC next Tuesday (August 25th) and High Point CC on October 28th, both at 6:30 pm.

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Election 2015: It’s officially Lisa Herbold vs. Shannon Braddock in November, as final primary vote totals are certified http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/election-2015-its-officially-lisa-herbold-vs-shannon-braddock-in-november-as-final-primary-vote-totals-are-certified/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/election-2015-its-officially-lisa-herbold-vs-shannon-braddock-in-november-as-final-primary-vote-totals-are-certified/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:54:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320289 The last ballots have been counted, and, as of this afternoon, the August primary-election results are official. In the new Seattle City Council District 1, West Seattle and South Park, about 18,000 ballots were tallied, out of more than 60,000 sent, for a 30 percent voter turnout (see all the King County stats here). Here are the final totals for the nine candidates who were on the primary ballot in District 1:

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

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

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

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West Seattle wading pools: Season over for 3, after this week http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-wading-pools-season-over-for-3-after-this-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-wading-pools-season-over-for-3-after-this-week/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 09:36:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320240 It’s been a hot summer in Seattle, and the city-run wading pools have helped countless kids cool off. But their season is short, so we’re reminding you that three of West Seattle’s four wading pools will be closed after this week: The E.C. Hughes wading pool’s finale is Friday (August 21st); for Hiawatha, it’s Saturday (August 22nd); and for Delridge, it’s Sunday (August 23rd). Our area’s only seven-days-a-week wading pool, at Lincoln Park, is open daily until September 7th, which is also the last day of the year for Highland Park Spraypark and for outdoor Colman Pool. (See hours and addresses for all of the above by going here.)

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West Seattle scene: Downed tree at Lincoln Park, post-storm http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-scene-downed-tree-at-lincoln-park-post-storm/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-scene-downed-tree-at-lincoln-park-post-storm/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 20:12:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320200

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

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

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Reader video: New Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre at Hiawatha http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/reader-video-new-parks-superintendent-jesus-aguirre-at-hiawatha/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/reader-video-new-parks-superintendent-jesus-aguirre-at-hiawatha/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:36:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319709

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

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