Myrtle Reservoir park process: Skateboard-feature update

With the next public meeting set for the Morgan Junction park design, seems like a good time to update the Myrtle Reservoir park project, since it’s on a similar timeline. Virginia Hassinger from Seattle Parks tells WSB the next public meeting for Myrtle is not set yet because “we have several site specific details we are still discussing with Seattle Public Utilities.” However, according to two other Parks officials, Colleen Browne and Kevin Stoops, when the final proposed Myrtle design is presented, it will include some sort of skateboard feature. That’s what so much discussion has centered around in previous public meetings (WSB coverage of last month’s meeting is here). The schematic option below, from the 1/23/08 meeting, shows the area of the park proposed for the potential skatepark feature):


The City Skatepark Plan had earmarked either Myrtle or High Point for a skateboard feature, and Browne says it makes sense to proceed with proposing it at Myrtle because that’s the “bird in hand” — a project under development now, while in comparison, there is no new park development of any type currently on the drawing board at the High Point site. Another question had been where the money for a Myrtle skateboard feature would come from (also discussed at last month’s meeting), since the Skatepark Plan did not come with funding of its own; Stoops tells WSB it would come out of the Myrtle park’s budget. “It’s a million dollars,” he noted, referring to the budget, saying this would be just another feature to be budgeted in, “like landscaping (etc.).” Hassinger says comments on all aspects of the project continue to be welcome; her contact info is on the official project webpage.

10 Replies to "Myrtle Reservoir park process: Skateboard-feature update"

  • observer February 22, 2008 (1:51 pm)

    At the last meeting, as I recall, the skatespot was to be merely a ‘reserved’ space in the new park. There was no funding to actually build it. Brief discussion seemed to lead to the idea of a community effort at a time in the future to raise funds for the eventual actual building of the thing.

    Now, it’s in the budget to be built?

    Things have progressed, I wonder if all the stakeholders are aware of this development.

  • WSB February 22, 2008 (2:14 pm)

    Observer, to be clear – No decision’s final yet and the next public meeting’s not even set yet, but the new developments, as I reported above, are that the parks managers say the skate feature WILL be in what’s presented, and that they say the money would come from the project budget. As for the stakeholders knowing – one of the stakeholders, a community activist, gave us the tip that led to our followup calls/e-mails and the report we published above.

  • Sage February 22, 2008 (4:55 pm)

    I attended the last meeting but I remember a lot of specific talk from the Planner about the fact that a skatepark was quite expensive ($600,000 or so, I think) and there just wasn’t room in the budget to add that in, so funding would have to come from elsewhere. Am I misremembering this? I also remember a lot of talk from the city folks about how thin the budget was for the park in general. Some skateboarders even wanted to raise money, it was so clear there was no money in budget for this. I support the idea of a skatepark at Myrtle, but I’m confused about how there’s suddenly extra $ in the budget, and concerned about starving the rest of the budget for the park as a whole. What’s going on?

  • Sage February 22, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    Forgive the second comment: from the city website page about the park itself:

    “Currently there is no funding to design and construct a district level skate facility.”

    Again, I think there should be a skatepark here, but I also want a park that works for everyone. What’s going on with the budget situation?

  • chas redmond February 22, 2008 (6:12 pm)

    I believe there are what might be called “opportunity” funds within the Levy program and within the current Director’s budget for Parks & Rec. These are often used to supplant existing funds where the addition would provide what amounts to a magnitude leap in the usefulness or completeness of the park. This part, so far is true.

    What’s also true is that this skate facility is the only one so designated by the skatepark master plan which is presently undergoing Parks & Rec development. The next opportunity for such a co-alignment is in two or three years with another lidding project at – I believe – Beacon (Jefferson). So, if the city wants to complete a new park facility with as broad an appeal and use as possible, there is this additional leverage point in the “opportunity” fund. But, the community must indicate that this is clearly a broad-based and majority desire. That was the case with the Orchard Ravine through-trail and I believe it is true for the Myrtle Reservoir all-ages park (which would include a skate facility). But, we’ll see at the next community meeting just how broadly the support for this is. I support this strongly and will be showing up at the next meeting.

  • Banks February 24, 2008 (9:52 pm)

    We can thank the Olmsted legacy for having the foresight to plan for a few large green spaces in Seattle for the enjoyment of current and future generations. We have an opportunity to preserve a small but important parcel of green located within the West Seattle “Green Crescent Plan” and “The Emerald City”. During planning meetings neighbors expressed a desire for the Myrtle Reservoir Park to include a water conservation theme that ties with the water reservoir and to use the prized view from the highest point in all of Seattle for a vision of human dependence on an entire ecosystem, care for the earth, and care for a healthy planet.
    Mixed use of concrete (skate park) and green for this very small parcel would eliminate any conservation message that the community desires. The ideas for a family oriented “water” theme included teaching about our co-dependence on our environment, planting of water tolerant native plants, using interpretive signs for the plants and information about water conservation, planting low growing trees to buffer the 35th Street traffic noise and to provide bird habitat, and capturing rainwater for irrigation.
    The Myrtle Reservoir block is also a natural pedestrian link from the Longfellow Creek trails through High Point, Orchard Ravine Natural area, Solstice Park, and Lincoln Park. If you Google Earth you will see that the Myrtle Reservoir is a precious small connector of green between these few remaining green spaces in an otherwise densely built and paved W. Seattle .
    Another proposed site for a skate park at the High Point Community Center is just a block away and is much better suited with supervision by trained staff, first aid, parking, restrooms, on a less traveled street, and is already a community gathering location for neighborhood kids.
    Last fall a bicyclist was killed by a car on 35th & Graham just a few blocks away from the reservoir. 35th is one of the most heavily used major arterials in W. Seattle. There is a well known blind spot by the reservoir as traffic on 35th approaches Myrtle Street headed north – not a smart location to site a sports facility that is expected to attract kids from across the city.

  • High Point resident February 25, 2008 (10:32 am)

    I support skateparks and am not opposed to a skatepark at the Myrtle reservoir park. However, common sense seems to point to the High Point Community Center area as a better choice, especially with safety concerns for the kids. Skateboarding is a higher injury sport. It would be wise to be located next to the community center with trained staff for first aid and immediate access to 911 calling. This site also has restrooms, safer streets and already is a community gathering for kids. 35th ave is a very busy street and the skatepark is situation in the corner with no safe street crosswalks.

  • MLJ February 26, 2008 (10:38 am)

    I’m sorry that some people have a hard time with compromise, and see the skatepark as a zero sum in the conservation/green equation. Skateparks can actually be quite “green” and the best skateparks integrate green space and plantings.

    The only suggestion I can possibly offer as an alternate way of looking at this is that the skatepark might actually bring more kids and families into the park and expose more people to the environmental message you’re trying to get across.

    It’s also worth pointing out that positioning the skatepark and it’s supporters as anti-green simply because it involves concrete does not make much sense. If you want to reduce paved surfaces I think it would make much more sense to look at paved surfaces that get no use instead of focusing on a relatively small, artful, and highly utilized example.

    The High Point argument has been beaten to death in the last thread on this website. To the traffic point I would say that no matter where you put the skatepark you are going to have kids crossing the street to get there.

    A for funding there are several sources being discussed for the next few skatepark projects. The inclusion of the skatepark at Myrtle would likely bring extra money to the project and possibly some of that could be applied to amenities. A water fountain comes to mind as something that could be included in the skatepark budget.

  • bri February 26, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    Wow, this is amazing. Yes, Sage, you are correct: They specifically told us that there was not only no money for the skatepark, but no money for even doing the design process.

    This stinks to high heaven when it comes to public process. Apparently Virginia Hassinger, Colleen Browne and Kevin Stoops were all playing a little game at the expense of the people who actually live in the neighborhood.

    It was interesting that most of the skatepark supporters weren’t from our neighborhood, and how aggressively they went after the people who live right next to the reservoir. Parks send to be bending over backwards for them, while being vague about the budgetary situation.

    Now it seems clear that Parks doesn’t want a water feature because they want to suck any extra money into the skate park.
    The supporters first claim that people who oppose it at Myrtle should allow it because there’s no money to build anything the same size at High Point. Then they claim that they can find lots of money from other sources to build it, and even add a fountain (cute touch, that!).
    So basically, the skatepark supporters are playing some kind of game to railroad this through. they don’t care where it’s built, as long as it’s built, and don’t want to hear the neighbors concerns about how it’s going to affect those of us who actually live right by it.
    The skate park supporters have dismissed all the neighbors’ concerns: not much of an attitude of compromise in that, is there?
    I was ready to support this inclusion, but now I’m not so sure. Just watching how Parks has manipulated this process so dishonestly makes me inclined to oppose it.
    I’m sick of seeing people from outside the neighborhood gaming this process.

  • John Nuler February 27, 2008 (10:02 am)

    I too, am ready to support the skate park. We have lived on 36th within a block of the water towers for a decade. When we first moved, we were the “young couple” and there were no children on the block. Our block now has more than a dozen kids, including ours, all who support a skate park. I don’t know if our block qualifies us as “neighbors”. I also do not know what viable concerns have been dismissed by the skate supporters. I am interested in learning more about the skate opposition neighbors. Why is there such strong opposition?

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