Morgan Junction park: Popular design, but it’s over budget

March 12, 2008 8:21 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks


Happy crowd at tonight’s third and final public meeting about the Morgan Junction park (to be officially named later) that’s going in north of the new Beveridge Place Pub — the final design schematic, shown above, drew praise for being responsive to concerns voiced at previous meetings (including this one we covered in January, at which three design options were shown). Just one catch, revealed to the crowd of about 35 toward the end of tonight’s meeting — Parks Department project manager Virginia Hassinger — building this version of the park could cost up to $60,000 over the $367,000 budgeted for it now. ADDED 9:10 PM: what could be done to get that money — and more on what exactly the park plan involves:

First, what’s in the park plan. If you need a refresher, the park is going onto this site, formerly home to Fauntleroy Auto Works, once intended for a monorail station:


The site is about a third of an acre. A third of that, in turn, will be lawn space at the center of the park; a “large specimen tree” will anchor its northeast corner, at California/Eddy. It’s intended as a “neighborhood gathering place,” rather than any sort of active recreation site, so its features will focus on seating, with boulder-type seating to the north, benches to the west/south, and some chairs in the southeast. Participants at the last meeting were interested in a variety of surfaces, not just having a park that was entirely paved or entirely grass, so on the south/west side of the central lawn you’ll find a “compacted, crushed stone” surface, while on the east/southeast side, a concrete ramp will lead gently down the slight slope to the park’s center. The design borrows elements from the designs that were the biggest hit with the January crowd. It also features buffering elements, such as a low wall on the north — in a formation that could be amended if future development to the north (Short Stop site) required changes, architects said — and greenery to the west and south; provisions have made to soften the transition between the park and the small parking area for the new pub, which also will have a patio on the park-facing side.

Hough Beck & Baird is the landscape-architecture firm that worked on the design; its senior associate Dean Koonts. He handled most of tonight’s presentation. He noted crowd concerns such as graffiti fears for the 3-foot wall elements; he talked about the possible use of “sacrificial” coatings to deter graffiti.

Then audience members started suggesting touches such as leaf imprints in the concrete, and that’s when Koonts said, “Right now, we don’t have much in the budget to do creative stuff,” and Hassinger leaped in to explain, “This project budget is very tight.”

That’s when she elaborated that, as project manager, she feels very strongly about this design, though building it could cost up to $60,000 (rough estimate, she cautioned) more than the $367,000 budgeted. She vowed to do what she could to find whatever extra money might be available to add to the budget; since this is a Pro Parks Levy project, she talked about the leftover money in what’s known as the Pro Parks Orphan fund, which the neighborhood could request a share of.

In the short run, she advised e-mail and postal-mail letters to new Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher to voice support for this particular design; he’s at or Seattle Parks Department, 100 Dexter Avenue North, Seattle 98109.

Next steps, in the meantime — design work should be complete by early summer, according to Hassinger, and construction should start by fall. She promised to work to organize a “construction open house” at the site once the major work is about to begin. She also promised updates on the official project page on the city website; find it here.

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