Morgan meeting report #2: Myrtle skate “decision is made”


Much smaller crowd for the city Parks Department‘s project manager on the Myrtle Reservoir park project, Virginia Hassinger, at the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting at The Kenney last night — but for a few minutes, it was even more contentious than the testiest moments of the last public meeting specifically about the park project (WSB coverage here). Main reason: As Hassinger reiterated, and as we reported here and here, “the decision is made” to set aside an area of the Myrtle park for a future “skate(board) feature.” The most pointed questions for her tonight sought to zero in on who made that decision, when it was made, and why High Point Community Center — listed in the city Skatepark Plan as the other option for a West Seattle skateboard park — was ruled out.

There is a lot more to the Myrtle Reservoir park, of course, than the northeast side where space will be set aside for the future skate feature. The “approved schematic design” finalized by the Parks Department last week is now online, as we mentioned yesterday — here’s a quick look:


Hassinger noted the “light green” area will be what’s called “eco-turf,” a planting mix that doesn’t need (or get) mowing; the department has experimented with several different mixes for this, she says, and the current state-of-the-art version is in place at Greenwood Park. Later in the meeting, she also fielded questions about whether the park will have picnic tables (“furnishings” are yet to be determined, she said), but first, came a relatively long and sometimes-heated discussion about the skate-feature set-aside and when, following the last public meeting, that decision was finalized — and it is final, she stated repeatedly, and in a variety of ways, such as “Parks will allow a skate feature at Myrtle,” and “… Parks wants to put the feature here; that decision has been made.”

Was the decision made by new Parks Department Superintendent Tim Gallagher, one attendee asked? Hassinger said it was more a decision from a team of department managers; “we have a new superintendent, and I wouldn’t put it all on his shoulders.” She also noted that the schematic design had to be reviewed by other city departments such as Seattle Public Utilities, since the reservoir and other facilities already on the land are theirs.

To those who tried to sort out where in the “process” they had missed the final decisionmaking for the “Myrtle or High Point, future skate park” decision landing on Myrtle, she said, “There was no process to evaluate the two sites. The (city) skatepark plan says the site choice is ‘to be determined’. We had this project (the Myrtle park). And at the second (public) meeting (on Myrtle), we had quite a large response from people in favor of it.” (Again, you can read that account, and the online comments that followed, here.)

That point led to some heated back-and-forth last night, as a few attendees suggested the majority of the supporters at that meeting were skatepark advocates from outside West Seattle, and wondered if the department had geographically collated comments as WS and no-WS. (Answer: no; but anecdotally overall, Hassinger said, the sentiment during and after that meeting was 2-to-1 pro-skate feature.)

But she also stressed, it’s not as if the skate feature, “10,000 square feet or less,” is going to magically appear sometime soon: “I don’t have any money for it, I don’t have a budget to hire a designer, I don’t have the direction at this time (to proceed with designing and building it). The design has this area set aside for a ‘future’ skate feature.”

So if that decision has been made, a meeting-goer asked, what’s the May 1st public meeting about? Hassinger replied, with only the slightest hint of exasperation, “If you think beyond the skate spot, we’ve got a whole park here.” But, came another question, if the Parks Department makes all the decisions, then what decisions do we make as a community?

“You get to have input about the park,” she replied. “It’s not a community DECISIONMAKING process, it’s community INPUT.”

But back again to the skateboard feature, isn’t this a decision made out of convenience? wondered MoCA information coordinator Cindi Barker — a decision that might eventually turn out to be penny-wise, pound-foolish? Hassinger suggested she write to the manager in charge of the city Skatepark Plan, Kevin Stoops, and share that sentiment. (His e-mail address is

After more than 45 minutes of discussion, the MoCA meeting attendees seemed to generally make some peace with the concept; president Steve Sindiong noted, “I think the fact that we’re getting two new parks in our neighborhood right now is great.” (Hassinger is also project manager for the Morgan Junction park going in on ex-monorail land next to the new Beveridge Place Pub location; her e-mail address is; you can expect to see her in person at the next meeting for the Myrtle park plan, 7 pm May 1, High Point Community Center.)

24 Replies to "Morgan meeting report #2: Myrtle skate "decision is made""

  • Onward April 17, 2008 (10:19 am)

    I live in Fauntleroy and will bring my kids to the skatepark when it is constructed.

  • rockergirl April 17, 2008 (10:47 am)

    Is the city assuming all those who come to this “neighborhood” park will be able to park on the street or in our neighborhood? Hope they plan to include some parking spaces – at least a few – a handicapped space or 2. Definitely needs benches and picnic tables as well as a bathroom? Interesting comments and meeting I bet.

  • Gatewood Resident April 17, 2008 (11:09 am)

    Hey Onward,
    Just please take your kids across 35th Ave SW to High Point Park when they need to potty as there’s no plan/money for bathrooms. Also, can you plan on distributing ear plugs to all local neighborhood residents for noise created by boarding on concrete? Also, will you step up and volunteer for security patrol as there’s certain to be a draw of crime created by the skateboard park?! Okay, with those comments in place….skateboard whiners…let the whining begin!!!

  • Peter April 17, 2008 (11:51 am)

    Man, who’s whining? Potty? Earplugs? Security patrol? Grips must be got!!!(!!!)

  • Aaron April 17, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    Most of the people in favor of the skatepark were from outside WS? I find that hard to believe (I participated).

    I’m glad that skateboarding is mainstream enough to get support from the city and community to make this spot happen. I’m also glad that it continues to piss the right people off. If everyone liked it, it would be called baseball.

    Looking forward to taking my kids there someday!

  • old timer April 17, 2008 (12:22 pm)

    With the location for the skate feature at the north east corner of the site, it would be at the lowest point on the site and adjacent to 35th. I can not believe that the ‘noise’ of skaters would be any greater than that made by the hundreds of cars, busses, and trucks that daily grind their way to the top of 35th.

    Folks who can’t ‘hold it’ for an hour or two probably shouldn’t be skating, or doing much else that involves leaving the house.

    I’d like to know who thinks that this feature would have the draw of Disneyworld, especially since most people from the rest of the city that we supposedly SHARE would have to come across the dreaded bridge.
    Now, if we only had that West Seattle hotel, there would be a place for all those skaters coming from Oregon and Idaho to stay.

    And, as to security, well what better place to corral all those car prowling, rock throwing, home robbing, miscreants than in a concrete skatepen?

    Not to fear, the dog owners will quickly turn the entire space it into a new “off leash” area, which should do wonders for crowd control as well as supervision of the unnwashed.

  • JT April 17, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    Old timer and Aaron, Exactly! It sounds like there are 2 or 3 people that need to move to Florida. The same tired remarks about this being a plot from outsiders. I live on 35th. I’m middle aged, cranky, and the kids are long gone from the house. I still think this is an excellent idea and can’t wait to watch the fun.

  • KC April 17, 2008 (1:09 pm)

    I’ve been to the skate park in Burien (by the community center I think) a couple times. It fits in nicely with the rest of the park, there were maybe four to six skaters at any one time, I found it interesting to watch, my young kids loved watching as well, there was no noise issue whatsoever.

  • dksmith April 17, 2008 (1:14 pm)

    Old Timer — “Folks who can’t ‘hold it’ for an hour or two probably shouldn’t be skating, or doing much else that involves leaving the house.” High comedy, love it. Thanks for the laugh + reality check.

  • Ken April 17, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    I will welcome the skatepark and would have accepted it in either location.
    The whining neighbors don’t care that those same skateboarders would be practicing their pastime in the streets otherwise.

    And the noise complaint? Reminds me of all the fake horror stories of the terrible sound of the proposed monorail. I worked and lived under the 1960 monorail and I could only hear it over the traffic noise late at night when I stood directly under it.

    I will bet some of you miss the time before either bridge was built to the “mainland” too.

  • Billy April 17, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    Gatewood Resident – Thanks for the declaration of when the whining can begin. Unfortunately, you had already jump started it.

    Everyone appears to be too focused on the ‘effects’ of what a skate element will do on this park. From the renderings, it looks like it will be a relatively small part of the overall park. It’s not like the park is going to be overrun by skateboarders.

    All the issues you pointed out – restrooms, parking, noise, crime element – do not make a lot of sense being pigeonholed as stemming from just skateboarding. Those would still all be issues with or without a skateboard element at this public park.

    Unless you have some plans to put a barbed wire fence around this public park and have a doorman checking IDs to confirm that people live within a certain radius of the park, anyone could and should be able to go there. This means that people will drive to this park, people will occasionally have the urge to use the restroom while at this park, and god forbid, they may even make some noise (let’s keep blind to the fact, as someone’s already mentioned, that the skateboard element is right next to the very, very quiet and bucolic 35th Ave. SW).

    The crime? Please give me some data that directly ties an increase in crime to skateboarding. I think by the nature of public parks being, well, public, that crime elements are an inherent risk at any public park.

  • Ken April 17, 2008 (1:31 pm)

    Also for those interested in “the facilities” there are fine taxpayer funded public restrooms in the highpoint community center aproximately 150 yards away from the proposed skate spot.

  • JW April 17, 2008 (2:46 pm)

    I nominate old timer as the king of this comments thread!

  • JW April 17, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    Or queen…uh..monarch!

  • rockergirl April 17, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    Yeah nice facilities they have over there at High Point – the Community Center is a better choice if it’s open! But either way it’s a good 2 blocks away across a very busy 35th and little kids who will be definitely using the playground/park may not be able to “hold it” – just an observation – not whining – a skate park “feature” (however it turns out) will be a good feature along 35th – as noted won’t hear the noise above the traffic – glad it won’t be across the street from my house though and that’s why I don’t live on 35th either.
    Looking forward to having the project done in the next few years………

  • chas redmond April 17, 2008 (6:03 pm)

    I do love a good neighborhood scuffle – public comments, not skateboarders colliding. Skating is incredible – on a board or on shoe-wheels or the back wheel of the new kid sneakers. It’s a phenomenon which sprang up while most of us were paying attention to other things – but, hey, Tony Hawk made this a “hero” sport and why shouldn’t our kids and adult colleagues get to play. When you get right down to it, would skateboarders be any noisier than a bunch of 12-year-olds trying to swing high on parallel swing sets and jumping off simultaneously? No, it’s about equity and fair play and getting everyone off the streets and into a park. I’d love to see the skate feature implemented right there at Myrtle, right there on 35th, right there where I could go and watch and shoot photos and strike up conversations and provide encouraging “hoots” if there’s a clever or skillful skateboarder. I’d also offer sympathy and encouragement for all those whose tricks didn’t pan out. Great photography, though. Great entertainment, too. If I skateboarded, I’d probably say “great sport,” too.

  • KR April 17, 2008 (8:22 pm)

    Can’t we all just get along? We all have different interests, different passions and there needs to be a place for it all. Skateboarding is a healthy sport that attracts all kinds of people. Just like skiing, mountain biking, cycling and snowboarding, which all attract a diverse audience.

    The bottom line is that we need to support our children in getting outside and getting exercise. Obesity and mental health problems in children are on a steady increase and are reaching crisis levels. Kids spend too much time indoors playing video games, watching tv and surfing the net. Let’s celebrate this new park as a place for children, teens, families and all community members to get outside, play, skate, run, jump, hop and stroll. We are a strong community that will help make this park a safe and welcoming place.

  • Russell April 17, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    Sorry to be nerdy here, but does anyone think that attracting skateboarders to the park is going to result in people smoking in the park? I don’t mind the noise but, I wouldn’t bring my children to the park if there were a lot of people smoking. Is smoking in a public park even legal?

  • Denny April 17, 2008 (10:08 pm)

    This city takes ten years to decide on downtown toilets & put them in, only to remove them a few years later.
    I’m not celebrating the skatepark placement until I get a raspberry from falling down on the ramp.

  • baba nulu April 17, 2008 (10:21 pm)

    SMC 18.12.145 Urinating or defecating prohibited except in

    Urinating or defecating in any park, except in facilities specifically provided for the purpose, in violation of Section 12A.10.100*LINK* shall be subject to punishment as provided in Section 12A.02.080*LINK*.
    I could find nothing prohibiting smoking in Seattle Municipal Code’s Park section. Not a tobacco smoker myself, but Russell’s kids are likely exposed to more second hand smoke walking from 35th to the park (I know it is just the 10′ sidewalk width).
    Is the nerdy guy real?

  • Westy April 17, 2008 (11:29 pm)

    SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME!!! Not every kid wants to play soccer! Skating takes an amazing amount of stamina and practice. Let’s try to be open minded and relax!!!

  • baba nulu April 18, 2008 (10:03 am)

    PARKING? Just drive down 35th, it has plenty of available parking, not to mention 36th or the east west cross streets. Some residents may not be able to continue storage of their illegally parked RVs, boats, trailers and multiple vehicles on city streets (as they should).

    NOISE? Just stop and listen on 35th. How can anyone suggest that skate trucks make more noise than vehicles? Could anyone living hundreds of feet away possibly hear the skaters above the I-35 din?

    POTTY? Me-Kwa-Mooks Park on Beach Drive has had a “honeybucket” for 10 years. At 38th and Myrtle, just two blocks away in the new Orchard Street Ravine Park, Parks Dept. also has had a “honeybucket” for the last two years. A simple portable toilet would do the job cheaply, saving those overactive skaters from having to cross 35th or go down to Orchard Street Ravine via the new stairs being installed from 38th by Parks.
    CRIME? It should be a crime for NIMBY inflation and propagation of proofless fears.
    Selfish, insecure and xenophobic best describe these NIMBY naysayers.

  • Oliver April 18, 2008 (5:47 pm)

    Hooray! The city got it right! We live close to the reservoir and have a young son. I’m glad there will be a place for him to hang out close to home when he’s a teen. Teens are going to seek out a place to do what they enjoy. A local park is a far better than the thought of teenagers hanging out at the current skate boarding area under the viaduct just north of Spokane St.

  • pabloa3 April 18, 2008 (6:44 pm)

    I live near the park and I’m very excited by it. I was never worried about the skate park or smoking or noise…my first thought was about parking. Yeah, I get cranky when strangers take up all the street parking…I guess it’s just something I get irritated by and will need to live with.

    Anyway – glad we will have an awesome park nearby. My boys (once they are older) will probably make use of the skate park.

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