We mentioned it briefly last night, and promised more details: After weeks of declaring the decision was made and space for a “skate feature” would definitely be reserved in the new Myrtle Reservoir park, city Parks Department managers announced an abrupt about-face last night. That left opponents happy, skatepark supporters fuming, and other issues with the park plan bubbling to the forefront:
The status of the proposal has been on a wild ride the past couple months.
Backstory – the city Skatepark Plan, issued last year, said West Seattle eventually would get a skatepark at either the Myrtle site or High Point. There’s no development on the drawing board for High Point, so Myrtle suddenly came into focus.
At a public meeting in January, the controversy raged (and it continued in the comments following that linked report — 91). Then in February, parks managers declared there WOULD be a skate feature (WSB coverage here). Then they appeared to back off of that at a Design Commission meeting in March — with a later clarification, no, they meant to say the skatepark IS in — and then project manager Virginia Hassinger appeared before the Morgan Community Association two weeks ago, reiterating “the decision has been made.”
MoCA wanted to know who made that decision and when, and sent the Parks Department a letter you can read on the MoCA home page.
When Hassinger and skatepark plan manager Kevin Stoops announced at last night’s meeting that the skatepark is now OUT of the plan, they said only that the decision had been made “recently.” We pressed them for a better timeframe after the meeting, and Stoops finally said the decision came just hours before the meeting.
He also said the Parks Department will revisit the skatepark-siting issue in the next “planning cycle” and will try to find someplace in the “south end” for a major facility.
After the meeting, West Seattle mom Sunshine Toledo, mother of a skateboarder, was livid:
West Seattle resident and skatepark advocate Matt Johnston (who runs seattleskateparks.org) wasn’t happy either:
Now, to the rest of the meeting:
First, an update on the site; the leveling of the ground over the capped reservoir top is almost done; topsoil and grass, 2 feet deep, will follow. The grassy area will be for general use; some attendees asked why that space couldn’t be used for restrooms. Hassinger reiterated what had been said at previous meetings – the park wasn’t big enough for them, but portapotties might be possible.
Traffic and parking came up, as they did at previous meetings. The city contends there’s plenty of street space for parking and that this park will not be drawing many people from outside the neighborhood.
Regarding traffic — there were questions about whether there would be a crosswalk or light at 35th/Willow; Hassinger said that would be a question for SDOT. Attendees noted that some people barrel down the street not-so-fondly known as “I-35” at speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour, and might have more pedestrians to dodge — or vice versa — because the reservoir site is becoming a park.
Construction is expected to start this fall. Formal comment periods are over but if you have a question or concern, you can reach project manager Virginia Hassinger here:
Postal mail: 800 Maynard Ave. S., 3rd Floor; Seattle, WA 98134