Admiral “playscape” supporters, opponents rally yards apart


Supporters of the proposal to add a “natural playscape” to the California Place mini-park in Admiral (map) invited neighbors to an ice-cream social at the site today, funded by the smallest of two grants they’ve received from the city. At the other end of the mini-park – just yards away, a group with a different invitation:


Nearby residents who want California Place to remain unchanged waved their sign at passing drivers, and invited their supporters to sign a petition. They’ve also attended the twice-monthly meetings that the pro-playscape group has been holding (here’s our coverage from a meeting last month). Despite the proximity, the two sides avoided direct conflict today, and opponents told us they were staying low-key so as not to spoil the afternoon for the youngest partygoers, some of whom played nearby, where California Place adjoins Admiral UCC Church:


Here’s where the California Place proposal stands: As we first reported last month, the city Neighborhood Matching Fund just awarded the pro-playscape group, FANNA (Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral), $15,000 to hire an architect to come up with designs; they are continuing to schedule meetings (open to the community) twice monthly – join the FANNA Yahoo! group to find out more.

44 Replies to "Admiral "playscape" supporters, opponents rally yards apart"

  • nimby nulu September 14, 2008 (9:58 am)

    West Seattle NIMBY Talking Points;
    This will lower property values.
    This will bring in noise.
    This will bring in crime.
    This will bring in parking problems.
    This will bring in strangers.
    This will bring in trash.
    This will harm the trees.
    This will harm the environment.
    There is no toilet.
    There is a toilet.
    Children will not be safe from; 1)sex offenders, 2) fire fighters, 3) irrational fears harbored by those not parenting.

    PS If we all are selfish speculators, as our $400,000 bungalows become $1,000,000 North Admiral estates, as our children grow up and leave, as our community attitudes narrow, we have no children now and prefer the peace and quiet of the North Admiral seniors. Let’s band together and protect our civic paradise, keeping it free from our neighbor’s grandchildren and those pesky new breeders.

  • C.A. September 14, 2008 (3:55 pm)

    I attended yesterday’s ice cream social, and stopped to hear what those opposing the changes had to say on the matter. Really, while I can appreciate someone being passionate about a cause, the encounter only pushed me even further toward supporting FANNA’s efforts. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this space evolve.

  • Diane September 14, 2008 (6:26 pm)

    Major Kudos to Ann, Manuela, Matthew, all volunteers for your hard work towards creating this beautiful space for everyone in the community to enjoy, and for putting on fantastic neighborhood event; what a great demonstration of what this community effort is all about
    I loved all your signs!!!
    this natural playscape is going to be fantastic

  • Diane September 14, 2008 (6:44 pm)

    also, LOVE the West Seattle NIMBY Talking Points & PS

  • FANNA September 14, 2008 (9:35 pm)

    Thank YOU friends and neighbors for attending! Special thanks to people that volunteered to make this event a success! Good job everyone!

  • iLiveNextDoorTo2daycares=TOONOISY September 14, 2008 (9:59 pm)

    i was there too, the kids were told not to play in the park as the the adults were talking about important things. so the kids ran down the the other direction thru the church plants and into the area below the slope- as you can see in the photo you have on the blog.

    And the Manuela’s daycare folks pounded wooden stakes into the park grass to put up their giant banners, pounded pushpins INTO the TREES- those signs were the keep the park natural, keep the trees. they had no idea they were impacting the park by their carelessness.

    all the kids there were coming over to the SAVE the PARK table to take handfuls of candy all afternoon. by the time the Manuela group left, 5:30pm, the unsupervised children were zipping all over the park, and more than a few times ran into the street.

  • I like people September 15, 2008 (7:35 am)

    In response to the last post (children running into the street): The more reason to support this group’s effort to make this green space SAFE for everyone.

  • nimby nulu September 15, 2008 (7:56 am)

    NIMBY concerns verified with talking points.
    HARM to the trees. Proof – push pins into trees. And worse yet, stakes into the grass. Call the city arborist. Call Plant Amnesty. Save the Trees. Save the lawn! Keep the kids and unsupervising adults from “impacting” our parks.
    SAFETY- those kids will run into the street.
    PROPERTY Values- those kids running through the church plants.
    NOISE- signed TOONOISY

  • respect to homeowners September 15, 2008 (8:32 am)

    I was there too. I did not see any children run into the street. The Park space seemed to function well for the event. This is how the space should be used (outside of the stakes driven into the ground and the pins in the trees.Shame!) It just shows how useable the park is and why it does not need changing. There was a parking problem and the fire truck was delayed trying to get around the cars.

  • big gulps,eh? well, see ya later. September 15, 2008 (9:03 am)

    Didn’t the park work well at a place for children to play and folks to gather and talk? I guess a few logs, bushes and such might make it a little more interesting to walk through. Whatever. People on both sides sure are getting fired up. funny. bigger fish to fry…

  • C.A. September 15, 2008 (12:21 pm)

    “the kids were told not to play in the park as the the adults were talking about important things”

    Interesting. I was there from 3 to at least 5pm, but must have missed that conversation. The kids did eventually migrate elsewhere (after enjoying the tasty treats provided by Husky Deli and other volunteers – thanks, guys!) and played by the hillside/church, because it was a gorgeous day and that’s just where they congregated. Heck, at 30, I still enjoy a good roll down a grassy hill now and then! I also never saw a child run into the street, though a few did get close to the sidewalk and were quickly scooped up or redirected by parents… Just as they would be anywhere else.

    And of course setting out heaps of candy at a neighborhood ice cream social will draw the kids (young and old, alike) to your table, and those manning it didn’t seem to mind. So hey, thanks for sharing! Alas, no amount of Almond Joys or peanutbutter cups will get me to sign your petition.

  • WAR September 15, 2008 (12:51 pm)

    Iwas at the California Place Park om Saturday.

    The contingent for keeping the space as is were

    gathered at one end of the Park gathering

    signatures and talking with with people passing

    by about their position and not interferring with

    ice cream social. After about 30 minutes several

    FANNA suporters came over to this space and

    became confrontational with them. FANNA claims

    they are “building community” but in fact they are

    dividing the neighborhood by thier actions.

    There were FANNA(friends of north Admiral)??

    proponents from as far away as Wallingford

    confronting Admiral neighbors trying to save their

    local Park.

  • dwar September 15, 2008 (1:31 pm)

    Other problems exist with this proposal.Such as:

    Play equipment will attract more vandals and

    taggers, more homeless will have a place to

    sleep undetected, there are no restrooms (if

    they are provided they will take up most of the

    usable space in this small Park, vehicle rraffic

    on California is unsafe for small children playing

    nearby, unsupervised children cannot be

    constrained in this small area, pecious passive

    that cannot be replaced will be removed, and much

    much more.

  • homesweethome September 15, 2008 (8:10 pm)

    I thought West Seattle and Admiral were family friendly – did I miss something?

  • respect to homeowners September 16, 2008 (6:15 am)

    What you missed is a special interest group FANNA spearheaded by a pre-school owner. The group was not forthcoming with the immediate neighbors. The planning went on for several months before having a public meeting. The public meetings were not well advertised therefore not well attended. Family friendly? Yes. Railroaded by special interest without a choice? NO

  • WSB September 16, 2008 (7:44 am)

    Point of clarification, since our news organization has been covering this proposal for more than 3 months now:
    The playground was first publicly discussed at the Admiral Neighborhood Association in June. Here is the story we wrote:
    These meetings are held monthly and open to all, like other neighborhood association/council meetings around West Seattle.
    We publicize them ahead of time here on WSB (for all neighborhoods) and we cover them, as well as more than half a dozen other major neighborhood meetings monthly around West Seattle. Here is the story we wrote previewing the fact a playground proposal would be discussed at that meeting:
    Can’t speak for any other local media organization’s coverage choices but we always exhort people to be sure they attend their neighborhood associations’ meetings (see our right sidebar for a list of the known groups all around West Seattle) because that’s exactly where proposals like these first surface.
    Then in July, we also published word of the first public meeting two weeks before it was held. Organizers provided that same notice to the local weekly newspaper; I have no idea how they handled it but ours was a front-page story here on WSB. Here’s our report
    Plus it was continuously in our events calendar from thereon out.

    I am noting this NOT so much as a commentary on this particular situation — I don’t know whether anyone in the group of opponents here is a regular Admiral Neighborhood Association attendee — but to say TO EVERYONE that there IS information about what is going on in neighborhoods all around West Seattle, and WHEREVER IN WEST SEATTLE YOU LIVE, the best place to plug in is your local neighborhood association/council. They are all volunteers who work their butts off to address issues in local neighborhoods. And yet the only time we ever see more than a few people at those meetings, despite all sorts of advance publicity, is after word of some controversy gets around. Don’t wait till then to get involved. Keep up to date with neighborhood news and attend your neighborhood association/council meeting. It’ll take you maybe an hour and a half a month, and if something is brewing that is not to your liking, you will be among the first to know. — TR

  • Maureen Murphy September 16, 2008 (8:20 am)

    How in God’s name is a natural play area going to lower property values? Yes, it will bring in some noise. The happy voices of little children. Have we lost touch with the importance of valuing our youth. They are our future. They have only us to rely on to mirror values for them and to care for them. They are the innocents in this. It appears to me that the people who are trying to create this natural play area have the best of intentions – to provide children with a safe, natural area to play. Why is that such a bad thing? Those that are opposing it appear to have personal interests only in mind. For heaven’s sake, put aside your self-serving, self-absorbed, self-righteous beliefs and for once do the right thing. Support the future. So what if this will benefit a woman who runs a day care. All the better. More children will benefit. In the process it will also benefit many other children as well. The way you are carrying on you’d think they were asking to put up a slum.

  • homesweethome September 16, 2008 (12:39 pm)

    I don’t think I’ve missed anything in this debate “respect to homeowners.” I’ve read each article the WSB has posted, each comment, and attended meetings. Its clear to me the opposition just doesn’t like kids in their neighborhood, and will use any ruse to support their mission including save the trees, increased crime, noise and concerns of homeless folks sleeping there amongst other far more inflammatory, hurtful statements.

    Its irrelevant that this play area will benefit a preschool owner – guess what? The parents of those students (and the attendees at other day cares in the area) are all residents of the neighborhood as well.

    I agree completely with poster Maureen Murphy – we need to provide children many safe play areas – they are future residents of the city, taxpayers, community leaders. They should be incorporated in the process of caring for their neighborhood.

    Its not like Admiral is facing what some other neighborhoods in West Seattle are facing – the prospect of a jail. We should all be thankful.

  • Pamela September 16, 2008 (7:49 pm)

    I am not familar with any play structures in the North Admiral area for families to use. We are not located in the suburbs where land is plentiful. Come on people have some compassion for children and families. There are several scenery only parks in North Admiral in fact all of them are. So can you give up one for children? I do believe you were once a child too. Or you might have even had children once…and I am sure you loved having a play structure nearby to play on and or have your kids play on. Why be so selfish now? What park in North Admiral is acceptable to you? I mean there is nothing in the park but a bus stop. No bench nothing. This is the most logical one to “give up” for a “single” purpose for a “special interest group”. I mean we wouldn’t want to take away any of your views, rolling green grass perfectly groomed, or pretty flowers that are in the other parks in Admiral. Or are you telling this special interest group that children do not matter? That all the parks in our neighborhood should just be for adults only. Another special interest group who clearly does not like children or want children playing near their homes. So where can they play? That will be safe and out of your way? if you have not noticed recently that your neighborhood is changing. It is covered with families and you cannot avoid us. We live less than a block from the park and have wanted something nearby for years that is safe for our children when we did not even have any children. Now that we have a baby we support it even more. Come with solutions and alternatives. No change to the park does not solve the problem or need that the admiral neighborhood for a play structure. Pick another park. Recommend something! Maybe the big empty field at Hamilton Park? Or is that not acceptable either? How can you just say No and feel good about that. Give ideas…we are talking about children.

    Comment by Pamela — September 16, 08 11:23 am # There are more than one blog on this topic….

  • WS Neighbor September 16, 2008 (8:18 pm)

    To any opposer of the play structure: Go visit a neighborhood play structure on a Saturday morning, or a nice evening, and you’ll see the benefits. You will see and feel the fun and happiness of kids and parents alike. The well-knitted, safe and clean neighborhoods of Seattle have central play areas for fun and socializing… for kids and parents… a virtue that the only the best neigbhrhoods possess. The pros outweigh the cons 20:1. There actualy *are* kidless communities out there…. check it out…

  • N.A. Neighbor September 17, 2008 (7:35 am)

    I live near this area and walk/drive by it several times a day and there’s NEVER anyone there. In fact, I didn’t even know it was a park – I thought it was owned by the church. It’s sort of funny that all these NIMBY folks all of a sudden care so passionately about a park that they never use. I’ve never seen anyone enjoy that grass except kids and dogs.

    We often go for walks as a family in the evenings and our venture usually winds us up at Hamilton – which is quite a nice park, but there’s nothing there to play on and the crowd there can be a little rough. It’d be nice to have another option in our neighborhood. Besides, natural plantings are better for the environment than grass. My hunch is that most who used the park would walk to it -not drive, so this parking concern seems blown out of proportion to me. And if people walk there, they can walk home if they need to use the bathroom. Thumb tacks in trees. Stakes in the grass! AH! The squirrels displaced! It’s a crisis!

  • JG September 17, 2008 (11:05 am)

    Before signing up to support FANNA, I walked over to the people who are in opposition to listen to their issues, thinking maybe I’ve missed something?

    I spoke with Jan – the woman who is the most vocal opponent – who gave these reasons for opposing it:

    1) The space is just fine as is, people use it, it’s ‘a safe place for children with backpacks to wait for the bus’ – but not a safe place for children to play.

    2) She and her friends like to sit out there in the grass and enjoy the sunshine, but she’s extremely concerned that one person with a preschool in the neighborhood will benefit.

    3) ‘It looks beautiful when it snows – snow looks much more beautiful on a flat piece of ground than it would over anything else that was there.’

    After listening to her respectfully, I told her that those concerns didn’t rise to the level of importance that would make me oppose it. I wished her well and left. I hope that wasn’t considered confrontational (as mentioned in an earlier post).

    I look forward to seeing what the proposed plans entail – with safety concerns addressed.

    I agree with those in favor of this project – it only adds interest to the neighborhood, can only raise property values, and most important, it provides a space that draws people to it and fosters a sense of community.

    Hopefully those currently opposed – who apparently live directly adjacent to this space – it’s in effect their front yard (so is it NIMFY?) – will eventually become enchanted by it.

    We need more community spaces that are thoughtful and interesting so we have other places to go to meet up and visit besides Starbucks or the mall, with our children, with our parents, with our friends.

    Looking forward to more exchange of ideas,


  • C.A. September 17, 2008 (11:59 am)

    Very well said, JG. I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Set Hook September 18, 2008 (3:50 pm)

    Everyone enjoys the dynamics of this park as it is. Especially during these days of financial turmoil I feel it is important to be efficient and if it isn’t broke don’t fix it…especially with nature…she’s doing just fine with this little piece of land that welcomes everyone from kids to dog owners to frisbee tossers. It should not be confined to any specific group while eliminating others…we need this park to stay open to multiple uses as the neighborhood in which we live is as diverse as any in Seattle. I have very little yard and live across the street with apartments across from my home…this park serves as my yard. Please don’t take ruin it.
    Plainly…This park, AS-IS, serves many in this area and should not be revamped just to create a play area solely for children. Local child care businesses should team up and buy their own piece of land for their nature park for kids if they are out of room and want to expand…WE MUST SEE THIS FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS. This project was proposed by a child care facility owner.

  • nimby nulu September 18, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    This is getting to sound like national politics. Repeat the same line, “It should not be confined to any specific group while eliminating others…”, until a few believe it. The gall of such an outlandish claim! Of course “It should not be confined to any specific group while eliminating others…”. I hope most of us can agree on the “dynamics” of public parks that includes frisbee, dogs, and kids. But never even in the Olmstead Brothers nightmares were parks ever intended to be enjoyed only by NIMBY neighbors who feel they deserve some sort of “adverse possession” of public property that adjoins or is near to theirs. What are the NIMBYs’ true concerns? A child care facility owner made the proposal? So what, even if the whole parcel became confined only to those in the child care facility owned by the proposer (owner of the child care facility), that owner would still not make a decent living. Especially during these days of financial turmoil childcare owners and workers are having a difficult time teaming up to buy swaths of North Admiral vacant land as well as buses for transport to and from these dedicated child care facilities. Huh? Just re-read the posts. Set Hook = NIMBY, “WE MUST SEE THIS FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS.” Here, here!

  • Set Hook September 19, 2008 (7:45 am)

    I’m not a politician and now I remember why…jeez. My point is the park should be for ALL. Spending 2 to 5 million dollars to eliminate others is not a good idea when the park works perfectly AS-IS. Oh, and I’m not a Nimby. Definition kind of interesting…For those that don’t know:

    One who objects to the establishment in one’s neighborhood of projects, such as incinerators, prisons, homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, or garbage dumps that are believed to be dangerous, unsightly, or otherwise undesirable.

  • nimby nulu September 19, 2008 (10:03 am)

    Absolutely. The parks are for all. Adding features that encourage park use whether they be benches for seniors, trash cans, play areas, play fields, rest rooms…All are open and do in no way “eliminate” others from using.
    The cited definition, “One who objects to the establishment in one’s neighborhood of projects,” is the exact definition of these people. For those that don’t know, read the NIMBY talking points and then the postings above. Classic NIMBY. Write it, then deny it.

  • conspiracytheory September 19, 2008 (12:19 pm)

    I have never met the “child care facily owner” we all are blaming for the demise of our community, the “puppet master”, the “evil manipulator”. Let’s keep lashing at her, damned preschool teacher, doesn’t she know better that dedicating her life to teaching values to our young children, raising her own kids in this very same neighborhood and volunteering her time to this and other noble causes (according to her website to which I was directed to by the bitter woman with the “save the park” sign). For all I know this “selfish business owner” might be a terrorist or worst yet, an illegal immigrant (anybody checked on that yet?).

  • homesweethome September 19, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    Is someone actually saying that changing this park will cost $2-$5 million dollars ref: Set Hooks’ comment. I am little concerned that there is so much misinformation being circulated (by whom I am not really sure) that it is getting impossible to reference back to the original proposal of a play area. As far as I learned at meetings I attended, there is no actual bid for the project as the design work is not complete and no time did I hear mention of anything in the millions range for cost – if someone has said this, it would be appreciated it they would come forward and present their case. Or if this is merely part of the misinformation campaign? Tis the season I guess.

  • Project Supporter September 19, 2008 (2:45 pm)

    We are the Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, a group of families and individuals working together to bring improvements into the Admiral neighborhood of West Seattle. We’re working to design and develop a natural playscape in California Place Park (California Ave SW and SW Hill Street) to provide a slice of nature for exploration and creativity, a place to gather and connect with neighbors and respite space for users of all ages.

    What is a natural playscape, you ask? Using native plants, fallen logs, boulders and lots of trees; playscapes represent a natural place such as a forest. They are designed with the intent of bringing children and people back to nature. They offer a wide range of open-ended play options that allow children to be creative and use their imagination and offer a wide range of developmental benefits to children, rehabilitation programs and all people in general.

    Who supports these improvements? People who want to work together on a project and feel more connected to their neighbors. People who want a safe, thoughtful way for children and adults alike to enjoy nature and the company of neighbors. To date, more than 100 people have pledged their support and dozens more have provided their input, ideas and encouragement in community meetings.

    What these improvements will NOT be? Exclusive only to children. Unsafe for users and neighbors. Packed with plastic playground equipment, jungle gyms or metal slides. In conflict with the strategy and values of the Parks Department. Careless about the treatment of the existing trees. A waste of tax-payer dollars.

    To get involved or stay connected to this project, visit

  • tjtcr September 20, 2008 (11:10 am)

    The true colors of FANNA are comming out, they are not interested in building community but only
    interested in vilifying those that happed to disagree with them!! This is not unifying community only serving to divide our community for their own special interests. I agree with Set.
    This Park has served the overall community
    very well for over 70 years for citizens of all ages and continues to do so. It is well maintained by the Park Dept. It does have a park
    bench. It does not need improvement or fixing for a single purpose. It is only 4220 Sq. ft., not approximately 10,000 sq. ft. as erroneously claimed by FANNA. This is America, those that that
    disagree with Fanna should have their voices heard
    without being vilified and intimidated!!

  • conspiracytheory September 20, 2008 (1:35 pm)

    I don’t think improving this space is a bad idea but I would first need to attend the design meetings to make up my mind. In the meanwhile, and in response to the previous posting, here is a link to California Place Park from the Seattle Parks and Recreation website
    It states the park is .24 acres (more that 10,000 sq. feet)
    It seems to me like FANNA is being honest here, wonder who is spreading misinformation…

  • WSB September 20, 2008 (1:44 pm)

    Just for accuracy’s sake, here’s the final word on the parcel’s size, at least according to the official King County records:
    10,500 square feet (.24 acres)
    I reached that page by clicking the triangular City of Seattle Parks-owned parcel on the Parcel Viewer map (you can verify it yourself by going to the Parcel Viewer, choosing street intersection California and Hill, and when it comes up, choose “identify” and click the triangle).
    Parcel Viewer’s at:


  • Dianne T September 20, 2008 (6:08 pm)

    Hmmmmmmmm-I can certainly see both sides. I don’t want to see it become a hang-out. visitors should respect church property! The need for good access for fire trucks is critical. The area does not need play equipment at all! Keep it simple!

  • rth September 20, 2008 (7:19 pm)

    We are going to check on the size of the lot. The History of the park states the land was given to Seattle Parks in 1910 and was 4220 sq ft. Now maybe it extends out to the north where cars turn around. If so those apartments may lose all their great parking.

  • twar September 20, 2008 (8:56 pm)

    The trees in that park are so beautiful and frame the church’s lovely lighted birth of Christ on the front of the church which now has a string of play beads hanging on it from the FANNA Ice Cream Social. They were giving the beads away that day.

  • twar September 21, 2008 (6:57 am)

    It is my understanding that once we give this Park over to FANNA(which equals local pre-school)and the Neighborhood Matching Funds Program, for a playground it will become the responsiblity of the neighborhood to maintain the playground and the Parks Department which now maintains the Park as it is, will step aside.

  • genuflecting nulu September 21, 2008 (10:06 am)

    On this Sunday with the new controversy raging about a string of hanging play beads on a tree fouling the lovely lighted birth of Christ…
    What would Jesus do?

  • Concerned Neighbor September 21, 2008 (8:28 pm)

    Clearly the park needs at least one bench. An older woman has been camped out all week in the park by herself and the poor thing has to lug her chair back and forth each time so that she might have a place to sit. Think FANNA can get a bench in the park, please?

  • rth September 21, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    There is a bench. We can save our tax dollars. Yeah!

  • modern nulu September 22, 2008 (10:00 am)

    Also for accuracy sake, “rth” might check before posting. Ferry Ave. right of way was vacated for the church and the apartments to the north. King County Plats show the parking area once Ferry Ave. is now owned by the apartment. The tow signs with apartment only parking appear to be legal and tennant parking secure.
    And “twar”, where did you get your “understanding” that Parks would “step aside?”

  • rth September 23, 2008 (5:26 am)

    I was just thinking outloud. Park history states that the park when donated to city in 1910 was listed as 4220 sq ft. Yet it is listed in the King County parcel as 10,500 sq ft. Just trying to figure out why there is such a discrepancy.

  • ward October 7, 2008 (1:36 pm)

    I guess FANNA wants to do away withe the Church also. I this property is 10.500 sq.ft. the church is encroaching on public propeety. So there.

  • TWAR October 7, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    Yes it very apparent that the church has encrouched on the park over the years. I can see it now! The Piranha group, FANNA will insist the church move. As this whole development is all about the Special Interest Group’s need for a convenient playground. Hey, the Church has a Playground all fenced in and ready to go. The Pre-school owner(spearhead of FANNA) should just rent the playground from the church and leave our tax dollars and park alone.

Sorry, comment time is over.