Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza update: Plaque up; brick woes


The permanent plaque on the south side of the Alki Statue of Liberty‘s new pedestal is now installed, covering over the spot where vandals tore away the placeholder (as reported here three days ago). Now the plaza’s dealing with a different problem:


David Hutchinson (who provided both photos for this post) from the Statue of Liberty Plaza Project Committee sent this followup on the brick problem that committee co-chair Libby Carr mentioned earlier this week:

We have been checking on the condition of a number of inscribed bricks that were installed in the plaza back near the end of August. Others have commented to us that the inscriptions on these bricks appear to be “wearing off.” On closer examination, it seems to be a substance that has developed on the surface of the bricks and when it forms over the letters can make them difficult to read. This material adheres to the brick and can’t be removed by simple washing with a soft brush and water. Matt Hutchins, one of the designers of the plaza, and Patrick Donohue, Project Manager from Seattle Parks and Recreation, have been out to the site and a meeting has been scheduled later this week with a representative from Kenadar, the company that produced the inscribed pavers. This problem appears to be confined to bricks in 2 specific areas of the plaza. I have attached a couple of photos to illustrate this problem. During production, the bricks had the inscriptions sand blasted into the surface and then the letters are filled with “black epoxy grout”. The Seattle Statue of Liberty Plaza Project chose to use this technique as it was recommended for high traffic areas.

We’ll update you when a plan of action is developed.

13 Replies to "Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza update: Plaque up; brick woes"

  • fiz October 1, 2008 (9:52 pm)

    My family has three bricks in the plaza and two of them have this problem. I went to the plaza for the first time last week and took my 90 year old mother, not knowing of the issue. It was disappointing to see them in that condition. What was meant to be a tribute does not have the appearance I had expected.

    I hope that the problem will be resolved soon.

  • ann October 1, 2008 (10:10 pm)

    Sounds like they have a good plan in place to address the issue and I’m sure the brick inscriber will make it right!

  • David Hutchinson October 1, 2008 (11:28 pm)

    fiz – Thanks for your support of the new plaza. Project co-chairs Paul & Libby Carr have been following this closely and both Seattle Parks & Recreation and Kenadar have been very responsive in addressing this issue.
    We were told when the bricks were installed that we would notice a white substance (efflorescence) rise to the surface of the pavers as they reacted with moisture. The following is a quote from a website on paver cleaning:
    “Efflorescence is a naturally occurring phenomenon that causes a white deposit on
    the face of any concrete product. It has to do with leaching of salts out of the concrete
    matrix and depositing on the surface when the water evaporates. It is not considered a
    defect of the material. It has no adverse effect on the physical structure of the product, and will normally wear away naturally with weathering. It can be cleaned off with a number of commercial cleaners.”
    Most of white substance on the pavers in the plaza fits this description, and I have noticed that it has improved dramatically in the past month in response to rain or intentional rinsing with water. It has always been part of the plan to clean and seal the pavers after this leaching process has finished.
    I believe it will also be possible to clean off this other type of deposit and the meeting is to get professional advise on how best to accomplish this.
    David Hutchinson

  • miles October 2, 2008 (8:31 am)

    With the obvious amount of money that went into this project, it’s too bad (other than the beautiful benches) it looks like a freshman art student designed the site.

    Very cheesy looking I’d say. Especially the pedestal: in this case being “multi-faceted” is not a good thing!

  • jai October 2, 2008 (9:42 am)

    “Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” — Jean Sibelius

  • Shell Marr October 2, 2008 (10:52 am)

    Thank you WSB for posting about this.

    We are taking out of town family members there this weekend to show them our bricks and landscape plaque. I’m glad we will be able to explain what is going on. Maybe it will be raining when we get there and the white stuff will be washed away at the time! :)

  • clark5080 October 2, 2008 (11:20 am)

    There is a type of sand they use to fill the joints of bricks that has something in it that hardens. The picture looks like the sand was not cleaned from the inscriptions.


  • miles October 2, 2008 (1:06 pm)

    Just so you know jai, I am a resident taxpayer that likes my monuments to be well designed, not a “critic” to be ignored.

    Besides, I thought public input is what this blog was for………………..

  • WSB October 2, 2008 (1:26 pm)

    It is. By the way, we have a followup on this that we will post in a bit – the meeting to determine strategy was held today.

  • MacJ October 2, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    Hey, that’s our brick! Fix it! Fix it now!

  • fiz October 2, 2008 (10:44 pm)

    Thank you for the explanation, David.

    Personally I like the look and feel of the plaza, including the pedestal. The only issue I have with it is that handicapped access is a bit of a walk when approaching from the street if you are elderly and infirm.

  • jai October 3, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    Miles, the pedestal is already complete and done. What good is achieved by calling it a “freshman art project”. I’m all for debate and dialogue when there’s opportunity for action but that doesn’t seem to be the case in this instance.

  • miles October 3, 2008 (6:40 pm)

    Jai, kind’a sounds like the Palin line last night about not “look’in back……..”

    Your comment doesn’t make it well designed….I look at it every day walking my dog…thought I’d just mention my feelings…..

    I’m relatively new to the community. Absolutely love Seattle. Don’t love the blind righteousness of LOTS of people here. Why are you so annoyed at my absolutely valid critique??

Sorry, comment time is over.