Hiawatha Playfield work intensifies – including tree-cutting

As the Hiawatha Playfield renovation work intensifies, with dirt-moving having begun late last week, Dave e-mailed this morning to say the century-old elm tree by the field has just been cut down (same tree shown in the city photo at left). This has been in the plans for a long time, according to the story we published after a public meeting in December 2007, at which time the Parks Department said 14 trees in all – including that elm – would be coming down. Some things have since changed, though – like the timetable for the project, which was then expected to be built last year, but is just getting started now, and the price tag for the project, with bids that came in so low, Parks was able to move half a million dollars out of the budget to cover about 2/3 of the Delridge Skatepark project. There’s also a new project manager, and we’re working to get an official update from him on the timetable and what’ll be happening over the summer, as well as the latest on the tree-cutting that will be involved. (Parks had said at that 2007 meeting that the elm tree had suffered serious damage in an ice storm several years ago – note the uneven sides in the photo.) When the project’s done late this year, Hiawatha will have new lighting and new turf for full-size baseball, soccer and football fields (details here). 1:17 PM UPDATE: Stopped by Hiawatha for photos of what’s happening, including what’s left of the elm tree:

We also got a quick status report from project manager Garrett Farrell:

The contractor has removed the existing batting cages, backstop, bleachers and field lighting. Stripping of the old field surface is underway. The new underground irrigation and electrical work will follow.

Farrell notes the tree removal is also explained on the Hiawatha project’s webpage – it’s still expected to total 14 trees including this one; the other 13 are smaller/younger. ADDED 5:10 PM: Thanks to Forest for pointing out that the city’s been vigilant about elm-tree disease for months now — here’s info about the Elm Protection Program.

13 Replies to "Hiawatha Playfield work intensifies - including tree-cutting"

  • Robert June 29, 2009 (11:38 am)

    The new lighting sounds great – hopefully the lighting for the field will no longer look like a scene from “Close Encounters of a 3rd Kind” when the lights are on at night. :-)

  • NIMBY Nulu June 29, 2009 (11:42 am)

    No Change!

  • sarelly June 29, 2009 (11:48 am)

    Too bad about the trees – unless they were determined to be unhealthy. Losing the trees will impact the surrounding area negatively.

  • RS June 29, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    :( I will miss the Elm!!

  • JFuller June 29, 2009 (1:59 pm)

    There were many days where I hung out around that tree during soccer practices! Sad to see it go! But hopefully the improvements will include new trees to be planted in its place!

  • treehugger June 29, 2009 (3:16 pm)

    Unreal. West Seattle should be nammed concrete jungle. There are hardly any trees left to cut down. Look how beautiful area’s like Shoreline and Redmond are. You’re breathing in sheet rock dust on every street out here.

  • Robert June 29, 2009 (3:33 pm)


    I’m all for more trees but I think you are a little over the top with your views about trees in West Seattle. Personally, even with the loss/replacement of the trees, Hiawatha is a nice blend of tree covered and open areas – we need both.

  • Alvis June 29, 2009 (5:21 pm)

    The Elm Protection Program link isn’t working for me.

  • WSB June 29, 2009 (5:29 pm)

    thanks, fixed now

  • Alvis June 29, 2009 (7:18 pm)

    A number of the 13 smaller trees displaced by the field work were safely transplanted a few months ago to the lawn behind the wading pool benches in the northeast section of the park. I think the transplants look quite healthy and established in their new digs (pun intended).

  • datamuse June 29, 2009 (7:32 pm)

    West Seattle should be nammed concrete jungle.

    Yeah, it’s not as though there’s an 800-acre forest on West Seattle’s eastern edge, or anything.

  • Dreamland June 29, 2009 (7:39 pm)

    They seriously need to replace the children’s playgrounds there with more updated equipment, at least add a preschool-age-friendly set. Dangerous.

  • nestingcrows June 30, 2009 (1:28 am)

    the crows are angry about the trees getting cut down!!! what is up with all the tree cutting in the admiral district! we need the trees. i hope they’ll be replaced for the next nesting season.

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