West Seattle’s newest park: Dakota Place is officially done

As that shiny new sign says, work on West Seattle’s newest park is complete. Dakota Place Park is on the grounds of the city-landmark former substation at California/Dakota, north of The Junction. While you may have noticed building-renovation work if you simply drove by, walk up now, and the full park will be in view:

Jennifer Cargal from Friends of Dakota Place Park has sent us the official announcement of its completion, and what’s next:

If you live near the Alaska Junction, you should take a stroll up to the corner of California and Dakota. Though the opening celebration won¹t happen until the fall after the art installation, neighbors are finding some new open space in the recently completed Dakota Place Park. Nestled behind the old City Light Substation, this pearl of a park offers a little shade, a little room to stretch, and some much needed open space for those traveling just north of the Alaska Junction.

Tremendous thanks goes to the Friends of Dakota Place Park, Kelly Gould of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Matching Fund, King County Wild Place Grant, Mark Sindell and the staff of GGLO, the West Seattle Garden Tour, First Mutual Bank, King County Council Chair Dow Constantine, and the many community donors, and the sixty plus volunteers who planted the park in June.

Note: The substation is a separate project. For information about the status of building renovation or about the park, please contact Kelly Goold at 206-684-0586 or Kelly.Goold@Seattle.Gov.

We visited Dakota Place Park today to take photos, and noted the nicely gardened patches around the park’s periphery, as well as the bench:

Jennifer shared photos from the planting parties — here’s one with a young volunteer:

According to the city project page, Dakota Place Park’s budget was $587,000+. If you’re not familiar with the site, here’s a map.

9 Replies to "West Seattle's newest park: Dakota Place is officially done"

  • GenHillOne August 5, 2009 (4:39 pm)

    Interesting timing…before this announcement, here are some of the questions that came up again at Night Out last night from the surrounding “neighbors (who) are finding some new open space.”

    1) From previous reports, the building is a good year (we’ll see!) away from being completed, with no one onsite, who will maintain the land/hardscaping in the meantime?

    2) What kind of security measures are in place to protect the propety and control loitering, especially the usual alley traffic that is already being monitored by neighbors?

    3) Even more so with nothing going on in the building, who actually thinks people are going to innocently come there to find some shade and stretch?

    At least when Tilden opens for the school year, they’ll get to use it as their own private greenspace during the day, but the neighbors will have to deal with the rest of it. Oh joy. And when the building DOES open, we’ll get to, again, address the complete lack of parking.

    I’m all for a good park, but this project has been a prime example of a word that is commonly used to “descriptively generalize any situation with a large scale of disarray.”

  • WSB August 5, 2009 (4:45 pm)

    I had put out a request to Parks more than a week ago for verification that the park project was complete. We’ll be following up on the building status; I hadn’t received official Parks response yet because the project manager was on vacation, but since I’d been looking for something more to flesh out a story besides just sticking up a photo and saying “looks done,” this was welcome. As you obviously know, there are a couple parking spaces on the alley side, as well as street parking on two sides (that’s where we parked) – is the concern that events requiring many more spaces will be held? – TR

  • GenHillOne August 5, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    Thanks – I think the limited (2,3 spaces?) alley parking is designated for handicapped and/or service vehicles, isn’t it? And yes, events and meetings are a big part of the parking concern. The street parking is often full – commuters who park and catch the bus on California, “ranchers” who we have to track & report after 72 hours, and when school starts? Forget it.

    I hope, and I know others will appreciate it if, you are able to get any further information. There is a real sense of frustration and disclusion among the neighbors with little response to the same questions and concerns that have been on the table for years. Perhaps they’ll respond to you!

  • Westie August 5, 2009 (6:14 pm)

    While I like the idea of parks, especially urban parks, I’m not sure about this one. There’s a big building on it, the grassy area is minimal. I’m looking forward to seeing it used and add value to my local neighborhood. I hope that’s what it does.

  • JayDee August 5, 2009 (6:14 pm)

    What no children’s play area with equipment? What will they do with just grass? ;-)

  • MargL August 5, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    A new off-leash dog area! Yay!!

  • MrJT August 5, 2009 (8:23 pm)

    Even better, a semi-private place to pound a 40.. It is a nice looking park, lets hope it stays that way.

  • big gulps,eh? well, see ya later. August 6, 2009 (10:14 am)

    It is a nice looking park and it is nice to see it have a new life as a public space. I however wish I would have gotten involved during the planning phase. It has a great deal of impervious surface that is draining directly into the storm drain. There are other great options to traditional concrete slabs.

  • GenHillOne August 6, 2009 (11:33 am)

    I don’t know about the drainage, big gulps, but don’t feel bad about missing the planning phase…it was a long, long time ago. If you follow the project page link above, you’ll see

    “On April 25, 2006, Parks held a final open house to discuss the project’s next steps. To learn more, you can read the meeting notes (PDF).”

    It was a bleak “open house” with water coming in through the roof while the neighbors stood around and asked questions – which aren’t in those online meeting notes btw. I do appreciate all those who donated and volunteered time to make the space pretty, and perhaps the drainage was considered. I just also hope that their efforts won’t be trashed and/or die in the coming months for lack of a plan.

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