Parks Levy committee: Money for Dakota Place building, & more

From the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee meeting downtown: The group voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of spending money to finish the historic substation building at Dakota Place Park.

Parks manager Kevin Stoops explained that the department had $1.2 million in “excess interest earnings from Pro Parks” (the previous levy), and after putting $500,000 of that toward Delridge Skatepark, that left $720,000 – which his team proposed using for two Pro Parks projects that hadn’t been done yet – one of which is the Dakota Place Park building, which still needs a lot of interior work before it can be used as intended, as a “satellite facility” for Hiawatha Community Center programs. The committee unanimously approved Stoops’ recommendation to spend $400,000 from the “excess interest earnings,” which will be added to $120,000 from the Hiawatha Advisory Council to finish the work, including, he said, seismic improvements, flooring, wall work, paint, cabinetry, and more. “Until we can make that happen, the building is just a sculptural element,” Stoops said. As he recounted for the committee, the park adjacent to the building was recently completed, and some exterior work was done on the historic building – a city landmark because of its past as a City Light substation – but money wasn’t available to finish its interior. “This project was underfunded from the get-go,” another department manager, Michael Shiosaki, told the committee. Now, pending the next layers of final city approvals, that will be remedied; we’ll be checking on timetables for work to start.

Also at the Parks Levy Oversight Committee:
*Junction Plaza Park was discussed briefly, at the request of a committee member; Stoops said its funding is now “enough to make that project work” and also noted the SDOT plan to fix the nearby sidewalks and curb ramps. The “revised schematic design” will be shown at the final public meeting next week (6:30 pm Monday at the Senior Center) but the highlights Stoops listed included a “small stage area, at grade,” an ‘arc of plantings” at the rear of the site, and one or two light fixtures.

*Fairmount Playground upgrade: Stoops says the plans are 99 percent complete and they’ll be advertising for bids within two weeks.

*Opportunity Fund: Draft criteria for figuring out which projects will share this $15 million fund created by the levy were presented to the committee members at the meeting; questions and concerns were raised about some of the wording, so it will be brought back to them at October – with a public hearing to follow in early November. Initial applications will be due in February, so committee members are anxious to make sure that community groups and others are working now to be ready to apply for a share of the money, and asked that Parks staff post the application timeline on the Opportunity Fund webpage as soon as possible.

12:42 PM UPDATE: Pete Spalding sends word that the date/time/location has been set for the aforementioned public hearing on Opportunity Fund criteria:

At last night’s meeting we discussed the need to schedule a public hearing on the Opportunity Fund criteria. The hearing will provide a chance for the community to speak to the Committee on the proposed criteria before they are formally approved. The public hearing will be Monday, November 9, at 7:00 pm in the Park Board Room.

That’s at Parks HQ downtown (in Denny Park).

4 Replies to "Parks Levy committee: Money for Dakota Place building, & more"

  • westseattledood September 30, 2009 (6:42 am)

    To confirm, the initial application is moved from December to February?

    Also, is the draft of the criteria viewable?

  • Pete September 30, 2009 (9:25 am)

    The initial applications will be due on Feb 1st. The criteria will be published once it is finalized at the October meeting.

  • WSB September 30, 2009 (9:27 am)

    I only have it in hard copy but will e-mail the person who is liaison for the group to get it electronically – TR

  • westseattledood September 30, 2009 (11:47 am)

    OK. Thank you!

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