More money is being moved to the West Seattle Reservoir Park project, which is creating new park space adjacent to Westcrest Park in Highland Park after the formerly open-air WS Reservoir was covered (top photo). But that does NOT mean more features – in fact, it means fewer feature reductions than the project had been facing because of an expensive, unanticipated twist, and it means, as Parks’ senior capital-projects coordinator Virginia Hassinger puts it, they now can “get back going on the park design” since they figured out how to cover the costs for street improvements:
Here’s what’s happening:
Last week, the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee (chaired by West Seattleite Pete Spalding), voted to move $421,000 to the WS Reservoir project from a surplus fund (created mostly by a project in Crown Hill), to cover the costs of unanticipated road/sidewalk work here.
Spalding explains that those costs were not in the original West Seattle Reservoir park-project plan but surfaced “when it was discovered that Parks had to apply for a Master Use Permit. When DPD did their review for the project, it was determined that some street improvements were required. This meant that SDOT determined the need for the Street Improvement Permit (SIP) process. The SIP review is a formal process that allows SDOT and other city departments to review and comment on the project at prescribed stages of construction documents.”
According to the project webpage, the “unanticipated” street/sidewalk work would have taken a huge budgetary bite out of the project, if this extra funding hadn’t been found and moved.
The improvements required by SDOT are, as described in the briefing paper for last week’s committee meeting (see it here):
• 950 lineal feet of sidewalks along 8th Ave SW between SW Trenton Street and SW Cloverdale Street and along SW Cloverdale Street from 8th Ave SW to the park entry east of 7th Ave SW.
• Curb and gutters are required for a few hundred feet of 8th Ave SW and along SW Cloverdale St adjacent to the new required sidewalks.
• Parks’ additional survey and design (work) in order to prepare plans for SIP review.
Spalding adds, “The committee chose to take the actions we did to minimize the reduction in the scope of the overall project. There will still be some reduction to make the project fit within the $3m that is allocated in the levy for this project. There will still be some reductions in electrical, parking lot, shelter size and design, deleting interpretive signs, smaller restroom and a reduction in the number of plantings.” He says the changes are not expected to affect the timetable for construction next year.
We verified that with Hassinger, who tells WSB, “Recent cost estimates and value engineering have been completed and we will move forward next with design development for the funded park features, including the parking lot, rain gardens, restroom, mower storage, relocation of play area, pathways, entry, landscaping, benches, etc.”
Right now, she says, the park project is in Design Development Phase, and the street improvements “are now approved at the conceptual level by SDOT and DPD (30% design).” By the end of the month, she says, Parks will apply for the Master Use Permit required for the project to proceed to completion, with construction still planned next year.