FOLLOWUP: Parks, parents plan talks to resolve Ercolini Park toy trouble

(WSB photo, 3:20 pm today)

One day after a Seattle Parks crew hauled away a truckload of toys meant for sharing at Ercolini Park, the resulting parental petition drive (original WSB coverage here) is past 1,000 signers, and Parks has responded with an offer to negotiate:

We know the park is well-loved and much used by the many parents of small children who live in the neighborhood, and that the littlest of them love the supplemental toys the parents bring. We have no desire to substitute our judgment for theirs, but we do need to respond to the complaints we receive.

In today’s world of social media, people can raise an issue fast, as happened with the community’s online petition. In turn, we at Parks and Recreation are responding fast. Our Interim Parks Division Director has reached out to the author of the petition and offered to meet her at the park …

Our goal is to forge a compromise that involves establishing a protocol for what wear or breakage warrants the removal of toys, and involves the community in assessing the condition of the toys.

We hope to have a full resolution within the next day.

Petition author Amanda confirmed she was scheduled to talk today with a Parks rep to set up a meeting.

34 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Parks, parents plan talks to resolve Ercolini Park toy trouble"

  • dsa June 9, 2016 (4:30 pm)

    Bring some friends.

  • Mrs.T June 9, 2016 (4:38 pm)

    Good for them. Maybe the neighbor who called in the complaint could show up and offer some constructive input. 

  • Corvonn June 9, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    Just a note to everyone commenting on yesterday’s post in support of the removal of toys: The petition was not to simply get the parks dept to leave the toys. The petition was to achieve exactly what is now happening, a collaborative effort to keep the charm of Ercolini and its donated toys, and also ensure it does not become a dumping ground for broken toys. The petition itself had many proposals on how this can be achieved, and hopefully an agreement can be reached. 

  • Dewain Savage June 9, 2016 (6:05 pm)
    I left the first big wheel at the park years ago, and have visited regularly off and on with my daughter and now my grandson when he comes. Admittedly the toys did get out of hand, but the parks department acted very highhandedly and destroyed all those toys. They should be held responsible for creating this crisis instead of working to solve the problem with the community to begin with. 
    Yes it would have taken someone in the parks department to think outside the box and post something on social media, West Seattle Blog, Neighbors, etc. but it could have been done, no excuse. There are plenty of parents wanting to volunteer now to reasonably deal with the issues,
     I am not so forgiving of the Parks high handedness. I worked 30 years with the State and can picture exactly how the decisions to pick up and destroy went. Someone should pay for their malicious enforcement of rules. However I grudgingly give credit for the fast response to the petition.
    I noticed there was no time announced for the meeting tomorrow.
  • Roslind June 9, 2016 (7:06 pm)

    Great! I think the Parks can announce a citywide “bring anything you want to any park and leave it there” ruling, so it will be fair for everyone, every neighborhood, not just the privileged ones, such as yours.

    • Corvonn June 10, 2016 (8:39 am)

      So what I gather from your post is that you’re not reading the articles at all. Thanks for throwing in your uninformed opinion.

      What the parents want is to come to a solution with the parks department that benefits all. Keeps the park clear of broken and hazardous toys, but allows the toys in good condition to remain for the use of community. 

  • ACG June 9, 2016 (7:48 pm)

    One of the tv news stations was camped out there today. I think it was Rich Marriot, not sure what channel that would be. 

    • WSB June 9, 2016 (8:12 pm)

      At least 2 stations picked up the story; as ex-TV, I still am usually able to guess which WSB stories they’ll chase – was only surprised it took them an entire day to get to it.

  • Beckyjo June 9, 2016 (8:48 pm)

    Roslind, Why are you so upset about this? Are you the angry neighbor who complained?

  • LStephens June 9, 2016 (9:00 pm)

    @ Rosalind.  Your unnecessary nasty comment is offensive.  You seem to know nothing of the neighborhood, the park and you certainly know nothing about any of these parent’s situations.  Why be so petty and insulting?  One person who commented on yesterday’s original story said they lived in an apartment, had no yard and loved the park for their little one.  One friend with two kids said they were pretty financially strapped when she became a stay-at-home mom and she made it her mission to find every kind of free fun things to do with her family.  Again, you certainly know nothing of the park-users stories and you accuse them of being privileged.  Weren’t you taught if you can’t say something nice…?  

    • Park Lover June 9, 2016 (10:32 pm)

      The park is located in an affluent neighborhood – there’s no way to deny that.  I have been a stay at home parent for 11 years and have visited each playground in West Seattle.  Go ahead and find another park “littered” with extra toys donated by the local community.  Roxhill has a handful at best, possibly.   There is truth to what Rosalind said.  Is that community entitled to special consideration?  No, but if they’re willing to work with the Parks Dept. to keep it under control I see nothing wrong with it. 

  • Alki Resident June 9, 2016 (9:33 pm)

    Rosalind- Please crawl back in your hole.

  • KBear June 9, 2016 (9:34 pm)

    Maybe you don’t like the tone of Roslind’s comment, but please keep things in perspective: The park belongs to everyone, not just toddlers and their parents. What about folks with limited mobility who might want to make use of the nice paved walkway without navigating an obstacle course of discarded toys? It is against park rules to leave stuff in the park. Parents let the situation get completely out of hand. They should be more circumspect in negotiating a solution to this and not act like they’ve entitled to leave their mess wherever they please. I would be happy if they could reach some compromise that allowed toys to remain in the park, but at a reasonable number.  

    • Jon Wright June 9, 2016 (11:42 pm)

      Parks & Recreation could have easily reached out to the community via signs at the park, West Seattle Blog, and Next Door and said there are some concerns, let’s partner and solve them. Instead, they sent a crew with a truck to haul everything off. That’s why people are incensed.

    • Corvonn June 10, 2016 (8:44 am)

      I think you’ve also missed some important parts in both the article and the petition. Parents ARE trying to negotiate a solution and ARE NOT acting like they’re entitled to leave their mess. The petition itself contained many proposals (most of which involved parent/community action) and a request for a meeting with parks dept to begin a collaborative effort.

  • LStephens June 9, 2016 (10:08 pm)

    KBear,  I completely agree  with you.  I would suggest Parks build a super-sturdy small split-rail fence area in a corner of the park  for a “kiddie-car corral” with signage asking for the toys to be returned to that area.  Lots of little ones love to “help” clean-up.   It could help to reduce safety hazards, clean up the park and thereby making it safer for all users.   I also agree the number of toys should be limited and not someone’s discarded junk.  A good compromise might be to have Parks post a sign when a clean-up of the toys is scheduled and any interested parents could attend the clean-up.

    My comment was only directed at the unnecessarily ugly, nasty tone of Roslind’s comment and accusing others of being privileged simply by their feelings about the park.  This is our community, our neighbors.   No reason to be petty and insulting.

  • chemist June 9, 2016 (10:28 pm)

    This looks like a few dozen toys pretty much clogging the pathway.

    I look forward to the solution, even if it’s just a toy parking area and a request to put things away when they’re done.

  • Elle Nell June 9, 2016 (11:07 pm)

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion…  Just like some feel entitled to leave toys at a public park. I was thinking it would be nice if someone would just donate their yard so that all the kiddies could ride their presidiums plastics around like we do in our crazy cars – rat race… Oh goodie!!

    See, we can all be happy-: )~

  • MJ June 10, 2016 (12:16 am)

    Yeezus, it’s clearly a park for young kids. People are donating toys not leaving garbage. Really if you’re not there with your kid there’s no other reason to be there. I could see neighbors bothered by people taking up parking space next to the park, but not toys.

  • MJ June 10, 2016 (12:19 am)

    Who takes offense to their neighborhood being called privileged? Isn’t that the goal, to live in the nicest place possible? W Seattle pretty nice, but those Mercer Island parks are awesome. And you can’t beat their security.

  • Mar-C June 10, 2016 (7:54 am)

    It’s always been my kids’ fave park because they think it’s awesome how there’s the coolest toys that are there for everyone to use, toys which they’d otherwise never be able to play with (such a variety of expensive toys). I don’t get what the problem is. If you find a toy that has gotten so used that it should be thrown out, then whoever finds it in such condition can throw it out – part of that sharing thing (leave a toy, share the toys, share the responsibility in tossing a broken toy). This has been not only fun for kids but also a lesson for kids on what sharing and community mean. Tossing all the toys? They don’t understand that. 

  • S June 10, 2016 (8:06 am)

    Come on Kids should go to the park to play on the big toy and play with balls.  Not have the daily toys they have around there home. Whats wrong with using your imagination. 

    • WSB June 10, 2016 (8:10 am)

      These toys DO involve using imagination. We didn’t overload our now-grown son with toys but he did play with some of the types of toys I’ve seen at Ercolini and there were all sorts of scenarios – rescuing, constructing, tunneling, just plain getting around the playground and seeing the sights (Ercolini has a loop trail of sorts – P and I just walked around it yesterday while pursuing photographic angles). And then there were the times we went to Alki empty-handed, and walked to Roxhill Park to play on the old wooden castle, and …

  • Eric B June 10, 2016 (8:30 am)

    I would just like to say thank you to all those who have donated toys over the years.  I never saw you, but I always appreciated that your donations made the park what it is.  It is a wonderful inclination to take the urge to get something fun for ones own child and instead get something (or things) for everyone’s children. 

  • Gina June 10, 2016 (8:30 am)

    I didn’t know the story behind the tidying when I went by earlier this week. Just thought there was more room for wee ones to stretch their legs and play! 

    The park is someone’s donated front and back yard and garden. In the same spirit perhaps users could work together with the Park department and donate money for toy corrals and resodding the grass. The sheer volume of items would make it difficult to maintain the grass if there is not a compromise from the adults. How many toys are too many or not enough? 25? Before donating a toy, take a.good look at it. Are there tears? Has there been a safety recall? Sharp edges? Wobbly or missing wheels? Make an agreement that any toys in unsafe condition can be red tagged and removed.

    Think about relocating good toys when there are too many. Other play areas in West Seattle/White Center may want or need them, make some connections for sharing.

    • Corvonn June 10, 2016 (8:50 am)

      That was 100% the spirit of the petition. It was not at all a “leave it alone to accumulate crap,” it was very much a “please work with us toward a better, collaborative solution!” In fact, the petition itself contained several proposed ideas, most of which involved parent/community participation rather than telling the parks dept what they should do. There is a meeting between some community members and the parks dept next week, hopefully they will come up with an effective collaborative course of action that keeps the park clear of broken toys, but allows the ones in good condition to stay.

  • Debi June 10, 2016 (9:04 am)

    Amanda the petitioner – thank you for doing it!  The park would not be the same without the parents and the community that stays active and keeps our children at heart.

  • KBear June 10, 2016 (9:26 am)

    MJ, the park is there for anyone to use, as long as they follow the rules. There’s no requirement that adults be accompanied by kids, nor should there be.  I’ll decide for myself whether I have any business being there, thank you very much. The street parking around the park is also free for the public to use, so neighbors should have no concern about it unless people are parking illegally. However, it is against park rules to leave items behind in the park. So while people every right to park their cars and use the park with or without children, they do not currently have the right to leave their crap (or toys) all over the park. As far as the law is concerned, it is no different from any other illegal dumping. THAT is what parents should bear in mind as they petition for a change in the rules. I hope they can come up with a workable solution that does allow for toys in the park, but right now they are breaking the rules and the city is well within its rights to round up the left-behind toys and take them away.

  • Mike June 10, 2016 (7:26 pm)

    We use this park a few times per week with our child, so I’m up to speed on the range of toys, toy conditions, if they’re put back in their proper place, etc. etc. etc.  on a day to day and week to week basis. Having the toys there is an unexpected treat as a parent (and as a kid). We’re blessed enough to have toys of our own…but others are not and these are the toys they use and look forward to. 

    People want to be all politically correct about this saying this and that about this and that law…or i understand what these concerns are blah blah blah…

    …but seriously, if toys in a park, used by children is dominating the focus of your life enough to complain about it…


    ….do something CONSTRUCTIVE with your life. Pathetic. 

    • Mar-C June 10, 2016 (9:03 pm)

      Exactly! This is for KIDS! And guess what – not a single kid would EVER complain about toys in a park – they love ’em! To all the complaining adult curmudgeons, please do the kids a favor and do the opposite of “grow up”!

  • RS June 11, 2016 (9:06 pm)

    So disheartening! I just stopped a group of teenage girls who were throwing some of the toys hard against the concrete trying to break them. They claimed that they weren’t even from West Seattle.

  • Heylady June 12, 2016 (9:10 am)

    Burger Meister Meister Burger is real. I am opposed to the city’s actions and the useless, baseless complaints. Long live The spirit of Ercolini! 

  • KV June 30, 2016 (11:28 am)

    Parks are for people, not just kids. My son was injured on one of these broken down toys, twice……There should definitely be a compromise but the city has to be willing to provide whatever they agree to for ercolini at all Seattle parks, not just here. As a business person whose very concerned with liability issues, the city that allows toys to be left also assumes liability for any injury to a child from these toys. It’s just a bad idea, period from a liability point of view. I understand where Rosalyn is coming from. What’s allowed here should be allowed everywhere. Next time someone violates park rules just remember the toys left behind were a violation also, but that one was OK cause it was for the children, smh. Entitlement for sure. 

Sorry, comment time is over.