Updates on park-expansion and Lowman Beach projects @ Morgan Community Association:

From tonight’s quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting, concluded about an hour ago at The Kenney (WSB sponsor):

MORGAN JUNCTION PARK EXPANSION UPDATE: Ed Pottharst from Seattle Parks and Zack Thomas from Board & Vellum led this briefing about the site north of the current park. Site remediation is required because of the former dry cleaners at the site; some drilling has been done to gauge the extent of the contamination. They’re sampling and testing groundwater too, as well as soil-vapor analysis before year’s end. Pacific Groundwater Group is working on all this. They hope to have a cleanup plan by January.

On to the design – all the input has been narrowed down to one unified final schematic design that was delivered yesterday to Parks, and will likely go through a few more tweaks. The project team said the idea of a stage and promenade went over well during feedback, as did a “loop trail.” SDOT wants alley updating to jibe with the site’s underlying mixed-use zoning; Parks hopes to “grade it out and gravel it.” A turnaround was requested. They’ll remove the vegetation at the original park site so that there’s a line of sight there. There’ll be a 20-foot-tall net climber, for all ages, in the park.

The promenade will be 14′ wide around a triangle along the street in the new space, and that could hold about 20 tents for the annual Morgan Junction Community Festival. No dog park – that did not rate highly enough in community comments, the project team said. Part o area will be potential playspace for kids, maybe even a slide, and play equipment “for smaller children.” They hope to plant a “sentinel tree,” an evergreen starting at 20′. The loop path is expected to be porous concrete, depending on how the remediation goes. Food truck space? someone asked. Could be along the park frontage on the street, but Parks doesn’t generally include inside-the-park space, the team said.

Two MoCA members talked to park neighbors about their ideas/concerns for the park, including residents of Cal-Mor Circle across the street; visibility and lighting were big concerns, to discourage criminal activity. They also found that nearby kids enjoy playing and exploring in the area. Another question: Bike racks? 10 are in the budget. More community meetings are ahead. As for the timeline, it depends on the remediation requirements; construction wouldn’t start any sooner than one year from now, more likely 2021.

LOWMAN BEACH SEAWALL-REMOVAL UPDATE: Parks’ David Graves says the old failing seawall remainder is moving a little, so it’s a good thing the new design is done and “in for permits.” Pelly Creek will be daylighted where the east edge of the tennis court is now; there’ll be a trench between the two big trees, which will not be touched, Graves says. (It’s a fairly narrow creek, low flow, one foot deep, two feet across, 1 cubic foot per second.) The new design requires a pipe move but the existing pipe will be abandoned in place. Some smaller trees to the southwest will be removed and new trees will be planted. There’ll be a parking spot on the south side of the park so mobility-challenged people can park and access the beach. The bench by the beach will remain. There’ll be some lawn in the upper park and unlike any other West Seattle beach, you’ll be able to walk from lawn to beach.

The project is fully funded. Total project cost is $1.5 million, all but $150,000 from county and state grants. Construction will be during the “fish window” next year, which opens in August. “Probably about 3 months of construction,” Graves estimated. They’re still evaluating whether the tennis court, which will be removed, can be replaced – maybe with a small pickleball court by the swing set; the Department of Neighborhoods is working on that.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES: Fauntleroy/Graham/41st has several projects in various stages – including some stalled. MoCA president Deb Barker, a retired land-use planner (who worked in another city), learned that there’s no requirement that a project be finished in a certain time. One townhouse project is stalled while the builder and city spar over the “amenity space.” Nearby there’s a cleared site where no development has happened but there’s a “huge madrone tree” they’re keeping an eye. She also circulated the design proposal for the 6326 41st SW site, upzoned from single family to Lowrise 3 by HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability. As we’ve reported, 9 townhouse units are planned. Barker urges participation in public-comment periods.

MORGAN MINUTES: These quick updates began with reports on two recent meetings we covered, Southwest District Council and D-1 Community Network. D1CN is still looking for more responses to its “how can we help?” survey – you can reply here. Also, D1CN is organizing a show of support for the Duwamish Longhouse/West Marginal Way SW safety project at next Tuesday’s city-budget public hearing; they’ll meet at the Longhouse (4705 W. Marginal Way SW) that day at 2 pm to prepare and carpool. D1CN also presented two City Council candidate forums we covered – September 14 and September 28. … MoCA has contracted with Knight Owl Creative to overhaul its website, and “everything should be wrapped up in about six weeks” … The MoCA board has openings – secretary Natalie Williams is leaving; the public-information-officer role remain open … Some members of the SCALE coalition that came together to appeal the HALA MHA Environmental Impact Statement have taken it to the state Growth Management Hearings Board; MoCA is NOT part of it but president Barker is monitoring.

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: Lora Radford led the presentation that’s been made to other community groups – looking for partners to spearhead more expansion of the WSAW around West Seattle. Businesses and other hosts don’t even have to search for artists – there’s a database of ~100 artists.

The Morgan Community Association meets third Wednesdays in October, January, April, and July. Watch for the aforementioned website upgrade before the next meeting, at morganjunction.org.

12 Replies to "Updates on park-expansion and Lowman Beach projects @ Morgan Community Association:"

  • OnGraham October 16, 2019 (11:38 pm)

    The climber looks fun, and interesting if this park ends up with some view. But otherwise, given the time, money and effort going into this expansion, it’s underwhelming that the nearly final design essentially adds up to…more grass and some pathways (?). Do I recall correctly that the early sample layouts presented via surveys and at events had more daily activity driven features, like play structures and natural play components? Without purpose-built features that make it a destination for neighbors and families (like Ercolini park, wow that place is ALWAYS a happening neighborhood meet up spot) I fear this new park will likely end up another dreary empty space (ugh,  the Alaska Junction park), 

  • Michael Waldo October 17, 2019 (7:09 am)

    Yes, just a fancy extension of the Beveridge Place Pub smoking area.

  • Sillygoose October 17, 2019 (7:25 am)

    Remove original vegetation!!  What a waste of funding seriously? With all of the landscape architects that city pays with our tax dollars this is the best you can do.  So is this vegetation going to be moved to another project, donated to citizens upon request?  Ridiculous plan!!

  • quiz October 17, 2019 (9:02 am)

    Huh, after reading all the feedback from the surveys, this is not at all what I imagined we’d end up with. Did Board & Vellum phone it in?

  • Gene October 17, 2019 (9:47 am)

    The final design was never going to be the one that got the most votes. The votes were used as input. Given the interesting design choices – am disappointed that this looks like-as another commenter posted- just mostly grass & paths. 

    • Chuck October 17, 2019 (11:48 am)

      I concur. Sounds more like an informal dog park to me. And will be, from what I often witness with how the the current micro-park is used: just a place to walk the dog between pitchers at Beverage Place. I just pray it does not become the park-of-choice for overnight “campers.” 

  • Rick October 17, 2019 (3:39 pm)

    I miss “Indian Jerry”.

  • Meyer October 17, 2019 (4:32 pm)

    Did the dry cleaners get fined or pay for the soil remediation? That seems like a big deal to me that doesn’t get discussed very often when the park is talked about on here

    • Brian October 17, 2019 (5:34 pm)

      This is actually super common for when gas stations and dry cleaners get repurposed into different uses. I don’t think there is a lot of evidence that prior owners are assessed for the remediation, unfortunately.    

      • Tsurly October 17, 2019 (9:14 pm)

        Yes it is common when these sites get redeveloped, but there are many avenues to seek remediation costs from prior operators, particularly the entities who insured them during their operating timeframe. 

  • Jason S October 18, 2019 (9:22 am)

    Always amazed at how long it takes to build anything in the city.  The design looks just fine but I’ll be surprised if it gets done before 2022… for a simple park extension. 

  • Friends of Morgan Junction Parks October 18, 2019 (12:06 pm)

    The comment that original vegetation at the park will be removed is standard procedure when developing these sites. Much of the time that vegetation won’t be missed, but this is not one of those times. Many plantings at Morgan Junction Park were donated by your neighbors after the death of many original plantings left bare spots in the landscape, which only encouraged people to walk through them, which led to more bare spots. We will work with Parks and with Board & Vellum to ensure that as many of these plantings as possible are relocated to the new site. Whatever cannot be incorporated will be donated for use in other public sites. We have a soft spot for the things we’ve nurtured.

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