Final design for Hiawatha play area’s new location

(Design by Karen Kiest Landscape Architects)

That’s the final design for Hiawatha‘s to-be-relocated play area, as just announced by Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation is happy to announce the completion of the final concept design for the new play area at Hiawatha Playfield. To review the design, (go here) or view a large concept design board at the park near the adult fitness equipment. Karen Kiest Landscape Architects worked with SPR and input from the community to develop the final design concept. Thank you to the community for their participation in this design. Hiawatha Playfield is in West Seattle at 2700 California Ave. SW.

The goal of this project is to transfer the location of the play area from the north end of the park to the grass area just south of the wading pool. The project includes new play equipment for children 2 to 5 and 5 to 12 years, swings, a small plaza, and restoration of the old play area site. The new location will improve visibility and access for all.

Play area construction is planned to start in the summer of 2021 and end in December 2021, along with restoration of the old play site. Other areas of Hiawatha Playfield will remain open during construction. However, there are other projects in the planning stages for this area (community center renovation and athletic field turf replacement).

Funding for this play area project is provided by the Seattle Park District. The Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding to tackle the $267 million major maintenance backlog for Seattle Parks and Recreation as well as other facilities including the Aquarium and Zoo. The Seattle Park District helps improve and rehabilitate community centers, preserves the urban forest, performs day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities, provides more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, supports programs for people of all ages and abilities, and acquires and develops new park land.

Separate from this project, the city has announced – as we reported early in the budget-review process – that Hiawatha Community Center itself is expected to be closed for all of next year because of its own renovation work. An update on that project is here.

25 Replies to "Final design for Hiawatha play area's new location"

  • Jeff October 22, 2020 (10:54 am)

    It will be nice to have the play structure updated and not so splintery, but sad to presumably see one more of the few remaining tall swings be replaced with the short ones.   My kids will be disappointed, we go there specifically for the tall swings. 

  • WSPerson October 22, 2020 (11:36 am)

    Seems surprising that with all of the space available they are still not going to have a full basketball court.

  • junctioneer October 22, 2020 (12:19 pm)

    Looks nice. I’ll be interested to see if the fitness area will be used as anything other than a play area, especially with it now basically merged in with the play area. I’m sure the kids will be using it a ton, and I wonder if adults would even want to use it right next to the play area anyway. If so, I wonder if the city would be willing to consider replacing it with more play equipment there in the future.

    • S October 22, 2020 (11:06 pm)

      Actually, putting them together makes sense to me. Parents and other adults can use the fitness area while kids play on the playground. Yes, kids will try out the fitness stuff, but will most likely prefer what the playground offers. Many times I’ve wanted to use the fitness area at this park while my kids play, but with the playground so far away it’s not realistic, so I’m glad this change is being made. 

      • newnative October 23, 2020 (10:19 am)

        The fitness area is not supposed to be used by children under 13. I stopped using it when too many kids started playing on it, with or without their parents present. I was horrified to see a young toddler get sucked under the elliptical as his older brother was playing on it. Parents weren’t even in shouting distance. I don’t want to be present when  another child gets seriously hurt. I’m done informing parents that the sign says 13 and over. 

  • Mj October 22, 2020 (12:31 pm)

    Once again I ask where is the lighting?  The existing play area has lighting and the City was informed of this early on in the process, and did not include.  Very frustrating!

  • MissK October 22, 2020 (12:46 pm)

    What a waste of time and money. Build a pool and increase aquatic culture/ swimming competence for West Satellites / North Admiral residents. So much wasted valuable land.I know I know. Wishful thinking. But shouldn’t parks and rec serve our needs? Sigh. 

    • My two cents ... October 22, 2020 (4:11 pm)

      @missk – building a pool would be EXTREMELY expensive. Construction costs will be much higher, will also take up a much larger footprint for the pool and the surrounding area for safety and changing + shower facilities. Also would need to base people to be there, lifeguard activity and such. 

      • WSB October 22, 2020 (4:27 pm)

        Also of note, the Parks Department says it can’t even afford to operate the pools it has – as we noted in early budget coverage, about half of them citywide won’t open next year (including Colman).

        • Nicole October 22, 2020 (9:59 pm)


    • Alkiopenwaterswimmer October 23, 2020 (2:25 pm)

      There is a perfectly good and FREE salt water pool available for all  West Seattlites/ North Admiral residents 365 days a year, and you can find people swimming in it pretty much everyday. If you need directions, start at the Alki Bathhouse and head northwest, you cant miss it.

  • Rico October 22, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    The wading pool looks massive, and is a waste in the Seattle climate.   It gets used only 2/3 month per year, and the rest of the time gathers moss, mud, etc . . .  No more mini baseball diamond?  I live next to this park, and there are often kids and parents using the current baseball diamond, as delipidated as it is – even in the fall as there were this week.       No full court basketball in the new design?    A lot of trees, very little open area.  Does this city have any idea the needs of its citizens?    Maybe a small off leash area for dogs would be useful in the this part of the city?    

    • Anne October 22, 2020 (2:33 pm)

      There was input from the community-so not just City decision. I am happy there is  NO off leash area at Hiawatha.Keep it that way.

  • Gina October 22, 2020 (1:28 pm)

    Spray park would be nice, able to be open more days of the week in the summer. No diaper fail closures.

  • Sue T. October 22, 2020 (1:54 pm)

    Will there be any sitting walls, bollard posts, or grade separations to prevent kids from dashing between the play equipment and the nearby street?  I don’t see any child safety elements in the final design.

    • Anne October 22, 2020 (5:21 pm)

      Looking at enlarged rendering- there seems to be thickened edged concrete surrounding the play areas. Also existing trees along park & parking strip. 

  • Bill October 22, 2020 (1:58 pm)

    It would be nice if Parks would complete the project of replacing the south Lincoln Park play area before taking away another play area.  We are working on more than three years without a play space.  Hiawathians, be warned, if Parks finds a way to remove your play area, and then delay the replacement of it, it will be several years before you see a new one.   Get a time commitment in writing!  Then hold them to it!

  • cjboffoli October 22, 2020 (6:39 pm)

    Maybe they could reserve a bit of money to repair the adjacent section of Walnut while they’re at it. There are so many displaced concrete slabs with shock absorber killing edges that a geology class could use that section of road for a primer on plate tectonics.

  • 1994 October 22, 2020 (10:36 pm)

    Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea in 2014 that voter’s approved?…..the city and parks should be collecting more than ever in property taxes because the property tax continues to increase year after year. Seattle Park District. On August 5, 2014 voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1 which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District will provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

  • Sillygoose October 23, 2020 (8:57 am)

    Why is the City Parks Department working on funding another park when the Morgan Junction site has been sitting unfinished for years? It is a horrible eye sore.

    • WSB October 23, 2020 (10:10 am)

      They are continuing a variety of projects, including this one, that cost a lot less than development of landbanked parks including the Morgan Junction expansion, the Junction site on 40th, and 48th/Charlestown.

  • Mj October 23, 2020 (5:40 pm)

    I want to know why the plan is removing perfectly good swings?  Yes I see they plan new ones, but why?  This is poor use of resources.

  • A lot in common October 23, 2020 (5:45 pm)

    SDOT and Parks & Recreation have more in common than meets the eye in West Seattle: ageing infrastructure, under funded, behind schedule, serving a wide range of vocal subgroups, experienced closures to major use areas during the pandemic. Whew!

    • 1994 October 23, 2020 (10:14 pm)

      The Seattle Park District, approved by voters in 2014, was to suppose to improve funding for parks by basing collections from property taxes. We all know property taxes only go up, up and more up…..but the government budgets are never satisfied. From the Parks web site:On August 5, 2014 voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1 which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District will provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

  • Please dont October 24, 2020 (7:45 am)

    Please don’t put bright colored equipment in a beautiful Olmsted Park. The natural beauty should be kept. I’m heartbroken.

Sorry, comment time is over.