FOLLOWUP: No new tennis court at Lowman Beach, but SWAC courts will open for public use

(2012 Lowman Beach aerial photo – pre-Murray CSO Project – by Long Bach Nguyen

Last weekend we published the announcement of a third public meeting about what might happen at Lowman Beach Park once the crumbling seawall and neighboring tennis court are removed. The announcement said only that “two concepts” would be discussed. Today Seattle Parks revealed those two concepts are: Pickleball court, or no replacement. But Parks also says more tennis courts in the area will be opened to the public. From the announcement:

Two public meetings have been held and three concepts were reviewed. After reviewing the work from the community and the design team, SPR recommends either adding a pickleball court (and saving the swings) or allowing for no additional change than the beach restoration project. SPR does not support the tennis-court concept.

SPR’s recommendation takes into account the park location, its unique characteristics, proximity to other tennis courts, and future maintenance impacts. In addition, SPR reviewed the images from the public meetings, phone calls, emails, and the extensive community outreach to inform this decision. The decision also supports SPR’s Strategic Plan, as the Healthy Environment section calls out preserving a healthy ocean and marine environment that contribute to the health of the Seattle and Pacific ecosystem and a balance between active and passive recreation.

SPR did hear from the community about the importance of racket courts and has worked out an agreement with Seattle Public Schools to open the six courts at the Southwest Athletic Complex [WSB photo above]. The courts are free for drop-in unless reserved … Information about court reservations can be found here.

(We don’t see the SWAC courts listed there yet; we’ll check with Parks tomorrow.) Back to Lowman Beach – the meeting is online at 6:30 pm next Tuesday (June 29th); register here to participate. If the pickleball concept is pursued, funds have to be raised to build it, as Parks has no funding allocated beyond the beach restoration following the seawall/tennis-court removal.

15 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: No new tennis court at Lowman Beach, but SWAC courts will open for public use"

  • Auntie June 23, 2021 (6:41 pm)

    How about no more cement? Parks need to be green, not concrete. Save the swings, too.

    • Oakley34 June 23, 2021 (7:33 pm)

      Yes please. Open concept.

  • Kyle June 23, 2021 (7:53 pm)

    Will they be opening up the running track at SWAC too? If the tennis courts are open to the public, they should return the track to general use when no events are occuring as well.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees June 23, 2021 (7:54 pm)

    Tennis courts belong in athletic facilities, not in VERY small, green refuges with limited space. Same with pickle ball courts. Keep our parks green, serene, and concrete-free.

  • Not Surprised June 23, 2021 (8:08 pm)

    What a sad day for West Seattle and this unique and historical gem.  
    As someone who grew up roaming these places and with sad realization of their demise, I wonder what could be next?  
    Have the Olmsted designs aged out in their old fashioned domination of the landscape exemplified by tropes of the mythical “settling” of the West?
    Colman Pool is another beloved gem or wart on the Point, (a relic of shoreline development of paving,  hard surfaces, concrete and gunite).  

    For a tween-teen summer I swam there nearly every day.  
    Like the Lowman Courts, Colman Pool is absolutely unique with a stunning location and wonderful West Seattle heritage.  
    A plan to restore the natural beach of the Lincoln Park cove and remove Colman Pool and those infringing old WPA stonework bulkheads & paved roads makes sense for today’s environment.  
    I would love to return or cede the park and restoration of the point and its lowlands to be reimagined by the dxʷdəwʔabš. 
    Contrast that with convenient drive-up water access for SUPs, kayaks and watercraft of the vague Parks proposal.
    But beyond that, what we have from Parks is little more than a sad bait-and-switch proposal.  
    I wonder if the Parks ‘powers that be’ has already made the decision about denying any sports court, but is delaying and obfuscating  with this ‘buffer announcement?’
    As for the announcement of negotiating with the SPS to “open” these courts to the public, I had no idea that the courts at the Southwest Athletic Complex were not already ‘open.’  
    My daughter (not a SPS student) and I played there routinely and I had no idea we were not allowed.
    Since they were first installed on the old Denny Jr. High site, these courts that replace the original (and terrible) Sealth tennis courts  have always been open just like the tennis courts of old and everywhere else -Hiawatha, HighPoint, Delridge.  
    We played on all of them. 
    This is a confusing reversal of that and interesting after the Parks allowing both Public and Private Schools to reserve Parks’ tennis courts temporarily excluding  the general and working public.   How about they limit school to the Park Annex?

    • 1994 June 23, 2021 (10:35 pm)

      I agree with you not surprised. Tennis courts should be part of the public parks and a water front tennis court is pretty spectacular! What a shame Seattle Parks doesn’t appreciate it’s own history.

  • Craig June 23, 2021 (11:04 pm)

    What a good outcome, tennis players who feared not having (another) place to play get 6 courts rather than 1. The park space will be prioritized for general use (read: more/most people), not some. The comparison of this specific park situation to Coleman pool is not accurate, and is quite the red herring attempt. A pool is a much rarer public asset, and is not limited to small numbers of users at a time. That is why nobody is advocating removal of Coleman pool. I look forward to having this park revitalized and serving users for another generation to make memories at. 

    • Not Surprised June 24, 2021 (10:48 am)

      While respecting Craig’s opinion, the claim of “place to play get 6 courts rather than 1″  considering their defacto use is misleading and false. 
      The net result is the loss of one tennis court.  
      Even more loss will now occur if you consider that the formalizing of the agreement with Schools means that the formerly “open” school courts will also change status adding limitations to public access.

      It can’t be denied or emphasized enough, that the Lowman tennis court has long been a unique experience  in Seattle, and that experience will soon end.

  • Jane June 24, 2021 (7:26 am)

    Thank goodness a tennis court won’t engulf this tiny gem of nature. This space is too small and precious for any court or concrete.

  • Beach resident June 24, 2021 (8:13 am)

    Coleman pool does not block pedestrian access to the waterfront.

    The old Lowman court is in a corner of the park and did not block pedestrian access down to the water (although it blocked a whole stream). The proposed new court, however,  is situated in the middle of the open park space, so accessing the beach would require pedestrians to travel along the edges of the park.  The court displaces pedestrian access to open space.

  • Richard June 24, 2021 (9:28 am)

    I had no idea that until now we were “not allowed” to use the SWAC tennis courts or running track.  Hmm is it privately owned, funded by some really, really rich guy? 

    Seems ridiculous but considering our tax dollars fund the schools & parks you would think the people actually PAYING TAXES would be able to use these publicly owned recreational facilities. 

    Sure you can “walk on” to use a public tennis court but you can also “reserve” a public tennis court … for a $10 fee! 

    I guess that’s a bargain considering it costs $15 for an outdoor court at Amy Yee, or $36 per hour for an indoor court.  I’m surprised they’re not charging to park … oh wait.

    • Ron Swanson June 24, 2021 (10:19 am)

      I know, right? You wouldn’t believe what happened when I tried to go into Chief Stealth’s woodshop to use a lathe, they told me to get out! Unbelievable!  I told the cops they called that my taxes pay their salaries and that just made things worse

      • Not Surprised June 24, 2021 (10:54 am)

        You Betcha Ron,
        Same thing when I tried to take a jog around the track on school playfields.  
        Or shoot hoops on outdoor school courts.  
        What was I thinking, especially during the long school closures and summer vacations when they are unused by students?

        • Ron Swanson June 24, 2021 (3:13 pm)

          Probably not thinking about the people letting their dogs crap on artificial turf, the people driving their dirt bikes around the track, the people setting off fireworks and melting the turf, the bottles broken leaving glass in the turf, and of course these days the people setting up tents on the turf…there’s a good reason the gates are locked!

          • Kyle June 24, 2021 (5:40 pm)

            Before the pandemic both the track and the tennis courts were open to the public when school events were not occuring. They locked them up for social distance reasons, so I’m curious if those will expire June 30 with the rest of the state restrictions? Right now the neighborhood kids just jump the fence. Hope no one gets injured.

Sorry, comment time is over.