From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: Here’s why Hiawatha Community Center won’t be reopening any time soon

(WSB photo)

The closure of Hiawatha Community Center has ripple effects this summer – including these two: When wading-pool season starts tomorrow, Hiawatha won’t be opening because of the center closure; also, the Admiral Neighborhood Association can’t resume its summer-concert series because Hiawatha’s unavailable as a venue. A few readers asked us recently for a status report on the community center, so here’s what we have found out from Seattle Parks. They’ve been waiting for approval of a half-million-dollar federal grant (via the Federal Emergency Management Agency), according to Parks’ Kelly Goold, who says that’s about a quarter of the funding for the work to be done at Hiawatha. Rules of the grant, Parks says, prohibited work from starting before the funding was received. Goold says they “believe we will have approval shortly.” Then they can put the project out to bid. If they don’t get the grant? “We will proceed with the project but will complete less project work.” A bit of preparation has been done, Goold says – primarily “hazmat removal.” Once construction starts, it’s expected to take about nine months – so if all goes well from here, Hiawatha might be ready to reopen next summer. The project as described by Parks will include “electrical repairs, water and sewer pipe replacements, furnace and water heater repairs, roof replacement, and more.”

6 Replies to "From the 'in case you wondered too' file: Here's why Hiawatha Community Center won't be reopening any time soon"

  • Kyle June 24, 2022 (3:55 pm)

    Another delayed Parks project with poor communication….

  • S June 24, 2022 (8:33 pm)

    Keeping aside the “works can’t start until a 25% grant is approved”, why does that mean the project can’t be put out to bid? I presume because contractors will increase their bids if there’s a grant, vs no grant.Another year of no community center because of bureaucracy. 

  • Mykscott June 24, 2022 (10:33 pm)

    And why not keep the recent graffiti covered up and fix other damage made to the building by the pandemic warped delinquents loitering in that area.

  • B June 25, 2022 (2:33 am)

    At least we have the project moving forward, though communication is kind of left to a small group of project leads and an even smaller group of followers to get their messaging out. I went to a public input meeting about 2 years ago so the community was given a chance to speak on WHAT designs they preferred, etc. But nobody said anything about waiting for funding before it started; that wasnt the aim of that particular meeting. Though I imagine this timeline is run of the mill for such public works projects. It’s amazing what it takes to get anything done in a big city 

  • Sharon N. July 1, 2022 (8:21 pm)

    Unfortunately the Hiawatha Community Center is not on anyone’s priority list. It is the only community center in the north end of West Seattle and here is sits since before the pandemic. The information on the Parks website is out of date. The site that talks about all community centers mentions no information on the FEMA grant. The signs on the building are not updated. Until this week, the lawn wasn’t even being mowed. I’ve written to Lisa Herbold who has sent an email to the Parks and as of today, two weeks later, no updated information on the FEMA grant. In the meantime, it is looking shabbier and shabbier which will lead to more graffiti etc. No activities for kids, no wading pool, no exercise programs for seniors.No feeding programs like some of the other community centers. I’d like to be patient but it seems until it is a priority for someone in the City, it won’t have any attention paid to it.

  • Value effectiveness July 9, 2022 (1:20 am)

    It seems to me WS does not highly value effective local gov when it comes to the basics. WS does not highly value project completion, low crime, clean safe streets, rec centers open for kids and the community. If WS did then they would choose leaders who also highly valued those things. 

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