FOLLOWUP: Checking again on long-closed Hiawatha Community Center

(WSB file photo)

We’ve received a new round of questions about the status of Hiawatha Community Center, where the pandemic closure segued into a closure for what was supposed to be an imminent upgrade project – which still hasn’t started. For many months, Seattle Parks‘ reply to “why hasn’t the work started yet?” has been “we’re waiting for a federal grant” but that approval was believed to be imminent. That was the answer when we asked back in June, and it’s what the Admiral Neighborhood Association was told in September. (One big reason it matters to ANA – they’re still trying to bring back their summer-concert series, which has historically been held at Hiawatha.) So we asked Parks again – and “waiting for the grant” is still the answer. The grant has been described as half a million dollars, about a quarter of the project’s funding, Previously, Parks had said they couldn’t start work because that might affect their eligibility for the grant but now, Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor tells WSB, “We are moving forward with the project and hope that FEMA grant approval comes before bidding. We are making building code updates to the design and anticipate the project will go out to bid in early spring 2023 with construction starting in May 2023.” The previously announced expected duration of the project is nine months, so even if work does start next spring, that means Hiawatha wouldn’t reopen any sooner than early 2024. The upgrades it’s supposed to get have been listed as “electrical repairs, water and sewer pipe replacements, furnace and water heater repairs, roof replacement, and more.”

15 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Checking again on long-closed Hiawatha Community Center"

  • Kyle December 12, 2022 (12:33 pm)

    Thanks for the update WSB. Just curious how long has Hiawatha been closed now? Also LOL at Parks doing nothing this whole time and still now needing all winter to work on the design.

    • WSB December 12, 2022 (1:50 pm)

      I believe it was closed for the pandemic shutdown – so spring 2020 – and never reopened – someone please speak up if you recall otherwise.

  • Jort December 12, 2022 (1:58 pm)

    Oh my gosh, what a huge shock, that something related to Seattle Parks infrastructure would be on a rolling multi-year (perhaps multi-decade?) delay. Again, people are willing to jump down SDOT’s throats on a hair trigger over perceived injustices (98% of the SDOT budget goes towards making it easier for people to drive cars in the city), but almost never do I hear people outraged at the obvious long-term incompetence of Seattle Parks at managing basically anything. Good news: they’re going to ask you for even more money to do literally nothing with next year, so you’ve got that going for you.

    • Mel December 12, 2022 (2:17 pm)

      I don’t always agree with you Jort but you’re right about this. I feel like we’ve lost a lot of services like swim lessons (and more) since the pandemic and yet they keep wanting more money. What are we getting out of it? We haven’t even returned to the number of services/classes offered pre-pandemic. 

    • my two cents December 12, 2022 (2:33 pm)

      Jort – you have to remember, I drive a lot more than going to the park so those priorities you laid out sound good to me, thanks!

  • SLJ December 12, 2022 (2:10 pm)

    Any updates on the closure at Delridge community center? The bathrooms that were accessed from outside used to be open, but now those are closed too. The only option is a poorly maintained temporary toilet. It’s disgusting, and reflects poorly on Seattle when visiting soccer teams need to use it.

  • Paul Tankel December 12, 2022 (4:34 pm)

    Do we know about the status of the playground renovation?

  • Seaview parent December 12, 2022 (4:38 pm)

    Thanks for the update, WSB.

    Also, want to point out the dystopian site of rubble and chain link at the Morgan Junction park expansion site, which was a functioning temporary community skateboarding spot (with garden boxes) just a few months ago with nearly a thousand petition signatures in support.

    • flimflam December 13, 2022 (9:38 am)

      Yes, it’s sad and ridiculous. The city can’t stand to see others doing what they can’t (or won’t) with unused spaces.

  • Anne December 12, 2022 (6:09 pm)

    Seems like the longer the building stays closed / unoccupied the more it will deteriorate. I expect when they finally get started the cost for repairs will have increased dramatically. 

  • Westside 3 December 13, 2022 (6:25 am)

    This is disappointing. It’s also disappointing that they won’t replace all the burned out lights that illuminate the grounds around and near the center, and the track.  It feels a bit unsafe at night.  I’ve submitted two separate repair requests, once through voicemail at the maintenance department, and the other through the Find it, Fix it app. 

  • bud December 13, 2022 (11:52 am)

    did the batting cages ever get fixed?

  • Ryan December 13, 2022 (2:11 pm)

    Tear this old, antiquated building down and build a modern facility with a new community activity facility in its place complete with an aquatics center that could host sporting events, weight lifting, swim lessons, SCUBA classes, cardio classes, yoga, dance, rock climbing, crafting classes, game nights, etc.

  • J December 14, 2022 (3:14 pm)

    Aye yi yi. I’ve lived in Seattle for nearly 30 years. This city cannot get anything done in a timely way. Not the bridge, the tunnel, the mess that still exists on the waterfront, and much much more (light rail, etc etc etc). And don’t get me started on the area-wide monorail that citizens overwhelmingly voted for – what, 4 times? Who wanted the light rail really? Corruption. What else could it be. I’ve given up hope. 

  • WS Alum December 19, 2022 (7:48 pm)

    The Hiawatha Community Center is considered a historical landmark and cannot and should not be torn down. A good remodel with a larger gym is another topic.

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