Park-site skating, festival’s future, more @ Morgan Community Association’s first quarterly meeting of 2023

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two major topics and several quick updates highlighted the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting last night. MoCA president Deb Barker facilitated the online meeting.

SKATING AT MORGAN JUNCTION PARK ADDITION: The site north of Morgan Junction Park has “been such an eyesore for so long,” why not do something with it? That’s the contention of the community members who went rogue and built a makeshift skatepark last year. This was a hot topic at the last MoCA quarterly meeting in October; last night, MoCA again heard from the West Seattleites who turned the long-vacant site into an unofficial skatepark and are campaigning, as “Let The Kids Skate,” for that use to be included in the permanent plan. (The site’s been owned by the city for almost nine years, but its development as a park stalled during COVID.) One supporter, John, said Parks asked them for concepts to incorporate a “skate dot” into the pre-existing design for the park addition. Another, Zac, presented some of their ideas. Parks has shut down use of the community-built features on the site, but it might be another six years until the park is developed, though; they contend that’s too long to wait while the site sits vacant. They think the south part of the site is the best spot for a skate dot – the north end has some conflicts with neighboring residents, although they contend that could be mitigated. He showed some concepts:

Truly activating the site could be a draw for Morgan’s growing business district too, they contend – reasons to come and stay, rather than leaving – so they hope business owners will get excited about the idea too. Zac said the group likes Option 3 best. It would include features that don’t exist at current skating areas in West Seattle. Here’s a closer look:

He said their rough schematics would be pretty easy to use to springboard to a cost estimate – and that community fundraising is one option. Their next steps include soliciting community feedback, as well as Parks’ commitment to redesigning the site. Community support is vital – this group is all-volunteer, and if they don’t have support, they’re not going to keep pushing it indefinitely, they said. The site, meantime, is awaiting soil remediation, but Let The Kids Skate has been told that’s not imminent – no contract’s been awarded.

Among those on hand for the meeting was Matt Johnston, a West Seattleite who’s been involved in past skatepark projects, including development of a citywide plan to which he says Parks is “still beholden.” This site is not on the plan, but Alki and Hiawatha are, for example, and Johnston said that the city’s been known to remove one location and add another if that works. “They should be interested in opportunities to do what they said they were going to do,” he said.

2023 MORGAN JUNCTION FESTIVAL: MoCA’s Michael Brunner presented a recap of past years as the group looks ahead to bringing back a full-day festival for the first time since before the pandemic. “It takes a lot of work,” he noted, and that includes lots of volunteer power. Here’s some of what it’s entailed in the past:

A date hasn’t been finalized yet – June 18th is a leading candidate – but planning meetings need to start soon. Here are some of the roles with which they welcome assistance:

If you can help make this festival happen,

Quick updates:

FUTURE EV SITE: Environmental cleanup of the site at 42nd/Morgan was completed in November. Barker said they’d asked Seattle City Light questions including whether the site could be used before development. Yes, with conditions, she was told.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN UPDATE: If you haven’t yet been to a meeting for input and information about this citywide plan, an online meeting is set for January 30.

DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY: 6007 California SW, proposed for a four-story mixed-use project, is “on hold … stalled over funding issues,” Barker said she was told by a project team member … 6314 41st SW, a 34-apartment project, is still going through land-use review … The California/Brandon Aegis Living proposal, as we’ve reported, goes before the Southwest Design Review Board on February 2nd.

NEW BUSINESS: West Seattle Wonder Dogs is now in Morgan Junction (6040 California SW). Proprietor Erika Abrahamson says, “We’re really loving the new location.” Their offerings include dog day care and training.

PREPAREDNESS: As discussed at the last meeting, Gatewood Elementary will have a special emphasis on this during this month’s Parent Education Night, as a sort of pilot for future wider-community meetings.

FRIENDS OF MORGAN JUNCTION PARKS: This group is planning an April volunteer-work-party event for Morgan Junction Park and will be seeking volunteers.

MoCA BOARD: Openings remain, including the vice presidency. Email if interested.

NEXT MEETING: April 19th, 7 pm, likely still online.

37 Replies to "Park-site skating, festival's future, more @ Morgan Community Association's first quarterly meeting of 2023"

  • Brian January 19, 2023 (5:37 pm)

    Weird, that skate dot looks a LOT like what the community already built that was summarily destroyed by the parks department.

  • cricket January 19, 2023 (5:43 pm)

    I’m a 38 year old Morgan Junction resident/skater. Not shedding as much gnar these days, option 3 looks right about my speed, especially 6 years from now.

  • Luke January 19, 2023 (6:58 pm)

    Parks department timelines are so frustrating. For example, Lincoln Park South playground was demolished before my daughter was born. I bet she’ll have a driver’s license before a new play structure is built it’s reopened. 6 years for this little park is crazy. Skate or die!

  • oldManwalking January 19, 2023 (7:09 pm)

    Parks has shut down use of the community-built features on the site.”  
    Please WSB?

    Parks has destroyed the community built features to shut down the site. 

  • Nature January 19, 2023 (8:27 pm)

    This would be an awesome use of the space. Good on the skaters for trying to go through the proper channels!

  • TheGeneral January 19, 2023 (8:39 pm)

    During a time of rebuilding community including businesses after the pandemic, I am excited and absolutely supportive of putting in the skate park/feature.  I also advocate for doing it sooner rather than later with community support.  I can’t imagine an argument that could counter building something that brings kids and families together.

  • TheColonel January 19, 2023 (9:26 pm)

    I so enjoyed seeing what the community built last summer and regularly saw adults and kids enjoying that space side by side. I would love nothing more than to see the a permanent skate dot be established in that space. The Seattle Parks timeline is disheartening, but their destruction of a community built skate dot and returning it to unusable space for the foreseeable future is appalling.

  • Disco January 19, 2023 (9:29 pm)

    This area has so much potential for quality community use. A skate park would be a fantastic addition to the area; and maybe more seating and a dog waste station too?! …It has been sickening to pass the space by foot or in my car and see the fences (for what seems and eternity now)! Action is needed on this project. Enough of the fumbling around Seattle Parks Dept! The fact that the community took it upon themselves to develop the park with money out of their own pockets clearly shows the need for action and their desire for a better use of the space. I fully support the development of this skate park.

  • Lieutenant January 19, 2023 (9:31 pm)

    I love this idea… skate parks appeal to a wide age range and the design looks safe and appealing. It will be nice to see that space turned (again) into something that strengthens our community. 

  • Let the Kids Skate! January 20, 2023 (7:13 am)

    Love the slogan and the idea of a skate park there. Ideally with some big conifers around it as we are losing so many trees we’ll no longer be able to call ourselves the Emerald City. They can also act as a barrier to the neighbors. Skateboarding is not a crime!

  • Travis January 20, 2023 (8:44 am)

    What a great idea for the space. Skateboarding has been such a positive activity in my life, and now my children’s life. What a gift for the community. Growing up in area we were lucky to have a few skateparks. Accessibility was always an issue. We would have to take multiple buses to get to our local skatepark. How great for the kids in neighborhood if they could cruise down the street to skate. I think this a great idea that should be explored further. Thanks to the WSB for posting this article. 

  • HH January 20, 2023 (9:27 am)

    A skate park would be an amazing addition to the area. SO many kids growing up without yards and streets to play in. Give them a place to go. 

  • JVP January 20, 2023 (9:37 am)

    I really feel like Seattle in general, and parks in particular, wants to make sure kids never have anything fun to do. Total lack of stuff like skate parks, basketball hoops, etc in our neighborhoods. It’s weird.

  • WSDAD January 20, 2023 (9:51 am)

    Cool. This spot has been a dump for years. I like option three; that’s more my speed. I was a skater for years, and now I am in my mid 40’s with kids. Would love to take my kids there. 

  • park lover January 20, 2023 (10:47 am)

    I’d just like to point out that Seattle Parks Department appears to take the whole “Seattle Process” joke to the next level. They sure seem to be the most dysfunctional from an outside eye. 6 years? What was the timeline for the south lincoln park playground?

  • James January 20, 2023 (11:12 am)

    Grew up grinding and shredding down at Westlake. Would love a new park!

  • Jort January 20, 2023 (12:01 pm)

    I again challenge the citizens of this very fine city to consider their targets when engaged in the perpetual venting of frustrations about government problems. SDOT, which prioritizes and successfully carries out the mass movement of hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day through the city with millions of dollars in funding, gets non-stop abuse for not doing enough for cars (which they can’t do, anyway, because SDOT is incapable of “solving” the geometrical paradox of automobile-centered development), but the Parks department somehow always escapes people’s ire. If a wealthy neighbor spent $1.8 million on a property and then took a full decade to convert that empty lot into … anything! … you would be calling into question that neighbors’ base capability to function. Why is Parks so fundamentally dysfunctional?! Why are the timelines on relatively simple projects being measured in decades?! And, importantly, why does nobody seem to care about this?! People go absolutely ballistic on this website over much smaller issues in government. What is going on over in Parks?!

    • Wseattleite January 20, 2023 (1:20 pm)

      Oh man Jort, you bring up an absolutely valid criticism of the underperforming Parks Dept. I feel the message is somewhat diluted by brining the vitriol of your normal banter about cars into the conversation. Many times, more is said with less. Non-the-less, agreed that Parks seems to be the epitome of a disfunctional bureaucracy. 

  • Pete Pauling January 20, 2023 (12:18 pm)

    I live close to this spot and it was so nice to go there with my 8 year old daughter and have a spot that was a place that she could progress safely. I would often run into other skate families and other friends in the community who would encourage and help teach my daughter. I hope that the community embraces the idea of having a positive place to impact people of all ages and abilities.

  • pitiful for sure January 20, 2023 (12:52 pm)

    This is about the timeline, it’s just crazy!  Like the Lincoln park south playground, my kids were at the age to use it when it was torn down, but now they’re in high school and driving.  If we were allowed, the community could’ve done a gofundme and built it themselves.  We have enough engineers and smart people that it could’ve been done safely (and awesomely!).  I just don’t understand.  It would be interesting to talk to someone actually responsible for the timelines and get a real answer on what’s going on.  

  • Justin January 20, 2023 (1:37 pm)

    The community needs a skatepark NOW!  Not only will it give local skaters and families a place to go, it’ll also bring skaters and families from outside of  west Seattle into Morgan Junction area to check out the park and probably spend their money at the local businesses. Let’s quickly transform this eye sore of a site into something everyone can use. Side note- maybe the parks dept. could have used their time to clean out the Delridge skatepark during fall instead of destroying a community built project at Morgan Junction.  

  • snowskier January 20, 2023 (2:42 pm)

    Totally support the idea of community funded project while we’re waiting on parks to do anything.   The actions in the fall were so passive aggressive and juvenile.  The spot is right on the C-Line so kids from all over would have easy access to a positive spot (they all have free transit this year).  Waiting 6+ more years for a park design and build is asinine, didn’t we just approve a parks budget recently for acquisition and implementation of things like this.  I fear that Seattle Parks and SDOT use the same cost estimators who failed math because they are never able to implement a fraction of the things they put forth in ballot measures. 

  • Seaview parent January 21, 2023 (9:22 am)

    Love this idea. Put an inviting, unique skate park/plaza on the south side, a small dog park and pickleball courts on the north side, and a bit of seating and edible landscaping (herbs, lavender, etc.)Combine that approach with amazing local businesses like Beveredge Place, Zeeks, Thunder Road, Whisky West, etc., and we’d literally have the most vibrant, engaged intersection in likely all of Seattle. Revisit the designs, move fast, and let the skateboarders use the site in the short term to reactivate this post-apocalyptic Seattle Parks tribute to inaction.Let’s do this! 

  • Peterman January 21, 2023 (9:59 am)

    I support Option 3.  

  • Natalie January 21, 2023 (10:18 am)

    I fully support having a skate park somewhere nearby, but I was so looking forward to having a playground within walking distance of our house.  There aren’t any play structures for kids within walking distance in our neighborhood, at least not walking distance with young children.  If there is any way to still keep some of the features of the original park design for non-skaters, I would appreciate that.

    • Jon January 22, 2023 (11:13 am)

      Thanks for the input! Activities and installations we hope to get approved and actually implemented are more than just skate features. Most of us working with the “proper channels” are parents as well. A playground would be great for us too, haha. And wether it’s a dog run, pickleball court, place for small festivals/events/art shows, and/or whatever else most adults are into these days have been a part of discussions since the start. 6 years is a long time, and my daughter will probably be too old for a playground and whatnot, but you’re 100% correct on it being a necessary addition. I really hope Morgan Junction can set itself apart from the other 2 to the North, and offer something unique. Also, how cool would it be to actually have a organically grown, community designed space everyone can have a hand in and be a part of!? We hope to have a small presence at the Morgan Junction Festival this Summer and would love to talk with neighbors and work together on something we could all enjoy. And thank you, again!

  • Pepe January 21, 2023 (12:45 pm)

    Make it happen!

  • Kristin ebeling January 21, 2023 (1:54 pm)

    Let’s make an accessible skate park that can be utilized by skaters of all skill levels with features like:- manual pad and/or small ledge (10-12”)- curb and/or small flatbar – mostly flatground around the features instead of features being surrounded by ramps- everything able to be used as a ride on / not needing a big ollie I think this is what would be in line with the former diy park, and also what we need in our skate park system.  

  • KR January 21, 2023 (4:05 pm)

    It was so awesome seeing that skatepark pop up last summer. I would regularly walk by to stop and watch the skaters make that place their own community space that brought together so many people in an otherwise wasted space. 

  • Matt Sellars January 21, 2023 (4:56 pm)

    I was dismayed to see that the parks dept crushed the diy features. It’s a terrible message to send to young people pursuing physical activity, while soccer fields seem to get endless amounts of support in this town. The 6 year timeline is ridiculous but in keeping with Seattle city malaise standards. As a 53 year old skater, we were kicked out of everywhere in the 80’s, so the city eliminating options really gets my hackles up. Nowadays, I lean towards flowier designs but this park is an incubator for young talent- both nascent and skilled. It’s not hyperbole to say things like this are the basis for a lifetime of healthy outlook. Option 3 for sure- you had me at “permanent”

  • Noah January 21, 2023 (9:29 pm)

    Definitely permanent option would be awesome for the community 

  • 937 January 21, 2023 (11:03 pm)

    How is Parks able to destroy something immediately – but take 6 years to create something.

    Too bad they don’t take 6 years to respond to “complaints”


  • GD January 22, 2023 (10:39 am)

    Let the kids skate!

  • Parks January 23, 2023 (5:51 pm)

    These are all great comments – how do we get them to the right people? 

  • Aaron G January 24, 2023 (9:22 am)

    I go by this spot often and I think it’s instructive to note that the neighboring public space (Morgan Junction Park?) is very lightly used. When the skate park went in, there were kids there all the time. It was great to see. Parks are good but if they don’t get used, it’s a missed opportunity. The skate park is a great example of something the community wants and needs. This park also seemed to draw an age group of kids that is often under served – younger teens. They’ve outgrown the playgrounds and are looking for a place to hangout. I can’t think of any place in West Seattle that was as often visited by this age group than the skate park. I hope they can get this built sooner than six years.

  • pessimist January 25, 2023 (8:18 am)

    35 comments and not a single one is in opposition to this plan.  I hope the Parks Dept. is paying attention.  Everyone supports it, but our typical Seattle process will ensure it happens on the same pace as light rail.

  • Seaview Human January 25, 2023 (6:35 pm)

    Agree that anything would be better than the current situation. We live nearby and walk by the MJ Park almost daily. I remember the excitement when the city acquired the lot for a park, what fun for my toddlers! Those toddlers are now in high school, our youngest only knows the space as a constantly evolving eyesore. While I do think the previously planned and approved park addition would be great, the people that contributed input to that plan, like me are older, our kids are past well past the playground stage. It’s almost worth revisiting the whole situation. The glacial pace is frustrating and an ongoing waste of good space. At this point, just do something, even if it’s moving forward with soil remediation and clean up so we can lay down a simple patch of grass, a play space (skating or otherwise) and parking spot for a food truck or two.  If we can’t get it in the parks pipeline to be built, let’s just sell the property back to private owners who can deliver much needed amenities to the neighborhood, restaurants, housing, services…

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