By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With three projects on the way – two of them long-delayed – Hiawatha was the centerstage topic at last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, facilitated by ANA president Joanie Jacobs:
HIAWATHA: Seattle Parks’ Kim Baldwin brought the latest information, though little has changed since our most-recent reports. She clarified that she’s with the capital division – the one that “gets projects built.” First, the Hiawatha turf replacement, which she noted is needed because it’s close to the end of its 10-to-12-year life cycle. The track also will be redone. The field striping will include softball. And a new batting cage is part of the project. Right now they’re awaiting contract execution (we reported the rebid results here) and later this month expect to issue a notice to proceed, so the project would be complete “by the end of August.” Baldwin said there’s no specific start date yet. A former West Seattle High School baseball coach voiced concerns about past problems with the site, including safety because of a light pole “that somebody’s going to run into.” He also wanted to ensure that the mounds on the field will be turf, not dirt. Baldwin said some of these issues might already be addressed in the project – she didn’t have the plans handy. The former coach also had concerns about limitations on the times that the school teams could use the field.
Regarding the renovations for the years-closed community center, which includes a wide variety of components, the FEMA grant has been received, Baldwin said (as noted here), and they’re hoping to go out to bid soon and start construction in late summer. Work will last “nine to 12 months,” she said – meaning they hope to reopen the center before 2024 is over. Total project funding is $3 million, including the ~$500,000 FEMA grant.
Regarding the play area – the current spot “beneath the trees” will be turned into a natural area, and the new site is just south of the wading pool. It will include a swing set, accessible pathways, picnic tables, basketball. That project has been delayed “and we’re still waiting to get our permit – we’ve come across stormwater issues” – hoping to bid summer or fall this year, with construction starting after that and they’re hoping it’ll be open summer 2024. When construction starts, the current play area is scheduled to be demolished; one attendee wondered if the timing could be altered. Baldwin didn’t know whether the wading pool would be open this summer or not, in response to a question. Another question was about the softball field near the wading pool; “no work is scheduled in that area,” Baldwin said. Why? she was asked. It’s not funded, for one, she replied. A neighbor said the area was “virtually unused because it’s in such poor condition,” and suggested some consideration of changing it. (Tupper said it was a Pee Wee field for years ‘and then the Park Department abandoned it.”) WSHS’s lack of a softball field forces them to travel to Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex right now, said another attendee identifying herself as a WSHS softball coach.
How do folks contact the project teams directly? Contact info is on the website, Baldwin replied, and the department is working with WSHS directly.
SEATTLE POLICE: Lt. Nathan Shopay, night commander for the Southwest Precinct (7 pm-5 am), who supervises 3 sergeants and 20 officers, said nothing much has changed since last month – everything’s down except auto theft, which continues to be way up. Summer planning and emphasis patrols at the beach are a big focus right now – “we will have more officers out on the beach coming up” – and yes, they’re still short on officers; special events mean call-ins for officers on their days off. He focuses on ensuring there’s adequate staffing and dealing with “community issues.” He also noted that the latest state laws regarding pursuits mean a lot of new training and “that’s not making anyone happy.” Back to the beach – “it comes down to us babysitting young adults,” who are gathering at the beach. They’re dealing with it most nights, not just weekends; he sends officers there when they’re available.
In Q&A, one attendee asked how you get something declared a “nuisance property” – Lt. Shopay noted that it’s important to have contact with the owner so they can give permission to boot trespassers. Another question: What helps prevent auto theft? His first advice: “Have really good insurance,” he said. That aside, he said, the best thing you can do is to make sure there’s nothing in your car – not just so it’s not tempting, but also because then you aren’t missing anything else if it’s stolen. Another officer in attendance suggested a kill switch, battery disconnection, fuse removal, to keep it from being taken. What about “air tags” to help you find them? asked an attendee. “We can find it, but if there’s someone in it and they take off, we can’t pursue them.” Another question: An attendee was troubled by people smoking cannabis in public at the Don Armeni parking ;ot. They could be cited – or it could lead to a DUI – Lt. Shopay noted.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Much of this was announced at the last ANA meeting, and plans are proceeding. For the Summer Concerts, coordinator Stephanie Jordan reiterated that these will be on the Lafayette Elementary playground – with partnership of Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Parks – July 13, 20, 27. They have sound handled, but they’re also looking for staging and a drum set, plus fundraising assistance. She’s not ready to announce the acts yet but there’ll be a youth-focused night, a jazz night, a retro party night.
An idea previously called Summer of Wellness has become Seasons of Wellness – they’ve applied to the city’s Small Sparks Fund for money to underwrite a series of free yoga classes. Two 5-week sessions, in fall and then winter – but they might do some summer one-offs such as Zumba classes. The venue will be Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill, where the ANA meets).
Admiral Junction Funktion – Though the Chamber of Commerce staged it last year, this year the ball’s in ANA’s court, and they’re partnering with Mission and Admiral Pub proprietors. Lots of volunteer opportunities ahead! August 26th is the date. It’ll be a street party again and area businesses will be invited to have booths. Some new features are planned including an art tent.
Adopt-A-Street – the new organizer couldn’t be at the meeting but the first one is scheduled June 3rd.
4th of July Kids’ Parade – ANA will have a booth and also needs volunteers.
Outdoor movie – Jacobs is working with Parks on a possible movie – the small park alongside Admiral Church, combined with the church grounds, is a likely site, and this would be in August.
COMMUNITY EVENTS: Thursday (May 11) is the next West Seattle Art Walk, and some venues have music as well as art – this month will include West Seattle Grounds (which Jacobs manages). West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day this Saturday (May 13) was mentioned too – Jacobs enthused that the day “feels like a party.” Support local businesses while you’re out – grab coffee and/or lunch. Also noted, Admiral Church has events coming up – see their website – and Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom keeps “office hours” in the community, 11:30 am-1 pm Wednesdays at Bebop Waffle Shop (California/Admiral). Also noted, the church has a shoe-donation drive under way.
ANA ONLINE: Dan Jacobs manages the organization’s website and social-media channels and is continuing to add content, including spotlights on local businesses.
WHAT’S NEXT: Watch the aforementioned ANA website, connecttoadmiral.org, for updates on events and future meetings. Joanie Jacobs closed with a reminder that it’s an all-volunteer group and more help is welcome – “as great as it already is, we want to make our neighborhood a better place.”