West Seattle, Washington
Two days after that celebration in California Place Park (WSB coverage here), marking the end of the “design process” funded by a city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, looking toward possible additions to the park, there’s a P.S. – Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral has an update to share, with two items that were included in our report on the weekend event, and one that is just now being announced:
At the celebration this weekend we announced a few things we are working on and also forgot to mention another. In the interest of keeping people updated and informed, here’s what’s brewing:
A Park Sign — We are working with the Parks Department to ensure a sign is installed in the park so that all who pass by know it to be a PUBLIC park, open and accessible to all. It has been ordered, and is just a matter of time before we see it in California Place Park.
Buffer Plants – Based on input and community concerns, we are working to plant “buffer plants” in the right of way area along California Ave SW. This will create a natural border for the park and California Ave and help to enclose park users. This is an element of the design that Karen Kiest created. Her team will help us with placement and plant selection. All plants will be from the list of approved plants for right of way areas to make sure visibility is not impaired.
We need your help to make this happen – we’re looking for community volunteers to help install these plants and also donations to help purchase plants. If you’re interested in pledging time, money or seek more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post more details on this as we have them!
Community Survey — Look for a survey from “Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral” in your mailbox in the next day or so. We are seeking feedback from the community on outdoor community spaces. This survey was sent to most residents North of Admiral Ave SW – about 1,900 households and businesses. Please take the time to answer these questions and return the survey in the enclosed envelope either by using a stamp or dropping it off at Barnecut’s Admiral Service Station (the Shell station on the corner of Admiral Way SW and 41st Ave SW.) We’ll post our analysis of the feedback as soon as possible.
The deadline for returning the survey is July 20th; the money comes from that same original $15,000 Department of Neighborhoods grant that funded the design work done to date.
One year ago – on June 11, 2008 – local preschool operator Manuela Slye stood before the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting and talked about a “dream” of a playground at little California Place Park, adjacent to Admiral Church. In that park today, she cuddled her six-week-old son while talking with us during the celebration organized by the group she co-founded, Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, marking the end of the design process for which they procured a $15,000 city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant.
Moments before we spoke with Slye, we talked with FANNA’s Ann Limbaugh, after she announced to celebration attendees that there’s only one certain change in the park’s near future: An official sign, marking it as a park. “That’s something we wanted all along,” Slye told us, “something to let people know this is a park.” According to Limbaugh, the group then hopes to secure volunteer time and donations — “less than $2,000” — for one element of this design crafted by landscape architect Karen Kiest as her contract, funded by the city grant, ended:
Limbaugh says the design element that FANNA hopes to pursue involves “buffer plantings” in the parking strips along the sidewalk that borders the park’s east and north sides; the lack of a buffer between the park space and busy California Avenue SW was one concern that repeatedly surfaced during months of meetings about the park. But they’re not needed, according to the “No Change to Park” group:
Standing next to the easels displaying the park design proposals at the celebration, holding her often-seen “No Change to Park” sign, Jan Bailey told us she is opposed to those plantings because of the potential expense. She and ally Dennis Ross, a longtime community activist in the Admiral area — also displaying a “No Change to Park” sign — continue to advocate for the park to remain unchanged. As for whether FANNA might pursue any more components of Kiest’s design – which would require a new round of fundraising and grant-seeking – Limbaugh said they want to “take a break” so nothing is planned. No Parks Department rep was in sight at today’s event (not that one was expected, as it was a community gathering and not an official meeting), so we will be checking with them on Monday regarding their official view of the park’s status, and the timetable for the sign installation.
To catch up on the backstory regarding this park, you can read newest-to-oldest in our California Place Park coverage archive here.
CLEAN AND GREEN: This morning at 9 am, 42nd/Genesee (map) is the epicenter of Seattle’s community-cleanup movement – as the newly funded Genesee P-Patch hosts a city-supported Clean and Green event. It’ll coincide with the Junction Neighborhood Organization Adopt-a-Street cleanup, including the Junction Plaza Park site (getting ever-closer to full construction funding). A mayoral appearance is scheduled to kick it all off.
PARK PARTY: After you’ve recovered from helping clean up The Junction, head north to California Place Park to celebrate all the work that’s gone into the process of designing potential park improvements. 3:30 pm, entertainment, treats and good company – and a chance to see what landscape designer Karen Kiest came up with in her final report to Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral.
ICE-CREAM DONATIONS: Go wish Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center a happy 1st birthday today, and your purchase will be a triple gift – a treat for you, more support for this vibrant small business, and a matching ice cream donation to the White Center Food Bank.
Lots more fun in the West Seattle Weekend Lineup!
They haven’t yet announced whether they are going to proceed with fundraising for any additions to California Place Park, but Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral have set the date for the community celebration marking the end of the design process for which they obtained a $15,000 grant: 3:30 pm Saturday, June 20. Musician/entertainer Eric Ode will perform. While the future of the main park site is still a question mark, money for a P-Patch community garden on the “southern triangle” across the street is proceeding through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy allocation process (as reported here last week). It’s been almost exactly a year since first word that a group of neighbors was proposing changes to the tiny park in North Admiral; our archived coverage, newest to oldest, is here.
We’re at the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee meeting, awaiting a discussion of whether the committee will go along with the Skatepark Advisory Committee‘s recommendation to transfer money to the Delridge Skatepark project, from the unpopular-with-neighbors Myrtle Reservoir Skatespot proposal. In the meantime, we’ve heard some West Seattle news – starting with four possible P-Patches that might be funded with the $2 million “community garden” funds coming from the levy – including the site shown in Google Street View above, 34th/Barton. We reported three months ago that this 12,000-square-foot site at 34th/Barton, just east of the Exxon/Propel station, had been identified as “surplus” by the city, and comments were being sought regarding what to do with it. Many people in the comment thread following our report suggested using it as community garden/P-Patch land — and that’s exactly what’s under consideration now. The three other West Seattle sites mentioned for possible acquisition were the West Seattle Christian Church site that already is being turned into the Genesee P-Patch (which just won a Neighborhood Matching Fund $15,000 grant, by the way), a parcel in High Point, and California Place Park (we’ll be following up, but we believe they mean the “southern triangle” discussed in the recent design workshops as a possible garden site). More on these as they move through the process, and more from this meeting when the skatepark funding decision’s in. ADDED 12:52 AM: Read on for a few more details on these 4 West Seattle P-Patch sites, from the document made available at Tuesday night’s meeting:Read More
Another update from last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting: Almost a month after the third and final “design workshop” for potential changes to California Place Park, ANA heard the latest from a leader of Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, the group that obtained a city grant to develop design ideas for the small park next to Admiral Church. Ann Limbaugh said landscape architect Karen Kiest is still working on her “final report” but that’s expected by month’s end. Meantime, FANNA is continuing to meet to discuss “what the right next steps are … for moving the project forward.” (The $15,000 city grant only paid for design work; more fundraising would be needed for any work to actually be done to the park – even the cheapest change envisioned in what was shown at last month’s meeting – as reported here – could cost $80,000.) According to Limbaugh, the current consensus is to “take a bit of a break … and let things settle in the neighborhood a little bit” before resuming discussions “in a month or two.” Park-change opponent Dennis Ross, also at last night’s meeting, asked Limbaugh, “How do the 700 people opposed to (park changes) figure into your plans?” (That number refers to signatures on a petition circulated by park-change opponents – here’s our archived coverage of the controversy, newest to oldest.) She replied, “There are a lot of people who think it’s a great idea – and worth moving forward,” and he countered, “And we have 700 people who don’t,” before the discussion moved on. Limbaugh also mentioned that FANNA is continuing to plan a celebration, to be held in the next month or so, in honor of everyone who participated in the process so far.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Much has changed since the first public discussion of possible changes to little California Place Park in North Admiral – and much has not.
What has changed:
*After going through the design process funded by a $15,000 city matching-funds grant, the proposal for possible park changes does not include anything resembling a children’s play area.
*The so-called “southern triangle” of city-owned land, southwest of the park itself, is now under Parks Department supervision since the process brought to light the fact it was somewhat neglected SDOT-owned right-of-way.
*Life has changed for one of the leaders of Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral — Manuela Slye is moving her Admiral District home-based bilingual Cometa Playschool — which some critics had suggested was a motivation for proposing park changes — to part of the former Prudential NW space about two miles south.
What hasn’t changed:
Those opposed to any changes in the small triangle of lawn and trees remain resolute, particularly nearby resident Jan Bailey, who has spent many hours standing in the park with her NO CHANGE TO PARK sign, gathering almost 700 petition signatures, and brought her sign and flyers to last night’s meeting, greeting neighbors at the door, then keeping vigil at the back of the room.
Also unchanged, one stark reality: The fact that intensive community fundraising would be needed to make any changes to the park.
We’re at Alki Community Center for the third and final “design workshop” in this stage of the process that could result in additions to little California Place Park next to Admiral Church (WSB sponsor) at California/Hill. Park-change opponents are here with bright lime-green mini-signs that say NO CHANGE TO PARK on one side, echoing the large sign held by Jan Bailey, greeting meeting attendees outside (then at the back of the room once the meeting began, per photo added above at 7:16 pm), while landscape architect Karen Kiest and members of Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral get ready to lead the meeting inside. About 35 people are here as the meeting starts; Steven Gray from FANNA just announced there will be a May 24 gathering, location TBA (probably at the park), to celebrate the time and energy everyone’s put into this – on both sides. Kiest will be presenting final design options for the park; we’ll add a note or two along the way as the meeting proceeds, before a separate, full writeup afterward. 8:41 PM UPDATE: The meeting just wrapped up; next steps, Kiest will write up a report within the next month and a half or so, and FANNA will decide what if anything they might pursue funding for – cost estimates presented here went all the way from less than $100,000 for one component of the “draft plan” to almost $400,000 for everything that could be done (including extending the park boundaries to green up a currently paved section of land on the north side that belongs to the park but is currently used as road). ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: While we’re working on the in-depth followup, here’s the design artwork shown at the meeting.
One last round of reminders about these events, from the WSB Events calendar (where even more events for tonight, and way beyond, are listed):
LAST CALIFORNIA PLACE PARK DESIGN WORKSHOP: 7 pm, Alki Community Center. The first workshop was tumultuous; the second one, at which potential designs for park additions were unveiled, was deemed productive; tonight, something closer to a final proposal is presented for discussion and feedback. After that, an entirely different process would ensue if Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral decides to pursue park additions — the search for funding.
SUNRISE HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: If we were to casually define this area, we’d say, between High Point and Gatewood, mostly east of 35th SW. If you live there, you’ve probably received a flyer about this; if not, check out the group’s website, which includes the agenda (plus word of their Poker Tournament this Saturday). Meeting’s at 7 pm, Southwest Precinct (map).
WESTSIDE BABY “SORTING FRENZY”: Hundreds of local families get clothing and other necessities through WestSide Baby, but before donated items can get to recipients, they have to be sorted, and WestSide Baby has monthly “sorting frenzy” parties with volunteer helpers. If you can lend a hand tonight, e-mail email@example.com.
Also from Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting (see report #1, about a new concert series, here) – what City Councilmember Sally Clark had to say, on what she revealed was her first visit to an ANA meeting, plus a few other notes – read on:Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The question came about two-thirds of the way through this morning’s design workshop — second in a series of 3 exploring possible changes at tiny California Place Park in North Admiral:
“We wondered what happened to the playspace — it’s gone,” said the spokesperson for one of the tables that had spent the previous half-hour reviewing and chronicling comments on the design proposals with which landscape architect Karen Kiest (photo above) had started the workshop.
That was no small question, for many reasons. The whole idea of possible changes to California Place Park, which currently is a triangle of grass and trees that some thought was part of the property of adjacent Admiral Congregational Church, began with a playground proposal.
It evolved to “natural playscape,” Kiest reminded the gathering of nearly 100 this morning after the “what happened” question, adding: “All of the concepts shown today do show how the park can feel bigger and have more uses … the areas that are called ‘soft spots’ could have a sandbox, a piece of art. We don’t see any play equipment.”
With that, a central part of the big controversy that has hovered over this little park seemed to shrink. But before we finish going down that road, for those who couldn’t make this morning’s workshop – which, as noted in our brief report earlier, was vastly calmer than the first one – we’ll show the three designs (thanks to Kiest for providing digital copies):Read More
ORIGINAL 10:44 AM UPDATE: The meeting room at Alki Community Center is standing-room only again as the second design workshop for the proposed California Place Park project (WSB coverage archived here, newest to oldest) gets under way. “Today is about concepts,” says landscape architect Karen Kiest as she begins her presentation of possible designs for potential improvements to the park. She has asked not to be interrupted (which she was last time). (15 minutes into the meeting, that’s only happened a couple times.) 11:12 AM UPDATE: Kiest has finished her presentation. The crowd stayed quiet and is now discussing the project in small groups. We have electronic copies of the four proposed options and will use them in our full report; here’s a PDF of what is being reviewed at the tables now, showing all four (plus a look at the “southern triangle” of SDOT-owned land that is southwest of the park and across Hill). 11:34 AM UPDATE: If you are near Alki Community Center you may see medics – someone is having chest pains in the lobby and 911 has been called. 12:04 PM UPDATE: The meeting ended at noon as scheduled. Much different than last time – no disruptions – tables had lots of suggestions and feedback – short round of applause at the very end. Most popular idea, reclaiming the northern section of the park parcel which apparently was paved over long ago and isn’t even currently recognizable as part of the park. Full story to come later. (We counted almost 100 people there, by the way, including two tables of very young kids working on art – also very quietly! – during the meeting.)
SATURDAY NIGHT NOTE: The full story is still in progress. Barring breaking news, will be done by 11 pm, likely sooner.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just under 24 hours from now — at 10:30 Saturday morning — three potential designs for possible changes at California Place Park in North Admiral will be made public.
The group that obtained a $15,000 city grant to pay for those designs to be created, Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA), says the format of tomorrow morning’s workshop will be similar to the last one — a presentation by landscape architect Karen Kiest, followed by small-group discussions at tables around the room.
The design workshops under way now follow a series of public meetings in various formats and under various auspices, dating all the way back to the first word of potential changes, presented at the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting last June.
FANNA created a website several months ago to make its case. Opponents of park changes do not have an organized online presence, but have mounted a major in-person campaign in the neighborhood, including a seven-page handout.
In comments after our report on the first design workshop in February, Lance wrote:
I was given the packet for the “no change to park” and they make some very valid arguments. Also some of the facts in it seem legit. I’d like to see some actual evidence that this information is false. Seems like there’s a bunch of people so polarized to either side as to not see whats real or not. I’ve already shown my opinion from a cost standpoint but if these “facts” are true, how can this park project even be moving forward? If I were a city parks representative I’d want to investigate both sides and see what really went on. To make a genuine opinion I’d like to know what’s real and what’s made up. Real info folks not just something you heard or whatnot.
We hadn’t seen the “packet” and said so. Lance in turn offered to scan and e-mail it, which he did. It has not appeared anywhere online that we know of. Here’s a screengrab of the cover:
You can see the 7-page document here, as provided to us by Lance.
Not long after he provided it to us, park-change opponent Jan Bailey provided us with printed copies of supplementary documents, even before we asked for them – she gave them to us at the last ANA meeting.
So, looking at all those, here’s a breakdown, with information from our past coverage, online research, and/or responses from FANNA, received from Matthew Slye. We will say in advance, if there is a point you think we missed, that interests you, please leave a comment and we will follow up.
This Saturday, 10:30-noon, is the second of two “design workshops” for potential changes at California Place Park in North Admiral. After the contentious first workshop (WSB coverage here), the landscape architect whose services are funded by a $15,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant has come up with proposals to display, according to a new post on the project website that’s maintained by Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, the group that procured the grant:
Karen Kiest has done a wonderful job representing the feedback from the community and has created several beautiful options that contain ideas for the neighborhood to review and provide input. We are very excited about what she has to share. There are no plastic playstructures, no climbing walls on the church, no holes or giant sand pits and the trees are all intact! The design options are natural, open, welcoming and timeless – a perfect compliment to the Admiral neighborhood.
If you are closely interested in this project, check back here at WSB
tonight Friday, when we will be publishing a longer story including the claims that have been made by park-change opponents and responses from FANNA. In the meantime, we wanted to get out this reminder, since the project has been so closely watched, and the workshop is day after tomorrow (Alki Community Center, 10:30 am-noon Saturday; past coverage is archived here). ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: We asked FANNA’s Ann Limbaugh about the format planned for the workshop; she says it will be similar to the last one – landscape architect Kiest will make a presentation, people will discuss in small groups at tables.
Highlights from last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting: WSDOT reps made a guest appearance as part of their tour of neighborhood groups to share “what’s next” re: the tunnel proposed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s so-called “mile in the middle” Central Waterfront section. Also, a recap of last week’s California Place Park “design workshop” meeting featured a few tense moments, with both supporters and opponents of park change in the room. Details on both, and one other note, ahead:Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The two most recent major meetings we covered both severely tested the perennial reputation of Seattle as Politeness Capital of the World.
Then, for a few minutes tonight at Alki Community Center, the first of three “design workshops” to plot the future of California Place Park had a lot in common with what we saw at school district headquarters five nights earlier.
In addition to shouting and disruption, the main common trait was that in each case, the 100-member-plus audience was dominated by people who would have preferred the meeting wouldn’t have happened at all.
We’re at Alki Community Center, where more than 100 people have gathered for the first of three design workshops on proposals for possible “improvements” at California Place Park. Members of the audience have repeatedly interrupted landscape architect Karen Kiest, whose firm has the $15,000 contract to lead this stage of the design project (any proposal to actually change the park would require a separate funding process). Kiest reiterated that she’s not a Parks Department representative; some shouting from the audience contended they haven’t had a chance to express their concerns. More later. 7:33 PM UPDATE: The crowd did calm down and Kiest has proceeded with her presentation, which is to be followed with “small group” discussions about possibilities for the park. 9 PM UPDATE: The meeting ended as scheduled as 8:30, after representatives of each “small group” made comments – overwhelmingly against changes to the park. We will write a separate article shortly. No decisions were made tonight, by design (so to speak); two more workshops are scheduled, the next one at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 7.
CALIFORNIA PLACE PARK: While one group of neighbors has expressed intense opposition to making changes to this tiny park next to Admiral Congregational Church (map), the group exploring potential “improvements” is moving forward with design workshops, led by the landscape architect hired with a $15,000 matching-funds grant received for this process, and the first one is tonight, 7 pm, Alki Community Center, first public meeting on the proposal since this tense one last November. (Archived WSB coverage of the park proposal is here; the project organizers’ official website is here.)
ELECTION DEADLINE: Today is the official Election Day for a special election in which King County voters are choosing the elections director (and several areas outside Seattle have other issues on the ballot). All ballots are mail-in; they must be postmarked by 8 pm tonight, also the deadline for getting it to the drop box at the Delridge Neighborhood Services Center if you’d rather take it there. Full details and helpful links in this previous WSB report.
(WSB photo from August 2008)
Five months ago, we brought you first word of a proposal to create ARK Park on land owned by Arbor Heights Community Church. This morning, we have word of the first fundraiser for the project, which organizers told us last summer would be built entirely with church/community contributions. Co-organizer Loretta Kimball tells WSB her son Chad Kimball is headlining on the fundraiser – an evening of Broadway music, 7 pm February 9th at Roosevelt High School, including some of his castmates from “Memphis” (which opens this week at the 5th Avenue Theater). $15/person gets you the benefit concert plus a reception afterward. Here’s the official flyer, on the playground project’s website. Now, to North Admiral:
Meantime, in North Admiral, the first of three design workshops for California Place Park is now a week away. When it was announced recently that the workshops would be held at Alki Community Center, some voiced concern about the distance; now, there’s word from the community group spearheading the project that they’ll coordinate rides to the workshops so no one is stuck without a way to get there:
Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA) will be coordinating rides for neighbors to each of the community design workshops for California Place Park. We will match people up who have extra room with those who need a ride. For those who plan to attend the meeting and have an extra seat or for those in need of ride to the workshops, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kellee Jones at 206-684-7052. Requests for rides must be received by end of day Sunday, February 1st.
The three design workshops will allow the community to explore various ideas and design options for California Place. Karen Kiest, Landscape Architects, will lead these meetings. We are looking for ways to increase community use of the park by people of all ages, and create a naturalized and safe area for the neighborhood to enjoy now and for generations to come. As an option, a supervised area for childcare will be provided during each meeting. Please bring your ideas, your neighbors and your community spirit!
Meeting Location and Dates:
Alki Community Center
5817 SW Stevens Street
Tuesday, 2/3, 7 – 8:30 PM
Saturday, 3/7, 10:30 – 12 Noon
Thursday, 4/16, 7 – 8:30 PM
For more information about the improvements proposed at California Place please visit our website: www.californiaplacepark.org
Just in from Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral, whose proposal to add a “playscape” to tiny California Place Park (Google Street View above) has drawn some neighborhood controversy (our past coverage is archived here) – the dates are now set for design workshops:
Mark your calendars! We invite you to attend a series of design workshops
that will allow the community to explore various ideas and design options
for California Place. These three workshops will be led by Karen Kiest,
Landscape Architects. We are looking for ways to increase community use of
the park by people of all ages, and create a naturalized and safe area for
the neighborhood to enjoy now and for generations to come. As an option, a
supervised area for childcare will be available during each meeting.
Tuesday, 2/3, 7 – 8:30 PM
Saturday, 3/7, 10:30 – 12 Noon
Thursday, 4/16, 7 – 8:30 PM
All the meetings will be held at:
Alki Community Center
5817 SW Stevens Street
FANNA obtained a city matching-funds grant to pay for the design process, but any changes to the park would require a different round of funding – could be all private, all public, or a combination.
By Julia Ugarte
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Admiral Neighborhood Association met Tuesday night for its first meeting of 2009. With about a dozen in attendance, including some new faces, the ANA gathered at Admiral Congregational Church, ready to start planning the year ahead.
Lots of updates emerged throughout the meeting – first, two items of news, including the latest on a controversial park proposal:
New on the Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral website for the proposal to add a “natural playscape” to California Place Park: A report that eight firms have responded to the “Request For Qualifications” to design it (the part of the potential project for which the group received a city $15,000 matching-funds grant). The eight are listed here; next step, the group reviews their applications, schedules interviews, and chooses a landscape architect by mid-month – the RFQ says that architect will facilitate the next public meeting on the project, second week of January. FANNA, by the way, is sponsoring a family event at Hiawatha Community Center/Park on December 13th (details here).
Just posted on the website for the group that obtained a $15,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to explore options for California Place Park (map) in North Admiral (Google Street View above – pan around to the area behind the bus stop): The “request for qualifications” for a landscape architect who will help with that exploration. More city-facilitated meetings are planned as part of the process (WSB coverage of the first meeting, with 104 comments, is here); no dates announced yet.