West Seattle, Washington
By the time the first official city-organized meeting — not the first public meeting — about possible changes to California Place Park had ended, one Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral co-chair was fiercely defending the process she and other group members had gone through to get their idea to what amounts to the official starting line. And park-change opponents were just as fierce in their opposition. The person who’s accountable for the final decision on what, if anything, will happen at the park, Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher, opened the meeting — what he said, and what else was said, declared, argued, proclaimed — plus what’s next — just ahead:Read More
We’re at Hiawatha Community Center for the first city-organized meeting on the proposal to add a “playscape” to California Place Park. About 100 people here – biggest turnout we’ve seen at a public meeting in a while. The “no change” crowd seems to have the most vocal representation so far. City Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher (at left in the photo above) addressed the crowd at the start of the meeting. Full report later. 7:48 PM NOTE: It’s been contentious at times – emotional at times – this is the first of four meetings – no dates for the future meetings are set yet. We will let you know the moment they are. Full details to come.
We’ve been reporting since June (most recent WSB update here) on the proposal for “improvements” – likely a “play space” – at California Place Park in North Admiral (California/Hill; here’s a map). The city has just finalized November 6th as the date for the first of four public meetings. (P.S. Tonight’s the organizational meeting for an area Block Watch, 6:30 pm at the Admiral library branch.) Click ahead for the official park-meetings announcement, just in from the Parks Department:Read More
Heartening to see new faces at both neighborhood-group meetings covered tonight by Team WSB, after our exhortation-let as the week began … Our first report: The Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting, at Admiral Congregational Church. Turnout was about double the average crowd – up to about 20 in the room at one point – most there to hear the latest on a proposal for improvements at California Place, the mini-park adjacent to the church – and new developments were revealed, as well as other agenda items, all ahead:Read More
Supporters of the proposal to add a “natural playscape” to the California Place mini-park in Admiral (map) invited neighbors to an ice-cream social at the site today, funded by the smallest of two grants they’ve received from the city. At the other end of the mini-park – just yards away, a group with a different invitation:
Nearby residents who want California Place to remain unchanged waved their sign at passing drivers, and invited their supporters to sign a petition. They’ve also attended the twice-monthly meetings that the pro-playscape group has been holding (here’s our coverage from a meeting last month). Despite the proximity, the two sides avoided direct conflict today, and opponents told us they were staying low-key so as not to spoil the afternoon for the youngest partygoers, some of whom played nearby, where California Place adjoins Admiral UCC Church:
Here’s where the California Place proposal stands: As we first reported last month, the city Neighborhood Matching Fund just awarded the pro-playscape group, FANNA (Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral), $15,000 to hire an architect to come up with designs; they are continuing to schedule meetings (open to the community) twice monthly – join the FANNA Yahoo! group to find out more.
FANNA, the group proposing a “play area” and/or expanded “beautification” in the area of California Place, the Admiral District mini-park shown above, just got word of city grant approval – here’s how it was announced on the official mailing list:
We’ve just received word from the Department of Neighborhoods that our application for funds to plan improvements at California Place Park has been approved! We’ve been awarded $15K to hire a landscape architect to help take us through the planning process. Along with our letter was a personally written note from Mayor Greg Nickels who said, “As a neighbor, I’m looking forward to seeing your project!”
Next steps are to align with our Project Manager at the Dept of Neighborhoods and our representative at the Parks Department to define scope and refine our work plan.
That’s the second West Seattle park/play project in less than 15 hours to get word of a $15K grant — we told you last night about the approval for the Cottage Grove Park “tot lot.”
Tension last night as the Admiral residents proposing a “play area” for the California Place mini-park faced vocal opponents who live nearby. Project organizers, meantime, stress that it’s extremely early in the process, while revealing a new possibility has emerged — “beautification” beyond the park. More on that, and last night’s meeting, just ahead:Read More
We last checked in July 24 on the volunteers organizing to create some type of “play area” at or near the North Admiral mini-park shown at left, California Place (northwest corner of California/Hill, just east of Admiral Congregational Church; here’s a map). One of the organizers, Manolita Slye, just wrote to say they’re meeting again tonight (as we mentioned in last month’s story, they’re meeting twice monthly as the effort gets off the ground) — 7 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. She mentioned something we’d also been told in a recent note from someone else — apparently opponents are starting to organize — so she is hoping that more of the families who have expressed support for the potential play area will show up tonight.
Our previous reports on the Admiral group proposing a kids’ play area for the tiny park shown above — California Place, at California/Hill next to Admiral UCC church (map) — have been greeted by some comments suggesting the space might be better left undeveloped. Nobody showed up at the group’s first community meeting last night to express that opinion in person, but those who feel that way will likely be interested to hear that the proposal isn’t what you might suspect — they’re not seeking to turn it into a playground, but rather, per a phrase offered by a Parks Department staffer who attended the meeting to observe, a “play space.” Here’s the explanation:Read More
Two weeks ago, we reported on a proposal to build a playground at California Place, the mini-park shown above (California/Hill, next to Admiral UCC Church). Now we have word from Manuela Slye, who outlined the idea at the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting last month, that a new group is forming and has just filed an application with the city Department of Neighborhoods to seek funding for the first phase of the project, including design work. As part of the process, you are now invited to the first community meeting planned by the new group, FANNA (Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral), to “discuss the status of the project, proposed timeline, and (seek) input and help from the community,” says Slye (who operates Cometa Playschool preschool). The meeting is set for 6:30 pm July 23rd at the West Seattle (Admiral) branch of Seattle Public Library; FANNA expects to hear from the city about its grant application by mid-August.
The popularity of new Ercolini Park is a reminder of just what a playground, and park, can mean to a neighborhood. Neighbors in two areas of West Seattle are working now to make similar dreams come true, and we have updates on both: The first one’s a dream for this Admiral park that you might not even recognize as a park:
Just beyond the tree in the foreground, that triangle of land at California/Hill (map), immediately southeast of Admiral Congregational UCC Church, is indeed a park, called California Place (official city page here). Manuela Slye, who also happens to be opening the new Spanish-language preschool Cometa (as mentioned here), spoke to the Admiral Neighborhood Association at its last meeting about her dream of creating a playground there. She is in the very early stages of trying to figure out what that would involve, but already has a touching presentation (as read to the ANA) with children’s art and words about what it would mean to have “a place to play” there.
Second, in North Delridge, the “tot lot” project (previous WSB coverage here) for Cottage Grove Park is now seeking an architect. They are hoping to find a landscape architect that can donate her/his services for this small playground project, but there’s a possibility their grant-seeking could include some money for fees, so they want to hear from anyone interested. Read on for a full description of the work and who to contact:Read More
(photo courtesy Friends of Ercolini Park)
Two updates – first, Friends of Ercolini Park confirms that the official city-involved event to celebrate the park’s opening is now set for 10 am July 12 (but as we’ve reported before, the park and its playground are open now; the city’s working to fix the one last loose end, getting play sand for the pit). Second update — One agenda item for tomorrow night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting involves “a potential new playground on a Parks-owned piece of land at California & Hill immediately adjacent to the UCC Church.” (That church is where the ANA meets tomorrow, 7 pm.)