West Seattle, Washington
Two months after King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and others came to Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center to unveil the successor to the expiring county parks levy (WSB coverage here), it’s officially on its way to the ballot. The County Council voted 8-1 today to send it to voters in August. As noted in the announcement of today’s vote:
The proposed levy would generate an estimated $810 million over six years. It would cost the owner of a home that has an assessed property value of $500,000 about $7.70 per month.
King County Parks would use proceeds from the levy to:
*Build and design regional trails, including missing links and crossings over rivers and highways
*Acquire more open space lands that provide recreation opportunities for people and protect forest lands, water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife
*Improve trailheads by adding parking and signage
*Repair hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails
*Replace turf on 11 ballfields
*Rehabilitate play area equipment in six parks
*Maintain park infrastructure, such as pathways, roofs, fencing, and electrical systems
The full ordinance text is here. Though the levy is expected to generate more than double the $396 million of its expiring predecessor, the fine print shows property owners will be paying less per $1,000 – 16.8 cents is the starting rate in the new levy, compared to 18.7 cents in the old one.
Celebrate Earth Day at Roxhill Park Community Fair!
Saturday, April 20th from 11:00 – 1:00
Location: Roxhill Park, parking lot on 29th Ave SW at Barton Street SW
– FREE fun activities and crafts for all ages.
– FREE turkey dog lunch for the first 100 visitors.
Join us in celebrating our local natural areas, Longfellow Creek and its wildlife.
Did you know West Seattle has the city’s largest natural area, its only river, one of its last bogs, and is connected to our orca?
Learn about Longfellow Creek, the Duwamish River, Roxhill Bog, and how its wildlife and salmon are a valuable asset to our area and environment.
All ages are welcome; come rain or shine!
This is a free event, hosted by: Duwamish Alive Coalition, Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle Neighborhood Group, Roxhill Park Champions, Seattle Parks
As we noted last year, longtime educator Chris Brown has a special reason for bringing students here – in addition to the park’s characteristics as an oasis of nature in the city, perfectly suited to the experiential learning that is a hallmark of the school in Edmonds. He’s a member of the Schmitz Family, whose donated land created the park more than a century ago. He was welcomed again on Tuesday, as he was last year, by Vicki Schmitz Block (below left):
Schmitz Preserve Park is one of West Seattle’s semi-hidden gems, with main entrances are on the east side of Alki Community Center (5817 SW Stevens) and off Admiral Way east of the historic bridge. (Here’s a map.)
With the recent completion of the renovated play area at High Point, you might have wondered what’s up with the three other West Seattle parks where play-area renovations are planned. We asked Seattle Parks‘ Karen O’Connor today.
*Puget Ridge and EC Hughes: “Puget Ridge Play Area Renovation project and E.C. Hughes were bundled and put out to bid together to make the projects more enticing to bidders. Bid opening was in February and we are waiting on final contracting review prior to awarding the construction contract. It has not been determined if the contractor will start EC Hughes or Puget Ridge first. We are going to be working with the contractor and SPU to set the timeline for these projects.” (Seattle Public Utilities is involved because the Puget Ridge site – where we covered a design meeting last summer – needs some drainage improvement.)
*Lincoln Park South: “We anticipate putting this out to bid in early summer and start construction in the summer.” (This project dates back to the summer of 2017, when the previous play structure had to be taken out of service due to safety concerns.)
Two months ago, the city held a drop-in event to talk about the southwest corner of 48th/Charlestown, which is now in the planning process as a future park, after years as a “landbanked” site. And today, the next step has been announced – an April 30th meeting (6:30 pm at Dakota Place Park, 4304 SW Dakota). Three design concepts for the site will be presented, developed with feedback from the February event and an online survey. After that, Parks says: “Following community input at the April 30th meeting, we will develop a preferred design concept. The preferred design will be presented at the third and final community meeting in early summer 2019.” Planning, design, and construction are budgeted at $1.2 million from the Seattle Parks District levy; construction is planned next year.
Thanks to Jim for the photo and alert – the Point Williams path on the west side of Colman Pool at Lincoln Park is blocked for a few hours. The truck is there with a crew installing new pumps. As we reported last month, the first scheduled swimming this year is one month from tomorrow, two weeks earlier than usual, because of extra funding added to the budget by the City Council for extra pre- and post-season weekends expanding the season.
Special Meeting With Parks Dept. on Options for Riverview Park: New Barrier/Fence
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Meet at Riverview Park – 12th Ave. SW & SW Webster at 5:30 pm.
Come discuss possible options
During the May 2017 Find-It-Fix-It walk, neighbors and community members raised concerns about the existing logs that served as barriers to the park. Neighbors expressed that the logs were unsightly and not good for the environment.
Parks staff responded that we would look at alternatives. The logs serve an important purpose of keeping folks from driving on to the field and damaging the park.
This Wednesday, we’d love to discuss possible alternative to the existing logs and solicit feedback from the community.
Please come to the Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC) special meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 12th Ave. SW and SW Webster at 5:30 pm. This is the south lot. Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will be there to talk through this upgrade to the park.
If you are unable to attend this meeting, you may email your comments or questions to email@example.com.
Two Seattle Parks closures you should know about. First, tomorrow:
All Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers, pools, teen life centers and small craft centers will be closed on April 4 for an all-staff Recreation Division training. In addition, all Recreation programs will be canceled, and the Camp Long visitor center will be closed.
School Age Care programs (Before and After School), Preschool programs, and Community Learning Centers will run as usual at the centers and school facilities where they are normally held.
Most rentals will not be impacted but we suggest customers verify with the facility where their rental is held.
Then, one week from tomorrow, on April 11th:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is replacing the floating dock system and pilings at Don Armeni Boat Ramp in West Seattle. Design and permitting efforts are underway. As part of the permitting, the Department of Natural Resources requires an eel grass survey for the area impacted by the floating docks.
This eel grass survey work will require closure of the boat ramp on April 11, 2019. During the closure, boaters will need to use an alternate launch location. The nearest City of Seattle launch location is Eddie Vine Boat Ramp on the south edge of Golden Gardens Park, 8001 Seaview Ave. NW.
Construction is scheduled for 2020 after design and permitting is complete. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Boating Facilities Grant and Seattle Parks and Recreation fund this project.
For more backstory on the Don Armeni project, see our report from last November.
Got little one(s)? Classes set to make a comeback at Hiawatha this month might be perfect for them – so signups are happening now! The announcement:
Toddler dance is back at Hiawatha Community Center! Join us for a weekly 40-minute dance class that uses movement and music to stimulate brain reflexes, teaches social-emotional learning skills, and encourages joy and self-expression. Taught by our certified dance instructor, Marika, your little one is bound to have a blast exploring creative movement in this safe and positive environment.
Wednesdays, April 24 – June 12
Parent and Me: Creative Movement Class (Ages 2-4) -11:30-12:10 pm
Creative Movement Class (Ages 3-6) – 12:15-12:55 pm
Our spring 8-week session begins on April 24 and we’ll need a minimum number of enrollments to run the class, so please sign up early so we know the class will go. You can register online at seattle.gov/parks by clicking on Sign Up For Activities, or calling Hiawatha Community Center at 206.684.7441. (Parent and Me: Creative Movement: Activity #21109, Creative Movement: Activity #21110)
If you were among the many people walking, running, riding, driving on Alki late this morning – you might have seen the signs for the Alki Beach restroom-replacement open house. Maybe you even stopped to find out more.
If you didn’t – Seattle Parks promises the graphics shown today will be online Monday. As we reported earlier this month, the project replacing the little brick “comfort station” at 57th/Alki is planned for next year. Restroom renovations geared toward accessibility are also planned elsewhere in the city, including Lincoln Park.
More than a year after Jesús Aguirre quit as Seattle Parks superintendent, he’s just been nominated to return to the job. That’s one of four cabinet-level changes announced by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office today. Aguirre left in January of last year to join his family’s welding business. Christopher Williams, who served as interim superintendent for four years before Aguirre was hired in 2015, has filled in since his departure. The mayor’s news release also notes the impending departure of city Housing Office director Steve Walker as well as nominees to lead the Office of Economic Development and Office of Employee Ombud; read it after the jump:
2;59 PM: Arrived at the High Point Play Area renovation dedication and found out it was even more of a party than announced! Along with the play area’s grand opening, 34th SW is closed between Myrtle and Willow for a mini-street party, with music, refreshments, and info-booth:
That’s in honor of the area being part of the in-progress West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway. And it’s why SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe was part of the dedication along with interim Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams and even Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Until 4 pm, you can stop by and enjoy the festivities – including a chance to vote on paint patterns for part of the street adjacent to the play area.
8:59 PM: As promised, more photos – including a couple more views of the new play area:
It’s larger than the one it replaced – here are the main points, from the project page:
This play area improvement project relocates the existing play area to the south open lawn area providing ADA access and increased safety by making the play area more visible from the street. The new play area size increases from 1,280 sf to 5,260 sf and upgrades it to our standard size for a community center. The new play equipment features swings, slides and many climbable features. The park features a rolling hill with net climber, and an overhead climbing structure. In addition to the play elements the project incorporates two new seating areas, one adjacent to the play area and another in the location of the old play area. … The location of the old play area will be restored to an informal open lawn as requested by the community.
Zimbabwe noted that this is one of six parks that the greenway will eventually connect to. Another number was cited by Williams: 94 percent of the city has a park within 10 minutes’ walking distance.
The mayor, meantime, declared it to be another reason “Seattle is thriving” despite its “challenges”:
The celebration featured steel-drum sounds by Jah Breeze:
The play area renovation cost $700,000.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:03 PM MONDAY: West Seattle’s historic Hiawatha Community Center wants you to know about new classes:
That’s Darja, who’s teaching a new COMMIT Dance Fitness class for ages 16 and up on Tuesday evenings – an 8-week class starting tomorrow night; call Hiawatha tomorrow to sign up, 206-684-7441. And in a couple weeks, Hiawatha’s Andrea Sisco tells us, they start tumbling classes for toddlers and preschoolers:
Tumbling (Ages 2-3) – Tuesdays, 10:00-10:45 am (Session 1: 4/2-5/7, Session 2: 5/14-6/18)
Tumbling (Ages 4-5) – Tuesdays, 11:00-10:45 am (Session 1: 4/2-5/7, Session 2: 5/14-6/18)
Let’s tumble! Come join our experience and encouraging teachers and learn how to roll, tumble, balance, and explore movement. Your child will improve their self-confidence, body awareness, and learn a few gymnastics skills while having fun in a safe, positive environment.
You can sign up online by going here.
TUESDAY UPDATE: As per comment discussion and our subsequent followup with the center, the dance-fitness class was canceled after the information was sent to us with a request for publication, but we weren’t notified about the subsequent cancellation. The kids’ tumbling classes, though, are on.
Though the sign on the door says Memorial Day weekend, Colman Pool – West Seattle’s only city-run outdoor pool – will actually open two weeks earlier this year! You might recall our coverage last fall of local swimmers’ campaign to expand the pool’s all-too-short season. In the city-budget process, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold got the Seattle Parks budget to cover four extra weekends. After passing the pool while walking the Lincoln Park shoreline today, we checked to see if this year’s schedule indeed reflects that change – despite the sign on the door – and it does, with two extra weekends in the pre-season and two more in the post-season. As you can see here, the pool – which previously opened for pre-season weekends on Memorial Day weekend – will start operations the weekend of May 11-12 and end with the weekend of September 21-22. Its 7-day-a-week season is still just two and a half months (June 22-September 2 this year); here’s the full 2019 brochure (PDF), including information about fees, lessons, and rentals.
Sunny and warm-ish weather is forecast for tomorrow. Here’s a great way to start your Sunday! The announcement was sent by Colin:
Come join us to improve the Puget Park trail, this Sunday, March 17th from 9-noon.
Community support is needed to continue Puget Park trail improvements. Several neighbors have come together to lead this Puget Ridge family-friendly community event. Please stop by and give whatever time you have, every little bits helps, even just swing by to say “thank you”. Our presence and participation at this event demonstrates to Seattle Parks that we care and appreciate improvements they are making to the parks in our neighborhood.
We plan to have a series of trails project throughout the spring and summer. Below is our work party calendar.
March 17th Spring kickoff
April 7th Volunteer days
May 5th Join hands day
June 1st National trail day This one is on Saturday
June 23rd Seattle work day
October 6th Fall Planting Party
Meet the group at the park entrance, 19th/Dawson.
Earlier this week, we brought you Seattle Parks‘ announcement of a March 30th open house regarding the plan to replace that beachfront restroom building on Alki. A few questions emerged in subsequent discussion, so we took them to Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor.
Q: When will the construction happen?
A: “As you know, our construction timeline is dependent on permitting. The project manager is working towards a construction in early 2020 with completion by early summer 2020.”
Q: Will it look anything like the building it’s replacing?
A: “Roughly the same footprint. It will not be a brick building; we are still sourcing materials. This project just went through our internal Pro-View and we are working on incorporating feedback we heard in the meeting. Our permit intake date is mid-June. At the March 30 Open House from 10 – noon, we will present building material samples and proposed schematic.”
Q: What other parks around the city are getting restroom renovations/replacements?
A: “Pratt Park, Maple Leaf Playfield (arson response), Lincoln Park (beach), Brighton Playfield, Mount Baker Park. We’ll also be renovating the outdoor restrooms at South Park as part of the community center renovation there, too.”
As mentioned in our previous report, what’s on file so far indicates that unlike the Alki project, the Lincoln Park plan is NOT a building replacement – just an interior remodel. Meantime, bring your questions to the March 30th open house at the site, which is on the Alki trail at 57th/Alki.
From Friends of Lincoln Park:
Friends of Lincoln Park (FliP) are asking that our community participate in a short survey on the use and existence of social trails in public, forested areas. Social trails are pathways of erosion caused by people and cyclists going ‘off-trail,’ typically serving as a shortcut through parks or forests.
The survey was created by FLiP’s intern Liz Watt (UW Capstone student) and she will be conducting helpful research that includes an assessment of social trails throughout our urban forest landscape and the development of methods to mitigate the effects of this common issue. In addition to the survey, Liz is bringing over 1,000 square feet of Lincoln Park’s forest into restoration (removing invasive plant and tree species and replacing with natives). FLiP is extremely lucky to have Liz on our team!
The survey should take 5 minutes or less to complete – thanks for participating!
Survey link: catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/lizwatt/368852
Imagine Lowman Beach Park with a stretch of currently undergrounded Pelly Creek running through it to meet the Sound. That’s part of the preliminary-design plan shown at last week’s community meeting about the park’s seawall-free future. In case you couldn’t be there, we recorded video:
They recapped the problem – the remaining seawall on the north side of Lowman Beach Park is sliding; it started failing in 2015. The south seawall failed in the mid-’90s. At the 2017 meeting, three possibilities for the beach’s future were detailed, and they are moving ahead with the one that involves removing the remaining seawall and restoring the beach to more of a natural state.
More controversial is the plan to also remove the asphalt tennis court that’s just behind the seawall. Graves acknowledged that it’s much-loved and well-used. He said they’re looking at the possibility of “restoring the tennis function” elsewhere in the park, perhaps its open area toward the southeast side – the top right of this rendering:
Or, suggested one team member, pieces of the old court could be repurposed as a memorial of sorts.
They won’t have more details until the plan reaches the 60-percent-design milestone. But Graves and the designers/consultants stressed how rare this is, to have a stretch of beach that is eligible for this type of restoration: “There’s a unique opportunity here, nowhere else in West Seattle … when this is done, you’ll be able to put a blanket on the grass and watch your kids play on the sand.” One attendee later wondered aloud whether driftwood was likely to eventually get in the way of that, as had happened on the south side of the beach, and Graves acknowledged that was possible. Still, the project team rhapsodized about how good this could be for salmon habitat – connecting that to endangered orca whales’ need for more food – and how it would even position the shoreline to be able to better handle future expected sea-level rise.
This area was identified as a priority for restoration more than a decade ago, Graves added, so it’s likely to get the grant funding that will be needed for the project.
Other questions and concerns beyond the tennis court involved the absence of a restroom in the plan – talking about families coming to picnic, it was suggested, made no sense if there wasn’t going to be one – plus fears that removing the seawall would lead to further compromising of the bulkheads protecting waterfront homes to the north, as also aired at the 2017 meeting.
One person asked about the park’s swing set. It’s staying, said Graves, and they’re also mulling whether the play area could be expanded.
WHAT’S NEXT: The 60-percent-design milestone is expected as soon as next month, and 100 percent design by year’s end. Project construction would happen next year, assuming the funding is found, and would last three to six months.
If you can spare a few minutes between now and 2 pm, you can stop by the Senior Center of West Seattle lobby (4217 SW Oregon, just around the corner from the northeast end of the Farmers’ Market) and help plan the future park at 48th SW and SW Charlestown. The city bought the quarter-acre site [map] almost five years ago and has kept it “landbanked” since then, but now it’s time to turn it into a park. (You’re also invited to comment online, via this survey.) Today’s drop-in event was originally set for two weeks ago but the weather got in the way. Ed Pottharst from Parks (top photo) is there to talk with you. While we were there, several people were there to share their thoughts – and one dog:
You can also check out boards with potential park-design elements.
That photo provided by Seattle Parks shows one of the vendors that’s had a concession contract at Alki Beach Park in past summers. If you’re interested in vending – or providing an activity (fitness, for example), there or at Lincoln Park (among other possible spots at parks around the city), it’s time to apply. Here’s the announcement we received:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is seeking proposals for seasonal partners to operate food service, recreational activities and group concessions in various park locations throughout Seattle. Locations vary with sites appropriate for carts, food trucks or self-contained service business. Seasonal concessions enhance and activate parks by aligning with SPR’s values “healthy people, healthy environment, strong communities”. Proposals are due by March 8th.
Past seasonal concessions in West Seattle include food sales at Alki Beach Park and Lincoln Park and SUP/Kayak vending at Alki Beach.
SPR is also accepting ongoing applications for Activity groups who operate in the parks (fitness boot camps, outdoor nature classes, yoga).
Commercial activity in the park requires a permit and all businesses submit insurance, City of Seattle business license and undergo staff background checks. More information and permitting requirements are found at: seattle.gov/parks/seasonalconcessions . We look forward to hearing from potential vendors!
Another request for your input – this time, for the future of the city’s Olmsted parks, including Hiawatha Playfield and the section of Schmitz Park known as its Boulevard. Here’s the survey, which includes this explanatory introduction:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is wrapping up a study of 10 of the Olmsted Parks and Boulevards. The purpose of the Olmsted Parks Study and the following survey is to hear from the Seattle community how Seattle Parks and Recreation can prioritize restoration of these historically significant assets. …
Seattle’s Olmsted Parks and Boulevards began as a dream the City of Seattle had in the late 1800’s for a beautiful system of landscapes among urban growth. This vision was implemented in the form of parks throughout the city designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm. The basis of design for these parks was to allow access to attractive open spaces to provide peace and respite for people from all walks of life.
The study is here (PDF), with Hiawatha assessment and recommendations starting on page 84, and Schmitz right after that, at page 96. Historic photos, too!
BACKSTORY: Here’s more on the Olmsted parks’ restoration project that this is all part of
That’s the “landbanked” city-owned site of a future park at 48th SW/SW Charlestown. You might recall that you were supposed to be able to share your thoughts about the site at a drop-in booth during the West Seattle Farmers Market back on February 10th …but the weather got in the way. A new date and location are now set – this Sunday, also in The Junction, also during the Farmers’ Market, but indoors – 10 am-2 pm (February 24th) at the Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon. So drop by at some time during that window, even if you only have a few minutes to spare, and talk with Parks reps about what amenities you’d like to see at the new park. Whether you do or don’t stop by on Sunday, you can also comment online via this survey.