West Seattle, Washington
Before the long-delayed Don Armeni Boat Ramp dock-replacement project got started, Seattle Parks said repeatedly that one float would remain open throughout the work. As the photo above from Stewart L. shows, that isn’t currently the case. We asked Parks why, and when there’d be a usable dock again. Spokesperson Karen O’Connor replied, “We were working hard and had planned to keep one float open at all times during the work at Don Armeni, however, we ran into some unexpected conditions when driving the final piles for both the north and south floats. If all goes well and the weather cooperates, the project manager anticipates opening one dock/float this weekend/beginning of March.” The project is replacing the old dock structures and pilings with sturdier new ones, and increasing the “over-water coverage” by a third.
Three weeks ago, thanks to tips, we reported that the Delridge Playfield lights were out again because of wire thieves. Last week, one of our original tipsters, John – who had photographed the exact spot hit by the thieves – told us that crews were on scene to fix the system. We subsequently inquired with Parks, who responded today that the lights are working again. Security was improved, too, according to John’s observation: “Installation of steel conduit instead of PVC previously used, therefore making hard to steal the cables.”
The main north entrance to Fauntleroy Park is a little easier to navigate now, thanks to a local Eagle Scout and helpers. The report is from Judy Pickens:
Visitors to Fauntleroy Park will notice something new at the SW Barton St. entrance: a crushed-rock path providing firm footing between the sidewalk and kiosk.
Eagle Scout candidate Kai Longmeier (above) rallied a crew from Troop 681 to strip the pathway of grass, lay and compact 7.5 yards of crushed rock, and put in 12 plants around the entrance’s rainbow sign.
The project started with interest by the Fauntleroy Watershed Council in improving access for those who rely on wheels to enjoy the park (strollers, walkers, wheelchairs). Council member Rosalie Miller worked with Amir Williams, trails program manager for Seattle Parks, to come up with the project and Kai ably took it from there.
Haven’t been there before? Here’s a map.
A month and a half after a Seattle Parks executive said it looked likely that West Seattle Stadium would be chosen for the peninsula’s second off-leash area, the recommendation was formally unveiled tonight.
The area on stadium grounds west of the golf course was one of two West Seattle finalists (as announced last June) in the site-selection process, along with Lincoln Park, but Parks’ Danyal Lotfi told the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners tonight that it was no contest – the stadium site won hands down. Lotfi said that out of 4,753 respondents to last year’s citywide survey, 2,000 had something to say about the stadium site, and 87 percent were in favor of it. What’s more, Lotfi said, they’re recommending permanent removal of Lincoln Park from any future consideration as an off-leash area, because “the community prefers passive activation” there. (Before choosing West Seattle Stadium and Lincoln Park as the finalists, Parks also studied possible dog-park sites at Me-Kwa-Mooks, Hamilton Viewpoint, and Delridge Community Center.)
So what happens now? First, the recommendation has to be finalized, and that won’t happen until a public hearing at the board’s March 14th meeting. Then, it would be up to Parks Superintendent AP Diaz to give final approval. Assuming all that happens, design would start this summer/fall, with construction funding available in 2025-2026. This would be one of two new dog parks the city builds then, along with Othello Park. And Lotfi said they have other recommendations to go with adding dog parks – particularly “with expanding the off-leash-area system, expanded enforcement of leash laws is needed.”
One week from tonight, the recently released draft Seattle Parks and Open Space Plan gets a public hearing. (More on that shortly.) It’s a plan the city has to update every six years to be eligible for certain types of funding, but it gives a detailed look into where the department expects to go. So we went through the draft plan to look for specific West Seattle mentions.
Overall, the plan proposes redefining the “level of service” provided for people in Seattle – instead of focusing on a certain amount of park/open space acreage per person, the focus would be on ensuring that parks and park facilities are within a 10-minute walk.
Toward that goal, the draft plan notes that three of West Seattle’s “urban village” areas are “underserved” right now – the West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction, and Highland Park/Westwood areas. (See page 94 of the plan for more on that.)
Also of note – a list of projects slated for the next several years. Listed for West Seattle are accessibility projects (without specifics) for Colman Pool, West Seattle Stadium, the West Seattle Golf Course clubhouse, Walt Hundley Playfield, the south end of Westcrest Park, Seacrest Park, and Riverview Playfield. Also, the three West Seattle landbanked parks (Morgan Junction addition, West Seattle Junction/40th SW, and 48th/Charlestown), plus the second West Seattle Off-Leash Area. Playground renovations are planned for Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool, Riverview, and Westcrest Park’s south play area. Restroom overhauls are mentioned for the golf course (on-course structure), Walt Hundley Playfield, south Westcrest Park, and the Lincoln Park wading-pool area. Other projects envisioned between now and 2028: Turf replacement at Walt Hundley, decarbonization and renovations at High Point Community Center, shower renovations at Delridge Community Center, field-lighting replacements at West Seattle Stadium, plaster-liner replacement at Colman Pool, and “illicit connection remediation” at Hiawatha Community Center.
There’s a lot more in the plan – maps, stats, demographics and how they’re changing – which you can read here. The Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners – a city-convened advisory group – will hold a public hearing at its meeting one week from tonight (6:30 pm February 22 – online and in-person), and the deadline for all comments is March 9. Go here to find other ways to comment.
Thanks to Doug Eglington for sending the photo. Piling placement work continues at West Seattle’s Don Armeni Boat Ramp, one month after the start of the long-in-the-works dock-replacement project. American Construction is the contractor for the work to install new concrete floats and steel pilings, which is expected to continue until mid-March, with one float kept open at all times so the ramp remains usable.
A ceremony and celebration in the midday sunshine dedicated Camp Long‘s new south entrance gate in the name of the park’s longtime leader and champion, Sheila Brown. It was one of her last wishes before her 2021 death at age 59, an upgraded entrance to make the sprawling park more accessible. A partnership between Seattle Parks and the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, plus more than 100 donors, made it happen.
Before the ribboncutting, a crowd we counted at more than 50 people gathered on 29th, blocked off for the occasion, to hear about Ms. Brown and the project. We recorded them all on video:
Speakers included Seattle Parks superintendent AP Diaz, Caroline Borsenik of DNDA, and representatives of Ms. Brown’s family and friends, as well as a Muckleshoot Tribe member providing a blessing. Camp Long’s Matt Kostle emceed:
Attendees were invited to enjoy treats including s’mores – but most of all, they were encouraged to explore Camp Long, today and in the future, through the new Sheila Brown Memorial Gate:
Its materials, by the way, include reclaimed stone. If you’ve never been to Camp Long, it’s one of the city’s Environmental Learning Centers, with features including a pond, climbing rock, and cabins you can rent for camping, and a historic lodge, with the main entrance at 5200 35th SW.
Multiple readers have reported that athletic activities scheduled for Monday evening at Delridge Playfield were canceled because of theft/vandalism affecting the lights – again. We also heard from John, who sent this photo:
John, a retired electrician, explained what he saw while walking around the fields: “Damaged power pipe and cut cables. I called Seattle City Light. Tested cables. which were dead. But still connected to transformer.” That was midday Monday; John subsequently talked to an SCL crew member who, he reported,”said a high voltage crew would be called out to disconnect the cables from the transformer. The parks department will need to call out an electrical contractor to repair the cables from the service drop into the electrical main switch gear.” We’ve been waiting to hear back from Seattle Parks and City Light on a repair timetable. We’ve also asked about what’s being done to prevent recurrences (not only has this happened recently – we even found this story from more than a decade ago.)
The Seattle Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners won’t be hearing the final choices for new dog parks this Thursday night after all – the meeting’s been canceled. That announcement comes one day after an update that the meeting would include a briefing on the plan but not a public hearing. Today’s cancellation notice promises only, “The items that were going to be covered in this meeting will be moved to a future meeting.” (This was the only major item on the agenda.) The board usually meets twice a month. West Seattle’s not the only area of the city where Parks has been mulling additional off-leash areas, but it’s been closely watched since the department announced Lincoln Park and West Seattle Stadium sites as the finalists. Last month a Parks executive told the Fauntleroy Community Association that the site on the south side of the stadium property would likely be the winner, but the plan hasn’t been officially unveiled yet
Spring is now just six weeks away. If you’re thinking of volunteering during this year’s warm season, here’s an opportunity – the annual call for Seattle Urban Nature Guides, which we were asked to share with you:
Become a Seattle Urban Nature Guide! Seattle Parks and Recreation Environmental Engagement Unit is offering free volunteer guide training. Inspire change through education, enrich the experience of park visitors, teach families and school students in nature, and share with your community. Applications are due March 15th; training begins April 12th.
If you have questions about the program, PKSNatureFieldTrips@seattle.gov is the address.
Speaking to the Fauntleroy Community Association three weeks ago, Seattle Parkssplanning director Andy Sheffer said he believed West Seattle Stadium would be the choice for this area’s next off-leash area (dog park). As he noted, the announcement is due at the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners‘ February 8 meeting – and with that meeting a little more than a week away, Parks confirmed today that the final site choices, here and citywide, will be made public at that meeting. The other finalist for a West Seattle site is in Lincoln Park, as announced last June. Availability of the site south of the stadium was called into question because of a search for a site to put an EV-charging site for city-owned vehicles, but Sheffer told the FCA that the site seemed able to handle both uses. Next week’s meeting of the commission – a city-convened advisory group – is at 6:30 pm Thursday, February 8; you can attend either in person downtown or online. West Seattle currently has one official off-leash area, at Westcrest Park.
Last month we showed you the new entrance on the south side of Camp Long, honoring the park/environmental-learning center’s longtime director Sheila Brown. Now Seattle Parks and the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association have announced a ribboncutting celebration. Set your calendar for 11 am-12:30 pm Saturday, February 10. The new entrance is at 29th/Brandon [map]. The announcement notes, “The new entrance gateway is a great example of a public/private partnership with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association as the fiscal sponsors managing over 125 donors. SPR provided project management with additional design work and implementation budget.” (Read more background here.)
Southwest Pool will be closed (again today, Thursday, January 25). The plan is to open for Friday, January 26, for Adult Swim 12-2:30 pm and the HS Swim Meet 3:00-6:00 pm. Lesson participants will be issued a credit for the missed class.
Following the tragic incident at SW Pool, the Department is allowing staff some time to recover and a chance to heal.
As for the investigation itself, police have yet to provide any updates. Southwest Precinct representatives at last night’s HPAC meeting reiterated that they couldn’t comment while the investigation continues.
ADDED 2:50 PM: SPD has finally just posted about Tuesday’s incident on its “blotter” website, but there’s no additional information beyond what’s already been reported, except a note that anyone with information should call the SPD tipline, 206-233-5000.
The extra-cold weather didn’t keep students from spending their day off as a “day on” back on Monday – the photos and report are from Lincoln Park forest steward Lisa McGinty:
Sharing some highlights from Monday’s MLK Day of Service co-hosted with students from WSHS Earth Club. 53 students from WSHS and other area high schools showed up on a cold morning to help restore our urban forests in Lincoln Park. It was a great ‘youth-leading-youth’ event with WSHS Earth Club leaders helping to guide students at restoration sites in the Park. They worked to remove blackberry, ivy, holly and trash debris found in the forest. Thanks to all the awesome students who braved the cold and shared the 💚!
Watch this site for opportunities to help in Lincoln Park (and elsewhere!).
Thanks to Doug Eglington for sending photos Tuesday showing that crews were delivering materials to Don Armeni Boat Ramp. Today Seattle Parks confirmed this is the start of the long-in-the-works project to replace the floating docks at Don Armeni. Parks reiterates that one float will remain in service at all times; Doug sent another photo today showing one already has been removed:
This is another long-delayed project – we first reported on the plan seven years ago, at which time work was expected to start later that year (2017). Two years ago, Parks blamed the delay on federal permitting. The contractor is American Construction of Tacoma, which bid $1.2 million last year; Parks says the work should take about two months.
With work starting on the Lincoln Park South Play Area replacement, we asked Seattle Parks about the schedule for Westcrest Park, since that play-area replacement is part of the same contract awarded to LW Sundstrom. Today we got the reply: Work at Westcrest Park – where the play structure was closed for safety concerns in May 2021 – is expected to begin in March. It’s a narrower scope than Lincoln Park, so both are expected to be finished “approximately (in) June,” according to Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor.
Thanks to Tom Trulin for the photos. A week and a half after Seattle Parks confirmed that the long-awaited Lincoln Park South Play Area replacement was about to begin, crews from contractor LW Sundstrom are there today.
We’re still awaiting the promised update from Parks on the expected schedule for this project and the Westcrest Park play area that was bundled with it for bidding (Sundstrom’s winning bid was just under $1.2 million). Parks had previously said March is the expected shipping timeframe for the new play equipment, which – as designed with community input six years ago – is supposed to have a marine theme. The Lincoln Park play area has been out of commission since July 2017; Westcrest, since May 2021 – both because, Parks said, wooden components had become damaged and unsafe (termites were blamed).
Last month, we reported the long-planned stabilization project for Hiawatha Community Center was finally out to bid. Now the bidding process is closed and a list of eight bidders is now viewable online. The lowest “base bid” is $2,518,284 from Optimus Construction and Development of Burien; the highest, $2,989,000 from WS Contractors of Buckley. The project webpage lists the project’s total budget as $3.9 million. The center has been closed now for almost four years, and Parks officials admitted last month that it was a mistake not to reopen it while waiting for the stabilization project. If the rest of the contractor-selection process goes well, they also said last month, they hope work will start in March. It could last more than a year.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Seattle Parks has a new idea for where to add pickleball courts in West Seattle: The parking lot at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex.
That’s what Parks’ director of planning and development Andy Sheffer told the Fauntleroy Community Association last night.
It’s not a sure bet, though, as the parking lot is Seattle Public Schools property.
Before we get into those details – some backstory: Sheffer was invited to talk with FCA after the group’s previous meeting, last November (WSB coverage here), included a discussion with opponents of Parks’ plan to repurpose an old paved pad – once tennis courts, more recently a storage area for Parks maintenance – by setting up six pickleball courts. As FCA president Mike Dey explained in introducing Sheffer, they wanted to hear “the facts” about Parks’s plan, which first emerged in September, when Parks dropped a plan to add pickleball stripes to Solstice Park tennis courts, and drew intense opposition.
First Sheffer explained that the “next step” is a study on mitigating pickleball noise, a major point of concern for project opponents, contending the Lincoln Park courts would be disruptive both to wildlife and to people. He said this study – for which a “kickoff meeting” is imminent – involves the University of Washington Engineering Department, which is working on pickleball equipment that would reduce the noise by at least 50 percent. “Nobody ever really thought about the noise, but now that it’s a mainstream sport, they have to think about it.” (He noted later that pickleball noise concerns also include the “laughter and joy” expressed by players.) They’re also working with local wildlife/environmental advocates, he said, including Birds Connect Seattle.
But, he said then, “We are studying other sites concurrently … I’ve always had my eyes on the Southwest [Athletic Complex] parking lot.” Sheffer said he’s already had one meeting with the school district about the idea and has another one set up. He explained,, “What I’d like to see come out of that is to be able to build the same number of courts with the ability to park over [them] for the two or three big events a year.” He didn’t specify which events he was referring to; the NCSWAC is used for a variety of sports events throughout the year, plus high-school graduations, among other things, and its lot is adjacent to Parks-owned Southwest Teen Life Center and Pool.
Sheffer said they’re open to other sites but a major criteria is that a site would have to already be paved – they don’t want to pave anything that’s not; he said he’s been “scouring the city looking for impervious surfaces.” In West Seattle, he said, the Lincoln Park pad and NCSWAC parking lot “are really it” but he stressed that he’s hopeful the parking-lot idea “will go through and then we can look at other uses for Lincoln.”
If Lincoln Park remains the site, Sheffer was asked, what about its condition? One person in attendance said, “We have pictures of broken asphalt and treeroots coming up through it.” Sheffer replied, “We would patch the broken areas of asphalt and do another asphalt overlay and a top coat.” He added that the Lincoln Park site wasn’t identified for repurposing previously because Parks’ “old leadership” said it was needed as a maintenance facility, while “new leadership” decided the materials could be stored somewhere else.
Another question: What’s the rush for new pickleball courts? Sheffer replied, “We have a huge demand for pickleball … huge demand from West Seattle for sure.” So much so, he said, that existing sites are under pressure to expand – he noted, “There’s a big push to make Walt Hundley [Playfield, in High Point] more of a dedicated pickleball facility.”
What about a privately owned site, like Westwood Village, which has both a huge parking lot and two large empty indoorspaces? Sheffer said they could certainly consider that; FCA board member Marty Westerman said the suggestion had already been made to the shopping center’s owners, but they had yet to reply.
Sheffer returned multiple times to an acknowledgment of the concerns voiced previously by those opposing the Lincoln Park site (the FCA has yet to take a formal position) – “This is your park, we hear you loud and clear, you shouldn’t have to fight the city … I’ve heard a lot through this process.”
Other questions were aimed at eliciting more specifics about the study. Sheffer said it’s “kicking off” with a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, January 11th) and shouldn’t last longer than three months – “a lot of it is literature review,” he added, referring to what he said was “lots” of studies already done regarding pickleball noise.
He was asked about the best way to advocate, either for or against the pickleball project. At first Sheffer suggested people wait to see how the study turns out; later in the meeting, he suggested an online survey would be a possibility, maybe with questions such as “if noise could be reduced by 50 percent, would you be opposed?”
WHAT’S NEXT: Before leaving the meeting (which moved on to other non-Parks topics we’ll recap separately), Sheffer said his next steps would be the study, a survey, and review of other possible sites; he said the next conversation with SPS regarding Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex was slated for the “third week in January.” (It should be noted that NCSWAC already has tennis courts dual-striped for pickleball, just west of the pool building.)
We’re at the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s monthly meeting, where discussion has just concluded with Seattle Parks director of planning and development Andy Sheffer. The discussion was mostly about the Lincoln Park pickleball-court project – full story on that later – but before he left, Sheffer provided a short update on another issue involving the park – whether West Seattle’s next off-leash area will be at Lincoln Park or just south of West Seattle Stadium. Sheffer said he thinks the final choice is going to be the West Seattle Stadium site, which most recently looked less likely because of a city need for a place to charge some of the electric vehicles in the city fleet. Sheffer told the FCA he believes the site can handle a dog park and fleet charging, and that the plan will be presented to the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners on February 8.
When we asked Seattle Parks about the construction fencing that signals the imminent start of the Lincoln Park South Play Area replacement, we also asked about the downed fencing around the planned pickleball-court site elsewhere in the park. We’ve received several reader photos like the one above sent by Ryan. Was it vandalism? Here’s how Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor replied: “The fencing should not have been removed. The project manager is working to get it re-installed and also fix the signage.” The fencing was originally installed to stretch into the grassy area west of the planned court project because of accessibility work Parks said would be included. The work is currently on hold until warmer weather. The Fauntleroy Community Association, which heard from project opponents at its last meeting in November, is tentatively scheduled to talk with a guest from Parks at its next meeting Tuesday (January 9th), 7 pm at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW).
Thanks for the tips and photos! That fence is a sign that work is about to start on Lincoln Park‘s South Play Area, 6 1/2 years after the original play structure was closed and removed for safety issues. Seattle Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor tells WSB, “We anticipate issuing the Notice to Proceed to the contractor next week, so it seems the contractor put up the fencing ahead of this notice.” We reported last September that a contractor had been chosen but wouldn’t be able to start work until early this year. The contractor is LW Sundstrom, whose winning bid was just under $1.2 million for this project and similar work at Westcrest Park (closed 2 1/2 years). Parks promises more information on the construction schedule next week.
4:25 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s sent photos of that sailboat on the beach at Lincoln Park this afternoon. Several also noted that SPD officers were there. So we asked them about the situation, and they forwarded a Coast Guard statement:
The Coast Guard boarded a 25-foot sailing vessel this morning around 11:15. The owner/operator stated he was moving the boat from Tacoma to Shilshole Marina to sell it. The USCG boarding crew noted that the individual had all required safety gear aboard (i.e. lifejacket, sound producing device, etc.). There was no concern from the USCG at that point, so the man was allowed to continue his voyage. Sometime after 1 p.m., he ran into some rocks near the Fauntleroy area.
The USCG did not plan another response as no one was hurt and there’s no danger of pollution, as the boat has no engine. SPD says its officers were just there to “assist the boater.” We don’t know yet how – whether – the grounding was resolved; next high tide is just after 10 pm, but it’s a much lower high tide than the 12-foot-plus high tide expected at 11 am tomorrow.
8:53 PM: Thanks to Rick Rasmussen for that photo of the sailboat getting the aforementioned USCG visit earlier today. It’s apparently still there – dispatch tried sending officers again this evening, until informed that it had already been “dealt with” and that the boat’s occupant indeed was awaiting high tide.