West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo, Lincoln Park South Play Area shortly after July 2017 closure)
After years of delays – six years, in one case – construction is finally on the horizon for two West Seattle playground projects, Lincoln Park South and Westcrest Park. Bundled together, as Seattle Parks said last year would be done, they are now open for bidding. The previous play equipment at Lincoln Park South was closed in July 2017 because of safety concerns from termite damage; at the time, Parks said it might take until the following year (2018) to get it replaced. A community-engagement process in 2017-2018 settled on a marine theme for the replacement. But over the ensuing years, the timeline has just kept sliding, with no clear explanation.
(WSB photo, Westcrest Park play area shortly after May 2021 closure)
Meantime, the Westcrest Park play area was closed two years ago, with similar “deterioration” concerns cited. Parks first said it would be replaced as part of the work at Westcrest Off-Leash Area, but last year decided instead to bundle it with the Lincoln Park project. The bid documents aren’t yet available online, but the schedule says bidding opened yesterday and will continue for three weeks. Typically, the construction schedule isn’t set until a contractor is chosen, so we don’t know yet how soon the work will start, nor whether the two will be built simultaneously or sequentially. The city website says the Lincoln Park project is budgeted at $600,000, but doesn’t list a dollar amount for Westcrest; both projects will be funded by the Seattle Park District.
11:53 PM: Police checking out reports of gunfire in the Lincoln Park area have found casings in one of the parking lots and one person who is wounded, found just east of the park near 46th/Rose. Updates to come.
11:57 PM: They’re also reporting at least one house hit by gunfire, 8000 block of Fauntleroy Way (right across from the park). Officers have told dispatch they’ve recovered five .45 casings so far. Meantime, the injured person is reported to have been shot in the leg. (Update: Knee.)
12:06 AM: Police are reporting a “second scene” in the park, finding shell casings by the baseball diamond.
12:15 AM: According to an SFD radio transmission, the shooting victim is a 15-year-old boy.
12:36 AM: Officers told dispatch that they were told several people in the park were “firing guns into the air.” The victim, meantime, has been taken to the hospital.
12:43 AM: Officers say they have collected six .45 casings from the north parking lot.
(Photos courtesy Fauntleroy Watershed Council)
Planning your Memorial Day weekend – or thinking about other ways to enjoy the outdoors on warm, sunny days? Here’s a new option: a Tree Walk in Fauntleroy Park. The Fauntleroy Watershed Council sent the announcement to us to share with you:
Something new is happening in Fauntleroy Park, thanks to the Fauntleroy Watershed Council and the West Seattle Garden Tour. Botanical markers now identify 12 iconic Pacific Northwest trees and shrubs along main trails and each links by QR code to species details.
Stroll through this beautiful remnant of a coastal forest with your smart phone to access text on the council’s website about distinguishing features of each species, their symbiotic relationship with wildlife, and their importance to Coast Salish nations. Remember to stay on trail and refrain from collecting these plants as mis-identification can be dangerous and harvesting can deprive wildlife of food and shelter.
(Volunteer Greg Aramaki installing salmonberry sign)
Lindsey Conrad led the team of volunteers that created the walk. A grant from the garden tour funded the markers and added to the council’s stewardship fund for restoration maintenance. For more about local flora – and a chance to win a native plant for your garden – stop by the council’s booth at Garden C during the June 25 tour.
Anticipate trees and shrubs on the walk at fauntleroywatershed.org/index.php/park/treewalk.
Find garden tour information and purchase tickets at westseattlegardentour.org.
Learn how to support the council’s stewardship fund at fauntleroywatershed.org/index.php/donate.
Two days after Saturday evening’s deadly shooting near Alki’s Whale Tail Park, a few updates:
-No arrests yet, according to Seattle Police. (They say the arrest of a teenager with a gun during the investigation was not related; that 15-year-old was booked into the Youth Services Center for unlawful gun possession.)
-No other information to release beyond what they said Saturday.
-The victim’s identity has not yet been released by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
-As we noted earlier today, Parks is planning to close Alki Beach Park (and Golden Gardens) early again this summer. Here’s the announcement sent out since our inquiry:
Seattle Parks and Recreation will enact a second-phase pilot shortening the hours at Golden Gardens and Alki Beach during the 2023 summer months from 4 A.M.-10:30 P.M. from May 26-September 4. And a return to 4 A.M. – 11:30 P.M after September 5th.
The shortened hours will assist in addressing dangerous and/or illegal behavior typical of summer evening uses at these two parks in response to public input and nearby community complaints. This program is a pilot and will be reviewed at a Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners meeting after the Summer to help determine the best operating hours for the public. This review will be informed by public comments from the questionnaire below, public comment given at the Board meeting, and data collected throughout the pilot period.
During the Summer 2023 Season, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff, assisted by Seattle Police Department staff, will begin closing down these two beach locations starting at 10:00 P.M.
Public input can be provided here.
Additionally, designated fire pits will be available for beach fires this summer beginning Saturday (of Memorial Day weekend).
(The announcement seems to have some date discrepancies so we’re checking back with Parks on those.) This will be the third summer of early closings; they followed the same Memorial Day to Labor Daywindow last year; in 2021, Parks made the change after two major incidents in June of that year, the shooting that killed Tilorae Shepherd and the chaotic social-media-organized gathering that drew thousands.
5:10 PM: Parks’ announcement has the correct dates now.
(Colman Pool, photographed in 2017 by Long Bach Nguyen)
For everyone wondering when the city will open its outdoor aquatic facilities this year – the answer is just in from Seattle Parks and Rec. We’ve pulled out the West Seattle/South Park-specific info:
HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK: Opening May 27th and open every day of the week, 11 am-8 pm, through Labor Day.
COLMAN POOL: West Seattle’s only city-run outdoor pool will start daily operations June 24th and continue through Labor Day. See the schedule details here. No mention of “preseason” weekends, so we’re doublechecking on that. (Note that it will be closed to the general public July 6 through 8 and July 14 and 15 for swim meets.)
WADING POOLS: Here’s the plan for West Seattle/South Park – and yes, Hiawatha WILL be open, the city says:
Delridge – 6/28-8/18, Wed/Thurs/Fri, 12-5:30 pm
EC Hughes – 6/26-8/20, Mon/Tue/Sun, 12-7 pm
Hiawatha – 6/29-8/19, Thurs/Fri/Sat, 12-6:30 pm
Lincoln Park – 6/24-9/4, daily, 12-7 pm
South Park – 6/26-8/16, Mon/Tue/Wed, 12-7 pm
As always, the city reminds you, wading pools “are open on sunny days when the temperature is forecast to be 70 degrees or above.” You can call 206-684-7796 during the season for a recording updated daily regarding what’s open and what isn’t.
P.S. The city still has lots of job opportunities, for lifeguards, for example – info here.
On Monday, we reported that a plan to replace the Delridge Playfield artificial turf has gone out to bid. We also noted that the “rebidding” of Hiawatha Playfield‘s turf replacement appeared to have resulted in a decision. So we followed up on both with Seattle Parks today.
First – they confirm that the “rebidding” for Hiawatha (rendering above, PDF here) resulted in the contract going to the same firm that won the original round, FieldTurf USA. (Online files show the rebidding didn’t result in a major savings – their new winning bid was $1,243,000, compared to the original winning bid of $1,256,000.) Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor says that Hiawatha field construction is still expected to start in the middle of this month, last about three months, and that “It is likely that Delridge and Hiawatha field closures will overlap for about 6 weeks during the summer construction.” P.S. If you have questions about any of the various Hiawatha projects, you’ll want to be at next Tuesday’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm at Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill), when ANA expects to talk with and hear from a Parks deputy superintendent.
Thanks for the tip. If you’re uphill from Lincoln Park, you might have heard the drumming from this gathering – it was audible in Gatewood. Aztec dancers and drummers are gathered in the park this afternoon. We couldn’t get a lot of information (we were interrupting), but we’re told they are there to honor the Earth.
Just two days after serving as the backdrop for a state/local environmental announcement, Roxhill Park got some TLC as part of today’s Duwamish Alive! twice-yearly multi-site volunteer restoration work.
DNDA‘s Nature Team organized today’s event. The park’s endangered bog is the site of the historic headwaters of Longfellow Creek, which connects to the Duwamish River. Other sites where volunteers worked today ranged from the river itself – with a kayak-patrol cleanup – to lower reaches of the watershed in south King County.
Thanks to Brandy DeWeese for sharing photos of wildlife seen during low tide this afternoon at Lincoln Park. We’re not in a super-low-tide phase, but low enough to make shore exploration worthwhile.
The tide was out to -1.2 feet this afternoon and will be lower, -1.4 feet, at 2:39 pm tomorrow.
Brandy noted that the beach was relatively deserted on this drippy afternoon.
If you’re interested in guided exploration, Seattle Parks has a guided beach exploration for the April 22 low tide (register here), and Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists start their season in early June.
Two Seattle Parks Department notes of interest:
SUPERINTENDENT CONFIRMATION: Six months after Mayor Bruce Harrell nominated AP Diaz to be the next Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the City Council is taking up the nomination. It’s the only major item at this Wednesday’s 2 pm meeting of the Public Assets and Homelessness Committee. The agenda documents include this one with Diaz’s written answers to 29 questions about various Parks-related issues as well as about his background and intentions. The committee might vote on the nomination at this meeting, but the full council would have the final say at a subsequent meeting.
MORE PARK RANGERS: City Councilmembers meeting this afternoon as the Seattle Park District Board (video above) were briefed by Diaz on the planned expansion of the Park Ranger program, spending $3 million to add “up to” 26 more rangers (right now the city has just two). But none will be assigned to West Seattle, despite our area having two of the largest parks in the city; the initial plan is for all of those Park Rangers to be deployed downtown and on Capitol Hill. From the slide deck for today’s meeting:
The geographical limitation is attributed in the short run to “bargaining constraints,” according to committee chair Councilmember Andrew Lewis, but that’s subject to change in future contract talks, Diaz said. Meantime, the department is actively recruiting candidates for the positions right now – qualifications are outlined in the full slide deck from today’s meeting. As also detailed in the presentation, the department will keep the board (council) updated on how many citations and warnings are issued, as well as how many “positive interactions” the rangers have. They hope to have the first 11 new rangers hired and trained by midyear.
ADDED TUESDAY: Some commenters wondered about the “bargaining constraints.” Christena Coutsoubos from Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s office has provided this 2008 document for context.
We asked Seattle Parks about three local projects this week, and here’s what we heard back:
RE-BIDDING ON HIAWATHA TURF: This week, the turf-replacement project for Hiawatha Playfield showed up again on the city bidding website, now open for a “re-bid.” We reported three weeks ago that the project had already been awarded and that construction was supposed to start in May, so we asked Parks what happened and whether the timeline would be affected. Spokesperson Karen O’Connor replied that the department decided to “reject all bids for the Hiawatha Playfield Synthetic Turf Replacement due to an in opportune bidding climate. We are fortunate the original bid was early enough that we will be able to rebid the project and still meet the previously communicated timeline with construction occurring this summer, starting in May.”
(WSB photo: Sign at park with an already-past construction timeline)
LINCOLN PARK SOUTH & WESTCREST PLAY AREAS: While on the topic of bidding, we asked about the status of these two long-delayed projects, which at last report were supposed to go out to bid – bundled together – in “early 2023” (which, with the first quarter ending today, is inarguably over). Lincoln Park South, you’ll recall, has been closed for almost six years; Westcrest has been closed for almost two years. O’Connor’s reply on those: “We are on track to bid this spring and anticipate we will be in construction by this summer. We know this has taken time and are happy to say we are on track with this bidding schedule.”
47 years ago, the Rotary Club of West Seattle transformed a pocket of land at 35th/Alaska into a park. Members go back periodically to help tend it. They sent photos from their most recent work party:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle recently transformed Rotary Viewpoint Park into a beautiful green space. Led by Community Service Chair Gina Topp, the team weeded the garden beds, cleared out debris, and created an inviting space for both people and birds. Check out the stunning “before and after” photos to see their amazing transformation.
You can read about the park’s history here.
From left in that photo taken at Alki are Erika Whinihan, Joe Drake, Heather Free, and Gretchen Tapp. They’re celebrating two major marathon-running achievements achieved on one day, thousands of miles from home, as explained in this announcement we received from Joe:
Local residents Joe Drake and Erika Whinihan, both of West Seattle, along with Heather Free (Duvall) and Gretchen Tapp (Auburn), earned their Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star Medals in Tokyo on March 5, 2023.
Runners achieve Six Star status, a bucket list item for many marathoners, after completing all of the World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. Bagging Tokyo has recently become elusive. In the interest of pandemic safety, the Tokyo Marathon restricted participation such that non-residents of Japan have not been able to run there since 2019. A large backlog developed and as a result, a record number of runners received their Six Star Medals on March 5. These runners are among the 3,033 runners who took home the medal and earned a Guinness World Record in the process for “most people to earn a Six Star Medal at a single marathon”.
For more on the World Marathon Majors, see this link. And for details of the historic Guinness world record in Tokyo, read this blog post from Joe Drake. You can read about his journey to the Six Star Medal in his book “Run With It: A True Story of Parkinson’s, Marathons, the Pandemic, and Love” available on Amazon and at his author’s website.
Joe’s WMM quest was noted here in October 2021.
Both of these closures later this week are for staff training:
SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY: Its facilities will be closed Wednesday (March 22nd), but branch book drops will be open. Details here.
SEATTLE PARKS AND RECREATION: Many of its facilities will be closed Thursday (March 23rd), including community centers and indoor pools. Details here.
Earlier this week, when we published the Seattle Parks update on the Hiawatha Playfield turf project, some asked for an update on the biggest project at Hiawatha – the community center “stabilization” project. In this case, the saying “no news is good news” might apply. We reported in December that the city planned to move ahead despite not having word at the time on a half-million federal grant. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office now tells us they learned that Parks has since been awarded the grant and is still on the timeline they gave us in December – expecting to open bidding shortly and start work in May. (We have a followup inquiry out with project management to see if there’s a date when they plan to send the project out to bid, as it’s not on the city’s bidding website yet.) The upgrades include earthquake-resistance work, which is why the city sought what’s formally known as a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant – in the 2019 funding cycle, according to what Parks spokesperson Karen O’Connor told us in December. She also said the work is expected to last 14 months, so even if the May start really does happen, that makes Hiawatha a construction zone continuing into summer 2024. The circa-1911 community center has been closed since the heart of the pandemic. P.S. Along with the long closure, the price tag for the project has grown – the city website now says almost $4 million, though just last year Parks told us the half-million-dollar grant represented about a quarter of the budget (which that would have put at $2 million).
11:11 AM: Police were at Roxhill Park this morning, investigating after a person was found dead in the field area on the park’s north side. We went to the scene after a tip around 8 am. Still not much information available; the police we found there were waiting for the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which will determine how the person died and who they were, but there was no indication of an active homicide investigation, as they were already starting to take down the tape. SPD and SFD were originally dispatched just after 7 am; in archived audio, the SFD dispatcher told responders that the body had “been there a while, with nobody around.” We’ll update with anything more we find out.
1:51 PM: Police say the dead person was “a man, possibly in his 40s-50s.” If you have any information about what happened, call their tipline at 206-233-5000.
ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: As discussed in comments, SPD added a note today to their post from yesterday, saying this appears to have been an overdose death. However, the Medical Examiner’s daily list of releases did not include that, nor the victim’s IDi
Hiawatha Playfield turf replacement will start in mid-May, Seattle Parks says. They’re expecting the work to last about three months. As shown above, the new turf will include markings for baseball, soccer, football, and softball. (Here’s a PDF version of the rendering shown above, including the legend explaining the markings.) Parks’ update also says, “Seattle Public Schools will provide safety fencing for the outfield when baseball and softball are in play. This project will include replacing the batting cage and resurfacing the rubberized three-lane running track. Seattle Parks and Recreation is investing in a state-of-the-art synthetic turf system that is safe, playable, durable, and retains less heat in the summer. Our standard is to provide a sustainable cork and sand infill over a cushioned pad system.” The contractor is FieldTurf, which installed the current turf in 2009 (twice, actually). FieldTurf USA was one of five bidders, online documents indicate, winning with a $1.4 million bid.
P.S. This project is unrelated to the other two much-delayed Hiawatha projects, the community center and play area. We’re working on a separate followup about them.
(WSB file photo, Westcrest Off-Leash Area)
ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: Almost seven years ago, Seattle Parks and Recreation announced a plan that could lead to gradual addition of new off-leash areas. Now it’s announced a new plan – to study 30 sites around the city “that may have the potential to become future OLAs”:
Seattle Parks and Recreation is set to launch an Off-Leash Area study, which will be led by department subject matter experts. The study will look at 30 sites across the city that may have the potential to become future OLAs. Staff will examine each site from an environmental, engineering, geographic, equity, and dog behavioral perspectives. At the conclusion of this study, SPR will be able to present to the community a list of sites that we believe are feasible and most suited for future OLAs. The Seattle Park District provides funding for 2 new OLAs; from there the department will need to request additional funding to construct and maintain any additional OLAs.
West Seattle, as people with dogs know, has one city-run off-leash area, at Westcrest Park. A community coalition had been working on other potential sites, as reported here last year. The new city announcement did not include the list of potential sites to be studied, so we’re requesting that on followup.
ADDED TUESDAY: Parks says five West Seattle sites are on the list to be studied. They are at:
Hamilton Viewpoint Park
West Seattle Stadium
Maybe you can help a student who’s been spending time improving one of our area’s most-cherished parks. The request arrived via Lisa McGinty, forest steward with Friends of Lincoln Park:
We are once again hosting a couple of wonderful UW students who are working on their capstone internship at Lincoln Park. They’ve been hard at work, restoring a 2000-sq-ft natural area while also working on their research projects.
One of the interns, Sylas Kasten, has created a survey as part of their research on using Geocaching as a tool for education and accessibility in natural areas, including our parks.
WSB readers have helped with FLiP interns’ surveys before, and, Lisa says, that’s really helped – so if you can spare a few minutes now, here’s a flyer about Sylas’s survey, which you can answer by going here.
P.S. Lisa says volunteer opportunities at the park have been limited for a while because their toolbox was stolen in November, but they’re expecting a replacement soon so will be opening signups for more restoration events – watch here, “or contact me directly with larger group requests: email@example.com.”
If you’re one of the many bird fans out in WSB-land, Seattle Parks environmental educator Nicole Parish-Andrews has an invitation for you:
Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Environmental Education Unit will be hosting 2 bird-watching events for the Great Backyard Bird Count on February 17th and 18th in West Seattle. One at Westcrest Park on the 17th from 3-4:30 pm (meet at the picnic tables near the P-patch), and one at Camp Long on Saturday the 18th from 10-11:30 am. You can attend just one or both. No previous birding experience? No problem! We will have naturalists there to help guide you and your family and also provide binoculars to borrow. Join us as we explore the wonderful world of birds in our beautiful local parks!
Free, no pre-registration required – just show up.
3:28 PM: As noted in today’s event list, Southwest Pool was to be closed today for natural-gas conservation. Now the pool has announced it’s open for limited operation the rest of the day:
Limited Operation for the remainder of Wednesday, Feb 1st.
Deep WX 7-8 – No instructor
Earlier, the pool’s announcement had explained, “In an agreement with Puget Sound Energy, some high volume business users are required to stop using Natural Gas to ensure an adequate supply for residential customers. Today is one of those instances.” The update warns this might happen tomorrow, so look for updates in the morning.
6 PM: Seattle Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin says the pool will be open tomorrow (Thursday).
Six years have passed since we first reported on Seattle Parks‘ plan to replace the floating docks at Don Armeni Boat Ramp in West Seattle. At that time, the project was expected to start half a year later, in fall 2017. But by fall 2018, it hadn’t, and that delay was blamed on a “late state budget signing” holding up grant money to fund part of the project. In a 2019 update about related environmental work, Parks said construction would happen in 2020. Next time we checked in on it, in early 2022, a federal permitting delay got the blame for the ongoing holdup. Though those permits hadn’t been finalized by the time Parks posted this update last month, the city said it would go ahead and put the project out to bid because they can’t work in the water until July anyway. And now the city’s bidding site indeed shows they’ve opened the project to bids this week, which are due February 15th. According to online documents, the new docks will be bigger than the ones they’re replacing: “The new docks will increase in width from 6 to 8 feet and extend out an additional 4.25 feet, increasing overwater coverage by 691 square feet.” Parks has said previously that the work would take about three months and that they would install the new docks one at a time so that one would remain open for boaters to continue using during the work.
We’ve been reporting on the Morgan Junction Park Addition site, bought by the city in 2014, planned for park development until the pandemic led Parks to put this and other projects on hold. In the short run, the former dry-cleaner/mini-mart site is supposed to get soil cleanup, but even that plan’s been dragging on. So community members set up an unofficial skatepark on the site – and that got relatively swift Parks action, shutting it down. We updated the situation in coverage of this past week’s Morgan Community Association meeting. That’s one of three “landbanked” future park sites in West Seattle. Today, an update on another:
Development of that park-to-be site on 40th SW between SW Edmunds and SW Alaska is also on indefinite hold but getting interim use as an unofficial dog park. As explained in a recent West Seattle Junction Association newsletter:
The Parks Department has this space slated to be turned into a beautiful park several years from now, so it has been fenced for some time. The fence is now down. We are asking that everyone who uses the green space clean up after themselves so we can continue to use it. We will have monthly cleaning crews of volunteers the first Saturday of each month at 10 am. Just show up and pitch in! Keeping the space looking good ensures the fence does not go back up. It will be a great place to walk your dog – just remember to clean up after your pooch, and take that doggy bag with you. The city is not supplying garbage cans right now. We are hoping with a lot of active use we can prevent any negative use of the space.
This one’s been owned by the city even longer, more than a decade; it was purchased even as the city asked for feedback on whether the site “made sense” as a park. Hundreds of apartments have since been built around it – Broadstone Sky to the south, The Whittaker across 40th to the east. There are many dog owners among their residents, noted WSJA executive director Chris Mackay in a conversation about this interim use for the site. She stresses that the city will put the fence back up if the site’s not kept clean. She also notes it’s irrigated and has lighting.
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