February 9

Hot talk on Maple Leaf's new park



Over 130 people crammed into small group discussions Tuesday night to debate the future of Maple Leaf”s reservoir park. One key question: “Should it be a destination sports park or a neighborhood park?”

The park, on Roosevelt Way at the water tower, will quadruple its size to about 21 acres as the city “lids” the reservoir and builds  recreational space on top. “It’s going to be your park and we want it to be representative of your neighborhood,” Kellee Jones, Seattle Parks and Recreation project manager for the expansion, told the meeting at Olympic View Elementary.

It will take awhile – despite all the current demolition easily visible from Roosevelt, actually building a new park won’t start for two more years. And there are constraints on what can be built on top of a giant water tank: It can’t be too heavy, and no pesticides or fertilizer are allowed.

Dozens of ideas were floated Tuesday night. Tall trees. A lookout tower. Better security lighting at night.  No lights for sports. Combination sports fields for lacrosse and soccer. No “creepy” hidden spots. A roller coaster. A skateboard site. A water feature. A merry-go-round to pump that water. Walking trails. Benches. Bee keeping. All in a $5 million budget.

“We want to keep it a neighborhood park and not cater to outside groups,” one woman said. Another added: “The fear is that we get a lot of artificial turf and bright lights for sports.” One man said: “The more you bring in active sports, the more you need parking.”

All the ideas will be assembled and posted on the parks department’s Web page. A final meeting will be held by late spring or early summer.

At the meeting’s close, each group reported their top desires.  A rough consensus was that the park should be:

Sustainable and natural, perhaps with a P-Patch.

A community gathering area.

Kid- and senior-friendly.

More accessible by foot than by car.

Open to upgraded multi-sports fields.

And possibly include “an off-leash dog area that doesn’t look like a mud hole.”

What do you think Maple Leaf’s new park should look like? Let us know.

Let the project manager know, too, at kellee.jones@seattle.gov

More information on the park can be found at the Maple Leaf Community Council’s Web site.

About the author 

Sara W

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  1. The overall budget is actually $5.45M with $5M for the park and $450K for renovations of the playground equipment. This is also the first part of the budget. Other reservoirs and similar large park projects are on their 2nd or 3rd dip into parks development funds. The Maple Leaf Community Council's Friends of Greater Maple Leaf Park subcommittee will also seek to secure grants and additional money to help achieve the community's vision for the park.

    So while $5M is the initial budget, it should be considered a starting point. People should understand the features the community will get at the park will come in stages as money becomes available. That is not to say money is not an important consideration in terms of choosing design features, just that we're able to design a park that costs more than $5M as long as we're willing to wait (perhaps years) to see all the features show up.

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