April 23

Neighbors treasure park's view from the top



The Maple Leaf Reservoir has got a view, and neighbors don’t want anything getting in its way when the space is turned into a park in 2012.

At least 110 Maple Leaf residents attended a meeting Thursday night — which just happened to be Earth Day — to discuss and dissect three proposed designs for the park from The Berger Partnership.

All photos courtesy Friends of Greater Maple Leaf Park

And the consensus seemed to be: Preserve the view, keep it green and give us plenty of open space.

The three proposals were based on ideas from the last planning meeting in February, which Greg Brower from The Berger Partnership said actually produced about 40 pages of suggested amenities from its 130-plus attendees.

He said they could easily add any of the amenities, but “we want to make sure the packaging of amenities reflects Maple Leaf.”

The first concept, called Waves, seemed to generate the most interest for its organic feel, with meandering paths, large as well as somewhat intimate gathering spaces, and a focus on greenery.

But many of the attendees, who were separated into eight groups, also liked the idea of tying some of the Waves ideas in with the Vista concept, which put the park’s emphasis on the view while also preserving open space but adding plenty of viewing areas, and even a “view mound” that proved quite popular.

Lower on the radar was the Commons concept, which many groups said had an industrial feel that they said they usually wanted to escape from when at a park. The idea was to use the park as an addition to the current map of the neighborhood, keeping its street grid intact with paths that would connect main walking routes such as 12th Avenue Northeast or Northeast 85th Street.

However, one attendee spoke in favor of the Commons at the end, noting that the ideas most people were in support of were amenities that already exist at the current Maple Leaf Park, namely a children’s play area and ball fields. Meanwhile, the Commons included tennis courts, multiuse sports courts and an amphitheater, amenities that seemed to get the thumbs up as much as the thumbs down from the different groups.

Other ideas that got mixed results were whether parking should be added, while both a skate park and an off-leash dog park seemed as popular as they were unpopular.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will continue to take comments until May 14, and it expects to have many of the ideas, as well as the official renderings of the Waves, Vista and Commons concepts, posted on its Web site soon. If you missed the meeting but would like to add your 2 cents, e-mail Project Manager Kellee Jones at kellee.jones@seattle.gov

Jones also is the person to contact with your ideas about public art at the park.

Also at the meeting, Jason Huff with the city’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs announced the selection of artist Patrick Marold of Denver, who is looking for input from the community on his project in the form of two questions:

  • How much does the community want art to be a part of the park experience?
  • How should the artwork affect the use and experience of the park.

“He’s really interested in getting feedback from the community to guide him in the process,” Huff said.

However, if you’d like to personally discuss your thoughts with him, Marold will spend some time in Maple Leaf in May, and also will be at the next design meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 16 at Olympic View Elementary.

And one last note: If anybody picked up a black, felt beret at the February meeting, its owner has desperately been searching for it since then and is asking you to please let Jones know.

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