October 26

Seattle's newest park – the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park – is open!



Confluent Boulders. Inspired by the two water sources that feed the Maple Leaf Reservoir, the sculpture comprises two boulders taken from the Tolt River and Cedar River watersheds. (Thanks for the quick description, Donna. For more from Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park, scroll down.)

The fence around our park is (largely) down this morning, and people are strolling the upper circle.

Dozens of them, with children and dogs.

(Dog owners beware: There is lots of tasty Canada Goose poop in the grass.)

Official opening is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday’s opening includes the annual Maple Leaf Parade of Costumes.

From our earlier post:

“The Parade will end in Maple Leaf Park, just in time for the Opening Celebration of the upper part of the Park (which officially starts at 2:30 and runs to 4:30).

“The Opening Festivities will include a performance by Counterbalance Barbershop quartet, ribbon cutting ceremony, light refreshments, and family activities. We look forward to seeing you there!

“We could use a few volunteers to help with crossing Roosevelt and do some ‘front running’ to inform participating businesses the parade is approaching their location and giving them a chance to get outside to hand out treats. Email donna.hartmann-miller@mapleleafcommunity.org with questions, comments, or to volunteer!”

Here’s more background from Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park:

Seattle Public Utilities is in the process of replacing its open reservoirs with underground structures to improve the quality and security of Seattle’s water supply. That replacement also provides space on which a park can be built. The Maple Leaf Reservoir Park Development Project transforms the reservoir lid’s 16 acres of open space into a neighborhood park for northeast Seattle.

Seattle Parks, the Berger Partnership, Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park, and the community worked to create a comprehensive plan for the new park, including the existing Maple Leaf Playground. Our new neighborhood park includes a variety of walking paths, a series of rain gardens, a shelter, a gathering plaza, and a viewpoint that highlights Mount Rainier and Lake Washington. The park’s sport court area includes a pickle ball court, a hitting wall, and basketball hoops. There are two staircases connect the upper and lower levels of the park, one directly adjacent to the restrooms. The lower level includes a play area and two ballfields (although this area is expected to be ready for use spring 2014). There is also a new crosswalk at 83rd and Roosevelt, leading directly to the playground entry area).

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy assigned $5 million to plan, design, and construct Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. Confluent Boulders was commissioned with Parks and Green Spaces Levy and Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds. The picnic shelter in the playground area was funded through the Parks and Street Fund.

View from the park at dusk Saturday.

PS: Polo emails this question. (We don’t know the answer, but bet somebody from the city would at tomorrow’s 2:30 opening.)

Do you happen to know how I can find out the distance around the Park on the cement pathway? Thanks for your time and keeping a finger on the pulse of what I consider to be one of the most wonderful niches in Seattle! Cheers.”

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Sara W

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  1. @taco – I don’t like off leash dogs, even if you pick up their poo. Off leash dogs mean I cannot walk my leashed dogs – being shelter dogs – they are scared of dogs that run up to them & I’d rather spare them the trauma.

    If you are anywhere other than an off leash park – leash your dog! My first trip to the park – there was a lady with her spaniel roaming around off leash!

    I LOVE the new park. It’s a great place to walk. I saw serveral people playing b ball & p ball.

  2. By the way, there are plenty of productive dogs. There are police dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, dogs that detect endangered species, human diseases, and bombs. There are dogs that in their short lives are more productive than many people will be in their long lives.

  3. Oh please, plenty of children do not grow up to be productive citizens. Also, I don’t like kids running up to me or my dog. The breeders would have a better argument for people to keep their dogs on leash if they kept their kids on a leash.

  4. Not everyone likes your dog Taco. I don’t care for my water bottle being licked or peed on.

    The kids hate dogs jumping on them or scratching their face with their paws. Be considerate of others and obey the law. Leash them and be a responsible dog owner. Not everyone likes your dog. I’m sure most people feel their dog won’t misbehave off leash. However the kids and the dog hate when an off leash dog runs up un welcomed.

  5. What is wrong with letting your dog off-leash so they can run in this huge park, as long as you pick up after them? There is zero correlation to leashes and picking up turds as evidenced by many, including the lady with the Jack Russell terrier in the area of 80th & 20th.

    Also, re pickleball/tennis courts, there are 20+ tennis courts within 2 miles of the park, and zero pickleball courts, so, yeah, they were definitely needed. And pb is far more accessible than tennis, especially for kids.

  6. The one man/woman training that Forest Gump did for ping pong worked wonders for him, so maybe someone in the neighborhood could start some serious one man/woman pickle ball training with the wooden wall and take the pickle ball world circuit by storm. 🙂

    On a serious note, the park is much nicer than I imagined. I was really surprised by the views. I knew the view would be good, but didn’t realize how much of the water and the mountain would be visible. It’s awesome!

    I know people in the neighborhood will take care of the park. At least I hope so because it’s an asset to anyone that lives in Maple Leaf. I just hope that outsiders care for it as well.

    I also can’t complain that the park has a created an great shortcut for me to get to The Reservoir Tavern 🙂

  7. I also agree with the increasing need for a crosswalk on 85th and 15th NE. It is VERY difficult to cross the speeding traffic on 15th NE, which seems to be increasing and getting more drivers that are opting out of Roosevelt due to bike lanes/slower traffic. It can be very difficult to get across 15th NE (especially with children), and drivers do not stop, even if you stand at the crossroads with a child. Does the city require someone to get hurt before they do anything? This situation has worsened.

    As for the wooden wall… I’ve been told by Donna that it is a “hitting wall,” as in one where a solo pickleball player can hit the ball against the wall over and over. Just my opinion, but it’s more of an ornamental piece than it will ever be used for its intended function. Is it just me, or did hitting walls go away in the early 80’s?

    “Pickleball in the Park” confuses me as well. I’ve seen people trying to play, but pickleball uses a light whiffle ball, whereas tennis balls would be much less affected by wind and the elements we get in the highly elevated and open-spaced park. The people I’ve seen trying to play were struggling to control the ball with the wind. I personally would like to try it, but I also think far more neighbors would be equipped to play tennis.

    Can someone explain how pickleball came to be in our park? Seems very niche to me. I know MLCC was lobbying for tennis courts, but I’d love to hear the explanation as to why Pickleball was the answer.

    I agree with the comment about the downtown views. This might not be a popular idea around here, but a few trees could’ve been taken out to strengthen those viewing positions. That appears to be a missed opportunity.

  8. Re: Shade

    My mistake, I should have looked again at the plan. It shows a bunch of trees to be planted on the West near the circular path.

    Nothing about the mystery wall, though.

    And I forgot to mention in the other post that it would be nice to have another vehicle-blocking post on the West entrance, *before* some idiot drives on the grass, like they periodically do on the SE corner of the baseball field area. The lonely post there on the West won’t do much.

  9. Thanks, David, that is all good ot hear. I kind of like how the North side of the loop is dark, although it’s easy to imagine reasons why it could not be good.

    The access from 12th is adequate now, and I look forward to improvement. We walked there again last night, and whoever dug the fence/gate piece out from its wedged spot did a real public service.

    The neighbors next to the pathway seem to like having decorative lights up, maybe they could add some LED lights on top of their nice trellis to help light the way at low cost and low inconvenience?

    So what is the purpose of the wood wall? It’s too low and narrow for handball, too lonely to be part of an obstacle course, and pitching pennies does not seem to be a popular sport these days. Is it all that was left in the budget for another shelter?

    Our one big disappointment, and it is not that big, is the lack of views of downtown and the Lake Union fireworks. We have a lovely downtown, when viewed from Maple Leaf, and the trees on the South end combined with the new street trees on 14th which will eliminate the view from that angle, is too bad. However, if that’s the worst, it’s a reasonable tradeoff for this huge new beautiful space.

    It will be interesting to see how the lack of shade affects usage of the big open space next summer. It’s definitely glorious now.

  10. Thanks for the info David! I have been asking the city for a crosswalk at 85th and 15th for a while and hope that it is still on the MLCC’s list 🙂 Thanks!

  11. I’m going to step in for our park expert, Donna Hartmann-Miller, who is probably still glowing from all the kind words the opening attendees (justifiably) said to her yesterday…

    1. MLCC advocated strongly for a dog park on the overall site. Parks refused. It can’t go on the upper area because of the proximity to the reservoir. While the lid is technically sealed and weterproof, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) refuses to take any chances with water quality and the runoff from a dog park would qualify as icky. Since the Roosevelt Reservoir (75th) is being decommissioned, and Roosevelt is set for increased density, we’re hoping whatever portion of that space is retained for park space will have a dog park incorporated so there is an off-leash area nearby.
    2. It isn’t dog poop everywhere, it is goose poop. The dogs and people should keep that from happeneing again now that the fences are down.
    3. MLCC protested to DPD about those houses encroaching on the right-of-way at 12th. DPD didn’t catch the error until we complained and that’s the only reason there is access at all. (Thanks to an alert and knowledgeable neighbor who let us know about that back in the day.) We’ll continue to work to improve that entry, including with the developer who plans to develop the property on the other side.
    4. Thanks for the comments about the lights, Dan. We (Donna) worked with PArks and Berger (the designers) to make sure they would be Dark Skies compatible. We’re doing the same to advocate to get pathway lights around the north end of the loop, too.
    5. The outside paved path is about 0.5 miles. We will be taking a roller wheel around the pathways soon and posting all the distances on the MLCC website (MapleLeafCommunity.org).

    Stay tuned for more opportunitites to advocate for the park. We are still committed to convincing the city to complete the sidewalk around the perimeter (14th and 82nd), more crosswalks on 15th & Roosevelt, and a few other items.


  12. “Also, what`s with these butt-ugly contemporary-style houses being built in Maple Leaf?”

    Well, some of them are much more visible now from the park, while another is under construction on 96th near Roosevelt in the guise of a super-energy-efficient Japanese design.

    What’s with the wall in the park with the two comets kissing, pictured above?

  13. Hi. There is also a dog park on the way to Shilshoal. You just follow 85th down toward the water. It`s on the right-hand side as you face down hill. I hope that was of some help to someone.

  14. I agree that dogs are not environmentally friendly. However, I only adopt dogs from shelters. I am not personally responsible for adding more dogs, or people, to the planet. Also, the environmental impact of several dogs is still in no way comparable to the environmental impact of one child. As taxpayers we already pay plenty for people who breed. Why not consider providing a bit more for the majority? There are a lot more parks for kids in a city where there are more dogs than kids. How does that make sense?

  15. We walked around the park a couple of times last night, entering from 12th.

    What a glorious park we now have! It is lovely at night, and such a relief to be able to walk in the neighborhood without being next to cars. There was nice darkness there; can’t wait for a cloudless, starry night.

    That was also the first time we’ve seen the lights on in the park, and they do a nice job of shining down and not up. Starwatching should be a lovely experience in our park.

    Kudos to whoever was the first one to open the gate from 12th. It will be nice when it is fully removed and we don’t have to squeeze through.

    How did DCLU allow that house to be built so close to the public right of way, and have bump outs to put it even closer? It can’t be more than 3′ from the pathway. Who will be responsible for keeping the path passable?

    12th was already a wonderful walking street, and now it’s even more so.

    Thanks to the City and all the neighbors who worked with them to get this park for us!

  16. With so many dog owners congregating at Cloud City Coffee, it really does seem that an off-leash area should be part of this new park. Currently, people have to drive over to Magnuson Park; and if this new park’s goal is to add something to the neighborhood, there it is.

  17. Just an FYI, the Canadian Goose poop is not tasty at all!!!

    It tastes gross and you’ll be sick for days.

    Ask me how I know 🙁

  18. @ssouina lol. How Eco friendly is Chinese sourced dog crap everywhere? Thank your parents and pick up your stupid dogs feces.

  19. To answer Polo’s question above — what is the distance of the cement pathway? — it’s 0.5 miles. At least that’s what my Garmin watch told me today 🙂

  20. Seattle has more dogs per capita than kids. Dog parks should be put in, not playgrounds. Stop catering to the breeder minority adding to the massive environmental and societal problem of overpopulation.

  21. Awesome. We are VERY lucky to have this. I’m still shocked there isn’t a small dog park given the dog-centric nature of Maple Leaf, but wow we have nice parks now.

  22. Yeah! Saw my first off leash dog on the upper park grass this morning! (Way to go, owner of the Springer Spaniel!) Please fellow dog walkers – respect the leash laws. Woof!

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