News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Maple Leaf council meeting tonight, plus a gathering for seniors

October 20th, 2010 by Mike

A reminder that the Maple Leaf Community Council’s executive board meets tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Olympic View Church, 425 N.E. 95th St.

The agenda includes updates on the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park and the community garden, together with developments at the old Waldo hospital and public safety.

The council is also having a general meeting to hear from candidates and discuss issues on next month’s general election ballot. That meeting, which in the past has drawn 150 neighbors,  is next Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 N.E. 95th St, from 7-9 p.m.

Expected are candidates for the state Legislature, including Phyllis G. Kennedy in District 46; U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott and his challenger Bob Jeffers-Schroder; and state Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders and challenger  Charlie Wiggins.

Initiatives to be discussed:

  • Initiative 1053: State Tax Increases
  • Initiative 1082: Privatizing Industrial Insurance
  • Initiative 1098: State Income Tax
  • Initiative Measures 1100/1105: Concerning liquor (beer, wine and spirits)
  • Initiative Measure 1107: Soda and Candy Tax

Also, tonight Senior Services is hosting “Aging Your Way,” to develop a vision of a community that will support seniors as they age, at the Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E., from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jim Diers, former city director of neighborhoods, will facilitate. Food will be served.

For more information, click here. You can also e-mail dorig@seniorservices.org, or call 206-448-5757.

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Two-story grass grows in Maple Leaf

September 20th, 2010 by Mike

Wondering why the giant pile of dirt at the Maple Leaf Reservoir is changing color? It’s growing grass.

The contractor has hydroseeded the dirt. “It’s for erosion control – in winter months it helps see that dirt doesn’t get washed down to the bottom,” said Stephanie Murphy, project manager for Seattle Public Utilities. “In summer months it keeps the dust down.”

The dirt pile, now up to the neighbors’ second- or third-floor windows, will start to shrink next March when the contractor begins back-filling the giant hole. The pile was built from west to east, and will be slowly removed from east to west.

The project is on track to be completed in the first quarter of 2012, Murphy said. Then construction of the park will begin.

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We get to keep the maple leaves, too

August 27th, 2010 by Mike

Not only do we get to keep our landmark water tower and tank, the city’s going to preserve the art as well.

Next year, when Seattle Public Utilities re-coats the outside of the tank, they will try not to disturb the leaves. “They’re not trained as artists, so they’ll do their best,” said Andy Ryan, media relations coordinator for the utility.

“If needed, after they’re done, we may have to hire a local artist to do a little minor touch-up at the edges of the leafs. So the short answer is ‘yes, we will keep the maple leaves.’”

The tower and tank have been Maple Leaf’s symbol for 50 years. They were taken out of service last year by the utility, and won’t be used again to supply water, so there was fear they might be torn down.

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Maple Leaf landmark water tower to stay

August 24th, 2010 by Mike

We get to keep it.

The water tank and tower that are THE face of Maple Leaf have been sitting empty since last year, and will never be put back in service. Their structure isn’t up to earthquake standards for holding eight million pounds of water 100 feet in the air.

Keeping even an empty tank will require maintenance, such as painting, but Seattle Public Utilities has decided it’s worth it, as it generates revenue from its secondary use as an antenna tower.

“It is still used to support communications antennae and there are no active plans to remove (the tank and tower),”  e-mails Andy Ryan, media relations coordinator for Seattle Public Utilities.

“The exterior of the tank needs to be recoated (for aesthetic reasons) and that work is planned for 2011. The recoating should last somewhere between 10 to 20 years–hopefully closer to 20 years given the lack of water in the tank.”

The water tower was built near the corner of Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 85th Street in 1949 to replace two towers built nearly a hundred years ago, around 1915.

Since it became known the tank was empty, many Maple Leaf Life readers have had suggestions for its future. A sample:

Timmcb: “I think it would be a great lookout tower with one of the best views in Seattle if it was retrofitted for safety. It would be cheaper than creating something wholly new (viewing platform, landscaped hill) for the new park.”

EnduroDriver: “Take it down, the city has such a huge list of unfunded projects that would provide actual value for rate payers why would we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars maintaining an empty tank.”

SimoneBird: “Why not make it into a Peregrine Falcon nesting area? An adult has been seen perched on it off and on for the last two years or so.”

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News on Maple Leaf’s coming Reservoir Park

August 18th, 2010 by Mike

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce has a piece this week headlined: “Maple Leaf Reservoir park design on hold.”

You need a subscription to the paper to read the piece online, but what they mean by “on hold” is that the design won’t be finalized until next summer when construction on putting the reservoir underground is closer to being finished. This was announced at June’s meeting on the Reservoir Park. Among other things, it gives the neighborhood time to raise money for additional park features.

Here’s the interesting part in the DJC story, for residents who still hope for more input into what goes into the park:

The schematic plan for the park was recently shown to the Seattle Design Commission. Commissioners asked the team to address community concerns by identifying future projects that could become part of the park if funding becomes available. These include a P-patch and more picnic shelters.

At the commission meeting, a representative of the Maple Leaf Community Council said it had a meeting scheduled with the city to discuss these items. (Architect Greg) Brower said most of the community’s ideas, such as a P-patch, have already been considered and drawn up by his office. “We’ll wait to see what our direction is from Parks.”

One other thing. The DJC piece claims the new park “will have the second highest view point in Seattle.” Nice, but as Maple Leaf Life has (repeatedly) reported before, “we’re No. 3.”

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News on Maple Leaf's coming Reservoir Park

August 18th, 2010 by Mike

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce has a piece this week headlined: “Maple Leaf Reservoir park design on hold.”

You need a subscription to the paper to read the piece online, but what they mean by “on hold” is that the design won’t be finalized until next summer when construction on putting the reservoir underground is closer to being finished. This was announced at June’s meeting on the Reservoir Park. Among other things, it gives the neighborhood time to raise money for additional park features.

Here’s the interesting part in the DJC story, for residents who still hope for more input into what goes into the park:

The schematic plan for the park was recently shown to the Seattle Design Commission. Commissioners asked the team to address community concerns by identifying future projects that could become part of the park if funding becomes available. These include a P-patch and more picnic shelters.

At the commission meeting, a representative of the Maple Leaf Community Council said it had a meeting scheduled with the city to discuss these items. (Architect Greg) Brower said most of the community’s ideas, such as a P-patch, have already been considered and drawn up by his office. “We’ll wait to see what our direction is from Parks.”

One other thing. The DJC piece claims the new park “will have the second highest view point in Seattle.” Nice, but as Maple Leaf Life has (repeatedly) reported before, “we’re No. 3.”

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Maple Leaf gets best schools ranking on NabeWise

August 10th, 2010 by master

It appears that enough Maple Leaf residents finally chimed in about all the perks of our neighborhood to put us in the rankings on NabeWise.

The website ranks neighborhoods in specific cities based on reviews from its own residents, who must be members of the site to contribute. Since the site added Seattle in June, Maple Leaf already has climbed into the No. 1 spot for the city’s best public schools, according to the Maple Leaf page.

And despite the parking brouhaha that has erupted since the Seattle Department of Transportation proposed eliminating parking on the west side of Roosevelt Way Northeast from 75th to 85th avenues northeast (don’t fret, the plan is now on hold), residents seem to think parking around the neighborhood is pretty easy, ranking us the second-easiest neighborhood to find parking citywide.

We’re also in third place for day cares/preschools, fifth for access to public transportation and sixth for sense of community (check out photos of the recent Maple Leaf Summer Social and last week’s National Night Out if you need proof).

Out of the city’s 196 neighborhoods now rated on the site, our lowest rankings are for income, at 103rd; rent for a two-bedroom apartment puts us in the 91st spot; we’re only in the 32nd spot for cleanliness; 22nd for parks (but we’re likely to rise in that ranking when Maple Leaf Reservoir Park opens in 2012); and 20th for quietness.

Some of the basics about our neighborhood still could use some work, however. The description of Maple Leaf says there are “some 20,000 residents” as opposed to the 4,000 listed on Zillow, and the map cuts through the middle of the reservoir as opposed to the larger map the Maple Leaf Community Council uses.

But Seattle is still “seeding” on the site, which means there’s still work to be done. So keep ranking us high and we’ll see if our home values finally start to rise a little.

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Bald Eagle at Maple Leaf playfield

August 2nd, 2010 by Mike

Wildlife alert! Eileen Anderson sent us this cell phone photo of a bald eagle at the Maple Leaf playfield on Friday.

“Are bald eagles seen often in Maple Leaf?” she asked. This one was perched at the top of a tree, being dive-bombed by one gull and one crow. “I hadn’t seen a bald eagle in the neighborhood before.”

The answer is, yes. Bald eagles are not an everyday occurrence in Maple Leaf, but they’re not rare either. A few months back there was a pair of eagles on Northeast 89th Street just west of 15th Avenue Northeast, also being mobbed by crows.

Simone Lupson-Cook, a birder friend who has written for Maple Leaf Life previously, recently said the eagles often seen at Green Lake have made forays here to raid nests for baby crows. Those eagles are known to have nested in Woodland Park.

During the war over preserving the trees at Waldo Hospital, mention was made of a bald eagle seen in one of the Douglas firs there.

Other raptor visitors to Maple Leaf include Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks, who are usually seen looking for prey near bird feeders. And many summers osprey (fish hawks) are seen overhead, or sometimes perched on the antenna tower at the Comcast building, Northeast 89th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast, eating a salmon poached from Lake Union.

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Watch the entire video of the meeting on Maple Leaf Reservoir Park

June 23rd, 2010 by Mike

Last week’s final design meeting for the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park has drawn more comments than any story since Maple Leaf Life launched.

Now it’s possible to watch the entire video of the two-plus-hour meeting.

The Maple Leaf Community Council has posted the video here. Be warned: It’s split up into 15 parts!

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Maple Leaf Park vs. Maple Leaf Reservoir – one piece of ground, two separate projects

June 18th, 2010 by Mike

Reading through some of the 20-plus comments on our initial Maple Leaf Reservoir Park story this week it’s clear there is keen interest in the park, and also in the massive reservoir dig that started last winter.

It’s perhaps worth pointing out that none of the construction we see at the site today has anything to do with the future park. There is no causal link between today’s cranes and the park work that will begin in two years. There is a direct link, though, to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

All those workers and machines and all that expensive concrete and steel on view at the site are there to bury the Maple Leaf Reservoir. The city started covering some open-water reservoirs in the late 1990s; the program picked up speed after the World Trade Center’s collapse. “Protecting our water system became a paramount goal since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Under-ground reservoirs are the most effective way to improve security,” Seattle Public Utilities writes.

The Maple Leaf dig is the last, and largest, piece of the city’s program, which began in 2006, to bury four open reservoirs for a total cost of about $150 million. We’re paying for it through our water bills at an average of $3.24 a month last year. The price of the Maple Leaf chunk is $27.4 million plus tax. Federal stimulus dollars are paying for some of the construction, SPU says.

The park plan has not been sitting on a shelf. It was born when 59 percent of city voters approved lifting the property tax lid for the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. The levy raises $146 million that goes to half a hundred projects around the city. The Maple Leaf Reservoir Park  gets $5.5 million of that.

The park is being designed now. Construction – which won’t be nearly as massive as burying the reservoir – starts in summer 2012.

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