June 16

Highlights of the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park

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Here are highlights of tonight’s final design meeting for the future Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. We’ll chase down some other threads in the morning. (For an enlargeable map of the park, click here.)

* There’s no off-leash dog area in the plan.

* There’s no skateboard park, either, although one could be added if about $120,000 could be raised separately.

Those two missing elements were the most hotly argued at Wednesday night’s meeting. “Community comments split pretty much 50-50 on the off-leash area,” said Greg Brower of The Berger Partnership, park planners. A dog park would take about an acre, or the size of one of the playgrounds in the lower park, he said.

Community input from the Maple Leaf neighborhood “has been a huge influence” on the park design, he said.

Other highlights:

* Many elements from the “waves” and “vista” concepts presented at an earlier meeting.

* Most of the $5 million budget is to be spent on the new upper park, leaving the lower sports fields much as they are today.  An additional half-million dollars will be spent later to upgrade the children’s playground.

* A lot of open space, ringed with two loop paths. Possible security lighting on the outer patch. No lighting on the sports fields.

* No additional parking.

* A “commons” grassy area the size of two soccer fields (but not for playing soccer on) over the buried reservoir.

* Two vista points with views of downtown or Mount Rainier.

* Sitting areas, gathering spaces. Lots of walking paths.

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Sara W

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  1. I respectfully disagree, another anonymous person for no more me. Please feel free to attend the next meeting, where I’ll happily record your comments to the committee in the minutes, since that is actually my job. We will be meeting again on Sept 13.

    Beyond that, I really don’t do much else these days, except writing stuff like this on the web, and anyone can do that, including you.

    Everyone knows it’s a hassle to build skateparks in this city, and even though Grindline and others have managed to build some since Ballard, a lot of people give up hope in the process, just like you. I respectfully encourage them not to do this.

    So, that said, be sure to keep an eye on the North Seattle Herald Outlook for more quotes by people for whom you aren’t.

  2. Gee Scott, maybe if there was a committee of sorts of make sure that parks would get built? oh wait.

    we dont need you, LCD lights, spinners or whatever stupid plans – we need skateparks. Not art parks. Why isn’t Dreamland, Grindline or Team Pain involved in seattle skateparks? isn’t that the COMMITTEES job? People dont attend your meetings because they are bummed out on you and you JUST DONT GET IT. After f’n up the Ballard Bowl you continue to work as a thorn in skateboarders sides and just need to go away.

  3. Thanks for a good synthesis of arguments, gentlemen. I look forward to seeing what Van der Zalm and Newline can do at Hubbard, apparently LED lights are going to be installed in this plaza-type skate amenity. It would be great to see Dreamland or Team Pain get up here and make a run for the money for once. It would also be great to see a bowl or two at Maple Leaf, perhaps built with foam like SeaSk8 to fit on the reservoir lid, in order to complement the types of features at Dahl, Hubbard, and the proposed skatespot at Lake City Playground, as well as the proposed miniramp at Sandel Playground.

    It sure seems like there should be some tax dollars in the new levy to fund at least a basic hybrid street/vert park here, shouldn’t there? Isn’t this what the people want? Is there anyone out there?

    As always, I look forward to the next chapter in the unfolding saga of the Seattle Skatepark story. Until then, be sure to check out the new Marginal Way documentary, and h8 hard … er, I mean sk8 hard.

    Scott

  4. Well, I’m not a skateboarder (not since the 1960s, at least) so I don’t know about such things. But the Dahl skate dot has been in use *every* time I’ve been by it for the past several weeks (three or four times a week), so at least some skateboarders think it’s OK. Obviously it’s not a full skatepark.

    The only thing I can say is, if the skatedots aren’t being built the way skateboarders want them, then the public planning meetings for these parks urgently need you to be attending regularly and en masse so that planners understand (a) that there is serious demand for the skateboard facilities and (b) what those facilities need to be like for you to make the most and funnest use of them. The average age at such meetings tends to be, like, 50 or 60, so unless your grandparents are skateboard advocates, planners need your voices at those meetings, too.

    The silver lining in the Maple Leaf park plan is that it doesn’t preclude a future skate dot, and maybe with some nudging skateboarders can be involved and really push for something extra cool in Maple Leaf in the next 5-10 years when budgets allow.

  5. the Dahl spot is a joke, Simon. A skatespot with skatestoppers? hahahaha at least the park looks good to the old people, too bad it doesn’t function worth a hill of beans.

    looks like we got screwed on the northgate/hubbard home skatedot as well.

    THANKS SEATTLE!

  6. Although the Maple Leaf Park has no skate park or skate dot planned, Dahl Playfield down by University Prep has a *brand-new* one, and it’s pretty close (ca. 2 miles)–although it’s on the other side of Lake City Way from us. There is a splash pad for kids there as well, though with this weather we’ll be lucky if we ever get a day warm enough to even want to use it…

  7. no skatepark? SCREW YOU

    I guess i’ll take up selling drugs and breaking into homes since MY neighborhood doesn’t want me outside having fun and exercising even after telling me they were going to build a skate dot.

  8. When I attended the MLCC meetings about the park last year, everyone had P-patches as a good use for the park. Since the Bergen Partnership has been guiding the look of the park, P-Patches have been barely acknowledged. Mayor McGinn has declared 2010 to be the year of Urban Agriculture. There is no better communty affirming activity than gardening with your neighbors. It also decreases the carbon load that we put on our planet by the decreased need for food to be trucked to us. The less fortunate also get a notable fraction of P-Patch produce distributed through food banks.

  9. It’s worth mentioning Park’s efforts to date largely duplicated a similar effort sponsored by the community a year ago. One major difference is the current process neglected to make time for a formal ranking of amenities, particularly how those amenities related to costs. From MLCC’s website, here are the community’s Top 25 ranked amenities collected from three years of mailers, meetings, and other outreach methods:

    FGMLP Ranking of Amenity Requests by the community
    (These are ranked by adding up the positive mentions and subtracting the negative mentions from the two comment cards, charrette workshops, charrette concept comments, and general comments collected over the last three years)
    25 Top Park Priorities (from most requested)
    (1) Trail – measured perimeter, jog/walk
    (2) Dog run – fenced, off-leash area
    (3) Open space/great lawn
    (4) Viewpoint(s)
    (5) Garden/P-patch
    (6) Ball fields, current – upgrading/enlarging
    (7) Splash pad
    (8) Playground – updated
    (9) Restrooms, additional
    (10) Amphitheater
    (11) Tennis courts
    (12) Picnic area
    (13) Skate Dot
    (14) Trail – connecting N/S & E/W
    (15) Garden – Pollinating
    (16) Labyrinth
    (17) Trees – additional
    (18) Basketball hoops
    (19) Buffer along north edge (50’ suggested)
    (20) Dog run – in playground area
    (21) Benches
    (22) Terraced seating
    (23) Dog run on northern part of west edge
    (24) Farmer’s Market accomodations
    (25) Picnic shelter

    http://www.mapleleafcommunity.org/cc_ULMP_pg.html

  10. Stimulus = concrete, steel and unions. (For a park????) Hmmm…sounds a whole lot like Sound Transit, doesn’t it?

    But by Sarah P’s standard (“instead of billions of dollars on needless wars and subisdizing huge corporations”), both this park and ST are shining examples of the benevolence and selflessness of government.

    “Yes”, she would say bursting with pride, “we *can* tax ourselves rich.”

    “Yes we can” = typical Seattle demographic.

  11. @Sarah P, who says “..(A) the project has little to do with current politicians or stimulus money (and B). It was planned many years ago..”

    B) is correct, but that doesn’t mean A) is correct.

    It does appear this is a project that had been sitting on the shelf until such time that some money became available. Ironically, that money appears to have become available after the nation’s economy deeply contracted.

    Remember talk about “shovel-ready” projects? That was all about stimulus-funded jobs creation.

  12. It’s such a quiet neighborhood that my doggie goes off-leash in the park every day anyway. Often we’re the only ones there. I’m willing to risk a ticket. Have been walking dogs there off-leash for nearly two decades and have yet to have any problems.

    I do wish there were a P-Patch in the design, however.

  13. The design looks to be catered to the middle-aged + crowd. There are a tremendous amount of children and young families in the Maple Leaf neighborhood and I don’t believe this design has this generation in mind.

    A lack of skateboard park is a major oversight and the decision to update the playground AFTER the upper park is completed is a mistake. It could use a major update now.

    Excited to use and have a bigger park in the neighborhood but am a little disappointed by the lack of “features” such as the skate park, splash pad, updated ball fields, or more than one shelter.

    Oh, and I disagree with John Maple Leaf…

  14. There should be a skateboard park; especially since the generation that from which most skateboard riders originate, will be paying for this park, after the rest of us are gone.

    It doesn’t matter when the monies for this park were appropriated. What matters are the time in which it is being built. There are now other priorities for the city and this park should’ve set aside.

    This from someone who is not a part of the tea party movement but believes in fiscal conservatism. Ask yourself what the late Paul Tsongas might have thought of this?

    Oh well, the fix is in. So it still needs a skateboard facility. This park should be something for someone besides aging Baby Boomers and the generation just after them.

  15. John Maple Leaf // Jun 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I live in Maple Leaf and I drive by this construction site everyday and it makes me a little bit upset every time I see it. This project involves so much concret and steel, the most expensive building materials, that it boggles the mind. You would think that this project was in the middle of Manhattan, and therefore possibly justified in its cost and scale. But for little old maple leaf it is just another example of how our current politicians think our taxes are monoply money. We take our boys to two existing parks just south of this site and those areas are beautiful and more than sufficient to meet the demand of Maple Leaf. This kind of project being called a stimulus is deceptive trickery to what our politicians think of as a largely stupid public. Well I for one have a sense for just how expensive this project really is and it is a shining example of terrible misapropriation of taxpayer money. Very few seattleites will ever even know this is there. Truly disgraceful burden being placed on our children and the future of America!

    2Buzz // Jun 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Well, I live right next to this and I am extremely happy we are actually spending money on something clean & beautiful for our children … instead of billions of dollars on needless wars and subisdizing huge corporations like BP. Perhaps you should move some place that fits your “vision” of what America should be, like Oklahoma City or Podunk Eastern Washington. Save your deceptive rhetoric for you next Tea Party.

    3SarahP // Jun 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Dear John, This project has little to do with current politicians or stimulus money. It was planned many years ago…and under the previous administration. Just wondering where all of the tea drinkers like you were back then? Think about that next time you drive by on that government funded road. Let’s hear it for hypocrisy! Love the park plan btw.

  16. I am a dog owner and have volunteered many hours of work at the off leash area at North Park. I do not feel the absence of a off leash area is a negative on the new park design. I live only a few blocks from the park and my dog and I walk there almost everyday, he (my dog) does not seem to mind walking with me on a leash, and am sure we will both enjoy the new park just the same. I hope the issue does not cloud what is a very nice park layout. Thank you to the Parks Dept and the Berger Group to make a park we all can be proud of.

  17. Trisha – I like your optimism, but the dogs will not be able to make use of the wide open space. Cops already patrol and hand out tickets to people with their dogs off-leash in the park. You can guarantee that will be a lot more strict when the nice new park opens.

    John – I agree with much of your comments. The cost is crazy, but a lot of it really boils down to the red tape more than the materials used. The cost of permitting, inspectors, and having to pay union work crews is the true driver of the costs. Just take a serious look when you walk by and you will see the old jokes about union workers really taking place. One guy working and three supervising.

  18. I think we should just turn it into a trout farm and have the best fishing spot available for maple leaf residents.

  19. Big John, could you point me to the source of pet ownership by neighboorhood? I’ve tried data.seattle.gov and the King County Humane Society for statistics like this, but haven’t successfully located it. Thanks!

  20. I live in Maple Leaf and I drive by this construction site everyday and it makes me a little bit upset every time I see it. This project involves so much concret and steel, the most expensive building materials, that it boggles the mind. You would think that this project was in the middle of Manhattan, and therefore possibly justified in its cost and scale. But for little old maple leaf it is just another example of how our current politicians think our taxes are monoply money. We take our boys to two existing parks just south of this site and those areas are beautiful and more than sufficient to meet the demand of Maple Leaf. This kind of project being called a stimulus is deceptive trickery to what our politicians think of as a largely stupid public. Well I for one have a sense for just how expensive this project really is and it is a shining example of terrible misapropriation of taxpayer money. Very few seattleites will ever even know this is there. Truly disgraceful burden being placed on our children and the future of America!

  21. Love the park! Looks amazing!

    No dog park? Great news. Sucks for dog owners, but you can’t please everybody. But, it will be a more peaceful park for it.

    @John: Most of those expensive building materials are necessary to bury a reservoir. SPU was required by law to bury these reservoirs by 2020. You really think we’re doing all this to build a park? And SarahP is correct — this city ordinance was passed back in 2004.

  22. I think it looks great overall and feel fortunate that we are going to get a larger, more usable park in our neighborhood. Although no off-leash area, I’m sure the dogs will love the wide open terrace. My only disappointment is about the playground flooding that occurs when we get any frequency of rain. Sounds like that’s not planning on being addressed until the far future. It would be nice if there could be a stop-gap drainage fix until they re-do the playground.

  23. No off leash area for the dogs? That is the number one user of the current park? Maple Leaf has the second highest number of dog licenses per capita city wide. The bottom line is the parks department has their own agenda and dogs are not part of it.

  24. Notice how Simon readily admits that many people already violate the law by playing fetch with their dogs in the park. Since Seattle has created off-leash areas, I have not observed any reduction in off-leash violations along the sidewalks and roads–dog owners are too lazy to go to the “too small” off-leash areas.

  25. It seems kind of short-sighted not to provide a skateboard park if one had been requested as part of community planning. However, I appreciate Brian’s comment above; he’s quite right about park neighbors being willing to share their stairs, driveways & ledges with the boarders. Who knew such generosity abounded in the ‘hood?

  26. Very nice. I grew up in Maple Leaf and know for a fact that it has the best view of Downtown, Mt Rainier, and even Bellevue in the city! It is actually the highest point in Seattle and yet it does not have a “hill” after it”s name like Queen Anne Hill & Capital Hill.

  27. Hmmmm there isn’t going to be a skateboard park. Does that means that the Maple Leaf neighborhood will be getting rid of skate stoppers and allowing skateboarders to ride on the surrounding stairs, ledges and rails?
    That’s terrific news. I’m happy to see the progressive thinking of the Maple Leaf residents will allow skateboarders to participate in a healthy form of exercise anywhere in the neighborhood.

  28. Initially I was disappointed there is no off-leash area, since dog walkers are the people who use the park every day, rain or shine, year-round, from early to late.

    But when I think about it, the way dog parks are done in Seattle don’t work that well (smallish areas fenced in with surfaces that dogs’ feet don’t like and that turn into muck eventually). Portland has a more rational approach to dog parks that Seattle should one day emulate. Most dogs at Maple Leaf Park currently are well-trained retrievers who fetch their balls for a few minutes and then continue their walks on leash. An off-leash area would tend to invite more loud-barking and badly (or un-) trained dogs, which is not what the park or neighbors need.

    So, I guess I’m actually OK with the lack of an off-leash area. It’s probably for the best.

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