News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Most drop-in activities now free at Community Centers

January 18th, 2017 by Mike

This post courtesy of our sister site My Ballard.

Thanks to funding from the Seattle Park District as part of the Community Center Strategic Plan, as of the first of the year, most drop-in activities  at Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers are now free.

During a public outreach process, Seattle Parks and Recreation heard from many communities that even small drop-in fees can be a barrier for people with low incomes, preventing many from taking part in some of our basic activities and services.

In general, a true drop-in activity is one that does not regularly hire staff or have regular materials and supply costs. For most community centers, this means the following activities are now free:

  • Tot Gyms and Tot Rooms
  • Fitness Rooms
  • Basketball, Pickleball, Dodgeball, Volleyball
  • Pool Tables
  • Table games like Bridge or Mahjong
  • and most other activities that previously had $1, $2, or $3 drop-in fees.

The following kinds of activities will continue to charge a fee:

  • Program drop-in (paying for a class one session at a time)
  • Special events
  • Drop-in activities held outside normal operating hours

For more information, or if you have questions about a previously purchased punch card for drop-in activities, contact Northgate Community Center at (206) 386-4283 orGreen Lake Community Center at (684-0780  to find out more.

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Crime and drugs and Maple Leaf parks

April 14th, 2015 by Mike

Several neighbors have written to report drug-related issues in parks here or nearby.

Chris writes:

This Spring has seen a real uptick in intravenous drug use in one of our parks. I have come across more syringes than usual since the beginning of the year in the park parcel bounded by Roosevelt Way Northeast at the northeast corner of the Beaver Pond Natural Area.

Last week (see my post to your Facebook page) my six-year-old put her hand on a capped syringe while trying to clamber over a log. This morning, I found three uncapped syringes in the English ivy under a tree she frequently climbs.

I would love to see some community involvement in finding a fix (no pun intended) (I have filed police reports, by the way).

Similarly, on the listserve Nextdoor Northgate/Maple Leaf people are discussing teens at Victory Creek Park.

I just called the cops on some kids drinking on the playground equipment at Victory Creek park next to the QFC on Northeast Northgate Way.

Heather was walking with our three-month-old through the park and asked me to look up and call the police. It’s really frustratingto me that the closest park with playground equipment to us is this park, which is constantly filled with beer cans, drug paraphernalia (such as needles) and other non-kid friendly items.

What can we do to clean up this area so it’s clean and safe for our and other families?

In a follow-up email, Chris adds: “I, for one, have an inkling that a lot of property crime (burglaries, car thefts, graffiti) in Maple Leaf is driven by drug problems.

I was contacted by SPD today (Tuesday) regarding our ongoing crisis. The officer suggested putting pressure on the Seattle Parks Department to install sharps containers in the park. His reasoning was sound. It’s clear that our natural areas are extremely difficult to patrol. Safe disposal of needles will at least go a long way toward minimizing blood-borne pathogen exposure for the rest of us.

Was hoping to garner some community interest/involvement/input.

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Sacajawea Playground & Park planning continues

February 28th, 2012 by master

If you’re not already involved in the public planning process to improve the playground and park just south of Sacajawea Elementary, 9501 20th Ave. N.E., the second of three public design meetings is from 6-8 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 29, in the school’s lunch room.

SiteWorkshop, the design firm creating the master plan for the project, will present three rough design concepts based on feedback from the Jan. 31 meeting, but your feedback is still needed. Sacajawea says in its public invitation:

Come for their presentation, then ask questions, offer feedback, and learn more about how this project will move forward. We’ll have art supplies out for kids, and the steering committee will provide potluck snacks. Please help to spread the word to any friends and neighbors whom you think might be interested. Questions? Contact Tracy Patton at Thanks for your participation!

Can’t make the meeting? Give your feedback online.

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Restoring Beaver Pond Natural Area a balancing act

January 12th, 2012 by master

More than 50 people gathered at Northgate Community Center on Wednesday night to discuss the future of Beaver Pond Natural Area, and how best to spend $500,000 on a restoration project to protect the green belt while still meeting the needs of the community.

Safety was on the minds of many of the attendees after nearly 50 trees were illegally pruned in the southwest side of the park last month, with opinions running strongly on both sides of the issue. A neighbor who lives adjacent to the park on Northeast 104th Street says although he realizes that the tree trimming was illegal, he and his neighbors like it that people can see better into the park.

“Before it was completely sheltered from any sort of observation,” he said. “I think that really encouraged the activity that was going on there. I like nature, but there’s a balance.”

In contrast, multiple attendees seemed more supportive of the natural area remaining natural. A few urged those who believe criminal activity is taking place in the park to be proactive about putting a stop to it by forming watch groups that coordinate with the police and Parks.

Janet Way, who has been involved with the creek’s restoration since the Thornton Creek Alliance was formed in 1994, says she has dealt with many of the same issues in her section of the watershed in Shoreline.

All it took was a few months of regular patrols that reported their findings to police, and the illicit activity quickly disappeared, she said. “If you see a problem, call 911,” she added, a theme that was repeated throughout the night.

The safety theme also remained a constant, with Parks arborist Mark Mead explaining that this is the community’s opportunity to shape the natural area into a space that makes them comfortable. He noted, however, that it’s doubtful the trees are the cause of any crime that could be linked to the neighborhood.

“The reality is that the topography is what is causing the problem, not the trees,” Mead said. “I haven’t heard of a tree yet causing a crime.” [Read more →]

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Playground possibility at Hubbard Homestead Park

June 14th, 2011 by master

When we first announced the grand opening of Hubbard Homestead Park, in Northgate at Fifth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 112th Street, a few readers were disappointed by the lack of a playground at the parking-lot-turned-public-park.

Donna Hartmann-Miller, a member of the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board, wanted us to let those community members know about an opportunity through the national nonprofit KaBOOM! that could result in a playground for the new park.

All interested parties must do is meet the criteria, apply and hope for the best.

The details can be found via the page “Playground funding opportunity needs a Seattle community partner” on Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw’s website.

Among the criteria, the organization must:  [

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New names for Thornton Creek parks

June 9th, 2011 by Mike

Mayor Mike McGinn and a beaver dam, in the renamed park.

So long, Thornton Creek Park No. 6. Hello, Beaver Pond Natural Area!

The city on Thursday renamed a number of parks, including several on Thornton Creek.

The one with the beaver dam got the obvious name. Here’s the local list:

Kingfisher Natural Area on Thornton Creek is a large assemblage of properties that follows the South Branch of Thornton Creek southeasterly from approximately 15th Ave. NE and NE 105th St. to NE 98th St. west of 20th Ave. NE. There are formal access points at NE 102nd St. and 17th Ave. NE and at NE 104th St. and 17th Ave. NE, as well as two areas along NE 100th St. The park features viewpoints, wetlands, and an abundant wildlife habitat. Kingfishers used to be spotted nesting in this area and are now passing through. This name helps to highlight the importance that preserving and protecting these areas has on wildlife habitat.

Beaver Pond Natural Area on Thornton Creek consists of several contiguous parcels located near the Northgate Community Center and continues northeasterly into the Maple Leaf neighborhood. It is bordered by NE 103rd St. and NE 107th St. to the south and north and by 5th Ave. NE to the west and Roosevelt Way NE to the east. The park includes the South Branch of Thornton Creek, wooded areas, wetlands, and several trails. Visitors will see a wide variety of wildlife including an active beaver pond. There are several major access points located at the south end of the park, on NE 105th St. and at the corner of NE 106th St. and 9th Ave. NE. The  Beaver Pond is a unique feature that brings many visitors to this site. The beavers have completely changed the configuration and vegetation of the site in a way that will be there for years to come. This is a very distinct and unique feature for this part of Thornton Creek.

LaVilla Meadows Natural Area on Thornton Creek is just east of Lake City Way between Fischer Pl. NE and Ravenna Ave. NE, north of NE 100th St. to approximately NE 103rd St. Access to the park is from Fischer Pl. NE, at the north side of the Shutter Shop parking lot, along the fence. This site was once a dairy operated by the Blindheim family and is now a natural area that includes the confluence of Willow Creek and the South Branch of Thornton Creek. There has been a focus on restoration and stewardship of the creek and the native vegetation in this area. This name reflects the history of the site and is a familiar reference for those who live and work near and visit this neighborhood jewel.

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Parks and Recreation spring brochure now available

March 5th, 2011 by Mike

This post thanks to Amy at My Green Lake.

Seattle Parks and Recreation‘s spring northeast brochure is now available. You can view a PDF here.

The brochure details class, program, and facility information for the Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Northgate, Magnuson, Meadowbrook, and Ravenna-Eckstein Community Centers, as well as the Evans Pool and Meadowbrook Pool.

Registration for spring classes begins on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 12 p.m.

Here’s a related update from parks:

Gymnasium Drop-In Sports Activity and Fitness Room Fees will increase to $3 for adults and $2 for senior adults per session as of April 1, 2011.

This includes adult basketball, volleyball, badminton, pickleball, and other drop-in activities.

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Sewage spill cleaned up at Meadowbrook Pond

December 14th, 2010 by master

Our news partner The Seattle Times writes that a sewage spill caused by the torrent of rain we had over the weekend has mostly been cleaned up at Meadowbrook Pond, located across from the Meadowbrook Community Center on 35th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast 107th and 110th streets.

King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division writes that the “wastewater overflow … occurred when torrential rains forced high volumes of stormwater and wastewater into the sewer lines. The water’s force blew open a concrete block over a sediment trap, causing wastewater to spill into the park.”

The Times says the city reopened the park Tuesday after crews cleaned the trails and grass, but the city is asking that park users and animals stay away from any water at the park including the pond, shown above during the summer.

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Explore Thornton Creek, Alleyoop performs this weekend

October 8th, 2010 by master

Gather the kids for an afternoon of music and fun with performer Alleyoop, aka Al Hirsch, a children’s entertainer and educator who will get kids dancing and laughing during a Concerts for Kids performance at 11 a.m. Saturday at Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E.

Billy Bear will join Alleyoop Saturday at the Northgate Community Center.

Alleyoop plays guitar, ukulele and Appalachian dulcimer, and he also whistles tunes from all over the world. All children must be accompanied by an adult and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis for this free event.

Also this weekend, you’re invited to both explore and help improve Thornton Creek Park No. 6, which is located in north Maple Leaf at Northeast 105th Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast. The adventures will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Northgate Community Center, where Ruth Williams, of the Thornton Creek Alliance, and Jeanie Murphy-Ouellette, naturalist and Feet First walking ambassador, will lead participants on a 90-minute walk through “two of the North End’s best-kept secret parks and natural areas.”

The tour will include a glimpse of the beaver pond at Thornton Creek Park No. 6, and take you to Victory Creek Park, which is located at 1059 N.E. Northgate Way, just east of the QFC at Roosevelt Way Northeast.

If you’d like to get to know the Thornton Creek Park a little better, Williams will be back Sunday for a work party there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The main task will be weeding and mulching around young plants. Snacks, beverages, laminated gloves and tools will be provided, but volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

Interested? Meet on the south side of Northeast 105th Street, between Fifth Avenue Northeast and Eighth Avenue Northeast. For more information, contact Williams at or 206-930-8965.

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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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