News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Maple Leaf Reservoir Park to open this fall – at least in part

August 21st, 2013 by Mike

View from the north entrance to Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. The entrance will be at Northeast 88th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast.

Some – but probably not all – of the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park will open this fall as expected, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The difficulty appears to be that some of the grass has not taken root firmly enough. That will likely preclude opening the re-seeded sports fields.

Here’s the current plan, in an email today from Kim Baldwin, a parks contact on this project.

We’ll open a portion of the park for use this fall but leave other areas fenced in where the turf isn’t well established. We’ll definitely keep the fields fenced until spring since they were seeded last and will probably get the heaviest use. One thought is to have an opening event this fall with some areas still fenced off and the other is to wait until all the fencing is down and have an event in the spring.

→ 22 CommentsTags: , ,

Update: Suspect arrested. Green Lake-area schools, all community centers being locked down after shooting

March 8th, 2013 by Mike

Update: SPD: At approximately 4:49 p.m. Seattle Police officers located and arrested the suspect in south King County.

Developing: Police are searching for 46-year-old Carolyn Piksa in connection with this case. (Image courtesy SPD) |

All Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities and parks are closed this afternoon; shooting suspect has keys to them.

So is North Seattle Community College.

Seattle Times is updating here.

Police are searching for a Parks and Recreation Department employee after she allegedly shot a man in the chest at a department maintenance building north of Green Lake.

The victim, 65-year-old Bill Keller, was shot just before 2 p.m. at the building at North 82nd Street and Densmore Avenue North, police said. He is at Harborview Medical Center in critical but stable condition, according to police.

Keller is the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), a non-profit that runs the city’s community centers. ARC is based in the building where the shooting took place.

The suspect has been identified as Carolyn “Zoom” Piksa, 47 46, a Parks Department employee since 1986. Police say she may have keys to all of the city’s community centers, so all have been locked down.


Various news organizations and fire and police are responding to a reported shooting just north of Green Lake.

The shooting may have occurred in a Seattle Parks and Recreation office, our news partner The Seattle Times is reporting.

There are unconfirmed reports that the suspect may be an employee of the Parks Department. Police are looking for her near the Bitter Lake Community Center.

The shooter is described as a white female, 47, with blue stocking cap and beige or Army green jacket. She may be driving a dark-colored SUV.

Police say Broadview-Thompson School, Bagley Elementary and Wilson Pacific are in shelter in place during the search for the shooter.


A 70 -65-year-old man is reported injured, and officers are looking for a woman with a gun. Schools and the Green Lake Community Center locked down. Developing.

The incident occurred at Northeast 80th Street and Densmore Avenue North, two blocks north of the lake.

→ No CommentsTags: , , , ,

It's time again for the Polar Bear Plunge!

December 21st, 2012 by master

There’s no need to fret about all of those extra pounds you might be consuming over the holidays — at least not if you’re one of the brave souls who dares to participate in the 11th annual Polar Bear Plunge at nearby Matthews Beach!

Rain or shine, you’re invited to join your fellow polar bears for a plunge into chilly Lake Washington at noon on New Year’s Day. Registration begins at 11 a.m., and costumes are encouraged.

Refreshments will be provided, and swimmers who make it neck-deep will receive a 2013 Official Patch of Courage. The city’s Parks Department offers these tips for enjoying a fun, safe swim:

  • Come early, and carpool or take the bus.
  • You can plan your trip at
  • If you have heart problems or other serious medical concerns, we recommend you consult your health care professional before taking the Polar Bear Plunge. If you don’t go in the water, come and watch!
  • Don’t drink alcohol — it doesn’t warm you up, and it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Don’t stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes — you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Don’t take off your outer clothing until you’re ready to get in the water, and remove wet clothing before getting into dry clothes.

Participants are encouraged to sign the online blog:

Matthews Beach is located at 49th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 93rd Street.

→ No CommentsTags: , ,

Book swap at Northgate Community Center on Friday

November 1st, 2012 by Mike

Seattle Parks is hosting a book swap Friday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Northgate Community Center.

“Bring a book, Trade a book. Already dozens of good titles to choose from,” the Parks Department writes. “If you don’t have a book, it’s a buck a book.”

The community center is at 10510 5th Ave. N.E.

View the book swap flier here.

→ 1 CommentTags: , ,

Learn more about Beaver Pond Natural Area renovation tonight

March 14th, 2012 by master

Safety was on the minds of many at a January meeting about renovations to Beaver Pond Natural Area, just weeks after nearly 50 trees were illegally pruned allegedly to increase sightlines in the Maple Leaf park. Tonight, the 50-plus people who attended that meeting plus other members of the community are invited to return to the Northgate Community Center to comment on the final restoration plan.

The main goals of the $500,000 project, which has been funded by the city’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy, are to refine and complete channel work by relocating two portions of Thornton Creek, remove invasive plants and restore native habitat. 

Additionally, the proposal presented at the January meeting included plans to make the natural area more accessible while also protecting it. Although improved trails, signs and access might lead to more people visiting the park, such renovations also are likely to prevent people from venturing into the protected areas.

Learn more about how your comments have changed the restoration plans when The Watershed Co. presents its final proposal for the restoration, from 7-9 p.m. at the Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E.

→ 4 CommentsTags: , , ,

Final meeting on Maple Leaf playground is next week

July 7th, 2011 by Mike

The final public meeting on designing the new Maple Leaf playground is set for next Wednesday evening.

The design firm will present ideas developed from earlier public meetings on the playground and park.

As we reported earlier, the Family Terrace slated to replace the current Maple Leaf Playground as part of the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park project, is on track to receive $100,000 from Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund.

Next week’s meeting, on Wednesday, July 13, is from 6-8 p.m. at at Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave. N.E.

→ 1 CommentTags: , ,

It's a Happy Easter at Hubbard Homestead Park

April 24th, 2011 by master

By Katie Melton

The grand opening of Hubbard Homestead Park on Saturday boasted a bustling crowd and beautiful weather.

At 10 a.m. there was an all-ages egg hunt, followed by a performance from local musician Rodey Dean, pictured below, playing the acoustic guitar and singing a mix of old favorites and his music.

The new park features a half-court for basketball, which was broken in by players from the Seattle Storm and the former Seattle SuperSonics, alongside other park visitors.

One of the park’s artistic features is the source stone that mimics the spring that once ran through the Hubbard family’s property.

Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan, shown below, the artists behind the stone, attended the opening to talk to visitors about the symbolism and purpose of the piece.

“The water is reclaimed irrigation water,” Haddad said.

The water flows out of the stone and down a channel to the other end of the park to irrigate the park’s abundant plant life.

There is also some mythical symbolism behind the piece.

“The texture of the stone is supposed to be like beaver fur and the disk inside is mimicking beaver tail texture,” Haddad said. “The red light that glows at night commemorates the rest of the myth of the ‘Beaver Woman,’ who is believed to reside in springs.”

The artists also sprinkled gold flakes amongst the gravel near the stone to represent the fool’s gold that the Hubbard children used to find in the spring.

The water feature was a huge hit for adults and children alike.

So, what were the visitors’ thoughts on the new park? [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: , ,

Grand opening for new Hubbard Homestead Park

April 12th, 2011 by Mike

By Katie Melton

Until recently a park and ride lot, new Hubbard Homestead Park is having a grand opening on April 23 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The event kicks off with an egg hunt, hosted by the Northgate Community Center, and continues with family-friendly activities and music. The park, at Fifth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 112th Street, is just north of the Northgate Target store.

“It’s going to be a great event. We’re having a DJ there and a local musician, Rodney Dean, is going to play acoustic music,” said Karen O’Connor with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The park features a basketball court and a future skate park. “The skate park will be built and completed by the end of the summer,” O’Connor said.

The park’s features emphasize the natural history of the site. The property used to be owned by the Hubbard family as a homestead from 1913 to 1968, and the city of Seattle is honoring them as environmental conservationists.

A natural spring once ran through the Hubbard’s homestead property. Artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan depicted the spring through a source stone.

“The other interesting thing is that the artists are going to be there. They’re going to talk about the artwork and the mythological message behind the art,” said O’Connor.

Hubbard Park also contributes to the well-being of the neighborhood’s own Thornton Creek. The “wet meadow” feature is located on the east side of the park.

“It’s a feature that helps with the filtration of water before it goes into Thornton Creek,” O’Connor said.

The decision to remove the park and ride and create a park was done in 1993 by the Northgate community after the Northgate Area Comprehensive Plan was complete. Another recommendation was made for the park in 2004.

So, how will Hubbard Homestead Park benefit Maple Leaf and Northgate neighbors?

“It’s a large, open green space, and a gathering place. The area was really in need of some open space,” said O’Connor.

Katie Melton is the intern for Maple Leaf Life. She is a journalism student at the University of Washington.

→ 6 CommentsTags: , ,

How will future of Seattle's parks affect Maple Leaf?

March 15th, 2011 by master

Did you catch the feature in last weekend’s Pacific Northwest magazine about the future — or perhaps lack thereof — of Seattle’s parks?

The piece, titled “Seattle’s parks in peril: the choices are to shrink, skimp or pay up,” paints a grim future that could make even the most optimistic Maple Leaf resident shudder.

Donna Hartmann-Miller, head of the Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park committee, expects to kick off fundraising for the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park at the next Maple Leaf  General Meeting, from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Olympic View Elementary, 504 N.E. 95th St.

Although the money mainly will be used for matching funds or to top off grants, we have to wonder if the supply of those grants is about to dry up, or if we should have more long-term concerns if Seattle Parks and Recreation continues to be unable to maintain its parks, as the article suggests. After all, the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park will be adding 15 acres of parks space that will need to be maintained to the already 5.5-acre Maple Leaf Playground.

But that’s also a 20.5-acre park that Maple Leaf residents really want, and are willing to fight for. And maybe even pay up for. [Read more →]

→ 8 CommentsTags: ,

Survey on creating stable funding for Seattle Parks system

February 24th, 2011 by master

The Seattle Parks Foundation has released a report on the problems facing Seattle’s parks, in light of budget problems. The foundation is asking the public to take an online survey about finding stable funding for operations and maintenance of the park system.

The Parks Department lacks a sustainable source of ongoing operations and maintenance funding and faces an annual $25 million shortfall. This has led to a backlog of major maintenance projects in excess of $200 million, increased user fees, and reduced community center hours. Left unaddressed, the problem will only worsen over time

The survey asks questions about your family’s park usage, whether you have or would consider volunteering to help clean up parks or teach programs at community centers, and your opinion on several possible park maintenance funding options. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

→ 1 CommentTags: ,