Large swing set being replaced at Gilman Park

Gilman Park (923 NW 54th St) is a popular playground for many kids, so it came as a surprise to parents when they showed up on Tuesday only to find crews tearing down the swing set.

“The last big swing set in town bites the dust at Gilman Park,” Mike writes.

According to Dewey Potter with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the 14-foot swing set is being replaced by a ten-foot swing and wood chips will replace the current sand surface. “Parks needs to do this because there is not room enough to install the larger containment area a 14 foot high swing requires,” Potter tells us. She also says that the new wood chip surface is safer and is accessible to everyone.

The playground will be closed during the project, but just a few blocks away, Ross Playground (4320 4th Ave. NW) has all new equipment. Pam Alspaugh is the Senior Landscape Architect and can be reached for comment or questions at (Thanks Mike for the photos.)

City Fruit offers cooking classes in Ballard

Learn to do more than just can and jar your extra fall fruit. City Fruit has always been focused on gathering fruit from residents who grow too much and donating it to local food banks. Now the non-profit is offering classes for people who want to keep some or all of their harvest.

“People often think about eating fresh fruit or freezing or canning fruit but there are other options too – these classes explore those options,” Morgan Larsen with City Fruit tells us.

Dish it up! (5320 Ballard Avenue NW) and The Pantry at Delancey (1417 NW 70th St) have both donated their space for the classes. The instructors, who are all culinary experts, have donated their time to teach the courses. “The classes focus on using fruit from the fall fruit harvest in both sweet and savory dishes,” Larsen says. The five courses include: Fruit Pies and Pastries, Demystifying Quince, Shrubs (Drinking Vinegars), Fall Fruit: From Start to Finish and Simple Fruit: Poaching, Roasting and Braising.

Cooking classes are $30 for City Fruit members, $35 for non-members. The five-class series is $120 ($140 non-members) – which means one free class. Class size is limited. Sign up via Brown Paper Tickets or send a check to City Fruit, PO Box 28577, Seattle, WA 98118. Specify the class.

Rain boots needed for outdoor adventures

Nature Vision is a non-profit group that takes kids outdoors to learn about the environment. Carmen Zelaya is a lead naturalist with the organization, and an active member of the MyBallard forum.

A photo of a summer day camp courtesy Nature Vision.

Zelaya posted this call out for rain boots in the forum:

Through my awesome nonprofit, I often take kids to the beach to learn about the wildlife and ecosystems there. Last year I had an underserved high school group, that although they had been super excited to go on the field trip, refused to get their shoes wet & go near the water. They totally missed out. Only later was it brought to my attention that they didn’t OWN another pair of shoes to change into! My heart just broke.

This is where *you* come in. I’d like to collect any old rainboots in ALL sizes, toddler to grown man, so we have a stock of “loaners”. Please let me know what you have, I’ll plan on picking up over the weekend.

A photo of a summer day camp courtesy Nature Vision.

“We don’t do much in Ballard, but only due to lack of exposure,” she tells us. “We are fully available to serve the area. Interested teachers can explore our website for the programs we offer, and there is funding for underserved schools. If not eligible for free classes or funding runs out, $85 per class is a smokin deal for PTAs.” A list of the Nature Vision classes can be found here (.pdf.)

If you have boots to donate you can email Carmen at If you have questions or would like to book a class email

How Mayor McGinn’s budget could affect Ballard

The Mayor has released his proposed 2012 budget (.pdf) to the Seattle City Council and Ballard will be affected if it is passed as is.

Earlier this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation lowered parking rates in Ballard to make parking more accessible. The goal was to have one or two available spots on each block at a given time. After doing research, it has been determined that the $1.50 per hour rate isn’t achieving the goal.

For more information on the proposed parking changes, click here (.pdf.)

Proposed changes for 2012 include raising the rates in the core of Ballard back to $2.00 per hour. Along the edge areas, the proposed budget includes extending the time limits to four hours and keep the $1.50 per hour rate.

From the proposed budget:

Reviewing a block-by-block map of the area, there are obvious areas of both high and low demand.

The highest average occupancy is along Market Street between 24th Avenue and 22nd Avenue.

Even though the Ballard neighborhood is fairly compact, it is anticipated that the longer time limit duration will increase utilization of the edge area and provide relief to the higher demand area by encouraging people to park outside of the more heavily utilized business district core.

The proposed budget includes funding to implement a new pay-by-cell program, which will let you pay for parking via your cell phone. The existing pay stations will continue to be available.

Light Rail/Street car:
The Mayor is proposing a one-time use of $1.5 million “for planning related to high capacity transit in the five corridors identified in the Transit Master Plan.”

Here is a look at the light rail corridor from Ballard to downtown, as mentioned in the Transit Master Plan.

Community Centers:
From the proposed budget:

Under this recommendation, community centers are clustered into five geographic groups (Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southeast, and Southwest), with each team managed and programmed in a coordinated fashion, with partially or fully restored hours at the current limited use community center sites (Alki, Ballard, Green Lake, Laurelhurst, and Queen Anne).

We are continuing to sift through the proposed budget (.pdf) and will update this as we learn more.

There will be two public hearings about the 2012 budget. The first is October 4th, the second is October 26th. Both hearings are at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers (City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue). If you’d like to speak, sign in time is 5 p.m. The city council will be voting on the final budget in November.

Traffic note: Work on 15th Ave NW this week

Expect some lane closures later this week as the Seattle Department of Transportation does some work on 15th Ave NW at Leary.

The following lane closures will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so SDOT crews can fix some joints on the overpass.

Wednesday, September 28
Northbound, right lane to be closed

Thursday, September 29
Southbound, left lane to be closed

September 30
Southbound, right lane to be closed

Grandparents of Josh Fattal celebrate his release from Iranian jail

Today was a day of celebration and thank you for Ballard Landmark residents Carroll and Muriel Felleman.

For 781 days the Fellemans worried about their grandson, Joshua Fattal, who was captured on July 31, 2009 while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iranian officials say Fattal and his two friends illegally crossed the border into Iran. Fattal and his friend, Shane Bauer, were released from the Iranian prison last week and have now returned home. Their third friend, Sarah Shourd, who was detained with them was released last September.

The celebration today was more of a “thank you” to the Ballardites who have supported the Fellemans during this ordeal. (Photos courtesy Ballard Landmark.)

Open house tonight for 85th Street repaving

Tonight is the Seattle Department of Transportation open house to learn about the major renovations coming to NW 85th Street starting next month.

The year-long project will repave 85th Street from15th Ave NW to I-5, as well as Greenwood Avenue North from North 85th to North 73rd streets. Drivers will have to deal with delays and reroutes to nearby streets.

The work will happen in five phases, starting at 15th Ave NW.

  • Phase 1 – 15th Avenue NW to 8th Avenue NW
  • Phase 2 – 8th Avenue NW to Greenwood Avenue North
  • Phase 3 – Greenwood Avenue North to Aurora Avenue North
  • Phase 4 – Aurora Avenue North to Wallingford Avenue North
  • Phase 5 – Wallingford Avenue North to I-5.

The open house is from 5-8 p.m. tonight at the Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St. Drop in any time to talk with SDOT staff about the project.

Building demolished for Ballard Siphon project

Work is moving forward on the Ballard Siphon project, to replace a pair of 75-year-old sewer pipes that run under Salmon Bay. The old wooden pipes convey about 60-million gallons of sewage to the West Point Treatment Plant near Discovery Park every day and are at the end of their lifespan.

This week, King County contractors will demolish a vacant building on Shilshole Avenue NW, the north side of the project. Starting early next month, crews will begin excavating and removing materials from the south side of the bay on West Commodore Way. “Construction activities at both sites will continue to intensify through October with shaft excavation at the north site beginning in early November,” an update sent out by King County Water Quality Manager Doug Marsano.

The 24-hour project hotline is 206-296-3848 or you can click here. (Old photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives.)

County testing soil conditions in North Beach

As King County moves forward with its project to control Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) at the North Beach location, crews will be taking soil samples starting today.

Click here for a larger version of this map.

A truck-mounted drilling rig will bore holes up to 60 feet below the surface at up to five different locations on N.W. Triton Drive, Blue Ridge Drive N.W., N.W. 100th Street and on King County’s North Beach Pump Station. “King County will conduct geotechnical investigations to evaluate soil and groundwater conditions to inform the design and construction of an underground storage pipeline and odor control/electrical facility,” Monica Van der Vieren with King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division.

Crews will work 7 a.m. to 7p.m. except for one drill location on NW 100th Street, where work hours are restricted from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. According to the flyer (.pdf) sent out to residents, “People may experience noise close to the work area. During drilling, people will hear the sound of a motor. Maximum noise will occur for 2‐3 minutes during sampling.”

King County plans to build an underground facility to store about 230,000 gallons of excess wastewater and stormwater during large storms. Once the storm has passed the water will be sent to the Carkeek Wet Weather Facility for conveyance or treatment. The two-year construction project is slated to start in 2013.

Sustainable Ballard festival promotes green living

The eighth annual Sustainable Ballard Festival took over Ballard Commons Park on Sunday.

Although the weather didn’t scare everyone away, the park wasn’t as packed as previous years. The day was a mixed bag of sun, wind and rain.

A map created by Local Harvest showing the farms within a 100 mile radius of Ballard.
The Seattle Farm Co-op tent actually blew away, along with their chicken coop – so they set up their chickens on the sidewalk for kids to play with.

There was information recycling, eating locally, rain gardens, bicycle boulevards, and more.

The Bubble Man was also there treating kids to his massive bubbles. (Disclosure: MyBallard is a sponsor of the Sustainable Ballard Festival.)