CBRA to discuss future of Ballard parks at monthly meeting

Central Ballard Residents Association (CBRA) will meet this Thursday, November 13, at 7 p.m. at Ballard Swedish Hospital, cafeteria conference room.

Dan Johnson, Division Director of Seattle Parks, and Patrick Merriam, North Parks Manager, will be in attendance to speak about the futures of parks in the Ballard area.

All locals who are interested are encouraged to attend and to bring their questions.

To find out more about CBRA click here to check out their website.

Discovery Park Loop Trail closed today

Seattle Parks and Recreation crews have closed the Discovery Park Loop Trail (93801 Discovery Park Blvd) along the park’s south bluff today until 2 p.m. and, if needed it will be closed tomorrow Tuesday, January 28 from 8 a.m. until trail repair is complete.

Seattle Parks is providing much-needed repairs on the southwest section of the trail. The 2.8-mile Loop Trail roughly follows the perimeter of Seattle Parks’ largest park.

For questions about the trail work please contact Michele Thurmond at michele.thurmond@seattle.gov or 423-2860. For more information about the park click here.

Design meeting tonight for Ballard’s newest park

Learn more about Ballard’s newest park at a public meeting tonight.

The park will run along two blocks of 14th Avenue NW from NW 59th Street and NW 61st Street. At tonight’s meeting, Mithun, the design consultant, will present three design options, talk about the history of the project and give a site analysis.

One of the sketches of the park boulevard plan presented to the Ballard District Council in February.

Here is the project description from the website:

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy provides approximately $1.5 million for design and construction of the 14th Avenue Park Boulevard.

The purpose of the project is to convert two full blocks and two half blocks of 14th Ave NW between NW 58th and NW 62nd from an existing concrete roadway and gravel parking median to green space with green infrastructure and park elements and incorporate safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The blocks between NW 59th and NW 61st will be completely converted and the half block north and south will be converted and used as transition lanes.

Tonight’s meeting is from 7 – 9 p.m. at St. Alphonsus Parish School (5816 15th Ave NW.) Construction on the park boulevard is expected to start later this year, with completion in 2013.

Final chance to comment on new play area for Golden Gardens

The Seattle Parks Department will show off its designs and construction drawings for the new play area at Golden Gardens.  The community is invited to the final design meeting next Wednesday, October 13 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the Golden Gardens Bathhouse.  As we’ve reported, the play area will be moved from its current location to east of the bathhouse.

Drawing of new play area. Click here to see more images.

Construction is slated to start in January of 2011 and finish in May 2011. You can keep up to date on this project through this website. This project is funded through the 2008 Parks & Green Spaces Levy.

Final Kirke Park design revealed at movie night

About 100 neighbors in Whittier Heights gathered in Kirke Park on 9th Ave. NW and 70th St. last night to snack on popcorn and watch the movie “Up.” They also perused the final landscape design for the property.

The design (below) features a p-patch, a secret garden (those concrete walls will be lowered to 3-feet high), a small orchard, a narrow “skatedot” for skateboarders, a play area for the kids, and an adventure trail with small climbing boulders along the back fence. The biggest change from the previous design is the gathering area in middle, which now mirrors the layout of a home, from a “front porch” entrance to a “back porch” area with picnic tables.

(Click the image to see full screen).

Representatives from SiteWorkshop, the landscape design firm, answered questions from neighbors and provided a timeline for what happens next: construction plans in November, then the project goes out to bid, and construction will begin in February. “The new park as you see on the board there will be ready for next year’s movie night, sometime in the early summer,” said Clayton Beaudoin, a landscape designer.

There have been three community meetings leading up to the design, which is “pretty final,” we’re told — although the designers said they’re still entertaining ideas and feedback from the community. You can contact Friends of 9th Ave Park at ninthavenwpark@gmail.com.

Two new Ballard-area parks now have names

Two new Ballard-area parks now have official names.

The newly-named Kirke Park on 9th Ave NW

The 1.71 acre park in Crown Hill located at Holman Road NW and 13th Avenue NW will appropriately be named Crown Hill Park.

The park on 9th Ave NW between NW 70th and NW 73rd has a more unique name. Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has named the park Kirke Park. “Kirke” means church in Norwegian. According to the Parks Department, this name pays tribute to both the Norwegian heritage of the neighborhood and the history of the site. This site was home to the Church of Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel for nearly 100 years.

Mid-year budget cuts coming Monday

We’ll soon know the fate of the Ballard and Loyal Heights Community centers.  The mayor’s mid-year budget cuts will be announced on Monday (6/14), including any cuts to the city’s Parks and Recreation department.

Ballard residents turned out in force back in May to fight to keep the centers open.  The cuts being announced for the rest of this year could involve closing centers or programs, scaling back hours, or doing nothing at all.  Even if the centers survive this mid-year round of cuts, there is still concern about even more cuts for 2011. 

The mid-year cuts will be unveiled during the City Council’s budget committee meeting on Monday at 10:30am.  We’ll bring you all the details, or you can watch live on the Seattle Channel (21 on Comcast) or online.

Update on Ballard & Loyal Heights community centers

Concern continues to grow about the future of both the Ballard and Loyal Heights community centers. Today, MyBallard learned the city’s Parks Department submitted its “budget papers” for 2011, which identify issues and potential service cuts. We’re told some facilities are on that list, but a spokesperson for the Parks Department could not provide any specifics to MyBallard until the mayor’s office makes its recommendations. Because of their proximity, one of the two centers in our neighborhood is considered at risk.  As for the rest of 2010, the mayor is set to announce mid-year budget cuts around June 1. 

Earlier this month, Ballard residents turned out in force at a city budget hearing.  They carried signs and spoke to the City Council and mayor, urging them to keep both facilities open.  The Ballard pool is also at risk of closure.   An online petition to keep both community centers open now has over 1100 signatures.

Smoking ban in parks relaxed

We didn’t even get a chance to ask you about the smoking ban in Seattle parks that was supposed to begin April 1 before the new rule was relaxed. The new language in the Code of Conduct: “Smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use is banned within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.”

Superintendent Timothy Gallagher announced the ban Wednesday, overruling an advisory board that voted against the ban. But his decision didn’t last long, despite Mayor Mike McGinn’s support, with Gallagher backtracking the following day after a public outcry.

“Based on the input from the public that followed my initial decision,” Gallagher said, “I have decided that a gradual approach to a smoking ban is reasonable.”

But we’re still curious what you think about the ban. Do you think 25 feet is a fair distance or are you opposed to a ban altogether? Or did you like Gallagher’s original idea to ban smoking altogether better?

Park boulevard proposed for stretch of 14th Ave.

East Ballard residents who have been working for years to revitalize 14th Ave. NW presented a new sketch of a proposed park boulevard to members of the Ballard District Council on Wednesday night.

The preliminary plan would be to eliminate the median, move traffic to one side and use up to 40-feet in width for a park. “It’s a real need and an opportunity,” said Peter Locke, the lead architect, explaining that the 100-foot-wide 14th Ave. has lots of underutilized space.

The proposal focuses on a small stretch of 14th Ave. to start — 59th to 61st St. — with the longer-term vision to renovate the entire length of 14th Ave. from Ballard High to the Ship Canal. Organizers said the roadway south of Market would be designed differently to accommodate the industrial traffic in the area.

One of the first questions from neighbors at the meeting asked about the impact on parking. Locke said there are 12 legal parking spots in the median per block, but street parking isn’t always fully utilized. The park boulevard design would allow parallel parking on both sides of the street. An SDOT representative at the meeting said the department is looking forward to working with organizers evaluating the impact of the project.

The East Ballard Community Association is holding a meeting Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Alphonsus School Cafeteria, and you’re invited to come share your ideas and feedback. Organizers plan to submit an application to the city for park levy funding by April 2nd. “We’re going to need a lot of help, a lot of support, a lot of ideas to bring it all together,” Locke said.

Earlier this week: Ballard watching Belltown’s park boulevard project