Work on Ballard Corners Park to begin

Work will begin as early as next month on Ballard Corners Park, the plot of land at 62nd and 17th, reports the Ballard News Tribune. The plan is to design an entry way that will resemble Boudin’s Grocery store, which operated on the site until the 1950s (right side of the plan below). At the other end, a bench and concrete easy chair will form an outdoor living room of sorts.

The park will also have a community garden and a children’s play area.

Neighbors upset over illegal trails

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation held a meeting last week to address illegal trails, dumping and even a homeless camp in North Beach Park. Some residents say their neighbors are “knocking down” vegetation, reports the Ballard News-Tribune. Residents were urged to email the offenders’ names to the park service and call police if they see someone cutting a trail or dumping debris. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled for July.

North Beach Park is between 28th and 30th Ave. and 90th and 92nd St.

‘Shocked’ from lack of police at Golden Gardens

This Monday evening, police responded to a hit and run involving three cars on Seaview Place in Golden Gardens Park. While they were investigating, several “obviously angry” people gathered around and “complained that there are 10-15 cars recklessly driven in the parking lot by a group of about 30 teens, who are drinking and causing problems,” reads the Seattle Police report. “The witnesses were shocked that we did not have any police presence in the park,” explains the officer. When the officers responded, the parking lot was “quiet when we arrived.” You may remember, last week we reported on a robbery-assault at Golden Gardens that involved two groups of teens.

Neighbors preview new park

Dozens of Whittier Heights neighbors attended a preview of Ballard’s newest park on 9th Ave. between 70th and 73rd. They toured the property, snacked on refreshments and signed up on a volunteer list.

Everyone said they’re very excited to have a new park in their neighborhood. As we’ve been reporting, the city recently purchased the property, and the owners have just moved out.

It’s beautifully landscaped. The plan is the demolish the homes on the property and trim the hedge, but much of the planning will be up to the park’s neighbors. The event was organized by the Whittier Heights Community Council, Groundswell NW and Friends of the Park.

What to do with North Beach Park?

My first thought on seeing a meeting notice about the park was, “where the heck is North Beach Park?” Especially after reading the description posted on a sign near the Loyal Heights Community Center: “This 9.6 acre wooded ravine is a beautiful, wild green space and a valuable, unspoiled natural asset to your neighborhood.” Google Maps to the rescue. Here’s a rough outline of the property, based on the Parks Department’s description:

(Any errors in the outline are strictly my own.) It’s not so “unspoiled,” it turns out, according to the call for a discussion on preserving the park. “Seattle Parks is aware that inappropriate uses, including unauthorized trails, encroachments of private property on park land, illegal storm drain lines, yard waste dumping, and (gasp!) people allowing dogs off-leash in the park have occurred.” (That’s my gasp, not the parks department’s, BTW.)

The meeting is Wednesday, May 14, 7-8:30 p.m. at Loyal Heights Community Center, 2101 NW 77th St.

Webster Park will be saved, says Seattle Parks

Residents around Webster Park on Sunset Hill have been concerned that the public property could fall into developers’ hands. “Nothing could be farther from the truth!” Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher writes in a letter posted on the Ballard News-Tribune’s site today. “The city, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle School District are all working on a plan for the city to acquire the property and to keep it in park use.”

A little background. The park is owned by the school district (it was once the Webster Elementary playground), and the district is considering selling the property. The parks department wants to buy it, but the catch has been the price: the district appraised the plot at $1.6 million, but the mayor only designated $1 million in the budget. So residents launched a letter-writing campaign to keep the park, and it looks like their efforts have paid off. “While the school district’s appraisal indicates a higher value, I believe that we will be able to reach an agreement,” Gallagher says. Good news!

Speak up for Ballard parks on Earth Day

After you’ve done your bit to green the world on Earth Day, put on your hemp jacket and head over to the Ballard Community Center to help shape Seattle’s vision for parks and recreation. The Seattle Parks department is hosting series of public meetings on that subject and they’ll be in Ballard from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday at the Ballard Community Center, 6020 28th Ave. NW. 

By the way, we’ve seen plenty of spirited laments in comments about the lack of local green space, as well as some great ideas for improving the situation. While this may come as a shock to some of you, is probably not a primary source of public opinion for the parks department (unbelievable, you say!), so we encourage you to raise your voices at the meeting. Oh, and while you’re there, tell ’em sent ya…

Garage sale at new park property

The outgoing owners of Ballard’s newest city park at 70th St. and 9th Ave. are a holding a garage sale this weekend (they’re moving by the end of the month), so we decided to stop by to get a better look at the property.

The property is larger than it looks when you combine all the gardens and backyards. Here, they’re selling a bunch of old gardening tools.

The landscaping in back is in very good shape.

But things get interesting when we descended into the basement of the largest building, which years ago was the Seventh Elect Church in Israel commune (the sign says, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”) Here we found an antique washing machine, a row of old toliets, Bibles from the 1950s, widemouth jars, antique vanities and mirrors, and other old, moldy stuff.

Second time’s a charm for 9th Ave. park

Back in 1993 the City of Seattle tried to purchase the land on 9th Ave. & 70th St. to build a park but the Seventh Elect Church in Israel didn’t want to sell. Now, 15 years later, the now-defunct spiritual group is getting $3 million for the piece of land. The city council voted unanimously on Monday to buy the property and the sale is scheduled to close on April 30th. Neighbors of the park are already taking an active role in the park. David Harris of the parks department tells one of our readers that the structures will eventually be taken out and the hedge will be pruned, but public input will be an integral part of how the park will look.

As Jahara reminded us in comments (and we just swung by to see for ourselves), there’s a garage sale there Saturday and Sunday “to get rid of furniture and other stuff the previous occupants left behind.”

Saving surplus school property from developers

Residents who live near Webster Park are being reassured by city officials that they intend to buy the property from the Seattle School District to keep it out of the hands of developers. The land next to the Nordic Heritage Museum was recently assessed at $1.6 million, substantially above the $1 million Mayor Greg Nickels got in the 2008 budget.

In the Seattle PI: “Fear not; we’ll negotiate a deal with the district,” said Donald Harris, manager of property and acquisitions for the Department of Parks and Recreation, on Tuesday.

In related surplus news, the Seattle Public School District is holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m., Thursday in the Allen School Building, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., to discuss the fate of the two surplus school buildings there. You might better know them as the home of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. The PNA, which has been leasing the historic buildings, is negotiating to buy them as part of a multi-million dollar capital campaign.