Low tide walks this weekend

It’s another very low tide this weekend, so if you’ve ever wondered what seastars eat, why barnacles stand on their heads and how moon snails lay their eggs, ask the Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists on hand at Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. If you can’t make it, they’ll be back again a final time this summer on Aug. 2.

Photo courtesy Marty Gordon.

City backs off on bonfire limits… for now

Just hours after the Seattle Parks and Recreation staff recommended restricting the number of bonfires at Golden Gardens and Alki — which generated quite the reaction here on MyBallard and elsewhere — parks superintendent Tim Gallagher issued a press release saying his department will not tackle the issue this year. In other words, no change for the immediate future. However, the press release says the department “continues to receive a steady trickle of complaints about associated behaviors — drinking, loud music, and huge amounts of trash, and continues to have concerns about the costs of managing the program.” Those costs are $60,000 a year, the department says.

(Photo by TheWayoftheGun). Meanwhile, the West Seattle Blog quotes City Councilmember Sally Clark’s reaction to the whole thing: “We have a God-given right to have bonfires on the beach. Yes, I care about global warming and I believe that we all must make changes small and large in our lives to keep the planet alive. However, I cannot support extinguishing beach bonfires. Beach bonfires are not killing the planet. Hummers, coal-fired power plants, routine air travel, and single-occupancy car commutes are killing the planet.”

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, MyBallard.com 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 MyBallard.com 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.