Construction underway at Ross Playground, work stalled at Kirke Park

Three Ballard-area parks are having some major upgrades done – Golden Gardens, which we wrote about last week, Ross Playground (4320 4th Ave NW) and Kirke Park (7028 9th Ave NW).

Construction started Wednesday morning on the Ross Playground improvements. Crews have already torn down the 1980s-era equipment to make way for some new, improved equipment and site furnishings. The park was designed with help from the public and should better utilize the space, Kelly Goold with the Parks Department tells us. Construction should be wrapped up in August. Click here for more information on the park and design. If you’re looking for a nearby park, the closest play area is Gilman Playground (923 NW 54th St.)

Work has stalled at Kirke Park while the Parks Department waits for a permit from the Department of Planning and Development, Goold tells us. He said the Parks Department is sometimes exempt from certain permits, which they thought was the case here. The DPD interpreted the rule differently and is requiring a grading permit. Goold says the process doesn’t change the design of the park, “it’s just a little bit of a delay,” he says. Once the permit is in hand, the Parks Department will put the park out to bid. The construction on the park will begin probably late summer/early fall, depending on input from neighbors.

In the meantime, neighbors had complained to the city about the large bushes that were closing in this former structure, so the vegetation was cut down to improve the sight line, Goold tells us.

All three projects are funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

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I totally love the idea of renovating the playgrounds, but really, do they need to close the park from May to August?  How about October to January when the weather is crummy.


Good question.  Another question is why (referring to the Ross Playground project) was the second public meeting in June of 2010 and then silence until meeting three occurred just  two days before ground breaking this week, almost a full year later?  And why were the plans presented in 2010 that the public voted on largely ignored and new ones presented as FINAL (without public vote), even though nearly all of the green space pictured in the photo above will be developed?

 “The park was designed with help from the public and should better utilize the space”

Baloney.  I am all for safe playgrounds which the kiddos love to use, but kids and families (and everybody else) also like a patch of grass to play frisbee/lacrosse/tag/(insert lawn game here) on.  Sadly, that is now gone, without a transparent public process. 

Tommy Unger

My assumption is that the same staff is working on a lot of different parks throughout the year, and that Ross Park just happened to suffer from bad timing.   Maybe summer will be the same as spring and we won’t miss out on much as far as the weather.


I am just wondering when Gilman Park will be getting an update.
Ross Park was updated in the 1990’s and the shelter house was added in 2006

Gilman has bathrooms that are often locked , a wading pool that is never filled & a great many children in the neighborhood. ( they did just reseed the field- however they did not take the time to smooth it at all so the surface is quite uneven for baseball/soccer games)
The building housing the restrooms doesn’t look like it has been updated in the last 50 years.