Ballard Commons spray park won’t turn on this summer

The seasonal spray park at Ballard Commons Park will remain turned off this summer.

The spray park was left off of the city’s cooling centers list for this week’s record-breaking high temps, prompting queries from Ballard residents.

Seattle Parks and Recreation says they’ve opted not to turn on the usually popular spray park in light of the current encampment and ongoing health and safety concerns in Ballard Commons.

“Because of health and safety concerns of Seattle/King County Public Health and our own Safety Office regarding ongoing encampments and other activities at Ballard Commons Park, we regretfully decided not to operate the spraypark there this summer,” a spokesperson from Seattle Parks told My Ballard this week.

District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss says the decision highlights the need for a JustCARE program to address the encampment in the park and around the city.

“Addressing homelessness with housing solves for the root of this crisis and is very expensive, but is less expensive than continuing to spend money on the symptoms of this crisis as we are today,” Strauss told My Ballard. “We should not be using our parks, libraries, and busses as our homeless shelters—we need to tie the number of places for people to come inside with the number of people living outside.”

Ballard Commons has long been an area for people experiencing homeless to set up encampments, and has been swept many times in the past; the most recent cleanup at the Commons happened in May 2020. While the city paused encampment cleanups during the worst of the pandemic, they’ve resumed sweeping some areas, including the Gilman Park encampment cleanup in April this year.

For more information about other spray parks, pools, and wading pools around Seattle, click here.