The Park

What You Need To Know About Last Week’s Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Meeting

March 19, 2017 9:42pm

Have you heard about the potential changes to the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool? (Boy have we written a lot about it!)

If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s the short story: the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. They say the price tag is $25 million. The Parks Department is proposing to tear down both the pool and the Center and go into a public/private partnership to help pay for it and the ongoing operations of the building.  Neighbors and residents are asking why – specifically why was this not included in the Parks District, which was a voter approved measure that raised taxes to pay for the parks. A few million dollars were set aside by the Parks District for renovations to the aging structures, but it is unclear where that money is now going.

So, back to the latest about the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool…

A new group called Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center invited the Superintendent of Parks, Jesus Aguirre, to speak to the community as part of the Green Lake Community Council meeting last week. The meeting, which normally attracts about 10 residents had nearly 100. This was the first formal meeting with Aguirre and considered the first public comment period with more anticipated in the future.

Here’s the four things I learned from the meeting:

The public/private partnership is not a sure thing. 

The price tag of the estimated $25 million to create a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool are outside of the Parks Department’s budget. The public/private partnership was one proposal to help with that shortfall. During the meeting Aguirre said the money could come from fundraising or bonds as well.

And more public comment and research is needed in order to move forward with any direction.

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that Seattle Parks is involved in multiple public/private partnerships, such as:

  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Tennis Center at Sand Point
  • Pratt Fine Arts
  • Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands
  • Arena Sports
  • Mountaineers
  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Seward Park Audubon Center
  • Green Lake Pitch and Putt
  • Spectrum Dance Theater

Documentation to prove that Green Lake Community Center needs to be torn down has people confused/angry. 

Many residents, the local group Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center and the Green Lake Advisory Council have asked the Parks District for the engineering documentation that says that both facilities are “at the end of their useful life.” While the Parks Department has provided a draft report from 2015, little to no documentation from a engineering firm has been presented to the public. The Parks Department claims they do not have a final version of that report.

The Green Lake Advisory Council has asked that a new study be made to determine the real costs of a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool.

A new swimming pool and Community center is going to take a long, long time to build. 

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that even if the Parks Department had the funds to build this right now it would take 3 years to build.

What happened to the money that was set aside from the Parks District originally allocated for Green Lake? 

Several renovations that were supposed to be funded, including the boilers for the pool and a leaky roof over the gym have remained unfunded. When asked at the meeting Aguirre couldn’t provide an answer for this but said a plan needed to be made.

Residents at the meeting were visibly frustrated that the pool has had to close several times already this year and buckets clutter the floors of the gym on rainy days.

So what is the next step for the community to get involved?

According to Rachel Schulkin, Parks and Recreation Communications Manager:

“Community involvement regarding a department-wide planning process will begin later this year. The programmatic assessment will look at the needs city-wide in all areas of parks and recreation. The programmatic assessment will lead to a facilities plan. We are collecting contact information from all who have expressed interest in Green Lake CC and Evans Pool and will let them know when we initiate public outreach for the programmatic plan. There is nothing specific to the Green Lake facilities underway now, nor will there be for the remainder of 2017.”

There are several groups that are actively involved in finding the answers to these questions. Here’s a few ways to get involved:

Follow Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center Facebook page. This group publishes their conversations with the City, the Parks Department and you can see all of their documents here.

Write or call our City Council member, Mike O’Brien206-684-8800, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

Write or call the Seattle Parks Department: (206) 684-4075 PKS_Info@seattle.gov

This issue is just starting, so make sure your voice is heard!

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The Latest On The Green Lake Community Center

March 13, 2017 6:32am

In case you missed it, the Green Lake Community Center future is up in the air.

The short story is the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. The price tag is $25 million.

Remember that voter-aproved Parks District that passed a few years ago? It included a line item for a remodel of the Community Center but it did not include the full $25 million. Why not? That’s a good question and one that has us all a bit puzzled. We’ve talked to the Parks Department several times.

So what can you do?

Attend this meeting: The Green Lake Advisory Council is meeting Tuesday, March 14th at 7 p.m. at the Green Lake Community Center with Park & Recs Superintendent Jesus Aguirre. Tell him what you want to see for the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool.

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Man Injured In Woodland Park Off Leash Area Yesterday In ICU

February 7, 2017 10:10am

The tree that fell on Frostad at the Dog Park on 2/6 via his GoFundMe page.

The man injured yesterday by a fallen tree at the Woodland Park Off Leash Dog Area has been identified by KIRO News as Scott Frostad.  Frostad, a park regular known for his expressive photographs of dogs, was standing with dog walkers Lauri Ann Carrasco and Michelle Larsen when a mature pine tree crashed to the ground. Carrasco and Larsen were able to get away in time, but Frostad was pinned, hit by the full weight of the tree. According to KIRO, he is currently in the ICU and will have to undergo several surgeries. Larsen set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the surgeries.

The fundraising goal for his medical bills is set at $20,000. Within nearly 12 hours the page had raised more than $3,500. The GoFundMe page says his dogs are being cared for while he is in the ICU.

Frostad is an avid photographer and we have used his photos to showcase the Woodland Dog Park in previous posts. The tree that injured Frostad was one of two trees that fell in the park yesterday. The off leash area of the park has been closed since the incident while an arborist investigates the safety of the park.

Please visit the GoFundMe page for more information on how to help Scott.

 

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January: That Was Then And This Is Now

January 25, 2017 6:32am

Photos by Dustin Guy

What a difference a few days can make! After the first couple weeks of January were chilly with an average temperature near the freezing point, the third week of January in Seattle responded with an average temperature almost 12 degrees warmer…just below 44 degrees. And did it feel a little soggy? Seattle received half of its normal January rainfall in just two days last week. Despite the change of weather, we still managed some sunrises and sunsets for the ages at Green Lake as I can attest to this past Sunday. So, what’s ahead? A change to somewhat drier (but not as chilly as early January) conditions over the next few days – good weather for some exercise lakeside.

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Green Lake Beach Improvements and Temporary Trail Closures

November 21, 2016 8:38pm
Photo via hubpages.com

Photo via hubpages.com

Green Lake Park’s two beaches will be getting some work done. Starting tomorrow a project will begin that will replace selected wood pilings used to secure swim area ropes and floats with steel helical pipe piles. Seattle Parks Department says the piling replacement will improve safety at these public beaches.

The Seattle Park District provided $500,000 to improve swim beach improvement projects which includes both the west and east swim beaches at Green Lake Park and the beaches along Lake Washington: Seward Park, Mount Baker Park, Madrona Park, Madison Park, Matthews Beach Park and Magnuson Park.

According to Seattle Parks, the projects at Green Lake Park will require temporary closure of the trail near the Small Craft Center. On the morning of Tues. Nov. 22, there will be intermittent closure of the trail to launch the barge and crane. They anticipate closing the trail again on the morning of Tues. Dec 6 to remove the barge and crane.

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New Law Could Open Green Lake and Other Parks to Homeless Camping

October 10, 2016 6:08am
via america.aljazeera.com

via america.aljazeera.com

Drive through just about any part of the city and you will probably see a tent or two – under the freeways and right here in Green Lake Park.  And as the Mayor and City Council struggle to find solutions, one proposal surfaced recently that stopped us in our tracks.

A month ago Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien (Green Lake’s District 6 rep) proposed legislation that would allow homeless individuals to camp legally in areas of the city that are currently illegal including some parks, greenbelts, school grounds and sidewalks. More troubling to many opposed to this law is that it creates a convoluted process for removing the campers, specifically a $250 penatly (per violation) payable to the individual camper by city taxpayers if the process of removal is violated.

The only council member to oppose this proposed law, Tim Burgess, recently issued a warning to the public through a City newsletter where he said:

“Read the proposed new camping legislation carefully. It contains a few key phrases that require the city government to allow camping on public property for at least 30 days per location. In addition, even when an encampment is in an unsafe or unsuitable location, the City cannot remove it until the City has provided 48 hours’ notice, and must offer the individuals alternative locations in which to camp.
Forget homelessness for a moment. This new legal right to camp in the city cuts across decades of land use policy and zoning requirements designed to minimize use impacts. This new law sweeps those protections away and creates a high impact use—camping on public property as an individual right. For me, this is going too far.”

The Seattle Times recently wrote about what a big mistake this proposed law would be for Seattle.

So what can we do about this?

Write to Councilman Mike O’brien: mike.obrien@seattle.gov and tell him what you think about this proposed law.

Attend a meeting: The City Council will consider the camping legislation at a special meeting of the Human Services and Public Health Committee on Friday, October 14 at 9:30 a.m. on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

UPDATE: Here’s another way to help: Sign this petition that started circulating less than 24 hours ago and has more than 3,000 signatures at the time of this writing.

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Weigh in on the Future of the Green Lake Community Center

October 4, 2016 6:18am

via Seattle.gov

This just in on the Green Lake Community Center: a public hearing has been scheduled to discuss the Community Center Strategic Plan.

And a quick background in case you missed it… we recently discovered that the the Seattle Parks Department is seeking input on a potential operating partnership for a new Green Lake Community Center because of a capital shortfall.

 

The meeting will take place at Van Asselt Community Center (2820 S Myrtle St.), on October 13, 2016 at 6:30pm.

The Community Center Strategic Plan is available here. While the future of the Green Lake Community Center is only a small part of the full plan, it is obviously an important one.

The Board of Park Commissioners will receive oral and written testimony, and will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent based on the feedback they receive from the public. Those who want to give input on the plan but are not able to come to the public hearing can send written comments, which bear equal weight to oral testimony. Please email comments to rachel.acosta@seattle.gov.

For even more background on this issue, check out our recent post.

 

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