Green Lake’s Pink Cashmere Sunset
Sunset at Green Lake on the day Prince died – April 21, 2016
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Sunset at Green Lake on the day Prince died – April 21, 2016
On Wednesday April 5, District 6 Councilmember Mike O’Brien will be hosting office hours at the Ballard Public Library. All District 6 neighbors (that’s us!) are encouraged to attend and bring questions and concerns directly to our councilmember. If you are new to these Office Hours events (there are several throughout the year) you should know that they are a one-on-one format and you will get a chance to speak directly to him.
While any concerns, comments or questions are welcome at this meeting, we’ve heard from several Greenlakers that are planning to discuss the proposed plans to privatize the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool with O’Brien.
So we asked Councilmember O’brien about his role in the Green Lake Community Center and plans for the future, here’s our conversation:
Seattle Greenlaker: Will you be taking the comments you hear from this meeting to future conversations/meetings with the Parks Department?
Councilmember O’Brien: Everything I hear from community influences how I move forward, so yes, next week’s conversations will be part of the body of knowledge I call upon as I continue to engage with parks. To date I have heard unanimous skepticism from community members about a partnership model for the Greenlake Pool. This is the baseline from which I am operating.
Seattle Greenlaker: Do you have a proposal or action plan to help the Community Center in the near term (ie. the leaky roof and broken boilers etc.)
Councilmember O’Brien: I am working with the parks department so they can present a clear plan to maintain current, uninterrupted operations for the pool. I don’t yet have clarity on the scale of investments needed to achieve that level of service, but hope to have clarity within a number of weeks.
Seattle Greenlaker: Is there anything else you would like to add about the Community Center?
Councilmember O’Brien: I’d just reiterate what I said in my blog post: While the Greenlake Community Center itself is showing signs of age, the community it continues to foster is as powerful as ever. I deeply value this community space and want to ensure it remains enjoyable and accessible for all the members of District 6 and the larger community.
To talk to Councilmember O’brien in person, be sure to attend the upcoming meeting:
Ballard Public Library 5614 22nd Ave NW
Wednesday April 5
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Please note this meeting is first come, first served, so no official sign up is needed.
Happy first day of Spring!
Although this photo was taken last Spring, we are so happy to welcome this season back to Green Lake!
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:
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:
This issue is just starting, so make sure your voice is heard!
A bench with a view – a winter sunrise from Green Lake – December 2012.
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.
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.
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.
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.