Hey Capitol Hill kids, how would you spend $800k to improve the Volunteer Park playground?


IMG_0181, originally uploaded by the_misha.

Seattle Parks has set the dates and sent out the announcements for a set of public meetings to gather your input on the planned $800,000 overhaul of the Volunteer Park play area. We reported a few weeks back about the Seattle Parks Levy-backed project to replace the 20-year-old playground equipment in the park. If all goes to plan, by the way, the playground will be closed during construction in summer 2012 so you’d better enjoy it now. Details on the meetings are below — and kids are being encouraged to attend. CHS votes to turn the whole thing over to children though, if you think skatedots are loud, you might not like their plans for the world’s largest drum trampoline. Also, don’t forget about the group working to raise $3.5 million to finish the overhaul of the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

Parks says at the first meeting it will gather input to create design concepts which will be presented at the second meeting in July.

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites you and your family to meet with the design team for the Volunteer Park Play Area Renovation. Parks will present design options for your neighborhood park play area and wants to hear from you about the different designs.

This renovation project, identified in the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, provides play area improvements for children ages 2-12, safety surfacing, better accessibility and site improvements that may include picnic tables and seating area.

Parks encourages you to come and give your thoughts on which play equipment and design features work best for your neighbourhood.



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14 thoughts on “Hey Capitol Hill kids, how would you spend $800k to improve the Volunteer Park playground?

  1. I know! I know! Six story condo with ground level retain and two levels of underground parking.

    That seems to be the go-to solution for improving pretty much anything around here.

  2. Lucky for us, Mayor Condo isn’t in office anymore, or else it might’ve become a reality.

    Instead, it’s going to be turned into a new set of bike lanes.

  3. What I’ve always refered to as the “dinosaur bone” has been there ever since I was a kid back in the 70’s, and I sincerely hope they keep it as part of the new playground.

    Some better seating for parents would be fantastic.

  4. I second that, but am worried, since one City goal is to bring the playground into compliance with accessibility and safety standards. That said, according to newspaper articles I found, $8,500 was spent in 2007 to refurbish the sculpture (“Block,” by Charles Smith). It was commissioned by the Block Foundation, and honors a parks commissioner, Dorothy Block, who died in 1961, according to the City’s Volunteer Park web pages.

    However, a similar sculpture in a Spokane playground may be getting scrapped. See http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/apr/15/bone-sculpture-

    Anyone interested in staying up to date via an e-list or postal mail can contact Parks & Rec’s Emily Fuller — see http://seattle.gov/parks/projects/volunteer_park/playground.

  5. use that money to help out gas prices and improve the neighborhood in south seattle.. who needs an 800k playground that’s just going to get ruined in less than a year???

  6. I smell a Gucci. $800,000…Really??? Reseal the wading pool, duplicate the kids area at Green Lake, pressure wash the Molar sculpture (yes, I played on it – very briefly – when I was a kid), and give the balance to the Conservatory. If the funds can’t be given to another specific project such as the Conservatory, return them to Parks. God knows there are other uses more pressing than needing all $800,000 for an age 2-12 playground. Fiscal discipline, anyone?
    btw, if The Molar is a prized work of art, sell it and buy an extra swingset with the funds. It would accomodate more kids, and they’d have a lot more fun playing on it.
    We always had a lot more fun riding the original camels at the entrance to the museum. At least they were actual works of art.

  7. How do you know the Conservatory used by people age 70+ is a higher priority than a playground for people from ages 2-12? Do you just discriminate by age or other things too?

  8. Put it back to the way it was in the early 1960s! I enjoyed the swings, slides & teeter-totters over asphalt! Especially the high catwalk between the two slides. (Whenever I drive by, I miss the play equipment that was actually beside the wading pool.) And I know there were REAL safety issues with that earlier play equipment: my toddler brother used to scare the bejabers out of my mom when he’d run between the slides; he was almost fearless!

  9. Are there even enough children to justify $800K? I see more dogs than kids attached to adults on my daily walks. Maybe a dog park would be better. Smellier, but better.

  10. @ lamakid: I discriminate on the side of fiscal sanity. We’re talking 800,000 dollars (repeat, slowly) for kids’ toys! We used to play in Volunteer, and didn’t actually need toys to entertain us. This is literally enough money to build a humble mansion for adults, complete with utilities, in compliiance with city codes and standards! In spite of our deprived conditions, most of our crew of munchkins went off to……professional careers! Chalk it up to the “school of hard
    knocks” – we actually had to use our imaginations, and develop team-building skills. As to the conservatory, it has a larger following than you apparently realize – even among people under…..70!

  11. I don’t think anyone is objecting to “updating” this play area…it’s the price tag that is ridiculous and fiscally irresponsible. I agree that a chunk of this money should go to the Conservatory (which is visited by lots of people other than seniors!), but that is probably not a legal possibility. But why can’t the Parks Dept. use some of the $800,000 for improving other parks, or even Volunteer Park (such as the proposed iron fence around the lily ponds)?

    I for one will be scrutinizing more closely when another Parks levy comes up on the ballot, and voting “no” if it earmarks excessive funds for a project like this, which clearly is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

  12. Yuk, please no mention of dog parks.

    I loved the geometric dome they used to have, I think I knocked myself out on it at least once trying to swing upside down. That thing was awesome. Maybe an old tower like Stevens used to have? Playground toys used to be the shit, now they kinda suck.

  13. Definitely enough families with young kids use that park to justify a big upgrade. Plus the nearby schools and after school programs in the area use the playground and wading pool in the summers. My complaint with this is that the construction is happening during peak park playtime weather!