Water tower work joins busy time for construction in Volunteer Park

“If the red rectangle is closed to traffic, the yellow rectangle will be open and vice versa,” SPU says.

When you are a more than 100-year-old city park, you are going to need a little extra work.

Seattle Public Utilities announced it is getting ready to mount a four to six week construction project to upgrade drainage around the historic water tower inside the busy confines of Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park.

SPU says work to repair crushed drain pipes and settlement around the base of the water tower will begin as early as November 4th:

Seattle Public Utilities will be upgrading the drainage systems, stormwater grates and piping system associated with the Volunteer Park water tower to reduce minor flooding on nearby pedestrian pathways. SPU will take precaution to protect all tree roots and rockery will be restored after work is completed.

Construction will take place between the hours of 7 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday, according to SPU and will be completed in phases to allow half of the traffic circle around the tower to be open at all times. Two-way traffic will be allowed on the part of the traffic circle that is open to assist vehicle mobility.

Before the work begins, there’s still time for some fun. Sunday, the park will host the first annual Volunteer Park Halloween Pet Parade.

The “construction noise, dust, and vibrations” from the tower work is set to join a busy slate underway inside the park. In September, CHS wrote about the many projects and efforts to maintain the park’s original vision through it all. Projects include the $54 million the Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation underway now and set to be completed late next year, new park lighting and pathways, new lily pond railings, and, possibly if the money can be raised by the Volunteer Park Trust with a city grant, a new amphitheater stage.

There are also ideas around eventually capping the park’s 22 million gallon reservoir and creating a new reflection pool and promenade but, for now, the only work on SPU’s facility will take place on the water tower’s drainage system. The reservoir has been considered for decommissioning but still serves as an insurance inventory of water in case of emergencies.

If the park’s reservoir is to go back into service to provide potable water, a large steel tank bolted inside the brick tower needs to be recoated both inside an out, a 2015 assessment revealed. The brick tower would also eventually require more significant investment and should join the long line of Volunteer Park construction projects. The tower has been assigned one of the highest FEMA earthquake risk scores of any masonry structure on Capitol Hill.

For now, it remains a great place to climb up for a view of the city on these unusually clear October days. The Volunteer Park Tower will remain open throughout the project but one stairway entry will be closed temporarily to accommodate concrete pours, SPU says.


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