With the first day of summer arriving, CHS would like to crush a nasty rumor floating around Volunteer Park’s playground. The 100-year-old-plus Volunteer Park wading pool is not going away. This and a growing list of community wants (which you can add to via a survey, below) and Seattle Parks needs have been part of the public process unfolding around the planned $800,000 overhaul of the Volunteer Park playground slated to begin sometime next summer.
“There are currently no plans to change the pool to a spray-park,” planner Emily Fuller tells CHS. “We’re going to provide better access to it between the play area and the pool.”
By the way, if you’d like to get a jump start on celebrating that decision, the wading pool season opens its spigot for the first time at Volunteer Park this Saturday. The pool is operated from noon to 8 PM every day through September 5.
Next Meeting: Wednesday July 13, 20114 – 6 p.m.
Volunteer Park Play Area Near the entrance at 15th Avenue E and E Galer Street
We reported this spring about the Seattle Parks Levy-backed project to replace the 20-year-old playground equipment in the park. The current Parks plan calls for a start of construction in summer 2012 — a plan that has already drawn criticism from the community regarding the possibility of shuttering the play area during the summer months. Parks hasn’t decided on the official schedule yet but summer work will need to be part of the plan. Planners say they are looking at options that might make elements like the wading pool accessible during parts of summer 2012.
While we’re talking Parks construction closures, a reminder that the two-month Bobby Morris lighting overhaul is scheduled to begin this week. We’re checking with Parks for the specifics but expect the field to be unavailable through the rest of summer. In the meantime, the fences are still up for the Cal Anderson turf repair project. Last update from Parks said their goal was to get the fences down by the second week of July.
UPDATE: Here’s an update from Parks on the Bobby Morris work:
Parks is currently working to confirm a Notice to Proceed date with the contractor. Once this is established Parks will be able to post a confirmed closure date for the field which will be next week at the earliest. As noted in the project information, the publicized closure is a target window and we are not able to schedule events during this window.
Construction fencing will be put in place just around the field. The basketball court and tennis courts will remain open.
Fuller continues to collect community feedback following a June meeting where neighbors and playground fans brought their ideas and concerns about the playground overhaul to share with Seattle Parks. Notes from those sessions and materials from the Seattle Parks analysis of the playground’s issues and potential are below. Fuller is also looking for additional feedback on the community’s playground priorities. What’s more important? Slides or a climbing wall? What new elements do you want? A musical play area? Rentable picnic tables. You can weigh in by taking the Parks survey here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NDW7RDB
Fuller says Park will compile the information from the survey and the comments collected at the June meeting to form play area concepts for the renovation and present them at the next meeting on July 13 held at the playground.
And, again, the wading pool isn’t going anywhere. But here are some elements that will need to change:
You can view a larger version in the attached “Existing Conditions” document.
The Parks analysis has determined that, while everything in the playground has held up relatively well in the 20 years since it was installed, there are three main issues — including one giant category of “something wrong with almost every component — that are forcing this $800,000 allocation:
- The play equipment is far out of compliance with current safety standards.
- There is no accessibility for children with disabilities or for parents with disabilities, which is now required by Federal Law. There is no accessibility to the whole area around the wading pool and play area, there is no accessibility to parking or restrooms, wheel chairs can’t get into the play area and the equipment isn’t useable if you could get in. There aren’t any transfer stations for kids to get on the equipment and the stairs are too high for kids with limitations on how high they can lift their feet.
- There is something wrong with almost every component of the equipment. The handrails are out of safety compliance, the wood decks are deteriorating; the metal connections and attachments are rusting; the paint on the posts is peeling; the ball bearings on the track ride are shot; the bridge has roofing paper tacked to it because the wood was so slippery; the wood panels on the tot structure are rotted, two swings have been removed to meet safety standards, the slides are missing safety features, and the beams above the gazebo need replacing. These things can’t be fixed.
Below are the notes compiled by Parks from the June public meeting that kicked off the public feedback process:
We’ve also included a look at some other recent Seattle Parks projects “nature play” and “plaza spaces” designs for an idea of what some of the new elements in Volunteer Park might look like: