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Capitol Hill parks notes | Summit Slope legal fight, I-5 Columns design, Montlake lid

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

With the most excellent news of Volunteer Park’s new bandshell and amphitheater rounding into shape, here are a few more bits of news and notes from the Capitol Hill area’s parkland and open spaces.

  • Summit Slope Park: Here is some unhappy news from the Unpaving Paradise group that shaped the vision for the small — but growing — Capitol Hill park just off E Olive Way:
    Some Parks employees are starting the process of removing the table, benches, and BBQ from the upper area of the park this morning. They are taking the BBQ today. Their work order was to remove the boards of the table, leaving the metal frame. They had a call in to someone to see if they were also supposed to remove the boards from the benches. Then a Parks supervisor of some sort came by and she said they should remove the benches and table completely, since leaving the metal frames would be a safety hazard. They plan on moving them out in the next few days. But it all seemed to be a moving decision process, subject to change at any moment
    According to the bulletin sent to the group, a legal threat may be behind the hasty decision. “I told her that I was surprised that Parks would remove a table from a park because someone asked them to,” the update reads. “I said I would expect them to push back. She said she was surprised too, but that the person doing the complaining was a lawyer and he was suing.” CHS is checking with Seattle Parks to learn more about the situation. UPDATE 8:50 PM: A parks department spokesperson responded earlier today saying the Summit Slope work is a “maintenance project”–
    A bench and a BBQ were removed from Summit Slope Park by Seattle Parks and Recreation maintenance staff. The bench was removed due to graffiti; it will be sanded down and re-coated. The BBQ was removed because it was damaged and had graffiti. This project will last March – April.
    We’ll continue to look into the situation.
    Opened in 2011, Summit Slope includes a small section of lawns and terraces as well as community p-patch space. A fight over an incorporated skateboarding feature brought controversy after noise complaints. The tiny park is now lined up for expansion with a project that will create “bioswales” and “pedestrianize” E John next to the park and the E Olive Way Starbucks. Construction will begin later this month and should be completed by July. UPDATE: Here’s a picture from neighborhood activist Dennis Saxman from the table-removing action in the park. Saxman, who is a community gardener at Summit Slope, tells CHS he is also looking into the decision to remove the table: _DSC0670
  • sunlight-over-first-hill-21Under I-5: It’s not exactly a park but the passage below I-5 is set for a public space enhancement between First Hill and downtown. CHS readers added their votes to the First Hill Improvement Association’s tally of public picks for which design should adorn the columns supporting the freeway. The winner? Sunlight Over First Hill from Seattle U student Nathan Watkins:
    Designed by local artist and Seattle University student Nathan Watkins, this concept represents First Hill’s neighbors, architectural history, topography, density, and lush tree canopy. Nathan says, “this design could represent no other area, and in being as such it is a powerful expression of the identity, character, and presence of First Hill.”
  • Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 9.34.19 AMFirst Hill Park Redesign: The schematic design for a $25,000 overhaul of the park at Minor and University is complete. You can check out the early plan here (PDF). The hope is to upgrade the open space and address a few neighborhood safety concerns including better lighting and, hopefully, increase use of the park.
  • YeslerSitePlan-600x393Yesler Terrace Park: Just don’t call it Yesler Park, CHS wrote. Parks said, cool, we’ll call it Yesler Terrace Park:
    The Yesler Neighborhood Park project will be named Yesler Terrace Park. The scope of this project is to develop a 1.7-acre neighborhood park that is part of the Yesler Terrace Master Planned Community. The intent of the park is to serve as a gathering place for current and future residents of Yesler Terrace as well as people who live and work in the surrounding community. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy provides $3,000,000 for a new park at Yesler Terrace. Additional funding has been secured from the Seattle Housing Authority, State of Washington Recreation Conservation Office Recreation Grant, RAVE Foundation, Stim Bullitt Park Excellence Fund, Wyncote Foundation, and Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Foundation. The overall budget now totals $4,330,000. More information can be found here.
  • Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 9.51.29 AMMontlake lid: A call for bids on a $425 million contract to build a bridge part of the state’s overhaul of 520 includes some important open space and trail work for Montlake:
    Another big part of the contract will be extensive modifications to the interchanges between SR 520 and Montlake Boulevard, including a land bridge lid over SR 520 with view points, open space, covered gathering areas and a multimodal transit hub.
    You can learn more about the Montlake Phase of the Rest of the West project here.
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10 thoughts on “Capitol Hill parks notes | Summit Slope legal fight, I-5 Columns design, Montlake lid

  1. There was a meeting between the police and the neighborhood at the Summit&Olive Starbucks to discuss the Summit Slope park problem. I don’t know if the action is related to this or not…..and I could not attend the meeting.

    The difficulty with the table and benches is that a group of street people has been hanging out there at all hours, causing some people who live and work in the vicinity to feel unsafe. It’s compounded by the fact that subsets of these folks are injection drug users, which results in needles and syringes being left here and there, along with garbage of varying sorts in the alleys that the neighborhood has to clean up. Plus….multiple packages have been stolen in the neighborhood, which is making people less forgiving.

    It’s not obvious to me that removing the table and benches will fix this problem. I get that the idea is to make the park less hospitable, and this sucks for people who want to use the barbecue and table for its intended purpose. People who live on the street are going to conduct their lives in public spaces. I don’t have a solution. But maybe this post will provide some context.

  2. Here is an idea. How about the city does something about all of the homeless and transients causing issues instead of taking such a laissez faire attitude towards them? Taking out the BBQs and benches? Come on! I live close to the park and don’t have enough space to host BBQs or social gatherings so I depend on places like this to exist so I can enjoy the city I pay such a high rent to live in. Our mayor is a giant pussy and so are people that take such a soft stance on our homeless issue. I would gladly pay higher taxes for safe injection sites and homeless shelters AWAY from neighborhoods where people live/do business, as these services ruin vibrant neighborhoods.

    • Good point, with one exception: there aren’t any neighborhoods where people neither live nor do business. No solution is going to make homeless people simply go away.

    • +1 on Mark’s comments.

      We should take one of the small San Juan Islands and make it a homeless camp. Let them do safe injections there .

    • I agree with you, Mark. The Thomas Street P-Patch was recently remodeled because of the dysfunctional behaviors of homeless people who hung out there (trash, IV drug use, threatening gardeners, camping, etc.) This project cost $30,000 of taxpayer money (!!), all because the city can’t seem to stop the homeless from trashing and degrading our public spaces.

    • I’m not sure about the rules at this park, but at the Thomas Street P-Patch it IS illegal for anyone to camp or hangout after dark, and a quick call to the police will result in them getting moved out. If this same policy is not in effect at Summit Slope, maybe those who garden there (or live nearby) can lobby to get this changed. In my opinion, it should be the same policy at all p-patches.

  3. I live across the street. They may be taking out the grill because folks start fires there to keep warm on cold evenings and the flame go up easily 4 or 5 feet. Can’t blame them for wanting to stay warm, but it’s probably a fire hazard that the Fire department doesn’t want happening. The group that hangs out there can be loud, as well.

    I’d rather see the police actually enforce the law rather than ripping out all the amenities. Based on experience, they barely respond after break ins and trespasses, so I’m sure keeping the homeless out of parks after hours is not high on their priority list.