Update on Wedgwood’s Soon-To-Be Park!

Update 2: Site clearing has begun and the trees are down.  Here’s a Photosynth photo (requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin) of the site on February 24, 2013.  Today, fencing went up around the site and the contractors excavator and trailer were placed on site.


Reminder 1: While the property is moving closer to acquisition by the Parks Department for a park, many have asked what the park will be and when it’ll be open.  This is a great question that cannot be answered at the moment.  As we’ve written about before, we applied for a grant to work with the Parks Department to come up with a park design.  However, given the Parks budget, there is a moratorium on new park development.  Until their maintenance budget is sorted out (…we’ve heard rumors of a levy for park maintenance in the future), we cannot design the park and therefore it cannot yet be officially a park.


UPDATE 1:  Since we originally wrote this post, we have received more details on the upcoming cleanup from Bill Devereaux, Manager of the Environmental Management and Compliance Unit with Seattle City Light. We’ve taken editorial privilege to add bold text to highlight important items, a photo of the trees in the northwest corner of the parcel, and editorial notes in [brackets] throughout for greater clarification.  The trees will largely be cleared.

David:

I apologize for the time it has taken to get back to you on your questions.   The project is a work in progress.  Hopefully the following addresses the questions you earlier sent to me. 

Grove of trees in NW corner of the lot that will be removed as part of cleanup.

The cleanup work is planned for the period February 18 through March 8.  Due to the nature of the work, it may be somewhat punctuated during that time frame.  The nature of the work will be to remove roughly the upper 18 inches of soil and the concrete pad from the western half of the property (roughly the unpaved portion).  This was the area used by City Light as a substation in the past.  In addition, there is an area in the northwest corner of the paved portion that will require soils removal down to approximately 5 feet.  Note that most of the trees will be removed in order to ensure a complete cleanup. The affected area will be fenced during the removal activities.

After the removal work City Light plans to bring the excavated west area back to grade with clean fill and a mulch of bark and wood chips.  The excavation in the asphalt area will be brought to grade with clean fill and topped with gravel.  The fencing around the former substation will be removed and the property will be open.  As Parks has not completed their plans for the property, we will not be replanting in order to leave them with a clean slate in which to work [Editorial Note: Letter from SCL linked to below states that replacement trees will be planted.].

The building on the site is the personal property of the former lessees, and they have been asked to remove the building [Editorial Note: We are not clear when the building will be removed and if SCL or Parks has given a deadline for its removal.  However, the owner had been trying to give it away for free on Craigslist earlier].  When the cleanup is completed and the building removed, the property will be transferred to the Parks Department.  Any requests for landscaping between the transfer and the future park development should be referred to Parks [Editorial Note: Replacement trees are reportedly going to be installed though by SCL per the letter linked to in the next paragraph].  We have been coordinating with Chip Nevins at Parks.

Attached is a copy of the cleanup notification letter that was sent to nearby owners and tenants last Friday…

Very Respectfully,

Bill


Original Post: Wedgwood Community Council (WCC) is pleased to report that the Morningside Substation site, at the northwest corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 86th Street, is about to undergo a radical transformation. The site, which is owned by Seattle City Light (SCL), is home to the now-vacant CC & Co. salon building (the salon was there under lease, and the CC & Co. hair stylists are now working in other locations around Wedgwood.)  SCL is in the process of transferring ownership of the site, which is about a third of an acre in size, to Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) so that it can be turned into a new park for our community (you can learn more about the park here).

Before the transfer can take place, SCL must perform environmental remediation so that Parks receives a clean site. The long-ago home of a gas station, testing has revealed that the top layer of the site’s soil contains contaminants and must be replaced with clean topsoil. In the coming weeks Wedgwood residents will notice construction fencing going up, the salon building coming down, and the site’s surface being stripped. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the contamination, the small stand of trees on the northwest corner of the site will become a casualty of this process.

WCC has contacted SCL regarding the remediation effort and its timeline, and will report details as they become available.  Once the cleanup and title transfer are complete, Parks will await funding to begin park development. WCC has asked that in that interim period the parcel be seeded in lawn and open to the public so that our community will have attractive, usable open space in its core while we wait for funding for the design and construction of our future park. Please stayed tuned for more exciting news in the development of Wedgwood’s newest park!

5 Replies to “Update on Wedgwood’s Soon-To-Be Park!”

  1. I think it is ludicrous that mature trees “had to be sacrificed”. There is no better de-toxifier in all of nature than a mature tree! They create mini ecosystems, in fact. A “seeded lawn” is what we are actually attempting to get away from in Seattle (see Rain Wise program) – what is a park without trees?

  2. We need to keep on top of this. Substitute trees need to be part of a larger plan. What’s to prevent the gravel area from becoming a parking lot, as seems to be happening at the Hunter tree site?
    I hope community groups such as the Wedgwood Garden Club and Seattle Audubon will be invited to be part of the planning process as this project proceeds. (Full disclosure, I volunteer with both.)

  3. I guess I am confused.. Why on earth would the city want to make a park on the corner of 35th and 86th..? Wedgwood is in desperate need of parking pace. The business that line this street have limited to no parking at all. The city has made it’s quota a hundred times over in the past few months in just writing tickets and having cars hauled off for illegal parking going both north and south on 35th. People going to QFC, Rite Aide, and the coffee shop on 35th (that has more business in a 24 hour period than I would venture to guess than both the grocery store and drug store combined) have to park in front of the Jasper Apartments.. Plus there is two or three beauty shop and laundry mat in the same strip. Plus all the small restaurants, banks, post office, doctor offices, etc all the way to 75th.. I watch from the Jasper Apartments as People Park wherever they can, run across the street nearly getting hit, people trying to turn right or left off of 86th or 87th and nearly causing accidents on a daily basic!! Why does this tiny area need a park? People will most likely walk to it; their dogs I would hope don’t need another place to poop.. The majority of the resistance in this area owns their own homes…so what is the point?? PARK, NO, PARKING, YES!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Carol! Here’s a quick background though.

      First of all, there was a large community process to identify a suitable site for a new park, which included a very well attended public meeting with the Parks Department. http://wedgwoodcc.org/wedgwood-parks-meeting-a-success Hopefully, this addresses why a park at that corner.

      As for parking, it is a problem around the JASPER. I take your point about the on-street parking limitations and the ticketing that goes on. However, parking for customers is in part a problem the developer created. Instead of creating “retail” on the ground floor, they opted for “live-work units.” This was done, in part, because live-work spaces don’t require the developer to include parking for customers. From the developer’s perspective, it costs approximately $30,000 to build 1 structured parking stall. So, I understand why that was done, but it is what it is and the parking restrictions on 35th Ave have been there before the JASPER was there. SDOT is removing some of these parking restrictions soon along 35th Ave and is seeking feedback on other projects in the area which could include looking at the travel/parking lanes on 35th Ave as well. If you’d like to include your thoughts on this, please come to one of the 3 meetings over the next 2 weeks with SDOT to discuss. http://wedgwoodcc.org/the-next-steps-towards-a-safer-ne-75th-street

      Thanks again for the comment!

  4. Thank you for the web address concerning the park.. I am sorry I missed the meeting, I have only been part of this community for less than five years and during that time I had little knowledge of the traffic on 35th.

    I do believe I was misunderstood about my concerns in regards to the parking on 35th.. As I stated in the disclaimer that no longer appears, I live with my children near Wedgwood Elementary and watched the JASPER units being built, but until I started working in the building for a small business owner, who does NOT require or need parking for customers, I never realized how heavy the congestion/traffic is on this very street.. My main concern was for the business that were here long before they built Jasper and the lack of parking as well as my concern was/is why a park on the corner of an extremely busy, busy street.. All forms of emergency vehicles seem to fly up and down this street almost on an hourly basic some days and nights. The fumes from the vehicles that utilize this street are pretty heavy at times as well. Being a parent/grandparent I pray the park will not become the corner of “WATCH OUT” and/or “OH MY GOD” as a child rushes out of arms reach. Hopefully the park will be fenced.

    As Alison stated, I too hope if it does/when indeed become a park, it is not a mirrored image of Hunter tree site.

    Thank you again for your candor, as well as for the information concerning SDOT meetings.

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