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El Centro planning further park improvements

November 14th, 2011 at 8:01 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Melissa Jonas

This happy child plays at the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park. Photo by Melissa Jonas in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool in Flickr.

After extensive improvements to equipment and the addition of a covered picnic area, El Centro de la Raza opened the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park playground to the public last summer. It’s been a hit with community members of all ages.

But wait, there’s more! Through the Parks and Green Spaces Opportunity Fund, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department awarded El Centro an additional $350,000 to improve the park further.

To learn more and be part of the design process for the upcoming park improvements, attend the first public meeting about this project on November 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at El Centro de la Raza’s Salvador Allende room, Room 106. El Centro’s address is 2524 16th Ave. S. Find out more about the project at the project’s website, or read the meeting flyer.


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City Council approves grants for Beacon Hill parks

March 17th, 2011 at 6:12 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Earlier this week the City Council approved Opportunity Fund grants for two Beacon Hill parks, Lewis Park and the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park (El Centro de la Raza Play Area). The grants were awarded for the amounts recommended earlier by the Levy Citizens Oversight Committee: Lewis Park was awarded $260,000 for reforestation, and Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park was awarded $350,000 for improvements to revitalize the park and increase public awareness and access to the park space.

Previous BHB posts about this round of Opportunity Fund applications are here.


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Two Beacon Hill parks finalists for Opportunity Fund grants

December 9th, 2010 at 5:57 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Melissa Jonas

On December 6, the Levy Citizens Oversight Committee gave their final recommendations for Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund grant projects. Two North Beacon Hill projects made the final list, which will go to the City Council for approval in March.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dee Dunbar, Vinh Nguyen, and the other Friends of Lewis Park, Lewis Park has been recommended for an Opportunity Fund grant for $260,000. These funds will be used to pay professional crews to take care of the steep slopes which are inaccessible to volunteers, as well as restoration of native plants and trees.

Santos Rodriguez Park at El Centro de la Raza, in the snow. Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.

El Centro de la Raza was also recommended for a $350,000 grant for Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park on the west side of the El Centro building, to revitalize the park and increase public awareness and access to the park space. This grant would be conditional, requiring improvements in public access; the recommendation reads: “Must provide public access during non-childcare program hours. Entrances/access should be provided to make the site clearly open to the public and gates must be unlocked during non- school/program hours.”

Here’s the list of finalists throughout the city. Our Beacon Hill parks are in good company—there are some amazing projects coming up for Seattle in the next few years.

Previous BHB posts about this round of Opportunity Fund applications are here.

(Wendi Dunlap also contributed to this article.)


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Lewis Park project a finalist for Opportunity Fund

October 21st, 2010 at 5:36 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Rocco enjoys the view from Lewis Park. Photo by Valerie Craig in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

Dee Dunbar, from Friends of Lewis Park, writes:

The Lewis Park Reforestation application has been selected for the final draft list of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. A public hearing will be held October 25 at Miller Community Center (330 19th Avenue East). The Opportunity Fund Oversight Committee will be looking closely at community support for each project before selecting the final 15 proposals to recommend for funding. The hearing starts at 7:00 pm, but, we’re asking everyone to be there at 6:30 to show their support. Please let me know if you can make it… we’re going to be making up some signs for everyone to hold. The idea is for a few people to actually speak and everyone else stand up to show the support for Lewis Park.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, you can send an email showing your support of Lewis Park to Susanne Rockwell — susanne.rockwell@seattle.gov.

The Final Draft List for projects to receive funds from the Opportunity Fund has 15 projects with 3 alternates. The Oversight Committee will be making its final selection based on community support for the project. Friends of Lewis Park has asked for $260,000 to hire contractors to restore the steep slope areas of Lewis Park (volunteers cannot work in this area). Combined with the ongoing volunteer work, these funds will enable the restoration of all 5.1 acres of the park and provide North Beacon Hill with a safer, more livable neighborhood. As a Natural Area, Lewis Park will be transformed into an Urban Forest for generations to enjoy.

Please email/call if you any questions.

Thanks,
Dee
Friends of Lewis Park
206-778-1377

Here is a link to the list of the 15 finalists and three alternate projects. Please note that one of the three alternates is also on Beacon Hill: the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park at El Centro de la Raza.

Final project recommendations will be made by the Levy Oversight Committee to the Parks Superintendent on December 6.

Previous BHB posts about this round of Opportunity Fund applications are here.


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Walker Street property not available for park, say owners

June 3rd, 2010 at 5:01 am | 14 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap


Proposed Walker Street Park site

The Walker Street Park prospects may not be so promising after all.

As previously reported here, the Beacon Ridge Improvement Community (BRIC) applied for a grant through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund, to turn a block at 17th Avenue South and South Walker Street into a neighborhood “pocket park” and orchard. There is only one house on the block, owned by Joseph Fasano and his wife.

The Fasano family, however, is not interested in selling. A letter sent by Joseph Fasano’s son Mark Fasano to BRIC and to the Beacon Hill Blog on Monday states flatly: “The property is not currently for sale nor do you have any permission to begin moving forward on any project regarding this property. Our family has occupied this property for over 71 years and plan to continue residing at this property for generations to come.” The letter also says that the family has obtained legal representation, and asks that all submissions and funding requests for the project be retracted immediately.

Mark Fasano tells us that the family’s roots on Beacon Hill are very deep, and the Walker Street property has starred in a lot of memories. “I grew up in the house and on this property, so all of my childhood memories revolved around the house and playing in the woods along with my two brothers. My oldest brother lives on the other side of the cul-de-sac. My father has lived there since he was four, so all of his childhood is there as well. The home has always been the gathering place for all holidays and family functions.” The Fasanos want to keep the property in family hands.

According to Fasano, the owners were never formally contacted to discuss the sale of the property. “My father was out walking when a neighbor stopped to talk, and in that conversation among other topics he said ‘You should put a park here. What do you think about that idea?’ My father replied in jest, as he thought he was joking, ‘that would be interesting but I don’t think my wife would approve.’ He was just talking to a neighbor having small talk conversations. He never in a million years thought he was trying to get information to get something started like this.” The family did not find out about the project, says Fasano, until a friend emailed to tell them about the May 28 post in the BHB.

If the Fasanos aren’t interested in selling, the Walker Street park is not likely to happen. The park proposal acknowledges that the property is owned by Joseph Fasano, and that acquisition would depend on agreement with the owner; if the owner does not want to sell, the property is unavailable for the project.

This may change the fortunes of the Beacon Hill Central Park project, which was scored highly in the Opportunity Fund project assessment process, but was ranked lower than the Walker Street Park proposal.

(We contacted BRIC for comments on the situation but were unable to get a response in time for this story. We hope to have a follow-up with more information soon.)


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Walker Street Park prospects promising

May 28th, 2010 at 6:06 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap


View Parks Opportunity Fund application sites in a larger map

Click on each marker to identify the site

Two projects in North Beacon Hill, the Walker Street Park and Orchard and the North Beacon Hill Central Park, have scored in the top ten citywide among applications submitted for 2010 Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund grants, with the Walker Street Park achieving the status of “Staff recommended.” Eight North Beacon Hill projects were submitted in April to be considered for the grants. They were among 95 applications submitted city-wide, competing for $7 million in this funding cycle.

This week, Parks and Recreation released the results of the initial staff evaluations of the projects. You can read the criteria they used for scoring the projects here.

The Walker Street proposal is one of only 12 applications chosen as “staff recommended,” with the comment “Staff preference for funding in this neighborhood.” This does not guarantee that the proposal will be funded, but it is a good sign. All the other North Beacon projects, including the North Beacon Hill Central Park, are listed as “Lowest staff-ranked projects.” The Central Park is the highest-scoring project to be ranked as “lowest staff-ranked,” but the comments about it indicate some reasons for this: “Possible conflicts with Neighborhood Plan and City Council desire for increased density here.” Additionally, this would be a high-cost project, as would the Walker Street Park, and both are located in the same sector.

On Monday, June 28, the applicants have the opportunity to present their projects at the Levy Oversight Committee meeting. In September, there will be a public hearing on project prioritization and funding recommendations, and in January 2011, project funding recommendations will be given to the Mayor and City Council. The Council is expected to approve the recommendations in March, and the projects can begin implementation shortly afterward.

Thanks to Andrew Abian for the tip!


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Eight Beacon Hill projects pursue Opportunity Fund grants

April 2nd, 2010 at 6:55 pm | 4 Comments | Posted by Melissa Jonas


View Parks Opportunity Fund application sites in a larger map

Click on each marker to identify the site

The North Beacon Hill Council Board is submitting a letter of support for eight groups submitting applications to build new parks or improve existing parks in Beacon Hill. The 40+ people attending last night’s NBHC meeting unanimously supported this motion. Presenters were succinct and provided an impressive amount of information about their respective projects.

The eight groups presented information about applications they are submitting to the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund for parks in Beacon Hill.  You can find out more about the Opportunity Fund in their FAQ.

The Opportunity Fund is community-driven. A key aspect of the application is how much community support a project has.  If you would like to share comments, concerns, or enthusiastic support about a proposal, contact Seattle Parks and let them know what you think. Use the comments page or contact Kellee Jones at 206-684-7052  or kellee.jones@seattle.gov, or Susanne Friedman at 206-684-0902 or susanne.friedman@seattle.gov.

Briefly, the eight proposals are:

  • Volunteers and community members seeking funding to continue efforts to improve Lewis Park, such as clearing invasive species, planting natives, and restoring the natural areas in the park’s ravines
  • Development of a Food Forest in Jefferson Park, including bicycle and walking paths, a community shade structure, and habitat renewal for beneficial insects and birds
  • Acquisition of land around the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station to develop a North Beacon Central Park
  • Walker Street Park and Orchard proposal to acquire 10 lots on the boundary of the North Beacon Hill and North Rainier Urban Villages
  • Beacon Hill Youth Soccer Association efforts to improve the youth soccer field adjacent to Beacon International School so that it can be used year-round, by replacing grass with artificial turf
  • El Centro de La Raza seeking to improve their playground and increase access to the public by upgrading play structure; adding landscaping, outdoor meeting space, green features, and cultural aspects; adding ADA accessibility; and improving the basketball court
  • Efforts to preserve and renovate the historic reservoir gatehouse building in Jefferson Park
  • Development of a viewpoint pocket park at 12th and Hill, including addition of a retaining wall, viewing platform, and seating area

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No fooling—NBHC to meet April 1

March 31st, 2010 at 5:20 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Judith Edwards writes to tell us about this month’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting tomorrow night:

The North Beacon Hill Council will meet Thursday, April 1, at 7:00 in the Beacon Hill Library Community Room (2821 Beacon Avenue South). That’s not an April Fool’s joke! We invite everyone that lives or owns a business here on the Hill to come hear a group of individuals present their ideas for parks here on North Beacon. Each has applied for a Parks Department Opportunity Fund grant. Though all cannot be funded, we hope many will be. This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and learn more about the awesome events that are occurring here on North Beacon.

The agenda is as follows:

  • 7:00 Welcomes
  • 7:05 Presentations on applications for Parks Opportunity Fund grants, followed by Q&A
  • 8:00 Community Business
    • $1M insurance policy which NBHC must take out to cover events on Festival Street
    • Recognizing the Beacon Music Association as a sub-committee of NBHC
    • Upcoming music events on Festival Street
    • Beacon Business Association formation update
    • Update on Jefferson Park playground
    • Steve Louie, Neighborhood Coordinator
  • 8:30 Close

As always, all are welcome to attend. You are part of the council when you attend your first meeting, and you have voting privileges when you attend your second.


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BRIC applying for grant to create Walker Street Park

March 30th, 2010 at 4:45 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Melissa Jonas


View Potential Walker Street Park site in a larger map

The Beacon Ridge Improvement Community (BRIC) is applying for a grant through the Opportunity Fund to acquire land for a park located at 17th Avenue South and South Walker Street. BRIC is responsible for such neighborhood success stories as the stair restoration projects on Holgate, Hill, and Walker Streets (winning two grants from the City) and organizing neighbors to address crime and public safety issues.

At the March North Beacon Hill Council meeting, BRIC members Andrew Abian and David Gackenbach presented a slideshow of their vision for a “pocket park” and orchard. They are hoping to generate community support for this idea, both to strengthen their Opportunity Fund application and to get the community excited about the potential for a new park on Beacon Hill. To learn more about the proposal, click here.

To share your opinions regarding this proposal, attend the North Beacon Hill Council meeting on Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library. You can also visit the Parks Department comment page. All comments must be received by April 2.

The Opportunity Fund provides $15 million solely for community initiated park projects. Neighbors have the opportunity to propose a park development project and/or propose a piece of property for Parks to acquire.

BRIC’s Walker Street Project application requests approximately $1.0 million to acquire 10 lots (an entire block!) of land to be used as a play area, community orchard, and green space. The current owner lives in the only house on the block and seems open to the idea of the property becoming a park.

This location was chosen because it is relatively level and accessible from a part of the neighborhood where there are no other parks easy for families with young children to reach. It is also uniquely situated on the boundary between the North Beacon Hill Urban Village and the North Rainier Urban Village—potentially bridging the gap between green spaces in both communities. Preserving tree canopy and open space in this location will help bridge the gap in green spaces in two areas slated for increased development.

The Walker Street Project is one of several proposals being submitted from Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill community members are also applying for Opportunity Fund support for an urban farm in Jefferson Park and a Central Park near the Light Rail Station.


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