Project update for BHIS playground

Schematic drawing

Beacon Hill playground renovation schematic drawing. Click for full-size. View the original PDF from the Parks department.

Coming out of a community meeting last month, the Parks Department has made some changes to the Beacon Hill Playground renovation project at Beacon Hill Elementary, funded through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy which is providing $180,000 for planning, design, and construction. The project is expected to be completed by August.

Some changes of note from David Gackenbach:

Park Planners responded to input from meeting attendees and reconsidered the ramp placement, are removing some fencing and installing more planting, and are adding two pedestrian lights not in the original plan.

The meeting minutes including community requests, comments, and priorities expressed are after the break. The minutes are available in their original PDF form on the project web site.

January 5th meeting notes as text:

Beacon Hill Playground Renovation
Open House

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
6:30– 8:00 p.m.

Jefferson Park Community Center
3801 Beacon Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98108

Project Overview:
Kelly Davidson, Seattle Parks Project Manager, provided an introduction of the project.

The meeting was advertised via press release, direct mail post cards and posting on neighborhood forums. The scope of work for the project is to create safety and access improvements at the playground. These improvements will focus on adding ADA access to the playground, replacing surfacing where necessary and incorporating other safety features. There was a block grant project that replaced all of the playground equipment two years ago, so the equipment is not being replaced. The total project budget is $180,000. This total covers all design, administrative and construction costs. Goals for the meeting are to collect comments on the schematic design and collect feedback on other possible improvements.

Design Presentation:
Randy Robinson, Sr. Landscape Architect, Seattle Parks, provided a presentation of a schematic design. The schematic included: ADA access paths leading to the playground, additional
seating around the playground, and additional site improvements to the areas surrounding the whirl and sandbox. Randy and Kelly met with Seattle Police Department to review site conditions, lines of sight into the park and additional security concerns.

Community Discussion

  • Can the basketball wall be removed? It provides a hiding space and the playing surface is not very good.
  • Provide lighting behind the bathroom and along the sidewalk on 13th Ave.
  • A BBQ would be nice.
  • A play feature for 8 month to 3 years of age would be good.
  • An excavator, kids like to play with things that move.
  • Could a climbing tree, rock or sculpture be incorporated?
  • The current fencing can act as a trap. Can it be removed? If not all, focus on area between tree and 14th entry.
  • Can the ADA path be moved into the area between the large tree and steps?
  • Remove fence behind comfort station and replace with low growing shrubs.
  • Can we add planting to attract wildlife?
  • Can eco turf be used on site?


  • The bathrooms have been a point of concern. The community requested them to be closed each night after dark. This was happening over the summer and helped with late night activity. They are currently closed for the season.
  • Community has been requesting Park Rangers be active at the site.
  • Tagging has been an issue at the site.
  • The connection to the school is positive, visual sight line.
  • The area near the restrooms, bushes and sidewalk is a hiding space.
  • Like the idea of more seating near playground.
  • Like the Madrona Playground sandpit. There is also a place for parents to sit in the shade.
  • No parking zones on 13th become areas for bad behavior in the evening.
  • The field drainage needs to be addressed.


  • Lighting, pedestrian
  • Increased seating (4 seat picnic tables)
  • Wall removal, maintain basketball use (Parks will look into feasibility within scope and budget.)
  • West & North side of comfort station, increase light and visibility
  • Seating and BBQ
  • Keep sand
  • Fence – more permeable (key location between stairs and big tree on 14th)

Next Steps
Parks will post meeting notes and the final design drawings and notify all who have signed in.

For more information contact:
Kelly Davidson, Project Manager, Seattle Parks and Recreation
800 Maynard Avenue S. 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA, 98134-1336

Meeting information will be posted on line after the meeting.

Thank you for your insight and participation tonight. It is your ideas that will guide the design and
transformation of our new playground!

Thanks, David! And thanks Mira for setting me straight on which playground this was about.

5 thoughts on “Project update for BHIS playground”

  1. Jason, this is for the Beacon Hill Playground by Beacon Hill Elementary, not Jefferson Park. There’s two playground projects going on right now.

  2. Last year the wading pool was closed because they needed to replace the drain to conform to new safety standards. Does anyone know if that work has been completed.

    Historically using this wading pool has been frustrating as it was only open on certain days and times (weekdays) and then only some. The city needs to have budget to have someone at the pool testing the water quality. So this keeps the much needed pool from being open when kids can use it most – hot summer evenings and weekends.

    But overall a much needed improvement in access to a park that my family is likely to be frequenting. Very friendly, diverse mix of people heavily use this and they’ve been sorely underserved by it for years.

  3. At the meeting, Parks Staff said the wading pool is intended to be operating again, however, construction of the paths will close the wading pool and play area for the duration of the work, which is scheduled for this summer. (groan)

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