Approximately 40 Ballardites gathered in the Ballard High School cafeteria May 3 to brainstorm critical issues facing Seattle's youth and families now, possible solutions to those issues, and what they would like to see five years in the future.

The gathering was part of more than 100 community caucuses Mayor Mike McGinn has called as part of his Youth and Families Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to shape the mayor's agenda on issues affecting youth and families.

McGinn opened the caucus by talking about the issues he heard about while campaigning that sparked the Youth and Families Initiative. He said he heard about men and women who were pulled into violence and didn't get a chance to succeed and about disparities between communities when it came to race, ethnicity and economic status.

McGinn said he wants to bring communities into the circle of accountability to find solutions to the obstacles facing the city's youth.

"What are we going to do?" he asked. "How are we going to stand up and work together?"

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Mayor Mike McGinn and El Centro de la Raza's Estela Ortega open the May 3 Youth and Families Initiative community caucus at Ballard High School.

When Loyal Heights resident Mindy Terence heard outgoing Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher tell KING 5 TV that the city's current budget crisis could necessitate the closure of one of Ballard's two community centers, she took action.

Terence started circulating a petition May 1 to keep the Ballard Community Center and Loyal Heights Community Center from becoming victims of city budget cuts.

Joelle Hammerstad, spokesperson for Seattle Parks and Recreation, said while Gallagher can speak freely about the particulars of the budget process because he has already offered his resignation, regular employees are restricted from speaking directly about what the department calls the "deliberative process."

The city's acting budget director has asked Parks to propose reductions of 3 percent, and cuts are likely to be implemented around July 1, Hammerstad said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Loyal Heights resident Mindy Terence discusses her campaign to save Ballard's community centers from possible budget-related closures at the Ballard Urban Picnic May 1.

The water coursing through Adams Elementary School's new rain garden may have been hose-supplied, but that didn't damped enthusiasm during the debut of the new runoff control system April 30.

The rain garden for the school at 6110 28th Ave. N.W. will help mitigate storm water and combines education and environmentalism, said David Minnery, who developed the conceptual design for the rain garden as a graduate student in landscape architecture.

The Adams rain garden takes rainwater from the school's two roofs and directs it into a cistern. From the cistern, the water travels down a concrete channel before being released into a garden that will absorb the water and remove pollutants.

As rain was conspicuously absent, water was fed into the cistern through a hose for the official debut of the rain garden. As the water coursed down the channel, Adams students crowded together to splash in the water and watch as it cascaded into the garden.

Minnery said it felt nice to see the students react when the water was turned on, as he always intended the rain garden to be interactive and a space for play.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Adams Elementary School students splash in their new rain garden at its debut April 30. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Lease options presented to School Board on Apr 21

Westside School at 10015 28th Ave. S.W. needs to move. The school has been operating in the space since the fall of 1993, and shares space with Explorer West, an independent private middle school. All the lease options for the inventoried Seattle Public School buildings were presented at the School Board meeting on April 21, and the vote will take place May 5.


Westside School has put in a proposal to lease the E.C. Hughes building on 7740 34th Ave SW, and hopes to start the 2010-2011 school year in this new location. It's looking likely this will happen, according to school officials. Westside has been growing since 2006, and has outgrown its current location.

Head of the school Jo Ann Yockey said, " We have had a strategic plan which we began in 2006 to add one section at each grade level, before that we were one section at each grade, preschool through 5th grade. We started by adding another kindergarten class and then another 1st (grade) and so this year we have two 3rds."

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

Westside School and Explorer West share school facilities and it's a challenge because they are often at cross purposes, needing the same space. The result is that many activities such as music and art are taught in the same room.---

Click the image above to see more photos

Registration is now open for the Ballard Boys and Girls Club's summer baseball camp with sessions running from July 5 to Aug. 6.

The camp is open to boys and girls ages 8 to 12 and costs $135 per session.

Session 1 is on fielding and runs July 5 to July 9.

Session 2 is on hitting and runs July 12 to July 16.

Session 3 is total baseball and runs July 19 to July 23.

Session 4 is advanced hitting and runs July 26 to July 30.

Session 5, fast pitch softball, is girls-only and runs Aug. 2 to Aug. 6.

Camp lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with additional morning and afternoon supervision available for $30 per week.

Campers are asked to bring a baseball cap, mitt, long pants, water and lunch.

Click here to register or call 206.783.5775 with questions.

baseball camp.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Ballard Boys & Girls Club

Arbor Heights School welcomed grandparents of students Friday, April 16. Guests proudly marched into the cafeteria/auditorium for orientation, some holding hands with their grandchildren.

Principal Dr. Carol Coram took the stage to officially welcome them as they were treated to coffee, doughnuts, and bags of popcorn to go. At 9am classes started and they all fanned out into classrooms.


Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Arbor Heights celebrated their annual "Grandparents Day." Nathaniel Tangeman reads to his grandparents Monica and Chuck Gibbs, of West Seattle, in Janet Feagan's second grade class.

At the first public meeting for the replacement of the Golden Gardens playground April 7, a new location for the play area was all but decided on. The types of play equipment it would feature was a bit more controversial.

The upgrade of the 20-year-old playground that sits adjacent to the barbeque area is being funded by the Pro Parks Levy.

The city wants to bring the playground into safety and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and also move it to a larger space away from a high-traffic area, said Virginia Hassinger, project coordinator for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Dean Koonts, an architect from HBB Landscape Architecture working on the project, said the current playground, which features four swings and a small play structure, has a small range of equipment, caters to a small age group and has little separation from traffic.

After a site analysis by HBB that ruled out areas within 200 feet of the shoreline, areas that are habitat-sensitive or already highly used and a portion of Golden Gardens that may have contaminated soil, the city is proposing relocating the playground to the grass-covered area immediately east of the Golden Gardens Bathhouse.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Seattle Parks and Recreation presented its plans to relocated and update the Golden Gardens playground April 7. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE PROPOSED NEW LOCATION.

There used to be a skate ramp in Kate Martin’s front yard. Her sons had just caught the skateboarding bug, and the mini-ramp, planted among the maples and mountain hemlocks, became an icon in their south Greenwood neighborhood.

“It was heaven,” said Martin, a longtime community organizer who owns her own site planning, design and construction management business. “Every little kid on my block came and played on our stuff. Older kids, pro skaters—the gamut – would stop by. It’s just a safe place to play.”

When a lawsuit forced the ramp’s removal last spring, Martin, one of the founding members of Parents for Skate Parks, took a sabbatical from activism.

But now, as nearby Sandel Park heads toward a redesign, she’s reloaded and is pushing for a skatedot—a mini-ramp measuring less than 1,500 square feet—in her neighborhood.

There’s just one speed bump: There isn’t room in Seattle Parks and Recreation’s budget to fund it.

Photo credit: 
Rachel Solomon.

Community organizer and founding member of Parents for Skate Parks Kate Martin, left, views plans for the Sandel Park remodel at a March 27 open house. The design for the park does not include a skatedot.

On Easter morning at Ballard Corners Park, half the assembled adults hid eggs while the other half restrained the eager egg hunters lined up along the sidewalk awaiting the start of the neighborhood-organized egg hunt.

The children were released in an egg-gathering frenzy, leaving the adults to chase after them with cameras and tease each other about which parents were offering too much help in their children's pursuit of eggs.

Six-year-old Olivia Jett, for one, said she prefers her Easter egg hunts without adult help.

"I'm good at looking," she said. "I'm a really good hunter."

Jalair Box, mother of six-year-old Jaya, said it is nice to have an event where all the neighborhood children who don't know each other can get together.

Ballard Big Picture is a column of scenes from around the neighborhood. If you would like to submit a photo for use on this site and in the Ballard News-Tribune, please send it to Michael Harthorne at Be sure to include your name and information about your photo.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Jalair Box helps daughter Jaya, 6, reach her quarry during the April 4 Easter egg hunt at Ballard Corners Park. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Golden Gardens Playground Public Meeting

At this first meeting, Parks will introduce the designers from HBB Landscape Architects and will present the project, discuss potential locations and layout and begin a dialogue with the public on schematic design.

Golden Gardens Play Area Renovation, identified in the Parks & Green Spaces Levy, provides for the replacement of play equipment, improvement to site circulation and access, and upgrades to meet current safety and Americans with Disabilities Act standards.  read more »


Golden Gardens Bathhouse
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