Parks/Open Space/Trails

The fresh-water stream that feeds into Puget Sound at Golden Gardens contains fecal coliform at levels that could be harmful to humans, according to test results released by the Seattle chapter of Surfrider Foundation.

Surfrider Foundation is an international nonprofit focused on the health of oceans and beaches. According to Surfrider, bimonthly testing of the creek yielded levels of fecal coliform that are about four times the level deemed tolerable by Washington state regulations.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fecal coliform is not usually harmful itself, but it can indicate the presence of harmful pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Swimming and eating shellfish from an area with high levels of fecal coliform may pose a health risk, according to the agency.

Abby McCarthy, task coordinator for Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force, which conducted the tests, people can get various diseseases, such as E. coli and Giardia, from water with high levels of fecal coliform.

"You can get all kinds of sick," McCarthy said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

A child plays near the Golden Gardens creek where it empties into Puget Sound. According to recent test results, the creek may contain harmful levels of fecal coliform.

Final feasibility study coming soon

The solar-generating park that could one day stand at the site of the former Sunset Hill substation will include 189 solar panels generating enough electricity for 3.2 homes per year as well as a garden, fountain, community plaza, play area and more.

Two months after the last community meeting, CAST Architecture released the final design for the potential park at 32nd Avenue Northwest and Northwest 65th Street behind Ristorante Picolinos.

The new design features some significant changes from previous iterations, most notably in the solar panel array.

The new array will generate 35,000 kilowatt hours per year, a 17 percent increase over any of the previous designs. The array is now independent of the park's landscape to open up views into and out of the park and prevent the panels from being shaded by neighboring apartment buildings.

A landscaped wedge in the northeast corner of the site will slope up in that direction. There will be a shade garden and green roof on the wedge with stairs leading to an observation platform.

Final Design 1.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of CAST Architecture

The final look for the potential park at the former Sunset Hill substation site was unveiled this month. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE DESIGNS.

After months of public input the design is ready

Seattle Parks and Recreation and Site Workshops will present the preferred schematic design of the West Seattle Reservoir Park project at Westcrest Saturday, June 26, 2010 at the Southwest Community Center, 2801 Thistle Street S.W. David Boyer, the artist retained to create the park sculptures will also be on hand to present his design concepts. His work was initially presented at a meeting last month and covered by the Herald here.

Over the last year the community has participated in the design process for this new park space and Parks is encouraging people to come to this meeting, see the design and provide final input. Project Manager Susanne Friedman said, "This is the final schematic. From here we go into Design Development."

The West Seattle Reservoir is located at 9000 8th Ave SW. This park project is funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2008.

For more information or if you require special accommodations:


After a large public outcry, the Ballard Community Center and the Loyal Heights Community Center, as well as the rest of the city's community centers, will remain open, at least for the rest of 2010.

"We heard very clearly, as you all did, that Parks' services are highly valued by community members," Beth Goldberg, acting director of the City Budget Office, said during a June 14 Seattle City Council briefing on the mid-year budget.

The closures would have gone into effect around July 1.

Seattle is facing an $11.7 million midyear shortfall in the General Fund, and in late April, outgoing Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher told KING-5 TV that either the Ballard Community Center or the Loyal Heights Community Center would likely be closed due to their proximity.

The announcement prompted Ballard resident Mindy Terence to form the group Save Ballard's Community Centers and start a petition and postcard campaign to keep both community centers open.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Ballard resident Mindy Terence stumps for the neighborhood's community centers in May at Ballard Commons Park. The city announced June 14 that no community centers will be closed in 2010.

The iconic salmon slide in the Carkeek Park playground is showing wear and tear after years of use and will undergo repairs from June 21 through June 29.

The slide is useable, but the inside is pitted and bumpy, and the outside is faded in many places.

Tom Jay, the sculptor who installed the functional art piece almost 12 years ago, will be in the park to repair the inside of the slide to uniform smoothness and the outside to its original Chum salmon colors.

Cold or stormy weather may cause delays. Workers will install a fence to protect the restoration work while it is in progress.

This work is made possible thanks to a private donor and the assistance of the Carkeek Park Advisory Council and the Associated Recreation Council.


Due to some last minute fabrication hitches, the dedication of a sculpture at the Salmon Bay Natural Area has been postponed fron June 12 to July 17.

The statue, a welcome figure, is being created by Marvin Oliver, a renowned artist of Quinault heritage, and will help remind viewers of the stories, history and creativity inherent in local indigenous cultures.

Commissioned in partnership with Groundswell NW and the City of Seattle, the welcome figure will serve to identify Salmon Bay Natural Area while offering an aesthetic reminder to protect vulnerable watersheds, according to a Groundswell NW press release.

An aluminum and glass disc depicting the salmon life cycle is oriented to face upstream, giving thanks to the salmon as they migrate out to sea and creating a visual connection to the waterway with color and light, according to the press release.

The dedication ceremony on July 17 will feature Duwamish tribal leader Cecile Hanson to honor the unique artistry of the Salish people and people's connection with the landscape.

Salmon Bay Statue.JPG
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

A 17-foot-tall welcome figure, seen here in plans revealed at a Ballard District Council meeting in June 2009, will be unveiled July 17, pushed back from June 12, at the Salmon Bay Natural Area.

Seattle Parks and Recreation removed the parcourse from the southwest corner of Salmon Bay Park because both the posts and boards of the exercise stations were rotting.

Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter said a Parks crew deemed the parcourse a safety issue.

She said the exercise course will be replaced but was unable to give a timeline.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Seattle Parks and Recreation removed the Salmon Bay Park parcourse because rot had turned it into a safety risk.

Friends of Ballard Corners Park is hosting a work party on June 5 at the new park at the corner of Northwest 63rd Street and 17th Avenue Northwest.

"Ballard Corners Park is looking great these days," said David Folweiler of Friends of Ballard Corners Park. "Things are growing like crazy and Gabriella [Moller], our community gardener, needs your help."

He said he and Moller really want neighbors' help, even if they can only drop by for an hour.

Work starts at 9 a.m. and includes weeding and spreading wood chip mulch. Seattle Parks and Recreation will be delivering a pile of wood chips prior to the work party.

"There will be a lot to do, and many hands make light work," Moller said.

Some tools will be provided, but residents that can are encouraged to bring gloves, weeding tools, pitchforks, wheelbarrows and buckets/containers for collecting weeds and trash.

For more information, contact Gabriella Moller at 206.782.3238 or

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Friends of Ballard Corners Park are hosting a work party June 5 to weed and spread mulch at the neighborhood's newest park.

By Cornel Chin

Celebrity fitness trainer Cornel Chin has trained a number of Hollywood stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Audrey Tautou, and Colin Firth. These are his suggestions for getting a Hollywood-quality workout without leaving the parks and beaches of Ballard.

Golden Gardens

If you’re fortunate enough to live near Golden Gardens, it is a great place to go to relax but also a great place to do your workout. There are countless activities you can do at the beach that will provide you with health benefits, though they won't seem like exercise at all.

Enjoy the sounds of the ocean waves breaking, take in the fresh sea breeze and feel the sand massage your feet as you get into these exercises that are suitable for your next visit to the beach. The sand and surf offers plenty of options for a great workout. Try out these ideas the next time you hit the beach.

Most of these exercise do not require any equipment, or can be modified to increase resistance using buckets or jugs, and filling them up with sand to make some dumbbells.

Take a dip.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Celebrity fitness trainer Cornel Chin gives advice on how to turn Ballard Commons and other neighborhood parks into fitness centers for star-quality workouts.

Two vacant lots sit adjacent to Greenwood Park along Fremont Avenue North. Several years ago, when the plots were purchased by the city, the Vision Greenwood Park steering committee thought this unused space could be put to better use by annexing them into their neighborhood park.

Now, plans for the expansion of Greenwood Park are almost in their final stages. During a May 26 open house, landscape architecture firm Site Workshop presented their conceptual designs and solicited comments from a handful of Greenwood residents.

Steering committee chair Mike Stringer said he was looking forward to a multi-use park. As it is now, Greenwood Park mostly targets younger children.

“I’m excited about getting more use out of the park, to bring together different generations, to bring the community together and bridge connections," Stringer said.

Two meetings last year gauged what people wanted to see in the park. Many latched onto the idea of a P-Patch, as the waiting lists for others can last years. People wanted more shaded areas, and more features for all-ages use, Stringer said.

Photo credit: 
Rachel Solomon.

Children play on a jungle gym at Greenwood Park. Residents have been pushing to expand and improve the park into two adjacent open lots for several years.

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