Thanks to Gill for sharing photos of Saturday’s volunteer cleanup at North Shorewood Park. Half a dozen dedicated volunteers made progress:
They’re hoping for even more help when they do it again in July – watch for official announcements!
Thanks to Gill for sharing photos of Saturday’s volunteer cleanup at North Shorewood Park. Half a dozen dedicated volunteers made progress:
They’re hoping for even more help when they do it again in July – watch for official announcements!
As reported here last week, this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting included some graphic descriptions of what county workers have found, and cleaned up, at illegal encampment sites in White Center’s “bog” area. We followed up with senior engineer Ken Gresset, who spoke at the NHUAC meeting, to ask if he had photos illustrating what he had described, and he did. Above, the entrance to the one-person underground “bunker” they found. Next, two more general photos from campsites:
Gresset explained at the NHUAC meeting that safety concerns require King County Sheriff’s Office assistance for most work in these areas – not because of the campers, but because of criminals who tend to hide in the same areas:
He also mentioned addicts’ use of these areas and the discovery of piles of used hypodermic needles and syringes. No photos available of those, though.
(The Steve Cox Park piano – photo courtesy Pianos in the Parks)
If you weren’t already planning to spend part of your summer at county parks – a public/private-partnership plan announced today involving King County and Seattle public parks is meant to give you a reason to visit. It’s called Pianos in the Parks, and it’s placed 20 donated and decorated pianos in 20 King County and Seattle parks, for the next month. The parks, listed here, include Steve Cox Memorial Park here in White Center. Since it’s a sizable park, we asked a Pianos in the Parks spokesperson where to find it. She replied, “The Steve Cox piano is roughly in the middle of the park by the picnic huts and the playground.” (Above, that’s the Steve Cox Memorial Park piano, decorated by artist Camille Coonrod, before it was placed in the park.) Yes, the pianos are playable; you can even record yourself playing one and enter a contest. The pianos also are being auctioned off; you can bid on any or all of them online by clicking any individual park photo here to see its piano.
Spring is here, and that means it’s time to dig in. Mara Bernard, White Center Food Bank garden coordinator, has a message to share:
Just wanting to get the word out again for this year, that community garden beds are available in White Center Heights Park. Anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. Signup ends April 9th.
P.S. Check out the White Center Giving Garden Facebook page!
Katy Terry, deputy director of King County Parks, came to North Shorewood Park on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the official grand opening of its brand-new play area. The celebration was part of King County Parks’ 75th birthday, so of course there was cake:
The play-area project cost about $117,000, with the money coming from a Community Development Block Grant and county parks-levy money.
What? You don’t know where North Shorewood Park is? 24th SW and SW 102nd.
We first heard about it from tipster Gill (who also shared the photo), while the work was under way – and now, not only is the North Shorewood Park play area open, there’s a dedication event planned tomorrow:
Everyone is invited to join King County Parks in celebrating the grand opening of a new play area at North Shorewood Park on Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 5-7 p.m., with the official program commencing at 5:30 p.m. The park is located at 24th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 102nd Street in White Center.
The new playground equipment replaces outdated equipment that had reached the end of its lifecycle, and features a slide and other interactive elements for children aged 3 – 12 years old. The $117,000 project was funded by a grant from the Community Development Block Grant program and by the 2007-2013 Open Space and Trails Levy.
Just one last reminder – 2-5 pm today, with a program at 3:30 pm, you can help celebrate the 75th anniversary of King County Parks with a party at the historic fieldhouse at Steve Cox Memorial Park – here’s our original report on the announcement.
Just out of the WCN inbox, from King County Parks:
As part of its ongoing 75th anniversary commemoration, King County Parks celebrates the historic White Center Fieldhouse with a community gathering on Saturday, Sept. 14, featuring games, activities, performances, memories and a special anniversary cake.
“The White Center Fieldhouse, and its home, Steve Cox Memorial Park, have long held an important place in the community,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It is only fitting that we recognize and honor their enduring legacy as the final event of our 75th anniversary celebration.”
King County Parks hosts this free family-friendly celebration at the fieldhouse, at 1321 SW 102nd St. in White Center, from 2-5 p.m., with the official program getting under way at 3:30 p.m.
In addition to highlighting the unique histories of the building and park, the celebration will feature games, arts and crafts, cake and performances by special guests.
The fieldhouse, which is also known as the White Center Community Center, or the Log Cabin, was constructed between 1938 to 1940 and is one of the five original Works Progress Administration fieldhouses in King County.
Designed in the National Park Service “rustic style,” the fieldhouse features gabled wood shingle roofs, large covered porches with oversized log support posts, stone fireplaces, and half-log sliding. The building is a designated King County Landmark.
Community members are encouraged to share their memories of the White Center Fieldhouse with others by participating in the virtual scrapbook and video that King County Parks will assemble and make available to the public.
During the Sept. 14 event, King County Parks staff will record short video clips of any attendees who wish to share their memories of the fieldhouse. People can also share their photos and memories via e-mail by contacting Frana Milan, at email@example.com.
In 2013, King County Parks has been celebrating its 75th anniversary with special events held throughout the county, including a volunteer “work and party day” at Tolt-MacDonald Park, backcountry trails celebrations at nine sites, a “King County Parks Day” proclamation by the King County Council, and the launch of the King County Parks Foundation in partnership with Laird Norton Wealth Management.
For more information on King County Parks’ 75th anniversary, visit kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/about/75th_anniversary.aspx.
The King County Parks levy that was on yesterday’s ballot is passing with 67 percent approval and is expected to retain a victory margin throughout the vote count. So County Executive Dow Constantine has issued an official thank-you to voters:
“Thank you to the voters of King County for supporting our parks.
“King County voters have spoken clearly: We value our incredible system of 200 parks, hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, thousands of acres of open space, and such regional gems as Marymoor Park and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
“That’s why this levy is so important. It provides more than 70 percent of the funding to keep these parks open and accessible to all.
“And what better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of King County Parks, which operates, maintains, and enhances this legacy of fields, trails, and green spaces for the two million people of King County.
“I want to thank all the members of the Parks Levy Task Force, who volunteered countless hours of their time to protect our high quality of life here in King County. And a special thanks to all those who work for King County Parks – you do a tremendous job keeping our parks green and vibrant.
“This is a great day for our parks, for the people of King County, and for the future of this region. Thank you.”
Another Night Out event in White Center – and this one is early, so you can still go to the downtown block party, too! Here’s the official announcement:
The Annual King County Parks Night Out Against Crime Picnic is coming up on Tuesday, August 6th from 5-7pm at Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd 98146.) The White Center Teen Program has participated in the National Night Out event for over a decade and is thrilled to invite families back to the park in 2013. In addition to the traditional Night Out crafts, games and hotdogs, the Teen Program will also be offering tours of their new demonstration garden at the Southeast corner of the park. The garden tours are especially fitting for Night Out, as the new garden was installed in the Spring of 2013 in an attempt to replace an ongoing safety concern in the park with a new, improved amenity.
In recent times, the original picnic shelter at Steve Cox Memorial Park has posed challenges for public safety and ongoing maintenance. The remote location of the shelter provided privacy for picnic goers, but it also allowed for general misuse and mistreatment of the space. King County Parks just completed construction on a more centrally located picnic shelter next to the children’s playland, and the question was raised as to what to do with the existing structure. In lieu of tearing down a beloved amenity made possible by local community groups like the WC Lions , The White Center Teen Program proposed upcycling the space and structure into a demonstration garden and greenhouse. The original shelter was converted by the County Crafts Crew in the spring of 2013, and the teens have been volunteering to build the beds, plant the crops, and maintain the garden ever since.
This year’s picnic is once again sponsored by the teens and staff of the White Center Teen Program. The WCTP offers free recreational, educational and social enrichment programming to over 800 culturally diverse participants ages 12-19 each year. The program operates five days a week, forty-eight weeks a year and provides structured recreational classes and programs, homework assistance, educational and computer resources, leadership training, volunteer opportunities, special events, field trips, and drop-in activities. Teens and staff will be providing garden themed crafts, games and snacks along with garden tours between 5-7pm on the evening of the 6th.
For additional Information, please contact Darlene Sellers, Recreation Coordinator at 206.296.2952
12:28 PM: Thanks to Gill for sharing photos of what’s happening this week at North Shorewood Park – new playground equipment! The installation came shortly after the removal of the old equipment:
We’re checking with King County Parks and will add whatever more we find out.
2:12 PM UPDATE: KC Parks spokesperson Doug Williams tells WCN: “This is a Community Development Block Grant project, officially named the North Shorewood Park Rehabilitation project, in the amount of $117,000. Completion is expected in about mid-August.”
The Technology Access Foundation‘s facility in Lakewood Park is one example of the kind of partnerships the county is trying to embrace and increase, and so a special event last night honored TAF and other partners. Here’s the official news release:
Dozens of past Community Partnerships and Grants recipients joined King County Parks this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the innovative program aimed at creating new or enhanced public recreation facilities.
Community partners representing a variety of King County user groups, sports associations, recreation clubs and other non-profit organizations gathered together Thursday, June 20, for a special recognition dinner to reflect on the achievements of their partnerships with King County Parks that resulted in new or better facilities such as mountain bike trails, a birdloop trail, community meadows, a boathouse, and turf sports fields.
“Getting behind Community Partnership Grants and embracing the passion and energy of our community partners makes sense for the County,” said King County Councilmember Larry Phillips. “The results speak for themselves: In the past decade, more than 50 community based projects have been completed with a public investment of over 14 million dollars that was amazingly matched by over $40 million dollars in private funding.”
In 2003, the CPG Program was established as a public/private partnership initiative to empower community-based organizations to develop public recreation facilities and run programs on King County land, which would not be possible with Parks current funding.
King County contributes use of land and capital improvement grants for successful partnership proposals. Community partners contribute the necessary additional capital and in-kind resources to develop the new or enhanced facility, as well as operations, maintenance, and programming, which is typically accomplished through volunteers and/or revenue-based programs or other resources.
Popular outcomes of the CPG Program include the active Duthie Hill Park, a partnership with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance that brought more than 20,000 hours of volunteer labor to build the impressive network of mountain biking trails; the recently completed lacrosse turf field at Big Finn Hill Park in partnership with Kirkland Lacrosse; and the Technology Access Foundation’s Bethady Community Learning Space at Lakewood Park, a beneficial resource to thousands of students with learning labs and an accessible community room that was the fitting venue to host the CPG Program recognition dinner.
“I am honored to be here with you tonight to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the CPG program and to recognize and celebrate you and your organizations, as representatives of the thousands of park users and volunteers,” said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. “The CPG program is unique and innovative and being here tonight at TAF’s Bethaday Community Learning Space – a building that embodies the CPG program. It is a testament to the hard work, energy and passion that each of you bring to the Community Partnerships and Grants Program.”
As each group stepped forward to accept their partnership recognition awards presented by Kevin Brown, director of King County Parks, a series of photos in the background displayed images of shovels breaking ground, hard hats in construction zones, ribbon cuttings and many smiles across the faces of people of all ages; all in part to their vision, passion and commitment to the greater community.
Learn more about the Community Partnerships and Grants Program: http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/partners/cpg.aspx
Receiving partnership recognition awards Thursday night were:
· Discovering Open Spaces
· Eastside Audubon Society
· Eastside Football Club
· Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
· Friends of Cedar River Watershed
· Friends of Dockton Park
· Friends of Maury Island Marine Park
· Hollywood Hill Saddle Club
· Issaquah Little League
· Kent Youth Soccer Association
· Kirkland Lacrosse
· Marymoor Velodrome Association
· Middle Green River Coalition
· Mirrormont Community Association
· Northwest Paragliding Club
· Preston Community Club
· Ravensdale Park Foundation
· Redmond North Little League
· Sammamish Rowing Association
· Seattle Preparatory School
· Technology Access Foundation
· Vashon Forest Stewards
We had a great time. The weather was perfect for working. Cleaned out around trees planted last year, added a few more and barked them to help keep down the weeds.
Cleared out along the trails and picked up trash. Several kids from the neighborhood showed up to use the basketball hoop and found it “busy” with a truck parked under it.
A wonderful thing happened – they volunteered to help, pulled on some Seattle Works tees and dug right in. According to Mark from KC Parks, they wanted to know if they could come back (Sunday) and help some more! Nope, just a one-day event.
Recently, we were among those CC’d on a letter from Friends of Hicklin Lake to the King County Parks Department. The letter voiced numerous concerns about the park, particularly regarding its use for disc golf. Christie True, who leads Natural Resources and Parks, has responded to the same mailing list with inline answers to concerns voiced by the citizens’ group (which are in bold, inbetween her answers):
Thank you for your e-mail sharing your concerns about the use of King County’s Lakewood Park and Hicklin Lake by the disc golf community. As you mention, Lakewood Park is a public park and is open to all users for both passive and active recreational activities.
As a general overview of Lakewood Parks and its may features and uses, you may know that it is unique in that it is the home of the only disc golf course (established in 1989) in the King County park system. In addition to the public disc golf course, Lakewood Park has three picnic shelters, a playground area, restrooms, walking path around Hicklin Lake and is the new home of the Technology Access Foundation Learning Center (TAF).
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions. Many of the community events are not charged for the use of the park. The new concession at Lakewood Park sells disc golf equipment as well as snacks and beverages and is open to the public. The Parks and Recreation Division (Parks) receives revenue each month from the new concessionaire and also receives revenue from user fees for picnics and other activities.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to each of your concerns which I have provided below:
Is politics controlling reality in our local park? That seems to be evident, where one group of players is allowed to take over a public park for their benefit. Their web site notes “every nook and cranny of the park” has been utilized.
From our observations we find the following:
This King County public park is Lakewood Park/Hicklin Lake, located in the heart of White Center, and has been turned into a single sport arena, remaining a “park” in name only.
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions throughout the year.
The disc golf community has given countless hours to volunteer projects over the years. In addition, they work with the local school district offering disc golf classes to the middle and high school students.
King County personnel defend, with lame embarrassing excuses, both of the illegal activities which occur in connection with this sport and the environmental damage to the park landscape.
Many of the illegal activities that occur at the park cannot be resolved by Parks alone as we do not have legal enforcement authority and must rely on other King County agencies, such as the King County Sheriff and Animal Control, to enforce King County regulations.
The exchange continues ahead – again, what’s in bold is what was voiced by Friends of Hicklin Lake: Read the rest of this entry »
In this afternoon’s bright late-summer sunshine, a small group of dignitaries and community members gathered to celebrate the renovated Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts. (Added: Video of the entire event)
The work’s been finished for a while, but there was no point in hurrying the party, which had been three years in the making. The project depended in large part on a federal Community Development Block Grant, and while that was obtained in 2010, county parks boss Kevin Brown explained, federal stimulus-related projects took precedence, so this didn’t get done for a while. But this afternoon, as he presided over a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, that was all a distant memory:
Among other attributes, the courts are unique as a lighted public place to play tennis in White Center.
If you’re with a company that specializes in getting people ready for the outdoors – what better way to spend your volunteering time, than to be, well, outdoors? North Shorewood Park got an infusion of attention on Thursday when REI volunteers dug in:
If you’re feeling like helping out, REI’s website even has a feature you can use to find someplace to volunteer. Thanks to Gill for the tip about Thursday’s work party – and for sharing this bonus group shot:
Side note: North Shorewood Park, which is at 24th and 102nd, is one of those that King County would turn over to the City of Burien if annexation wins the November vote and is finalized next year.
(Photos by WCN’s Patrick Sand)
Notice people in bright-green shirts around White Center at midday today? Those were the Starbucks workers whose second annual Month of Service volunteerism brought them today to Mount View Elementary, Lakewood Park, and White Center Heights Park (the latter is where we caught up with them).
The White Center work was in conjunction with SeattleWorks.
According to the announcement we received in advance, on behalf of Starbucks, the company has a lofty April volunteerism goal: “This year we’re aiming to beat 200,000 community-service hours – that’s the equivalent of nearly 100 people working 9-5 for a year!”
If White Center becomes part of Burien, its parks will become tobacco-free. In the meantime, they’re not, but a King County proposal might change that. Announced by the county:
King County would join a growing list of local parks, hospitals and schools with policies for tobacco-free areas under a proposed ordinance sent today to the King County Council to prohibit tobacco use in the busiest areas of the County’s expansive parks system.
“When people come to a public park, they expect to breathe fresh air – not someone else’s cigarettes,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, citing a survey of county residents in which more than 70 percent said they support smoke-free public places, including parks.
The proposed ordinance would mean visitors to County parks could no longer use tobacco in heavily-used park areas such as children’s playgrounds, athletic fields, picnic shelters and trailheads.
Compliance would be voluntary, much like for littering, failure to keep a dog on a leash, or alcohol use in a park; enforcement would occur only when problems are reported. A federal grant will pay for signs denoting tobacco-free areas.
“Our residents want healthy, tobacco-free parks,” said King County Councilmember and King County Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott. “Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and illness in King County, and this ordinance would further expand our smoke-free spaces so children and families can be safe from second-hand smoke.”
Council adoption of the ordinance would align King County with 11 local governments representing more than 1 million residents that have already adopted rules prohibiting or limiting tobacco use in parks. They include Auburn, Black Diamond, Bothell, Burien, Covington, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and the Vashon Park District. In Washington state, more than 45 cities in 15 counties have smoke-free parks policies, including Tacoma Metro Parks in Pierce County, and Marysville and Lake Stevens in Snohomish County.
A universal “tobacco-free parks” sign has been created for jurisdictions to post in their parks. Each jurisdiction that has adopted or plans to adopt a tobacco- or smoke-free policy will have the opportunity to post this sign as part of the regional partnership for tobacco-free parks. Tobacco-free efforts by local cities and King County are supported by Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a federal grant to address obesity and tobacco use.
Tobacco-free parks are part of a broad movement to create healthy and smoke-free areas, especially for kids and the most vulnerable. In recent months many hospitals, housing providers, and mental health and chemical dependency centers have also gone smoke-free.
In King County alone, tobacco causes almost 2,000 premature deaths and costs over $340 million in medical expenses and lost wages each year. In addition to the health effects, cigarette butts can account for up to 70 percent of litter in public places. Cigarette butts can take up to 15 years to decompose, leaching chemicals into the soil and posing harm to small children and pets if ingested.
“The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” said Carrie Nyssen, Regional Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “Even brief exposure to second-hand smoke can cause an asthma attack in a child, or increase risk of blot clots in healthy adults.”
Nationally, almost 600 jurisdictions have enacted laws that prohibit tobacco use in parks and on beaches, including New York City and Los Angeles County. Among the support from local cities:
· City of Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis: “The City of Auburn is committed to creating a healthy community. The Tobacco-free Park Policy is intended to assist recreational organizations and parents in their efforts to recreate in a tobacco-free environment. It is important that we recognize the effects of first and second-hand smoke and discourage tobacco usage at places where youth are gathered and healthy lifestyle activities are available.”
· City of Black Diamond Mayor Rebecca Olness: “Black Diamond has parks and open spaces that provide healthy recreational opportunities to its citizens. To ensure that these places continue to provide these benefits, limiting smoking makes sense and adds to the healthy experience. Our residents deserve parks where they can exercise and enjoy the natural environment smoke free.”
· City of Burien Mayor Brian Bennett: “We’re proud to have joined other cities in King County in declaring our parks smoke-free. This policy benefits the entire community and is in line with the City’s vision of promoting a healthy environment for people of all ages.”
· City of Covington Mayor Margaret Harto: “Covington established its tobacco-free park ordinance in 2002 because we knew that choosing to be tobacco-free in our parks meant choosing to provide a better quality of life for our citizens. We are proud to join King County’s initiative to bring light to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke in our public places.”
· City of Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson: “We believe parks should remain spaces that are focused on health. Having places where kids can go and exercise and enjoy the fresh air is what parks are all about.”
· City of Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan: “The City of Shoreline has made a commitment to being a Healthy City and has developed a Healthy City Strategy to make it a reality. Part of that effort is to make our parks tobacco-free. The Council is currently studying the issue and so far the community has been very supportive of the idea.”
The King County Parks system is comprised of roughly 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, 180 miles of backcountry trails, and more than 26,000 acres of open space.
For more information on CPPW, please visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/cppw and the campaign Let’s Do This that encourages residents to get involved in improving the health of their communities.
(Photo by Patrick Sand for WCN)
One more reminder – 4 pm today, the community, and especially veterans, are invited to the re-dedication of the White Center Triangle Veterans’ Park at the south end of Delridge. A new flag and plaque will be highlighted. If you are a veteran and are able to wear at least part of your uniform, organizers have made that request. Here’s the detailed invitation we published here last weekend.
WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz sent that photo with news that the tennis courts at Steve Cox Memorial Park are dug up, as work starts on a renovation project. She checked with Darlene Sellers from King County Parks, who tells WCN it’s a two-phase project:
Phase I of the project began on Monday, September 12th and is expected to run 45 days, until around October 31st. At that time the courts will be temporarily lined, and should be playable again in early November. Phase II is scheduled to begin in May and should last for about three weeks.
The money is from a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant (process explained here) obtained in 2009.