Notes from Maple Leaf Reservoir Development Project Meeting

February 9, 2010

in City of Seattle,Parks

Just returned from tonight’s discussion about the Maple Leaf reservoir park.

A reminder for those who have not been following this development. Thanks to the passage of the parks levy, Seattle Parks and Recreation is planning a new and unique park on the Maple Leaf Reservoir lid. The goal of tonight’s meeting was to gather community input on the elements that are important to the neighborhood and to learn what design elements fit best in this community.

First, check out these attendance photos below (taken with a camera on my phone). Wowee – for such a small neighborhood we sure got a LOT of people to show up (I’m guessing about 130 or so). Our neighborhood really cares (boy did it show).

A few notes we learned up front:

  1. While the Maple Leaf Community Council and Friends for a Greater Maple Leaf Park put together some great concepts already, these were done prior to the start of the city’s process. To be fair to people who weren’t involved in this design stage, the city is starting from scratch — holding a series of these meetings (additional dates TBD) to gather community input. (I wanted to share a note on this from David Miller in the comments:

    One note on the Maple Leaf Community Council’s (MLCC) initial process (point 1 above): We used Parks’ own outreach process, and expanded on it to notify a broader group of people (“broader” as in distance from the park, citywide interest groups, and neighboring community councils). Hundreds of people participated in the process that created the designs shown at on our website (link in your story). We also explicitly invited Parks to participate, but they didn’t have the funding to allocate a staffer.

    We understand Parks has a process, but any implication the process conducted by MLCC’s FGMLP committee was somehow substandard ignores the facts.)

  2. With point number 1 noted, I’d also like to point out that the city said they had these designs on hand and would definitely consider options from them (and someone suggested adding them to the parks Web site).
  3. There are a number of restrictions on weight, balance of weight, height of soil (must be 24″ deep), etc. Berger Partnership — along with the parks department — will determine how viable our proposed options are.

After going over some minor details (most are at the City of Seattle Web site) we broke up into eight small groups to answer the question: “You move away and return to the community in 10 years. How does the park look and function?”

After discussing for an hour, we shared our “top 5″ themes with the larger group. Most focused on the below topics:

  • Sustainable, local food and natural amenities: P-patch, edible fruit trees and bushes, nature areas for wildlife, etc.
  • Dog park: lots of pros and cons raised, but most agreed — if put together properly — this would be a well used part of the park
  • Multi-generational features: tot toys (instead of just for kids above three or so), skate park or other great features for teens, stuff for young adults, and a place for seniors to gather
  • Contemplation spaces: Places in the park where people can relax — a “zen” area
  • Multi-use sports fields: These should be for lacrosse, soccer, football, etc. — the more sports that can play in one location the better. People also acknowledged that they wanted a “neighborhood” sports gathering place — not a destination place that would require fields to be reserved for formal, competitive events.
  • A safe place: Good lighting (but not too bright and low-impact lighting), not too many “outsiders” hanging around, etc.
  • Great walking features: A trail along the outside, easy access for people in the neighborhood, consideration that people have to cross busy Roosevelt to get to it (more crosswalks), etc.
  • Take advantage of the views: There are great vantage points in this park area to view the city and mountains. Incorporate these into the design.
  • Lastly, and perhaps most important, people wanted this park to have elements that identified it as a Maple Leaf park. This might include a grand entrance with Maple Leafs on it, art that really blends into it what it means to live in Maple Leaf.

I’m forgetting a lot — so hopefully others can add to this. The city will also be sharing notes from this meeting on their Web site, so we’ll let you know when that gets done.

It was exciting (and sometimes frustrating) … and it was so great to hear from all of you!

To read more about the Maple Leaf Reservoir Development Project, head over to the City of Seattle Web site, or the Maple Leaf Community Council’s Web site.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David Miller 02.09.10 at 10:32 pm

Thanks for the coverage!

One note on the Maple Leaf Community Council’s (MLCC) initial process (point 1 above): We used Parks’ own outreach process, and expanded on it to notify a broader group of people (“broader” as in distance from the park, citywide interest groups, and neighboring community councils). Hundreds of people participated in the process that created the designs shown at on our website (link in your story). We also explicitly invited Parks to participate, but they didn’t have the funding to allocate a staffer.

We understand Parks has a process, but any implication the process conducted by MLCC’s FGMLP committee was somehow substandard ignores the facts.

The best thing Maple Leafers and others interested in the park can do is continue to participate in the coming meeting.

Susie Rantz 02.10.10 at 9:01 am

David – thanks for the comment! I updated the post to reflect this, as I wasn’t aware (I am much newer to being involved in this neighborhood!).

David Miller 02.10.10 at 10:34 am

Very welcome, Susie!

Jim Grafton 02.12.10 at 3:10 pm

Just a slight clarification: this was actually the second of (I believe) four meetings planned by the Parks Department in their process. The first meeting was in December and had considerably fewer attendees than this week’s meeting.

At that meeeting, there was considerably more opportunity to have more conversational discussions with the Parks folks and the designers. I can assure you that they are all aware of the prior designs that were sponsored by the community association. They perhaps could have done a better job of making folks aware that they are familiar with the earlier design, but overall I commend their process. This week’s meeting could easily have been a contentious meeting fraught with disagreement by people advocating their (surprisingly specific) agendas, and instead they turned it into a session that actually produced meaningful, useful information that the designers will be able to use.

I for one am quite interested to see what the designers come up with.

Susie Rantz 02.12.10 at 3:23 pm

Thanks, Jim — I forgot about that December meeting as was unable to attend. I was a bit worried with how the meeting this week started, but — as you point out — it ended up feeling very productive. And it was amazing how much everyone agreed at the end on the major themes.

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