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:
- 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.)
- 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).
- 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!