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Parks Updates for the Past Year

Leschi Natural Area

We are pleased to report that the Leschi Natural Area (LNA) has made considerable progress this year. We’ve especially benefited from the help of a group of a dozen or more UW international students, who often join us at our regular 1st Saturday of the month work parties. Additionally, park steward Rich Appleton’s almost daily visits have provided a tremendous boost forward in the park’s improvement.

Sadly, we were unsuccessful in our grant submission to Patagonia this year, but they have encouraged us to apply again for next October’s decision. In the meantime, we will begin another fund raising project within the Leschi neighborhood in early 2016.

Work completed this year includes mulching of both the upper and lower areas of the park, clean-up and trimming of many overgrown trees and bushes and planting of more than 200 native plants. These plants are provided by the Parks Department and Forterra, the state’s largest land conservation, stewardship, and community-building organization and without their help we could not afford them.

A major change this year was the removal of the residential structure in the property formerly located between two LNA green spaces. We now have a fully contiguous, larger area of open space. Still to be done is the removal of the cement walkway and other architectural features from the residence. We have been in contact with the Parks Department regarding this matter and they have provided us with the following information:

Seattle Parks and Recreation will complete the demolition work at 319 36th Avenue in late February to mid-March, after the heavy winter rains decrease. This work will be completed by the Seattle Conservation Corps. The scope of work includes removal of the remaining hardscape walkways, the paver terrace, the graffiti, the water fountain as well as the concrete wall at the SE corner of the property. Erosion control measures will also be installed along these disturbed areas, consisting of grass seed and jute matting. Fencing will remain in its current location with Parks property and plant restoration signage. Restoration planting will occur in the fall of 2016 and the fences will remain to aid plant establishment. For additional information or questions please contact Katie Bang at 206-684-9286 or at Parks will hold a community meeting on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the park site at 10:00am for individuals interested in attending.

Regrettably, vandalism remains an on-going issue in our park, with graffiti, drugs, and the breaking and burning of fence posts. We remind all those using this beautiful area to report acts of vandalism or other illegal activities immediately to the police. They will respond to calls made to 911 as quickly as possible, and have made it a practice to drive by frequently for walk-throughs as time allows. We are hopeful that the removal of the walkway and restoration of native plants will deter some of this activity but we need your help to prevent it and to maintain this open space for all to enjoy.

While working in and enjoying the LNA, we have spoken to several people who noted that they used to come to this park regularly, but have stopped doing so because of the groups ‘hanging out, smoking marijuana or using drugs.’ These issues need to be addressed by everyone - the small dedicated group of volunteers trying to maintain this space cannot do it alone. It is a task that we all need to participate in to keep this unique space - please do your part if you enjoy this area as much as we do. If you witness activities that are harmful to the area (trash thrown on the ground, standing/sitting on the fences, etc.) please remind the individuals that a very small group of volunteers spends countless hours maintaining the property for everyone to enjoy, and littering or vandalizing will only result in its deterioration. Alternatively, please call the police to describe the issue, the people, cars and license plates involved. We appreciate your involvement and active support in maintaining this area.

~Friends of the Leschi Natural Area Steering Committee

Leschi Park

We tend to think of Leschi Park as a stately turn-of-the-last-century park, designed for a quiet stroll, and we don’t expect much in the way of change…some gentle pruning and the weeding of flowerbeds.

(Damage from bicycles in Leschi Park)

Unfortunately, the changes being seen in Leschi Park are changes we would rather not see. Leschi resident Carlos Arriola reported the following on Saturday morning 12/19, 10:00am: A group of 10-12 “mountain bikers” tore up the grass/sod in Leschi Park. Carlos reported that a course had been laid out ON the wet grass. He deplored the “poor judgement and inconsiderate actions.” Your editor leans toward the view that this was a deliberately aggressive act as the mountain bikers try to expand their turf. Leschi Park is not a park that is conducive to this type of activity. As Carlos points out: “Bicycles are prohibited on lawns and field areas of park. Please stick to roadways and marked trails and paths.”

Carlos also reported that a group of folks with metal detectors periodically walk over the grassy areas and dig at a spot where the metal detector indicates something metal might be lurking. Unfortunately, the person wielding the metal detector doesn’t bother to replace the turned over sod, leaving the park looking like it has been attacked by giant gophers.

All this and the unleashed (big) dogs deplored by John Barber are wreaking havoc on a lovely Olmstead-created park.

~Carlos Arriola and Diane Snell

Frink Park

The Friends of Frink Park are about halfway through a $45,000 King Conservation District (KCD) Grant down in the heart of the Park. We are restoring and enhancing the Park’s largest wetland and its buffers just above Lake Washington Blvd. The benefits of wetlands include: water purification, groundwater recharge and stream flow maintenance/protection. Wetlands also provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including threatened species.

Take a look just past the Bridge on the west side of the Boulevard. We have about 1,250 plants installed and more are on their way! If you would enjoy getting out for some planting, just us give a call.

~Darrell Howe & Darcy Thompson

Powell Barnett Park

You may have noticed the chain link fencing blocking off a portion of the center of the park; this is intended to be the area for installation of the adult exercise equipment. A successful grant was submitted by The Trust for Public Land. The intention is that parents/caregivers can exercise while keeping their eyes on their children in the playground. John Barber did a lot of the original marketing and found a receptive group of park users. The installation has been somewhat delayed; we had been hoping for a September kickoff, but it now seems to be a reality.

~Diane Snell

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