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Year in Review for Leschi’s Parks & Open Space

This past year, there have been multiple work parties restoring nature and improving trails in Leschi, Frink, the Leschi Natural Area, and Peppi’s Playground —- especially, preserving a wetland area of Frink Park, restoring a former homesite and steep slopes in the Leschi Natural Area, and planting hundreds of new plants and improving the trails of Peppi’s Playground.

The shoreline street ends received some help from the City street landscape crews and year-end volunteer work parties, due to a re-focus of the monthly stairway cleanup project.

Leschi Park is benefitting from a new crushed gravel path that the Parks Department installed to enable handicapped people to access the Park’s comfort station from the parking lot by the tennis courts.

Sadly, we continued to lose trees — some from illegal woodcutting in Frink Park, but also disease claimed a magnificent elm tree that graced the edge of Lakeside Avenue South in Leschi Park. The latter will be replaced by a noble fir tree.

Powell Barnett Park blossomed with the installation of an adult outdoor fitness center and the landscape renovation of the slope along the east edge of the park. The raised crosswalk across Martin Luther King Jr. Way at East Alder Street was painted in the bright colors of Africa.

Flo Ware Park continued to receive special treatment from Park Department gardeners, especially the perennial landscaping on the west edge.

Some people have asked: what did we get out of the recent tax increase for parks (the Metropolitan Park District)? I’ve seen some real but mostly subtle improvements in landscape maintenances, for instance renovating of the landscape above the comfort station in Leschi Park as well as the rebuilt stairway and new trail there. The parks were greener this summer, and are getting to look more well tended. Some parts of parks maintenance are missing the extra help that crew work can provide — notably the trails. At this writing, there is no word about the future of the boat marinas or of filling our wading pools with water this summer.

The proposal by Seattle City Council to legally allow camping in our neighborhood parks is apparently on the shelf, hopefully not to be revived. In many ways, this was a desperate attempt to accommodate homeless families and individuals. But it was deeply flawed, because the idea lacked the essential features of safe, sanitary, easily accessed by public services (social workers, police, fire) locations, and most of all, the concept did not put a roof over their — the homeless — heads.

Readers, please note that the Leschi News provides contact information for the Community Council officers and main volunteers, who invite your comments, input and questions.

~John Barber, Parks and Greenspace Chair

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