April 16th Shulman Memorial Walk-through
Meeting notes and questionnaire results from the walk-through of Leschi Park to discuss the Schulman Memorial (April 16th, 2023)
Overview: On April 16th, 2023, the community had a walk-through of Leschi Park to discuss potential locations and design concepts for the proposed Schulman Memorial. Despite rain, 23 folks attended (LCC members (17), Friends of Steve Schulman (4), and Olmstead Parks (2)). To capture community ideas, attendees were asked after the walk-through to fill out a questionnaire/straw ballot of their preferred options for 1) site location, 2) memorial concept, and 3) comments/concerns. Due to rain, questionnaires were filled out at home (rather than on-site) and emailed to the Leschi Council. 20 of 23 park walk attendees turned in questionnaires; another 5 responses were received from interested community members.
Notes from the Park Walk-Through:
The group toured potential park locations suitable for the Schulman Memorial: 1) Market location (area just south of Leschi Market). This location has a lower flat area adjacent to Lakeside Ave, and an upper hill-side that slopes east toward the lake.
2) Central Park area, Upslope (near the old fountain and circular walk way)
3) Central Park area, Downslope (closer to Lakeside Ave)
4) Waterfront (area east of Lakeside Ave, at north end of South Leschi boat moorage).
5) Tennis court and Swings areas During the walk, the themes of concern that were raised included:
That a covered structure would encourage homeless people to reside there (one person proposed exploring temporary covering options for music events etc)
Maintenance: whether the Parks department would be resourced to maintain any new features or structures (Yousef responded about maintenance being in the total cost)
Parking availability (it was noted that the area was parked up even on a rainy Sunday morning)
Accessibility of bathroom access (someone responded that the existing park restrooms are considered ADA accessible by the Parks Dept)
Important to keep the aesthetics of the park in mind. In particular, if the memorial was a covered structure, it should not obstruct the main sight lines into the park.
Positive themes included:
As people reflected on how Steve contributed to the community and brought folks together, they liked the idea of a memorial that would foster community, helping new folks connect.
The discussion about working with the old fountain area to make it a meeting and gathering place prompted a lot of head nodding throughout the group.
Positive interest in a multi-use structure (gazebo, pavilion). Jim Snell mentioned checking out the pavilion at the Bradner pea patch, at 31st & Massachusetts. A great point was raised about thinking about a more modern take on these structures to complement the park and keep an open feel.
Questionnaire Results: The goal of the questionnaire/straw ballot was to get community ideas and feedback that could be used to guide later work on site and concept design. A total of 25 responses were received: 20 of them from folks who attended the park walk through, and 5 from other community members. While all responses indicated a #1 choice, not all folks selected a #2 or #3 choice.
A few new concepts for the Memorial were:
Scholarships: “establish a scholarship fund for low income Leschi area students to attend summer camps”
Ampitheatre on Hill-side just south of Leschi Market: this design concept was submitted by Randy Spaan and Betty Lock after the park walk.
“a mini-theatre set into the slope in the portion of park that is closest to Leschi Market. This structure would blend unobtrusively into the contours of the land and yet would be highly visible from the public sidewalk. Unlike a pergola or picnic shelter, it could be used and enjoyed by more than just a handful of people at a time. It could be the venue for entertainment, planned or unplanned, or other forms of public interest for a substantial number of people. When not used for events, it would provide seating for park visitors who might want to read a book, have a picnic, or just hang out. Its’ arrangement is conducive to people meeting other people. Being uncovered, it would be unlikely to attract overnight visitors.”
General comments from the questionnaires:
“The best solution and location will be discovered through a collaborative process”. (from the architect who will be doing the design work for the Memorial)
“Keep things simple so maintenance is simple and doable by volunteers with the OK from park stewards”
“Be inclusive. Create activities that make all visitors welcome”
“A gathering place for family/friends will honor Steve and his commitment to community”
Request to “democratize this process with greater outreach to other Leschi residents. While residents throughout Seattle might benefit from a picnic shelter in Leschi Park, it is Leschi residents, especially park neighbors who will bear the adverse effects of a shelter”
“I fully support resurrecting the former fountain as a memorial with seating and plaque. However, if more popular opinion favors a picnic structure, then my vote for the site of said structure would be close to the market”
“If picnic structure is preferred option by the group, I would prefer it be located in the area near Leschi Market (at north end of the flat spot) where the structure could be softened by existing (and new) plantings. This is close to bus stop and walkways and would not obstruct view into park. The covered structure could also be used for events/concerts with seating on the adjacent hillside.”
“Goal of the location and concept should be to integrate into the park and its character. Encourage flexible use that can meet a variety of needs but does not detract from the landscape and quality of the park.”
“Thanks so much for considering the community’s perspective! In my work as a GSP forest steward, I’ve become keenly aware that every Park’s Department parcel has a unique vibe that affects how visitors use the space. I walk through Leschi park frequently, and I’m impressed that, for the most part, this is a quiet, contemplative place for reading, sitting, enjoying nature and the surrounding view of the lake. Therefore, my attraction to a sitting area +/- fountain restoration to support a similar use and feel.”
“I favor rejuvenation of the fountain area, with a circle or semi-circle of benches, and a water feature with no pool. This concept best honors the spirit of “bringing the community together” and allays the fears of a shelter being misused.”
“I think the idea of restoring the historical fountain is a much more appropriate and attractive addition to Leschi Park than a picnic structure. People can picnic anywhere they want in the park already and covered structures are unsightly and a risk for nuisance loitering.”
“What better way to memorialize Steve S than by re-building one of Leschi’s most iconic and historic structures. Not only would a water fountain be a beautiful addition to the park but also provide a lovely place for the entire community to linger, visit and connect, for generations to come. Besides, so much of the site is already there and ready to be brought back to life again. What a lovely way to re-create a meaningful structure of historic value while at the same time also serving as a memorial for Steve Shulman.”