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Leschi Parks Status

Updated: May 21, 2022

John Barber, Chair of Parks and Greenspace assessed our parks and the need for maintenance. The following letter was approved by the LCC Board to send to the Parks Department. It is printed here with the response from Parks printed in italics and bold.

1. Repair the Frink Park waterfall and deck. The waterfall has broken down and no longer responds to the original function of this historically important feature of the park boulevard system envisioned by the Olmsted Brothers. John Charles Olmsted designed the waterfall, and the Parks Department followed through almost a hundred years ago with building it by hand labor. The pedestrian deck over the waterfall was installed in 2001 as part of the half-mile trail system provided at community-incentive to encourage equity in enjoyment of the natural area. A large Neighborhood Development Grant was utilized. Trail safety is an element of need for this repair. This work will fall under our MPD Strategy “Restoring Trails and Improving Access to Open Space” depending on funding levels and we will keep in touch with the status.

2. Support development of a landscaping plan of Leschi Park that includes groundcover, shrubs and trees, considers installation of a picnic shelter, and revises path system. A plan to replace the great trees of this park has special urgency because several elms, an English crab apple, a noble fir, and two Garry oaks are among the trees that have perished in the last few years and were not replaced; some of the remaining conifers are now showing signs of stress. Also, there is much interest in constructing a picnic shelter in honor of Steve Shulman who was a long-time supporter of community interests and well known as the Leschi Mart's owner. We need to respond to tree replacements and will get you a schedule. We will have to figure out a way to fund a broader landscape plan and this seems very appropriate for an NMF grant.

3. Complete the construction of the breakwater/public access platform at the South Leschi moorage. The breakwater was fully funded several years ago by City Council. It was the chief promise to the community by the Parks Department as part of the community process of providing the public-private management of the Leschi moorages. We are in for permitting with the ACE (Army Corps of Engineers) and extending our contract with Reid Middleton. I don’t think we will see construction until 2023.

4. Provide vegetation maintenance for the waterfront edge of Leschi Park and of south Madrona Park. Two years ago, a poorly executed machine mowing of the landscaping in Madrona Park between the North Leschi Moorage and the parking lot for Madrona Beach shredded shrubs and ground cover that had been installed ten years earlier by Parks. Also, complaints about the proliferation of weeds along the shore area next to the South Leschi Moorage were ignored. The weeds are getting out of hand. Grounds maintenance is ramping up hiring after being down 80 staff. We will get traction on this work in the summer.

5. Provide adequate maintenance support of the natural area of Frink Park and upper Leschi Park. These areas are losing ground with invasive plant control. The Green Seattle Initiative has withdrawn much of the maintenance resources for controlling invasive growth in Frink Park and upper Leschi Park. The invasives are winning, threatening the past success of two decades of volunteer and Natural Areas Crew work. Please do not let the condition of these natural areas go backwards. I am waiting to hear back from Lisa Ciecko on this question; but I would love to meet you out there sometime!

6. Flo Ware Park is a heavily used Central Area playground which serves a broadly diversified neighborhood. It needs a middle-sized tree to replace the glorious catalpa tree the was destroyed a few years ago by a windstorm. I will work with our urban forestry work group to make this happen w/in a couple of months.

7. Powell Barnett Park, located across MLK Jr. Drive from the Central Area, provides a regional playground with state-of-the-art play equipment and basketball courts with professional quality surfacing. Please continue the use of the wading pond in Powell Barnett Park and keep on schedule with renewing the bark in the playground and surfacing of the professional quality surface of the basketball courts. We keep a watchful eye on this facility. The wading program at Powell Barnett will resume this year on 6/25.

Letter by John Barber and responses by Andy Sheffer, Parks


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