September LCC General Meeting: Parks Staff Responded to Questions
The Leschi Community Council invited key staff members of the Parks Department to answer questions at the September 6 General Meeting. The primary issues involved the falling back on landscape maintenance of Leschi Park and the natural area woods, and about the design for the replacement of the Yesler Pier which is next to Bluwater Bistro.
Parks Issues: Jordan Merriam, Manager of the North Division, spoke to why maintenance has fallen behind. He reported that staffing has been reduced due to slow hiring of new staff but does not expect much improvement in adding staff.
Especially lacking is replacement of vegetation. The Parks Department has been clearing out invasive weeds with mechanical equipment taking out the landscape shrubs and ground cover plants along with the weeds. Mr. Merriam recognized Parks’ responsibility but cited lack of resources for the slowness (editorial note: passage of years) of the process.
One area of hope is a new program that allows for hiring and training of gardeners and landscape crews, still in an early stage of evaluation.
Some neighbors have been disappointed by poor responses to the Find It-Fix it app which pertains to reporting graffiti and landscape problems. There is also another option: the Parks Work Order Line—phone 206.684.7250.
Tree replacement is years behind, but scheduled for planting this year are 6 trees for Flo Ware Park, 13 trees for Powell Barnett Park, and 3 for Leschi Park.
Natural Areas Issues: Restoration of the woods of Leschi’s natural areas is apparently stalled along with most of the natural areas of Seattle. There is a re-focusing of the commitment of the 2005 goals of the Green Seattle Partnership to restore the natural areas by 2025, setting back the goals. Lisa Ciecko, Manager of the Ecology Team addressed the concerns, but not only is there lack of staffing to assist volunteer efforts, but also lack of training for new volunteers, and priorities of staff work have shifted away from the Leschi Neighborhood to other areas.
Shoreline Park Issues: Parks is working on re-landscaping the area by the fishing pier that is north of the North Leschi Marina.
Leschi Gateway Project: (Lake Washington Boulevard between Erie Avenue and the historic cable car bridge). A re-landscaping project is underway. Large areas have been cleared, covered with wood chips, and scheduled for new plants this fall. A 3-year maintenance is included in the contract work.
Replacement of the Yesler Pier: The Parks Department will demolish the Yesler Pier and remove the small floating pier next to it. Then, there will be a new “walking pier” constructed to replace it and cover a breakwater. The new walking pier will be substantially narrower than Yesler Pier, but longer—a long ramp down to a 130-feet long, 16 feet wide dock into the Lake that makes a right turn to the South to a 550 feet by 10-feet wide pier for short-term moorage, covering a breakwater. Sai Fang, Capital Projects Coordinator, reported and fielded questions. Currently, there are no good graphical depictions of this, only architectural plans which are found on the web as the “South Leschi Marina Wave Attenuation & Public Access Facility.”
Please call John Barber at 206.954.4458 if you have questions.