Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | February 19, 2009

Design Workshop Update and Myth Busting

I’m a bit tardy in providing an update of the first design workshop. I went out of town one day following the meeting and am just now back.

The Design Workshops

Thanks to all of our supporters who came to the first design workshop on Tuesday, February 3rd. We know there were quite a few you out in the audience. We thank you for attending and for collaborating respectfully with your neighbors about ideas and possible ways to improve California Place Park. I heard lots of wonderful input like seating, native plants, a pea patch, ADA access, tables for chess, a meandering path vs. the straight line sidewalk and many more. I sat at a table with neighbors from the entire spectrum of opinions — we had a very open discussion, everyone listened to each person’s contributions and we found that we agreed on many points! All of these ideas were captured by Karen Kiest and her team and will be integrated into several designs that include different elements for the park, all will be reviewed by the community at the next meeting.

It’s hard not to mention the general tone of the meeting. It was very contentious and many in the crowd were unruly, outspoken and disrespectful. We are aware that some hold the opinion that the park should not change. It’s clear that some of these people are intent on drowning out any kind of constructive discussion with their neighbors about the possibility of making some improvements to this park. Some have gone so far as to spread misinformation about our intentions – I heard many people up in arms about things that are completely false! As well I heard many explain why they chose to sign the petition for no change; many were for reasons that were either groundless exaggerations or completely false.

The Myths that are Circulating and Our Responses

MYTH: The trees will be cut down, harmed, root systems damaged etc.
FACT: FANNA has never advocated for or even discussed the removal of any of the trees in the park. Our ideas are based in preserving and celebrating the natural environment in such a way that everyone may be able to appreciate its beauty through all of the senses.

MYTH: Any change or specifically a change that brings children to the park will attract vagrants, hoodlums, sex offenders or other undesirables.
FACT: FANNA researched the crime statistics for the area through a representative at the SW Precinct and overall the North Admiral area can be characterized as safe place to live, very safe in comparison to most other neighborhoods in the City of Seattle. Officer Benjamin Kinlow of the SW Precinct told us that a close knit and watchful neighborhood deters crime. Generally speaking, when the responsible members of a community rally around a public space and use it more (especially in a low crime area like North Admiral) crime tends to decline in that space. Additionally, FANNA encouraged neighbors in the area around the park to set up a Block Watch. The group met for the first time in November in a meeting led by Officer Kinlow and continues to meet. Please call or email Officer Kinlow (206-684-7724) to learn more about crime trends in our area.

MYTH: A giant, plastic play structure will be erected in this small serene space.
FACT: FANNA has never advocated for or even discussed constructing a plastic play structure in the park. Our ideas center on nature and ideally we’d love to see a natural “playground” a space that pays homage to nature by enticing people of all ages. Click here to read our ideas and goals. We’d like to see a green space that welcomes usage by the community, provides natural barriers for safe usage and is designed to calm and engage its visitors with nature.

MYTH: We will lose our open or green space.
FACT: This is space is very simple, elegant and open. We believe the site should maintain these timeless characteristics while incorporating a more sustainable, natural and playful palette of materials.

MYTH: This will benefit only one member of the community who owns a preschool close by.
FACT: Department of Neighborhoods does not award grants to a single person or household – call or email Stella Chao (206-684-0465) with any questions regarding the parameters for the grant. There are more than 200 people who have signed on to support exploring improvements and who believe these discussions and resulting designs will benefit the entire community. This personal accusation is unwarranted, irrelevant and completely false. FANNA has been inclusive and open about our ideas from the beginning. See the coverage of our public disclosures dating back to early June of 2008 on the West Seattle Blog.

MYTH: The Parks Dept won’t maintain the park.
FACT: FANNA is working closely with the Parks Department through every step of this project. There are meetings scheduled to ensure Parks has an opportunity to provide input to the design process and ensure any new design is aligned with department goals for maintenance and otherwise. Parks will maintain any new design to the same degree that the current park is maintained.

MYTH: We are wasting tax-payer money.
FACT: This matching grant from the Department of Neighborhoods is money that is already in the City budget and would be allocated to another group in another neighborhood like Magnolia, Columbia City or Wallingford if not spent by the Admiral Neighborhood. Why shouldn’t our neighborhood benefit from a great city sponsored program? Please remember these funds are for design only – additional funds will need to be raised for construction of any changes. Construction funds would come from either City funds—already allocated for community development– and from donations from foundations, community members, businesses or other non-profits.

If you signed the petition for “No Change to Park” for one of these or other reasons that you now question or know of someone who did, please call or email your concerns to Tim Gallagher, Superintendent Seattle Parks and Recreation (206-684-8022) and Stella Chao, Director of Department of Neighborhoods (206-684-0465) and send us an email with your experience.

A Quick Refresher

Karen Kiest is the Landscape Architect hired by Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA) using the money awarded through a small and simple grant from the Department of Neighborhoods. This is a matching grant and community members must volunteer their time and participation before any funds are spent. Note — we have already exceeded our minimal requirements of matching hours. FANNA applied for this grant to bring the community together to collaborate and create a new design for California Place Park. FANNA has been and will continue to work closely with the Parks Department (as the land owner) through every step of this process. This project wraps up once we have a new design and cost estimate for construction; grant guidelines stipulate that the project must be completed within 6 months. Any next steps taken would include fund raising and then construction.

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | February 3, 2009

Meeting Reminder, Tonight Alki Community Center at 7PM

The first in the series of three design workshops for California Place Park will be this evening at Alki Community Center from 7-8:30PM. This will be a hands on workshop led by Landscape Architect, Karen Kiest who will facilitate the community meeting. We invite you to attend and are encouraged to bring your family and neighbors as we sit in small groups and talk through potential designs for the park.

Childcare will be available for small children and refreshments will be served.

Click here
for directions to Alki Community Center

Click here to read through media coverage of the park project on the West Seattle Blog.

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | January 24, 2009

Got Room, Need a Ride?

We are helping to coordinate rides to and from the design workshops – the first of which is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7PM at Alki Community Center. If you know that you’ll have room in your car or if you need a ride to the workshop, please send us an email. There are some neighbors who would like to join the workshop, but need a lift so reach out to us and help your neighbor participate in these workshops! See our previous post for details on all of the workshops.

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | January 15, 2009

News Coverage About the Project

The West Seattle Herald published an article about the project in this weeks edition. Click here to read the story.

Click here to review ALL the articles written about the project on the West Seattle Blog.

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | January 15, 2009

Dates Set for Design Workshops

Mark your calendars! We invite you to attend a series of design workshops that will allow the community to explore various ideas and design options for California Place. These three workshops will be led by Karen Kiest, Landscape Architects. We are looking for ways to increase community use of the park by people of all ages, and create a naturalized and safe area for the neighborhood to enjoy now and for generations to come. As an option, a supervised area for childcare will be provided during each meeting.

Please bring your ideas, your neighbors and your community spirit!

Tuesday, 2/3, 7 – 8:30 PM
Saturday, 3/7, 10:30 – 12 Noon
Thursday, 4/16, 7 – 8:30 PM

All the meetings will be held at:
Alki Community Center
5817 SW Stevens Street
Seattle, WA 98116

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | December 31, 2008

Karen Kiest, Landscape Architects to lead the Schematic Design Process

The Architect Selection committee, made up of four neighbors in the Admiral area, met with the three finalists on Wednesday, December 17th. The interviews almost didn’t happen given the scare from the weatherman the night before. Even though Seattle Public Schools were closed, we chose to proceed with the meetings. Fortunately for us, the snow had not yet started to fall in West Seattle or downtown.

Each firm had a 50 minute interview – 30 minutes to present themselves, 15 minutes for questions from the panel and then 5 minutes to wrap up. The panel used a scorecard with key criteria from the RFQ to help guide the evaluation. All candidates were very experienced and each brought different qualities and strengths that would have benefited the project and the neighborhood.

After much deliberation and reference checking we agreed that Karen Kiest would be the best fit for our needs. In addition to being a highly skilled Landscape Architect, she has extensive, proven experience bringing communities together on projects where there are diverse and sometimes opposing opinions on the best way to proceed.

FANNA is working with Karen Kiest to finalize the contract. We are working hard to plan for and set the date for the next public meeting which we expect will happen in January. As soon as that date is set, we’ll post that information here, at the park site and distribute it as widely as possible.

We’re very excited to be at this point and can’t wait to begin the design process with the community. Thanks to everyone for your support and have a Happy New Year!

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | December 12, 2008

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Click here to sign up for our free newsletter!

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | December 3, 2008

Nature Walk and Activites at Hiawatha Community Center, 12/13

What better way to enjoy the holiday season then to explore the natural environment with your kids and neighbors! Come join us on our adventure and exploration through Hiawatha Park as we search for pinecones, plants and critters and then warm up with books, crafts and cocoa in the community center. Our adventure and activities will be led by volunteers from the Children’s Garden at Seattle Tilth.

Meet up inside Hiawatha Community Center on Saturday, December 13 at 10AM for two hours of fun and learning.

Event is sponsored by Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA.)

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | December 3, 2008

The Responses to the RFQ’s are IN!

We’ve received a total of eight submittals for the RFQ that was advertised on 11/6/08.  We feel like we have a pool of very strong, qualified candidates.  The selection committee has developed a scorecard based on the RFQ to help them review, rank and select three for interviews.  The committee will also check references to insure the firm we hire will be a perfect fit for this project.

The list of candidates in no particular order:

  1. Karen Kiest Landscape Architects
  2. Winterbottom Design, Inc.
  3. Barker Landscape Architects, P.S.
  4. GGLO
  5. Studio 342 Landscape Architecture
  6. Susan Bergen Landscape Architect in partnership with OPA Design, Inc.
  7. SB & A Landscape Architects
  8. BCRA in collaboration with Pomegranate Center

More to come as the process evolves!

Posted by: Neighborhood Updates | November 23, 2008

Repost – RFQ Due Wednesday, November 26

Request for Qualifications

California Place Park Natural Playscape

The Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA) are seeking the services of a Landscape Architect registered in the State of Washington to develop a schematic design and budget for a natural playscape at California Place Park.

Background and Description of the California Place Park Planning Project

Owned and maintained by Seattle Parks and Recreation, California Place Park is located at California Ave SW and SW Hill St in the Admiral District of West Seattle. The FANNA community group has received a “Small and Simple” grant from the City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, to hire a landscape architect to assist the community in developing a concept plan for a natural playscape for “kids” of all ages in the park.

This playscape should be made from natural elements, contain as few manmade components as possible, and feel like a slice of nature tucked into a small city park. The new area should reduce or eliminate fall heights and entice young children to use their imagination and creativity to play and explore the area. It should accommodate and feel welcoming to parents and neighbors, young and old.

California Place Park is currently an open grassy area, 10,500 square feet in size and shaded by trees. The park is bound by a local church and the two roads, one that can be busy – California Ave SW (collector arterial). A bus shelter resides in the southeast corner of the property for riders traveling along California Ave SW. The park is along what use to be the original cable car route to the ferry that would take residents from West Seattle to Downtown. We would like to see some ideas about how this history could be incorporated into the park. Another parcel for potential future expansion is slightly west and across SW Hill from the park. We envision improving this plot as a future project and would like connectivity and continuity between both parcels, long term.

A major concern of the community is that the park must be a safe place for young children to play, given its proximity to a busy street. Neighbors also want the improvements to serve a diverse group, both young and old, as a place for thoughtful play and relaxation. Additional ideas, benefits, and concerns have been gathered through a series of community meetings and are included in this RFQ (attachment 1.) All of this input should be reviewed and considered as the new park is designed. FANNA is also working with the Department of Transportation to explore traffic calming measures along California Ave SW.

Process and Scope of Work

The Neighborhood Matching Grant is $15,000, with $12,000 available for the preparation of the schematic design and a program budget. All of the work for this schematic design phase is to be completed within this budget and within a six-month time frame. There will be a community process resulting in an economically feasible plan and a budget for development of the site meeting the goals of FANNA. In addition, we are interested in a landscape architect who:

  • Has experience working on designs that have a limited budget
  • Has experience planning projects with volunteer groups
  • Is creative in the design of a space for multi-generational users
  • Has experience in designing and building play areas from sustainable and natural elements
  • Has experience implementing and constructing their designs
  • Has experience in developing projects to Seattle Department of Parks and Recreations standards.

The landscape architect will work with the FANNA Steering Committee to establish the criteria for the design. The schematic design is to be consistent with community input and innovative nuisance reduction techniques. The design must also fit the long-term maintenance goals of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department.

Meetings with the Steering Committee are to be held to review this information. Public involvement is critical for this project. There are to be several preliminary design concepts prepared based on the site analysis, input from community meetings, the Steering Committee, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation staff, and Seattle Police Department staff. There will be a series of 3 public meetings where community input is gathered and the schematic design options are presented. There will be at least 3 meetings with Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Staff to review these options. The final design will be communicated to the public in April 2009.

Proposed Schedule and Tasks

  • November 26, 2008 — SOQ Due.
  • December 8, 2008 — Shortlist issued and interviews scheduled.
  • December 17, 2008 — Interviews and selection
  • January Week 2 — Public Design Meeting #1 facilitated by LA
  • January, 2008 — Landscape Architect (LA) develops alternatives and with Committee plans public meeting. LA meets with Parks Pro-view Team to gather additional input to develop alternatives.
  • February, 2009 — Second meeting with Parks Pro-View (to review alternatives). LA facilitates Public Design Meeting #2 to present alternatives
  • March, 2009 — Finalize plan with Steering Committee and Parks Pro-view Team. Finalize budget estimate.  Public Meeting #3 to present final plan
  • April, 2009 — Provide scope and fee estimate to finalize design and generate construction documents

Submittal Contents

Submittals shall contain the following information (10 page maximum including cover and resumés):

  • Submit a cover letter describing the firm, number of years in business, and number of staff. Please identify your design team and project manager; explain their roles and include resumés.
  • Describe your initial impressions of this site.
  • Describe your proposed approach to the project. How might you work with the Steering Committee, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff, and the community while completing this project on schedule and on budget?
  • Provide project descriptions for the three most recent projects of a similar scope and nature. For each of the projects shown, please provide references (names, phone numbers) and construction costs.

Interested parties may request the RFQ document by calling 206-650-1396

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