Please take a moment to sign our petition and show your support for Wedgwood’s parks and open space!
The WCC’s Parks Committee has been working to improve Wedgwood’s parks and open space in the hopes of closing the gap identified by the City which has determined north Wedgwood to be lacking in usable park space. Through the City’s 2008 Parks & Green Spaces Levy, the Morningside Substation is being pursued for acquisition on behalf of our community by the City’s Parks Department. However, no funds are available to design or develop the former Seattle City Light substation for it to actually become a park in the near future. In fact, we’ve applied for such funds but have been told that the Parks Department has put a moratorium on future park design and development until their maintenance funding is addressed. So, while the acquisition moves forward, we do not know when we will be able to complete a design for the future park or when the park would be constructed.
Similarly, Wedgwood has a some park space that is currently unusable since much of it is a steep, wooded ravine. The Inverness Ravine Park is a wooded park with SDOT right-of-way that connects it to multiple roads for potential access points. While it does have steep slopes, there is space and topography that would accommodate a pedestrian trail system through the park, connecting the Wedgwood and North Inverness neighborhoods together. The WCC Parks Committee presented a concept for the Inverness Ravine Park Trail through the Parks Department’s Opportunity Fund. The project was endorsed by the Northeast District Council and Feet First. It was also initially ranked very highly by the Parks Department, although it appears that it too will not be funded.
We have created this petition to gather signatures during the first few weeks of May to be able to show the community’s support of these two projects and of improving Wedgwood parks and open space in general. Currently, the Parks Department is hosting a series of meetings for their Legacy Plan which is expected to result in a levy for voters to approve park funding in 2014. We hope to give the signatures to the Parks Department at the May 21st meeting to show our community’s support for parks and to request that Wedgwood’s two park projects (Morningside Substation and Inverness Ravine Park Trail) are funded through the levy.
UPDATE: I overlooked acknowledging and applauding the other two projects for NE Seattle that were recommended by Parks Staff for funding through the Opportunity Fund. Congrats to the applicants of both the Magnuson Park Community Kitchen and Sacajawea Southern Playground projects on their strong applications as well!
We have some good news to share about the Inverness Ravine Park Trail Project
we proposed for funding under the Seattle Parks and Recreation 2012/2013 Opportunity Fund
. All of the projects submitted have now been reviewed by Seattle Parks Staff with their recommendations forwarded on to Levy Oversight Committee for approval. Fortunately for us, Seattle Parks likes our project and has included it as one of their recommended projects to fund!
As a quick reminder, the 2012/12013 Opportunity Fund is part of the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy and awards funding to community-driven recreational acquisition and development projects. In 2013, $7-8 million will be distributed to projects across the City, including several projects in northeast Seattle. The Inverness Ravine Park Trail project is a project submitted by the WCC’s Parks Committee as a response to the Wedgwood Vision Plan (adopted in 2010) which calls for the development of trails in natural, stream-side settings. The project proposes to create a pedestrian nature trail in Inverness Ravine Park, which is currently inaccessible, on a combination of existing Parks-owned land and Seattle Department of Transportation right-of-way. The ravine consists of a seasonal stream that is a part of the Thornton Creek tributary system, and is vegetated with a second-growth native forest, as well as some invasive plant species. Part of the project’s scope will be to remove invasive species and plant additional native plants. A conceptual trail alignment, which was included in our proposal, is below.
While this is fantastic news, the project still hasn’t been approved for funding. The Levy Oversight Committee still needs to review all of the projects and make their own recommendations. The Committee will then tour potential project sites and hold a public hearing. If the Committee still feels that the project has merit, they will award it funding, which will allow the formal outreach and design processes to commence. Funding approval is expected to take place in the first half of 2013, as indicated on the timeline on the Opportunity Fund’s website
In other fantastic park news beyond Wedgwood, we’d like to extend our congratulations to all of the park projects in NE Seattle recently funded, including:
Last Monday (September 17th), the WCC’s Parks Committee submitted its final proposal under the Parks and Green Space Levy 2012/2013 Opportunity Fund. As we previously shared, the proposal would (if approved) construct a trail system through Inverness Ravine Park and undeveloped SDOT right-of-way. The Opportunity Fund has about $8 million available for park acquisition and development throughout the City. Those projects that can be funded must range from $250,000 – $750,000.
You might ask “Why does the WCC’s Parks Committee think this proposal is important?” Not only has part of Wedgwood already been identified within their GAP Analysis as deficient in open space, but currently accessible non-park open space may be impacted in the coming years. Not to mention that the Wedgwood Vision Plan specifically identifies the pursuit of “creat(ing) a creekside nature trail within the Wedgwood neighborhood” as an important goal. Furthermore, it is the WCC Park’s Committee’s belief that this new trail would provide a variety of benefits to NE Seattle more broadly through creating a connection between the Inverness/Inverness Park communities with Wedgwood; allow improved access to Matthews Beach Park, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and Magnuson Park; and providing outdoor learning opportunities and passive recreation for residents and nearby students among other important benefits.
Inside the Inverness Ravine Park, mature deciduous and coniferous trees tower above an understory of native and non-native flora with a stream flowing through.
For the purpose of providing a complete proposal and developing a cost estimate, the proposal included a conceptual trail alignment as shown in the sketch below. Based on our conceptual trail alignment, we’ve estimated that the project will cost just over $300,000. The conceptual trail alignment provides a great starting point, although should this project be awarded we understand that the Parks Department would initiate a public engagement process to modify the proposal as necessary to minimize impacts to surrounding neighbors and important ecological resources within the park.
Conceptual trail alignment developed for the Inverness Ravine Park Trail Project (click to enlarge).
It will take some time before we find out whether our proposal is successful. Then, it will take even more time for it to be approved by City Council. Then, it’ll take even more time for the Parks Department to get to design and construction of the project. So, our best case scenario is that we could have a trail system built by sometime in 2014. Nevertheless, we’re super excited. If you’d like more information on the Inverness Ravine Park Trail Project, you can review our final application (at least the text) that was submitted to the Parks Department. You can also read the letters of support written on behalf of the project from the Northeast District Council and Feet First.
On another note, we hope to have an update on the ongoing park acquisition at the former Morningside Substation soon. Stay tuned!
UPDATE 2: Feet First, a phenomenal Seattle-based nonprofit working to improve walkability of neighborhoods across Washington State, endorsed the WCC’s proposed Inverness Ravine Park proposal. If you haven’t already, check out their amazing walking map of NE Seattle. You’ll notice there are very few walkable routes between the Wedgwood and Inverness neighborhoods.
UPDATE 1: On Thursday, September 6th, the Northeast District Council, which represents 16 neighborhood community organizations in NE Seattle, endorsed the WCC’s proposed Inverness Ravine Park proposal.
Creek and dense vegetation within Inverness Ravine.
As part of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund, Seattle Parks will be spending $8 million in 2012/13 on park acquisition and/or development projects that are nominated by community groups. Wedgwood’s adopted Vision Plan calls for development of park space in a natural settings and for creek-side trails, so the WCC is taking this opportunity to propose a trail in Inverness Ravine Park (see our earlier post here). Seattle Parks and Seattle Department of Transportation both own land in the ravine, making it a prime candidate for a trail project. The ravine is on Critical Area lists for steep terrain and landslides, which precludes most kinds of development, but permits trails.
A potential trail alignment has been identified that features four access points and approximately 2,000 feet of trail (see diagram below). Based on this conceptual trail alignment, the WCC submitted a preliminary proposal to Parks in June. We have now been asked to submit a more detailed proposal in September. Parks will take WCC’s detailed proposal, along with others, develop a short-list of candidate projects, and ask those teams to present to a selection committee in early 2013. At that point funds will be awarded to the selected projects and design and construction will commence.
Preliminary trail alignment with 4 access points.
The WCC is competing with over 100 other projects for funding, but are hopeful that our trail project proposes the right combination of opportunities for exercise, education, and restoration to make it a winner. Feedback from our community has been overwhelmingly positive. Some concerns raised though include impacts to habitat, impacts to privacy, and safety. These concerns will need to be addressed should we advance to the design stage of the process. We will be presenting this trail proposal to the Northeast District Council in the coming weeks and are coordinating with the Inverness Community Council as well.
If you have any questions about the proposal, please email » Dave Grant, Chair of the Wedgwood Parks Committee.
In 2008, Seattle voters approved the Parks and Green Spaces Levy to improve the City’s parks and green spaces as well as acquire new parks for those communities identified as deficient in such places. North Wedgwood was one of those communities identified as in need of additional park space. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the community, the Parks Department is moving forward with the acquisition of Seattle City Light’s surplussed Morningside Substation at 35th Ave NE and NE 86th Street (where CC and Company is currently located).
However, within the Parks and Green Spaces Levy is the Opportunity Fund. This fund provides the opportunity for community groups to propose specific park development projects to be selected by an oversight group and the City Council to be completed. This round of funding allocates $15 million for such projects. With this in mind, the Wedgwood Parks Committee reflected back on the Vision Plan and has proposed the planning and design of a trail through Inverness Ravine.
Within Section “Open Spaces and Community Amenities” of the Vision Plan, it was stated that the community desired trails connecting a variety of park types. Of the different park types considered, 54.4% of the nearly 840 respondents to the Vision Plan survey said that a “natural park setting” was “very important” to them.
The Parks Department already owns several parcels along Inverness Ravine, although due in part to the property’s steep slopes, mature vegetation, and other complications, this property is very inaccessible. The proposed trail would be approximately 2,000 feet long, have 4 access points, and have passive recreation features (e.g., benches and signage). Benefits of this trail, apart from creating more usable park space in an area of the City identified as deficient in park space, include the following:
- Connect the Wedgwood and Inverness neighborhoods.
- Provide a more accessible pedestrian access from Wedgwood to the Burke-Gilman Trail and Matthews Beach.
- Provide the opportunity for walkable, day-time expeditions to a tributary of Thornton Creek for students at nearby schools.
- And promotes environmental awareness of Thornton Creek and its ecosystem.
Proposals to the Opportunity Fund were due last week. The Wedgwood Parks Committee has already learned that our proposal has made it past their initial screening. Further development of this proposal is necessary before it could be reviewed by the Parks Department, oversight committee, and Seattle City Council. However, its important for us to let our community know about this proposal and our continued effort to carry out what the community has identified as important by way of the Vision Plan.
If you have any questions about the proposal, please email » Dave Grant, Chair of the Wedgwood Parks Committee.