News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Customer Count At Community Centers Begins Today

February 28th, 2011 by master

In order to determine how people use the community centers, Seattle Parks and Recreation is starting a pilot project to count customers.

Starting today, people heading to all 25 community centers, including the nearby Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) will be asked to sign in indicating their age group and time of arrival.

The pilot project, which will last two weeks, will help Parks staff respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated. After two weeks Parks will evaluate the information and decide whether to extend it for 10 more weeks. The process, which includes public meetings to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently, began with a public meeting on February 2.

The directive comes in the context of the budget: the cost to run the 26 centers far exceeds revenue brought in from center programs. Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public, while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising, and partnerships. Learning the average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day will help this work.

The Parks Department will use input from the public to develop options for the community centers. There will be another public meeting this spring to get input on the specific options.

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Area Parks, Woodland Park Zoo Closing Early Monday

November 22nd, 2010 by master

Hope you didn’t pick today for your big family outing to a local park and/or the Woodland Park Zoo this afternoon. Due to the weather, it’s a pretty sure bet that any of those places will not be open.

Seattle Parks And Recreation has announced that all community center activities will be canceled today and that all parks & athletic fields are closed. Your lacrosse game will just have to wait.

Just in case you were thinking about heading over to one of the local golf courses to do some sledding, don’t. They’re not allowing it simply because there isn’t enough snow there.

Woodland Park Zoo also sent out a note that they will be closing at 3 p.m. today. So I suppose if you really, really need to go check out how the red ruffed lemur is holding up in the snow, you’ve got a little bit of time.

The snow leopard, as you can imagine, is doing just fine.

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Ross Play Area renovation meeting

June 3rd, 2010 by master

Spring/summer is all about rejuvenation and renovation, which makes it that time of year for Fremont residents to weigh in on the spaces that matter so much to them and their families. Seattle Parks and Recreation will host the second community meeting for the Ross Play Area renovation on Tuesday, June 8, from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Ross Park Shelterhouse. Ross Shelterhouse is located in Ross Park at 4320 4th Ave NW.

Seattle Parks and the designer for the project, Worthy and Associates, will present the schematic design options for the park play area and discuss which play equipment and design features work best for the neighborhood.  They encourage the community to attend and provide further input on the play area design. As identified in the parks and Green Spaces Levy, this renovation will provide new play equipment, site improvements and access improvements.

Seattle voters passed the Parks and Green Spaces Levy by a 59 percent vote in November 2008. The $146 million Levy provides acquisition funding for new neighborhood parks and green spaces and development funding for projects such as improved playfields, reservoir lid parks, renovated playgrounds, community gardens, and safety upgrades at city owned cultural facilities.

This is not the first time Ross Park has gone through a renovation. The Pro Parks Levy provided $544,620 for planning, design and construction for a new shelterhouse that began its planning in 2004 and was completed in 2006. The award-winning shelterhouse has the auspicious honor of being the Parks Department’s first living, green roof.

As a result of that project, the building has these improvements: an upgraded community meeting room with better furnishings, heat, light, and storage; a community notice board; improved and increased ADA access to bathrooms and the community room; upgraded building utility services; improved landscape and building access; and upgraded building code compliance.

In the 1990s the community-led Ross Park Project received Neighborhood Matching Funds and added concrete paths, new play equipment, benches, picnic tables, and a basketball half-court to the upper level of the park.

During these planning efforts community members became interested in making the Shelterhouse more inviting and accessible. The Shelterhouse was discussed during the Fremont neighborhood planning process and the community asked to “Rehabilitate and open the small community building in Ross Playfield to park and community uses.”

The project was included as part of the 2000 Pro Parks Levy to “Improve Ross Shelterhouse for community use.”

After comprehensive public involvement, Parks and the community jointly decided to raze the old shelterhouse and construct a new one.

For more information on the current playground project please visit the playground website or contact Kelly Goold, project manager at 206-684-0586 or

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Seattle Parks & Rec furlough days

May 5th, 2010 by master

Like many employees locally and around the country, City of Seattle employees are taking days off without pay in 2010 to help fill the budget gap. In Seattle, they’re taking 10 days off this year. In the Parks & Recreation Department, they’re taking Friday, May 7, and Monday, May 10, for furlough days, so many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed on those days (more details below).

Youth Violence Prevention Initiative sites, also known as Extended Hours Program sites, are on furlough today.

These facilities and services are closed on Friday, May 7:

  • Grounds maintenance
  • Community centers (except child care and late night programs, which will still operate).
  • Swimming pools
  • Environmental Learning Centers
  • Lifelong Recreation (except Food and Fitness programs, which will still operate)
  • Business Service Center

These facilities and services are closed on Monday, May 10:

  • Administrative offices (communications, correspondence, Park Board support, web management, public outreach, human resources, finance and administration)
  • Planning and Development Division
  • Magnuson Park office

These facilities will operate normally: the Golf course, Special Events Scheduling, Amy Yee Tennis Center and The Seattle Aquarium will assign furloughs individually to ensure that its 24-hour animal care responsibilities are met, and that it stays open to the public.

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Plant removal scheduled on Burke Gilman Trail

January 25th, 2010 by master

Seattle Parks and Recreation will begin removing invasive plants along a section of the Burke Gilman Trail on Monday, February 1.  The plants being removed are in an area between Meridian Ave N and Latona Ave NE on the north end of Lake Union.  The removal is part of the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop plan that was completed in 2009 (see map on the right or click here for a larger view).  The 6-mile loop aims to improve access to Lake Union, as well as better connect adjacent neighborhoods, downtown, University of Washington and the Burke Gilman Trail.  Although the trail may narrow in places where plants are being removed, the trail will stay open while work is being done. 

To view the loop’s Master Plan, click here (.pdf).

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