Downtown Seattle Needs a Really Kick-Ass Playground!
The idea that downtown can't be family friendly because there are poor people there is just wrong on so many levels.
@20 you're saying it again!
Yes, homeless people live downtown.
Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.
I will always be a toys r us kid and a child at heart
But there are some many more poignant problems facing Seattle.
1 of which being too many spoiled kids that have no appreciate for hard work.
The second is reflective of all these camp like activities such as pillow fights
And nerf zombie wars?
This is not nicklelodian or power rangers.
It's the real world and we don't need childish antics to solve economic and social problems.
all of these over the top kid centered parks and activities; take up adults space to freedom and pursuit of happiness. also it be taken away land to produce revenues that could be use to fund projects that accually help mange the real world problems we face.
I guess what I'm saying is if you want to be a power ranger ( and I hope by now you fans of power rangers see the lameness of Hollywood trying to re create Japanese culture.) go do it on your own time and in your own space. Lastly don't come to the adult playground dressed as a power ranger.
Only it's Downtown, so instead of getting a playground like any other neighborhood might get, Downtown has to get a World-Class playground because Commerce! So families are supposed to skip over the playground in their neighborhood to bring their children to the one downtown? Or will the one downtown be used as the reason that families don't need one in their neighborhood?
There are parks downtown. They are already there. Freeway Park, Denny Park, Westlake Park, Waterfront Park, Hing Hay Park, Belltown Cottage Park, Lake Union Park, Victor Steinbrueck Park, Occidental Park, Seattle Center, and Myrtle Edwards Park. More are coming with the Waterfront redevelopment.
Oh? What's that? These parks aren't suitable for children? Then maybe the Downtown people should stop turning them into not-parks like Westlake Park (because Commerce!) or Olympic Sculpture Park (because Art!) or the loss of playspace at Seattle Center for... Chihuly something. Or maybe these parks have become unsuitable for children because they are overrun by the unhygenic and the mentally-ill. Well, how are you going to keep that from happening to the new park?
Playfields? You want to make the case that a playfield is the highest value use of several acres of downtown real estate? Please make that case to the real estate developers who run this city. I would love to hear it. There are playfields close by in Interlake, on Queen Anne, on Capitol Hill, in the Central District, and no further away than Goldy expects families to drive to bring their children to the proposed downtown playground. We won't even mention Memorial Stadium.
Here's the solution: assess impact fees on developers building residential spaces downtown and then use the funds collected from those impact fees to provide the capital resources (schools, playfields, playgrounds, etc.) that are needed to support those new residents. That's how it's supposed to be done and that is how it is done in cities that are not owned and operated by and for the real estate developers.
With the defunding of America, incrementally building over the past thirty-some years, apparent to a few at individual levels, such as the defunding of education, the defunding of the American worker, the defunding of public TV and radio, etc., etc., etc., such ideas are heresy!
Better get used to the future, Goldy, its a'coming. . . . . .
I'd also support the idea of knocking down the Chihuly museum and adding a children's playground back to Seattle Center.
We agree on a lot of things. This ain't one of them. Seattle is great city, and great cities are capable of doing more than one great thing at a time. So frame a downtown kick-ass playground as anti-neighborhood is not constructive.
And to be clear, I originally pitched the kick-ass playground idea as an alternative to the Chihuly museum. My agitation eventually helped get a million dollars targeted toward a playground at the Seattle Center. Not enough to build anything kick-ass, but something.
Seattle needs a kick-ass playground. If you have a better idea of where to put it than the downtown, pipe up. But everybody uses the downtown, and so it strikes me as the obvious central place to build a world-class attraction.
~@17 about zoning: Umm yeah we have zoning for a reason. The SCP clearly states that new residential capacity(aka new residents and families) are being funneled into Downtown and the UW. This is because other neighborhoods didn't want to up-zone to accommodate them. Since we are planning on having LOTS of families live DT, why not start giving it family stuff?
@ goldy on location: If the 2nd and Pike location you mention is the surface parking lot on the southeast corner, that site will be a 30 story mixed use building soon. They've already got the permitting going. Also, may I recommend, for what its worth, perhaps going with one of the Clise properties. They are mostly surface lots, and are actually much closer to more residential units. V.Steinbruck park is an excellent idea.
~An aside: The idea that downtown can't be family friendly because there are poor people there is just wrong on so many levels.
As has been mentioned, there are already plenty of parks in downtown, and frankly, if you let your kids play in them, you need to take a parenting class.
Yes, homeless people live downtown. Yes, they sometimes drink beer(not malt, can't get it). Sometimes they are on harder stuff, though they rarely use AT the park. I know that you may have your own impressions of what downtown is like, but please acknowledge my experiences. I'm downtown ALL the time. I've lived here for 8 years. Worked here for 8.5 years. When I was a teen, I some time as one of those crusty westlake kids. I kind of know what I'm saying when I tell you that homeless people =/= dangerous for kids. After spending about 2 hours a day over the last year playing soccer at Cal Anderson, I have seen ZERO negative interactions between homeless and families. I don't intend to cred check you in a mean way, I'm just there all the time and totally don't see what you're worried about. Sure you have to watch em, but duh! TONS of people take their kids to parks downtown. Its OK!
Homeless people aren't a threat to your kids. They are just SOL. Seeing people that down and out makes some people uncomfortable. That doesn't mean the homeless are dangerous. And it doesn't mean that letting your kids play in a park where there is a dirty sleepy man is somehow bad for the kids.
I pointed out the solid and verifiable fact that most downtown parks are magnets for crack / needle drug use, the public consumption of high octane alcohol, and other non-kid friendly behaviors.
You're the one who keeps mentioning poor people and homeless people. Well guess what, being poor and homeless does not require objectionable public behaviors, though *YOU* seem to be insisting on the connection.
This has nothing to do with your obsession with poor and homeless, it has to do with crack heads and dopers taking over downtown parks, which is what would happen with any new "playground".
Get off your lefty soapbox and solve problems, rather than fart platitudes, which is what you are doing.
I'm not obsessed with poverty or homelessness, though they do trouble me.
I don't know what problem you're asking me to solve, but if you want to work on it with me I'm totally down. I'm a seriously civic elbow grease kinda guy, and I have some time right now so lets do it. Wasn't tryin to throw platitudes at you, just sharing my experience.
I just disagree with you over whether or not you are safe in a parks downtown generally. There are some parks where you are definitely unsafe. These are also the ones with nothing to attract non-criminal family type people. Freeway park is a great example of this. I think you should look at what the green street on Bell is about.
However, most parks have those issues, people just believe them to be unsafe for some reason. Notice how much the play structure in Westlake got used? Rhetorical question. The answer is A WHOLE LOT! And everyone liked the park more for it. So whats the problem with more of that?
L10) non-criminal, family type...
L12) most parks do not have those issues
I guess the point I'm making is that having that kind of playground would be amazing, but having kids is also about exploring your world in ways you never imagined before, and I loved my time there with my boys. However, we were also pretty relieved to leave Seattle to move to a community that was more supportive to families and children.
Also, I disagree with the "kick ass playground" thesis. Kids these days are being raised by parents who don't know how to raise children and mollycoddle them. They let the children run the family, and that's a very bad scenario.
Instead of a 'kick ass' playground, I propose distributing more spankings.
Downtown is for working, tourists and panhandling. with a side of peeing in public.
where could this playground go, anyway? it's not going in any of the "missing teeth" lots that are in private hands. those need to be built out.
our current, cramped downtown park space is really unsuited - it would be an afterthought. and i'd be loathe to put it in a location that needs sprucing up, like courthouse park, for reasons detailed ad nauseum above.
the most practical solution is to incorporate something like a "kick-ass playground" in the waterfront redevelopment. http://waterfrontseattle.org/design/plan…
There is a small play area for kids every few blocks. Here is a list of all the playgrounds in Paris that the city provides:
These playgrounds were designed not only to provide play areas, but for overall mental and physical improvement, allowing computer access, general reference books and study areas, as well as gymnastic and the usual exercise/sports arenas.
Never got off the ground, alas........
And, this is a re-run article from Goldy.
Wasn't the "kick-ass" playground supposed to go in at Seattle Center?
Go ahead and build you "kick-ass playground" downtown. Build it at one of the existing downtown parks such as Denny Park, Cascade playground, South Lake Union park, or Seattle Center. The city should kick in as much as they offer for any neighborhood playground and you can raise the balance of the money privately from the various real estate developers who have built all of those residential spaces downtown without providing any of the infrastructure needed for residents, like schools, playgrounds, and playfields. While you're at it, have them pay impact fees for the other amenities that residents require.
Or, if this is really about playgrounds and not about Downtown, then let's build three kick-ass playgrounds on the City's dime - one in the north, one in the south, and one in West Seattle. The north one can go on top of the lid at the reservoir at 12th and 75th. The south one can go at Jefferson Park, which already has a damn fine playground, or further south within easy walking distance from a light rail station. The West one can go somewhere around High Point.
A downtown elementary school is not likely to have a traditional playground next to it. The reason, and it's a good one since the city scrapes for every dollar, is that the potential school is part of a zoning package. As in, right now you could build a 16 story building on that block in SLU. BUT if you build a school on the first 2 or 3 floors you can make the building 24 stories tall. The developer wouldn't want to use a next door lot on a playground.
The upside is that the city doesn't have to buy the land(super expensive), still gets to collect property taxes on the building(yay revenue), and doesn't have to build it.
I like Charlie's idea - Parks puts up what they'd put up anywhere else; if downtown wants kick-ass, let the developers foot the difference.
I'm not sure what you mean about developers not paying impact fees. Can you cite this for me? Im not expert, but I'm casually familiar with the development industry. In my experience it has looked as though they are paying impact fees.
Are you saying that the fees should be higher in order to pay for a capital project(like a new school), like how a big new suburban subdivision works? Usually they just pay impact fees for the amount of resources they are likely to need, which totally wouldn't get a capital project funded.
However, how would you decided where to draw the line between the two fee systems? Queen Anne has a school. Downtown needs one. Which fee would a new apt. tower in lower Queen Anne/Uptown pay? And wouldn't this maybe disencentivise(sp?) building in the place the city has specifically asked developers to build? Asked them to build there so it stays our of single family housing neighborhoods...
We don’t put pot dispensaries and liquor stores across the street from schools. We shouldn’t put playgrounds across the street form bars and restaurants and businesses. You know… the places meant for those adults who work for a living to use.
If you must have a “kick-ass playground” (God you’re a moronic fool) put the damn thing in the middle of an existing park… Discovery Park has a lot of wide open space and I’m sure the hobos on the 33 would appreciate the shelter.
Put a gate around and charge $1 to get in. Problem solved.
The Fun Forest is gone because it couldn't pay rent.
As someone who used to take my kids on the small rides all the time, I think the problems were a) the expense maintaining the big rides, which were almost always empty, and b) they charged per ride instead of a single admission fee.
Maybe I would feel differently were I homeless and I would assume all public space is mine. But just as a regular person, I avoid child zones as much as humanly possible. A specialized kick-ass playground that attracted a high number of kids would be great, as it would leave other parks without kid amenities as more peaceful retreats.
Olympia built a gorgeous Children's Museum surrounded by an incredible small park made for kids. I never see the street kids and homeless there. Sylvester park has nothing for kids and families don't go there, and it is full of the kind of folks that routinely attract police attention.
No one is luring children anywhere. That's a very strange way to put it.
The government, after extensive citizen and neighborhood input(read "demand"), has decided to encourage new housing to be built in Downtown almost exclusively. If we are asking families to live there, family stuff would be nice right?
I also disagree with separating the city into kid-friendly and adult-friendly zones. I just don't see the point. Downtown is plenty big enough for tons of uses.
But really no. There is already a park in downtown Georgetown, with an awesome soccer field(love it). If Georgetown wants a new park, it would need to change its zoning to allow people to live there. Basically no one lives there.
of course, as a parks worker i just told them to fuck off.
These fees are set by and collected by the local government. Seattle has never collected impact fees for school construction.
Consider the huge redevelopment happening in Lake City. It includes the creation of hundreds (if not thousands) of new housing units. Families will move into those new homes and they will want to send their children to school, but the schools in that area are already full. The District will have to build new schools. This is going to cost tens of millions of dollars. The City could have and should have collected impact fees from the developers to pay for part of those school construction costs, but they chose not to - to reduce the burden on the developers and to help them keep the new homes affordable so they will sell faster.
Further, given the extreme "stranger danger" mentality - many parents might decline bringing their kids to a downtown park.
As I said above, I think the reasons for not charging impact fees for capital projects are a bit more reasonable than "we don't want developers to lose money or raise prices".
Seattle does collect fees for the impact on current schools. Seattle does not collect fees to pay for construction. I don't really think it would be a good way to pay for it. For example, if a school has an 800 student capacity, currently at 720. So the next 80 housing units pay an impact fee to pay for the teaching of their kids. What should the 81st pay? Do you spread the building of a new school over the next 500 units? How do you guarantee that all 500 get built, and you don't end up with a 800 capacity school with 1200 students?
I just don't think its a good way to go. If you can get a developer to build it outright (SLU plan), or do bonding, or run a levy, then you should do that.
That's not a bad idea, but I think it might be a little late. Their masterplan is already done, and already includes a lot of parkland, with one large one very central. I think as long as you don't have to redo any of the EIS that you could probably do something like that there.
On the other hand, Yesler Terrace in Downtown the same way that the lower slope of Cap Hill is Downtown. The article is talking about a truly central kids park.