Updated Designs for Dog Park, P-Patch; Novel Fundraising Plans Discussed

Magnolia Manor Park Taking Shape–Information from the 1/26 Meeting

Relocating the Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) security gate at 27th Avenue W is key to opening up and developing Magnolia Manor Park located at 3500 28th Avenue West.  This was one of several major topics discussed at the most recent public meeting about the park.  Other topics included size and additional funding needed for both the off leash area and P-Patch garden planned for the site.

Currently only about 1/3 of the site is open to the public, with access only from 28th Avenue West.   The Seattle Parks Department maintains the publicly accessible portion. In June 2011, after an extensive public process, a Preferred Plan was adopted which would open another 2.7 acres of the site to public access, include entries to the Park from 27th and 26th Avenues West, and create Magnolia’s only dog Off Leash Area (OLA) and P-Patch.  SiteWorkshop, the landscape architects, lead by Magnolia resident Jim Keller, presented updated designs for the two new features.

The Preferred Plan calls for a 21,000 square foot OLA, with an extensive swale, planting buffer, a small/shy dog area, a ‘chuck-it’ zone and removal of the existing concrete plaza. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces levy allocated $70,000 for an OLA for Magnolia, which would not fully fund the design in the Preferred Plan. The levy amount would fund a smaller 16,000 square foot, minimalist OLA. Friends of Magnolia Manor Park (FMMP) and Citizens for Off Leash Areas (COLA) have been fundraising for the larger Plan, but face a March 1st deadline set by the Parks Dept., which will construct the OLA later this spring and need time to plan the construction.   Keller and Clayton Beaudoin presented a ‘Plan C,’ which incorporates the larger footprint, a simple open space and surfacing that can be improved at a later date when funds are available.  It maintains the plaza and accessibility to the remainder of the park, for considerably less cost.  Keller estimated that the additional cost (above the available levy funds) for ‘Plan C’ was $25,000.  FMMP and COLA have already raised over $6,000 in funds dedicated to the OLA, and over $13,000 in total contributions to date.

Access to the site from 27th Avenue West is key to the P-Patch design and to opening up 2.7 acres of public use all around the reservoir.  This means relocating the security fence to closer to the covered reservoir. presented a design for the P-Patch that can be implemented in stages, with about 30 plots and a turn-around able to be installed by the end of the year, and room for expansion of the P-Patch to over 70 plots in the future.  There is currently about $60,000 in the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces levy available for a P-Patch on Magnolia; about $30,000 in additional funding is needed to move the security gate and  install and complete the first 30 plots .  The Department of Neighborhoods has informed FMMP that the monies must be spent and construction completed by December 2012.

Susan Casey, Chair of FMMP, also pointed out to those attending that fundraising for fundamentals for the rest of the park is also on-going.  “It is critical to raise money to move the rest of the SPU fencing. Without that, we can’t open the rest of the park to the public.”  Toni Imfeld, Co-Chair of FMMP, agreed:  “It may not be sexy, but you have to move dirt and put in the foundation before you can build a house.”

Susan Casey said that one of the things that FMMP is especially proud of is the involvement of the whole community.  In addition to P-Patchers, dog owners and other neighbors, Fifth graders at Lawton Elementary, located just a few blocks from the park, are involved in the creation and fundraising for an art project to benefit and beautify the park.  Local artist and businessman Don Rockwell is donating his considerable talents and experience to turn artworks by the fifth graders into a permanent art feature. LuAnn Mitchell and Monica Wooton are spearheading fundraising for the materials needed by the Art Project, and the community is giving generously. With a goal of $3,500 for materials, and any overages going to general fundraising for the park, the students raised $1,000 in their first weekend appeal

Several members of the audience had novel suggestions for funding sources.  Besides the grants which FMMP will be applying for, one attendee suggested seeking carbon credit offset money for pyrolysis of the garden waste from the P-Patch.  Pyrolysis is the low-temperature charring of garden waste, which results in a soil amendment (char) and carbon sequestration. Another brought up the Seattle Parks Department’s Partnership Program, which provides the possibility of bestowing naming rights on features of the park, like the OLA or P-Patch, in exchange for significant funding of the feature. FMMP and COLA are also pursuing sponsorships from neighborhood businesses, and have implemented a ‘$35 campaign’ among dog owners.  A mere $35 from each licensed dog owner on Magnolia would fully fund the Preferred Plan OLA.  Additionally, through March 31, 2012, COLA will match any donation to COLA dedicated to Magnolia Manor OLA, up to a total of $3,000. Over $1,700 in donations have been collected to date. Donations can be made at the website: www.coladog.org/mmpMatch.

Check out the latest PDF of the Park Plan

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