There are only two parks in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.

Although resident Leah Rivers lives a block from Sandel Park on First Avenue Northwest and Northwest 90th Street, she usually totes her two kids five blocks to Greenwood Park, with its quirky silver climbing structures and spinning merry-go-round.

That’s going to change when Sandel Park gets a facelift later this year.

At the March 27 open house, curious park-goers peeked at design templates drawn up by Karen Keist Landscape Architects, tweaked over the past few months as residents proposed suggestions.

“I’m really excited to have a place where our kids can spread out and play,” Rivers said. “It’ll be great to have it basically in our backyard.”

Most were pleased with the plans for the renovation, which will modify the playgrounds with new equipment, primarily geared toward younger children, improve visibility and enhance safety.

There’s just not much to do at the park in its current state, said Friends of Sandel Park chair Julie Gwinn.

“It doesn’t have much play value,” Gwinn said. “Kids can just walk up a ramp and jump off.”

Photo credit: 
Rachel Solomon.

Landscape architect Karen Keist, right, shows the design plan for Sandel Park to Greenwood resident Kate Martin. CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS.

The Vision Greenwood Park Steering Committee has been meeting over the
winter to move the plan to develop and expand Greenwood Park forward.

The steering committee applied for and was awarded a second Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant for $17,500.

The grant will be used to fund the detailed drawings for the two vacant lots along Fremont Avenue and the additional facilities that will be added to the current park area.

The grant means construction on the park should be able to get underway soon, according to a Vision Greenwood Park Steering Committee press release.

The committee has also sent letters of intent to the Seattle Parks Levy Opportunity Fund (minimum $250,000 grant award) and the Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Project (up to $100,000 award).

The committee is working on the grant applications now for submission in

The committee plans to apply to King County for the County Youth Sports Facility Grants totaling $75,000 to help create the basketball area as well as
exercise stations around the perimeter of the park.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Site Workshop

A $17,500 grant received by Vision Greenwood Park means construction on the Greenwood Park redevelopment could get underway soon.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting an open house at Sandel Park, located at 9053 First Ave. N.W., to view the design for the Sandel Park play area renovation.

The open house will be from 11 a.m. to noon on March 27. The public is encouraged to attend, meet the design team and learn about the changes that are coming to this park.

The renovation project, identified in the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, will provide new play equipment for children ages 2 -12, site improvements to enhance safety and access improvements to facilitate use by all park visitors.

The project budget for Sandel is $350,000, and renovations will take place between April and October of 2010.

Sandel Park renovation plans were drawn up in 2002, but the renovations never proceeded.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation

Drawings created for a Sandel Play Area renovation in 2002 that never materialized. There will be an open house March 27 to view new designs for the park.

Presentations by an architect, hydrogeologist and an engineer at a March 11 meeting did little to quell neighbors' fears that the construction of the new Greenwood Fred Meyer would have dire consequences on surrounding properties.

Half of the site for the new Fred Meyer at 100 N.W. 85th St. is located on a peat bog, one of the largest in the Seattle area.

GeoEngineers' Michael Kenrick, working for Fred Meyer, said it is important to not disturb peat because it is sensitive and compressible. If you take water out of the peat, it will shrink, leading to settling buildings, he said.

"Nobody wants their building to settle because it causes so much damage," Kenrick said. "It basically condemns the building."

The March 11 meeting was a chance for the Fred Meyer development team to explain how it is dealing with soil and groundwater issues on the site and for the Seattle Department of Planning and Development to received public feedback before deciding on whether an Environmental Impact Study is warranted for the project.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Kate Martin, a Greenwood citizen activist, warns of potential environmental damage from the new Fred Meyer development at a March 11 meeting.

In November, the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society launched a contest to find the oldest house in the neighborhood. On Feb. 18, the society announced a winner.

Anna and Scott Sturgeon won the contest with their 1902 Phinney Ridge home.

While their house is not truly the oldest in the neighborhood, the Sturgeons completed the required research, including obtaining their building permit from 1902, and fulfilled the spirit of the contest – researching and treasuring our architectural heritage, the historical society said in a press release.

The Sturgeons received breakfast for two at Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe and an autographed copy of "Seattle's Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood" by Ted Pedersen.

oldest house.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society

This 1902 Phinney Ridge home is the winner of the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society's oldest house contest.

Two local Boys & Girls Club members have been nominated for the 2010 Youth of the Year Award celebrating service to community, family and the club, as well as academic achievement and moral character.

Taylor Franks, a Ballard High School senior and nominee from the Ballard Boys & Girls Club, has completed more than 200 hours of community service in the past year.

She is involved in many clubs, but still takes time to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club.

She said the club is a great because it gives young and underprivileged youth a place to go where the atmosphere is always positive and there is always someone to listen to them and help them.

"I really do care about the club," she said. "I love it."

Franks said she was surprised to be nominated, but it is a great honor.

"I was very ecstatic because I was up against some tough competition," she said.

Amaris Williams is the nominee from the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club. The Roosevelt High School student has been a member of the club for a decade.

Franks and Williams are two of the 11 Youth of the Year contestants from King County. Each contestant received a $500 education scholarship.

Youth Year.JPG
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Boys & Girls Club

Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year nominees Taylor Franks (Ballard branch) and Amaris Williams (North Seattle branch) will compete Feb. 9 for a $2,500 scholarship.

Slightly more than three months ago, a fire started at the Green Bean Coffee House burned down the Eleanor Roosevelt Building and damaged the neighboring Taproot Theatre.

Audiences will be returning to the theater at 204 N. 85th St. for the first time since the arson that necessitated its gutting when Taproot previews C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" Jan. 27.

"It's pretty darn extraordinary," said Scott Nolte, Taproot Theatre's producing artistic director. "We're going to do a show, and it's near miraculous."

Nolte said 99.9 percent of the public areas of Taproot are complete.

The box office and concessions areas were remodeled and rearranged. Workers were pulling plastic off the theater's seats and wiping them down hours before audiences would be arriving.

The first goal was to get the theater ready to go, Nolte said. Taproot's basement still needs a lot of work and remains unused except for the dressing rooms, he said.

During the three months the Taproot Theatre building was unusable, it put on a Christmas show at North Seattle Community College and its other operations, such as the touring Road Company, continued with little disruption seen by the public.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

On Jan. 27, audiences will be returning to the Taproot Theatre building for the first time since an October arson attack forced it to close for repairs.

On Jan. 22, HomeStreet Bank's Ballard branch will host its Great Neighbor, Great Business award reception to honor the Phinney Neighborhood Association, Cancer Lifeline and the Ballard and Greenwood Sip & Ship.

The Great Neighbor, Great Business awards were started in 2005 to honor local businesses based on community partnership, being a great employer, and providing an exceptional customer environment.

The award reception, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. at HomeStreet Bank, located at 8050 15th Ave. N.W. Refreshments will be served, and live music will be performed by cellist Gretchen Yanover.

The Phinney Neighborhood Association, established in 1981, serves the Phinney-Greenwood area and beyond, offering a large selection of programs, events, classes and services.

Cancer Lifeline, founded in 1973, provides emotional support, resources, classes and exercise programs to support cancer patients, survivors, their families, friends, coworkers and caregivers.

Sip & Ship (Ballard and Greenwood) has shipping and mailing services, a fair trade espresso bar and a gift shop.


Greenwood residents voiced a desire for greater visibility and public safety when community members and leaders gathered Jan. 13 at the Greenwood Public Library to discuss upcoming renovations to Sandel Park.

The meeting, led by project manager Kelly Davidson, kicked off with an overview of the park's current design and the standing ideas for renovation before opening up to suggestions for community members.

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which passed in Seattle in 2008, provides $146 million in funding to upgrade the city’s parks. Most of the money will go toward renovating playgrounds throughout the city.

The project budget for Sandel is $350,000, and renovations will take place between April and October of 2010.

Sandel Park renovation plans were drawn up in 2002, but the renovations never proceeded.

Drawings displayed at the meeting were taken from the 2002 plans, but Davidson said that although safety standards have changed little since then, accessibility standards have, and the plans must be brought up to date.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation

Sketches for a renovation of Sandel Park were created in 2002 but never realized. The project is moving forward again this year.

An 89-foot mural celebrating the vibrancy of Greenwood and its ability to rebound after a series of arsons this summer and fall was unveiled Dec. 31 by Taproot Theatre and Seattle Mural Art.

The mural, created by local artists John Osgood, Zachary Bohnenkamp and Kevin Sullivan, features references to the fires that destroyed four businesses in the Eleanor Roosevelt Building on North 85th Street off Greenwood Avenue North, such as a flaming phoenix and a firefighter rescuing a kitten from the nearby Cat City.

But, the mural also pays tribute to the neighborhood with a depiction of the annual Greenwood Car Show and theater masks representing the neighboring Taproot Theatre.

"Hopefully this just makes people smile and remember what a great neighborhood we have," Scott Nolte, Taproot Theatre's producing artistic director, told the crowd at the unveiling.

Steve Giliberto, president of the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce, said the mural is perfect for a quiet, occasionally overlooked neighborhood like Greenwood.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Members of the Seattle Fire Department react to the Dec. 31 unveiling of a Greenwood mural created as a tribute to the neighborhood after it suffered a series of arsons in the summer and fall. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

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