It may not be pretty yet, but it's ours!
Two parcels of long-dormant Navy land at the top of the Magnolia Bridge and in its shadow now belong to the residents of Seattle, thanks to the Pro Parks Levy and $3 million from King County.
Upper Portion: Elliott Bay Overlook
This year you can enjoy the Elliott Bay Fourth of July fireworks from the park at the top of the bridge. Although it's easy to miss while you whiz by in your car, the gates have been open since April. There's a fantastic view of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay from either end of the park - one you'll be able to enjoy on any day.
You won't be able to see the fireworks through the trees in the middle portion, but the grassy field there is perfect for a picnic. Ride your bike in or park a few blocks away and walk, as there is no parking lot and street parking is prohibited near the top of the bridge.
It's been suggested that the overlook be named after Ursula Judkins, our beloved, late Magnolia resident who worked so hard to turn the land into a park. The city has not yet begun the formal naming process, which will probably take place late summer or early fall.
Lower Portion: Grassy Field
The fenced lower field which lies just south of the bridge is flat, grassy and will be perfect for kids' sports practices, throwing a Frisbee or taking a walk. This summer the city will remove concrete, grade and plant grass seed on the north portion of the site. The interim field will open next summer, after the new grass has had a chance to get established.
The exact configuration of the parcel may change slightly when the Magnolia Bridge is replaced, but the public will retain the new park.
Shape your park
There's lots of room for improvement at both of these parcels. However, there isn't much city or county funding to make that happen during this time of city and county budget shortfalls. You'll see the upper overlook has a big concrete patch and no particular landscaping design, although a pink rose bush has been spilling a profusion of flowers over the fence along the road.
Final design hasn't yet been selected for the lower field, and the city has no funding at this time for much beyond the most basic site preparation and maintenance.
Your local government officials and neighbors have been working for at least 10 years to turn this surplus Navy land into a park for everyone to enjoy. Kids are desperate for space to practice soccer and softball, which they now can do at the lower field. The field can also accommodate walkers, joggers, dogs on leashes, etc.
I would love to hear your ideas for improving and using this land, and so would the city of Seattle. You can contact me by email at email@example.com; or write to 516 Third Ave., Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104-3272; or call 296-1004.
Contact the city through Kerry Lasko, Central West Park Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or write 4209 W. Marginal Way S.W., Seattle, WA 98106-1211; or call 684-0796.
For photos, a map and more information, visit the city of Seattle web site at www.ci.seattle.wa.us/parks/proparks/projects/smithcove.
Larry Phillips chairs the Metropolitan King County Council and has represented the Magnolia, Queen Anne and Ballard neighborhoods since 1991.[[In-content Ad]]