Caring for Charles

Leschi neighbors keep up with street-end maintenance

Caring for Charles

Caring for Charles

While Madison Park volunteers worked on a new shoreline street-end project, Leschi residents John Barber and Mark Schergen provided spruced up a well-established one in their neighborhood.

The South Charles Street end has been open to the public since 1993, and volunteers take turns maintaining it with the next door neighbors, who have an encroachment on the property, said Barber, who chairs the Leschi Community Council’s Parks and Greenspace Committee.

Community groups wanting to adopt and maintain shoreline street ends that benefit the public are allowed to prioritize any areas they like that are technically open but maybe not improved.

“We opened four [street ends] in two weekends,” Barber said. “We decided to get our permits all at once.”

Those street ends are Charles, King, Dearborn and Norman.

Most of the landscaping at the South Charles Street end was inherited from the couple that planted it in the early ‘90s, Barber said. SDOT, which manages the city’s street-end program, required a landscape architect to approve plans for South Charles.

“The bench is kind of like our trademark,” Barber said. “It lets the public know that this is open to the public.”

As the two-man crew got to work, a paddle boarder came down to launch from the street end, taking a short stroll on Lake Washington.

Barber and Schergen spent most of their time ripping out invasive vegetation that had wrapped around an old rose bush, near a dead cherry tree. Hanging from a bag around Schergen’s shoulder, his small dog, Misty, supervised the operation.

Leschi is a very walkable neighborhood, and many dog owners have built relationships on their trips, which often include the street ends, Schergen said.

“The one on Dearborn, there must have been eight feet of blackberries from the shore,” he said, adding there’s still more work to be done.