Construction of the Magnolia Resevoir on March 17, 1945. Photo courtesy of the SMA Photograph Collection
Construction of the Magnolia Resevoir on March 17, 1945. Photo courtesy of the SMA Photograph Collection
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Then…

Magnolia Manor Park, located at 3500 28th Avenue West, is part of a larger site owned by Seattle Public Utilities for the Magnolia Reservoir, which provided drinking water to the north and east sides of Magnolia. The open reservoir was built in 1945 and managed by SPU. Prior to construction of the reservoir, the land was vegetated and vacant. As part of SPU’s Reservoir Covering Program, an underground, lidded reservoir was constructed in 1995. SPU covered the reservoir to reduce required chlorination and improve drinking water quality. The design of the cover will support limited weight, and requires that the underground reservoir footprint be fenced off from public access.

In 2006, the Department of Parks and Recreation conducted a public process to identify potential dog off-leash areas in Queen Anne and Magnolia. In 2008, $70,000 in funding through the Parks and Green Spaces levy was allocated for an off-leash area in Magnolia. Susan Casey, Chair of the Steering Committee of Magnolia Manor Park, and Carol Burton, Treasurer of Magnolia Manor Park provided information on the recent history of the park. In 2010 and 2011, a location near Magnolia Manor Park was sought for a P-Patch. In getting the first of several Department of Neighborhoods Grants for a preliminary investigation of siting a Magnolia P-Patch at the park, Parks conditioned the grant on the placement of the off-leash area.

Site Workshop was hired to develop a cohesive plan for the park uniting these two elements in the integrated design developed from community input. Site Workshop designers consulted with SPU and the community to determine how much open space could be allocated for public park use. An additional four acres were added to the park site as a result. The park was developed in phases. The off-leash area opened in November 2012 and was made permanent in November 2014 after a probationary period. According to Casey and Burton, the total cost for construction of the current off-leash area and P-Patch combined was approximately $190,000.

The P-Patch community garden was funded in 2012 from a variety of sources: three Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund awards, garden funds from the 2008 Parks Levy, private donations from local businesses including Umpqua Bank and Amgen, and was built by more than 1,400 hours of volunteer time by the community.

Seattle Conservation Corp, who provides homeless adults with employment opportunities and on the job training, constructed the off-leash area and general layout and some elements of the P-Patch. Through many hours of sweat equity, volunteer gardeners designed and built the P-Patch shed, put in the water system, built raised beds, defined plot edges, hauled dirt, and planted the first crops four years ago. Access is currently from the end of West 27th Street. Casey stated “that construction of the P-Patch was classic community building at work and people of the community really bonded.”

 

Now…

The Parks Levy Opportunity Fund recently granted an additional $402,500, which allows for the integrated park design to move forward. According to Garrett Farrell of Seattle Parks and Recreation, construction is currently being advertised for public bid. Farrell stated that “the project will move the fences back to the edge of the SPU reservoir in the southwest corner of the property opening up public space between the P-Patch and the off-leash area. New paths will be installed connecting access from 27th Avenue West to the south, 28th Avenue West to the west. The paths will continue north, connecting to the existing paths located on the north side of the park.”

The project will be phased to ensure that the off-leash area remains open during construction. It will be slightly reduced in size making way for a new path. The original path connecting to the sidewalk on 28th Avenue West was absorbed into the off-leash area and serves as the entry point today. This path inside the off-leash will be relocated north, and a small shelter will be added along the new path inside the off-leash area. In order to create more level park space and increased views to the north and east, the large bowl at the north end of the park will be partially filled.

Burton said that dog owners and P-Patch gardeners have been served well by the off-leash area and P-Patch, and that continuing on with the whole park design benefits the third constituency, the general public. It is anticipated that a contractor will be selected and awarded the job sometime in June. Construction will begin in the southwest corner of the park this summer. The committee will continue to secure funding to complete more of the whole park design that Site WorkShop presented at the end of the community process. 

The P-Patch is currently part of Seattle’s Giving Garden Network. The P-Patch has four plots dedicated to growing organic produce for donation to El Centro de la Raza, a food bank serving the King County Latino community. According to Deborah Wade, 230 pounds of organic produce, primarily lettuce, collards, and chard, have been donated this year. The P-Patch will continue to serve the community as a resting place for visitors, a meeting place for friends, and a place for the local community to garden and give back to the community.

 

For more information about Magnolia Manor Park visit: www.magnoliamanorpark.org and http://www.seattle.gov/parks

For more Magnolia history, check out our books and Society events at: www.magnoliahistoricalsociety.org and like us on our Facebook page. If you are interested in serving on our Board call 206.261.0255.

LISA MEOLI is a board member of the Magnolia Historical Society and an Environmental Historian at Floyd|Snider.