Seattle Parks and Recreation is changing course on its plans for 12th West & West Howe Park in Queen Anne. Rather than restore it as a natural area, as had been announced last summer, SPR is using what’s left of its $100,000 budget to improve safety and access around the park’s signature embankment slide.

“We’re refocusing and looking at this in a different way this year,” said SPR capital projects planner Libby Hudson.

Hudson faced the ire of Queen Anne residents during last year’s public outreach for the original project proposal, which was to remove the embankment slide, sand pits and concrete, and then incorporate the site into the Southwest Queen Anne Greenbelt.

The decision was based on landslide concerns for the sloped site, which is a documented critical area, and the fact the aging metal embankment slide does not meet current ADA or safety compliance standards.

Issues that need to be addressed include a new landing at the bottom, which will be engineered wood fiber rather than sand, the top grip bar of the slide, a trip hazard at the top of the slide, and the wood railing along the stairway from the top to bottom of the slide.

“Because the budget’s so tiny, we probably can’t do all that removal that we talked about before,” Libby said, referring to old infrastructure tied to other areas in the park that once had play equipment.

The slide is all that’s left of the playground equipment installed in the ‘90s, the rest having to be removed due to wood rot.

Also factoring into the original $100,000 budget — minus the cost of last summer’s outreach efforts — is an in-house hazardous tree study, Libby said.

SPR will continue working with Green Seattle Partnership as had originally been planned, Libby said, to provide new plantings and restoration work at the park.

“We’ll just work with them on what we can do, with the focus on maintaining the slide and making it safe,” she said.

Libby said there is no current timeline for wrapping up planning, but it’s likely there will be an on-site open house when revised designs for 12th West & West Howe Park are complete.