New park better served by a playground

Something extraordinary is happening behind the old Magnolia Elementary School on 28th Avenue West. A weed infested expanse of cracked asphalt is being transformed into a beautiful new park.

The commitment of the Seattle Parks Department to community involvement has led to a series of public meetings, providing interested citizens information about the park's progress and a chance to have their opinions heard about what kind of park will best serve the people of Magnolia as well as our city.

The current plan for the park is appealing. It includes a large, open grassy area, beautiful plantings, a circular gravel path for walking, a basketball half court, a children's playground and a picnic area.

The plan also includes a 1,200 square foot pavilion, costing about $90,000. Our problem is that park's budget does not include the cost of the equipment for the playground, which is $70,000. The Parks Dept. has asked the community to raise funds ourselves to pay for the playground.

We think the playground equipment would serve our community more than would the pavilion. The playground equipment would be used daily by the neighborhood - but a pavilion which will be used only for "special occasions?"

While such a pavilion might be nice, we feel it should be considered a luxury. Children's play equipment is a necessary part of any neighborhood park and should be funded accordingly. The pavilion funds should be redirected to funding the playground equipment.

We believe including (i.e., funding) play equipment in the park will benefit everyone, not just the families with younger children. As we have seen in the newly revitalized Karen's Place playground next to the Magnolia Community Center, the presence of safe, fun playground equipment leads parents, children, grandparents and friends to congregate. As it has with Karen's Place (and many other playgrounds), we expect that the frequent presence of the "playground folks" will help to discourage any inappropriate behavior at our new park and help make it a safer place for everyone. Compare Kinnear Park to Little Howe or Karen's Place, for example.

The success of the new Karen's Place playground demonstrates that Magnolia needs, uses and appreciates its neighborhood play areas. With more families moving to the hill, these needs will only become more acute.

So let's get together and show our friends at the Parks Department how we feel; they really do want to hear our input.

Please join us in attending the next public meeting on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Park Board Room at Parks Department Headquarters, 100 Dexter Ave N.

Maureen Mastrobattista and Diane Taylor are Magnolia residents.[[In-content Ad]]