Friends of Ballard Corners Park

Meeting with Stakeholders

Today, Davidya Kasperzyk, my son Daniel, and I met with many of the public entity stakeholders in developing the park. Jon Jainga (our project manager at Parks), Patricia Lopez (our project manager at Department of Neighborhoods), Jennifer Britton (SDOT), Mike Hendrix (SDOT), and Linden Mead (SDOT arborist) were all present.

We seemed to all agree that the project is worthy of going forward, had no insurmountable hurdles, and was well-funded.

I opened by giving a brief history of the project from our perspective. I concluded by saying that the community was very vested in three elements – the raingardens, meandering sidewalk, and the play structure. I said that it seemed to me that the community also wanted the corner store entry, community garden, and living room, but perhaps at a slightly lower priority. (I apologize if I offend anyone here on the priority list; this is merely my interpretation of what I heard at the community meetings in terms of numbers of people expressing support for various design elements.)

Jon Jainga expressed the directive he had been given by Kevin Stoops at Parks. He was informed that the $150,000 from the Pro-Parks Levy was in jeopardy if the design development didn’t proceed to construction documents (CDs) by the end of the year. Special consideration was given to allow construction to carry on into 2008, but CDs must be done by the end of 2007. Since there is no Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Friends of Ballard Corners Park (us) and Parks and we have directed the additional funds to be given to Friends (via Groundswell NW, our fiscal sponsor), Parks only shows $170,000 in their Capital Improvement Project (CIP) account. Therefore, they can only contract with John Barker (our landscape architect) for 13% of the Maximum Allowable Construction Contract (MACC), which is a bit under $15,000 (see the prior blog post). Verbal agreement has been reached between Jon and John to perform the “base bid” design development for the 13% amount. The ‘base bid’ allows for the essential infrastructure of the park to be built. “Additives” would also be developed at the same time, with the funding for designing these elements coming from the Friends. The raingardens, corner store entry, living room structure, etc. will all be additives.

Jon wants the bids to be opened in mid-January. Working backwards on the schedule, 100% (completed CDs) will have be done by 12/1/07 in order to be reviewed by the Department of Executive Administration (DEA). “Pro-Tech” review (an internal Parks process) will be done in early October. Barker is on board to do this timeline. He will develop the base bid and the additives at the same time. All of the elements will be sent out to bid simultaneously and the contractors will be required to price the base bid and all the additives separately.

This has the advantage of allowing us to fund the elements we have funding for, and delaying elements we will need to raise additional fund for.

Jennifer spoke to the permit process, a need for a MOA in place between Parks and SDOT for maintenance of the Right of Way (ROW) elements. That is, Parks will maintain the ROW elements adjacent to the park. She reiterated that we need that in place before applying for the permit.

Linden spoke about the trees in the planting strip adjacent to the proposed raingarden. She said that the city has policy of not removing healthy, established trees. If we choose to remove the cherries and maples along the 17th Ave side in order to put in more suitable trees for the raingardens, we will incur financial penalties, or be required to relocate and maintain the existing trees, and/or replace the trees two-for-one. In short, she strongly encouraged us not to remove the trees and be careful about the raingarden design to avoid damaging them.

Jon also mentioned that 17th Avenue appears to be in a “Green Corridor” in the Ballard Neighborhood plan and changes might trigger a “Master Use Permit”. This is apparently a difficult process to go through and should be avoided if possible.

Jennifer suggested that there are four possible solutions:

  • don’t remove the trees and work around them (and use the south proposed raingarden as a drought tolerant buffer),
  • build the swales as not to disturb them, but still have the south raingarden,
  • relocate the trees on site, or
  • remove and replace the trees.

There was some thought that the first two options were the least cumbersome. I said that we need to have all the options on the table at this point.I said that John had mentioned capturing storm water from upstream catch basins. We will look into getting Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) involved in the process. Jennifer suggested that having SPU involved might trigger a need to go to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to get a master permit (or whatever it’s called) instead of just dealing with SDOT on the ROW issues.

Patricia kindly advised us that 25% of our match must be volunteer hours (news to me!). Also, she said that if we use NMF funds for hiring an artist (or anyone else), we have to wait until we have a contract with NMF – some 6-8 weeks down the road. She also said that she want to make sure that we (the Friends) have money in place to complete the process.

Jennifer advised that replacing concrete (to make the meandering sidewalk) might not be the best environmentally sensitive strategy, as the existing sidewalk is in good condition. Jon suggested that placing any new concrete on Parks property might lower the threshold for triggering additional SDOT oversight.

Davidya asked about placing bollards at the corners to protect pedestrians and plantings. Mike will look into the requirements.

I asked if Barker could do the drawing for the ROW issues. Jennifer (and Leo in the permit area) both later said ‘no’, it has to be a civil engineer.

Jon addressed the park vehicle maintenance issues. He said that if the vehicles enter the park, they need a 45′ radius for truck and trailer. We looked at the plan and didn’t see that was possible for our 10,000 square foot lot. He said we could have them park along the curb, but we’d need a exempt vehicles space suitable, perhaps 50 feet worth to allow for a Ford F350 crew cab pickup truck and 25′ trailer.

We also discussed that the plan did not yet outline placement of the 3-4 garbage recepticles (don’t we also need recycling?) and a bike rack (SDOT and Parks have different requirements).

Also, it was suggested that if we do the 5′ trimming from the roadway (turning the 30′ 17th Ave into the minimum 25′ width residential street), that the bumpouts continue as far as allowed to avoid confusing parking.

We returned, yet again, the trees in the south parking strip. It was suggested (recommended?) that we consider a ‘drought tolerant’ planting bed, rather than a raingarden adjacent to avoid causing problems with the existing trees.

Finally, Jon will arrange a meeting with the Arts and Cultural Affairs office to see if they’ll help with our artistic elements.

If anyone made it this far through this long and convoluted blog post, comprehending the alphabetic soup of acronyms and following the process, I will personally give you a gold star and drink.

Posted on August 23rd 2007 by David Folweiler in Meetings | Comments Off on Meeting with Stakeholders |

Comments are closed.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.