Frequently-asked Questions (FAQ)

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Where is Magnolia Manor Park?

Magnolia Manor Park is located in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, with entrances at 3500 28th Avenue West. The cross streets of 28th Avenue W and W Ruffner are directly north of the Park and its two entrances.

What is the history of Magnolia Manor Park?

Before 1995, the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) site in which the current Magnolia Manor Park is located contained the Magnolia Reservoir, which was not covered. A new underground lidded reservoir was constructed between 1993 and 1995, as part of SPU’s Reservoir Covering Program program. At that time, through negotiations with the community and the Department of Parks and Recreation, SPU agreed to open the Northwest section as a “passive park” and the remaining area remained fenced off to protect the water supply.

In 2006, the Department of Parks and Recreation conducted a public process (http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/OLA.htm) to identify potential dog off-leash areas (OLAs) in Queen Anne and Magnolia. A site located in Magnolia Manor Park was approved as a potential OLA site, pending approval from SPU, which owns the property on which the park is sited.

In the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces levy, $70,000 in funding was allocated for an OLA in Magnolia. To date the Park has served as an illegal defacto dog park. Eliminating the usual park activities at the site.

In July, 2010, SPU relocated one of its fences reducing the foot print of the Park so that the reservoir would be completely behind chain link fencing, to better protect it; and, SPU felt that heavy usage in the area posed a risk to the safety of the water supply. This change resulted in a reduction in the size of the Park currently 1.6 acres.

Why hasn’t a dog Off-Leash Area (OLA) been built at Magnolia Manor Park yet?

During the 2006 hearings and public process to establish potential pilot sites on Magnolia and Queen Anne, the Department of Parks and Recreation made it clear that there was no current funding for the proposed OLAs. Following public meetings, then superintendent of Parks, Ken Bounds, recommended Magnolia Manor Park as the choice for an off-leash area in Magnolia, pending Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) approval. The Magnolia Community Council requested, should a pilot site be approved for Magnolia, that the City provide funding. In 2008, during public hearings, Citizens for Off Leash Areas (COLA) and other citizens requested that the City Council include designated funds in the Parks and Green Spaces Levy (a multi-year fund.) After the levy passed, the Parks Department prioritized all of the projects to be funded under the Parks and Green Spaces Levy. The OLAs are to be funded from the levy in 2011-12. Parks had intended to get to it; but, because a Park plan process had been intitiated by the community Parks decided to join in the planning process and let the community design the OLA as part of the Preferred Site Plan. The community and the Steering Committees for both grants (see other FAQS) have asked that the bare-bones 10,000 square foot OLA that the $70,000 would funded by Parks be expanded with monies raised by the community to a provide a more satisfactory 21,000 square foot OLA with a chuck it zone and shy dog space. It is targeted to be built by June 2012.

How did this project get started?

Sustainable Magnolia’s Local Food/P-Patch Team, led by Nancy Spragins, initiated contact with P-Patch staff of the Department of Neighborhoods, regarding possible sites in Magnolia in 2010. After the tour of the neighborhood, the consensus was that Manor Park was well suited as a P-Patch site because it is relatively flat and has full sun. The team then put together a meeting and walk-through with Parks and Seattle Public Utilities at the site. From that group of people, the consensus was that a site plan was needed for Magnolia Manor Park.

Sustainable Magnolia, aware of other uses proposed for the site – an off-leash area (OLA) for dogs and a children’s playground – decided that this was a chance to bring people in Magnolia together to help develop a park that would meet the diverse interests of people in the neighborhood. Sustainable Magnolia reached out to the community to form a steering committee for the project representing those interests. That committee included Sustainable Magnolia members as well as people from other organizations and community groups. A Small and Simple Grant Award from the Department of Neighborhoods of $20,000 for landscape architect services, community outreach and meetings was obtained by Sustainable Magnolia Sedptember 10, 2010. The result of that grant was the community Preferred Site Plan for Magnolia Manor Park.

In June, the community, Parks and SPU agreed to accept the Final Preferred Site Plan and this phase of the process was completed. (link to Preferred Site Plan map)

The Plan opens the park up to 4.3 acres (almost triple its current size) by reconfiguring the current fences and security gate to be within or just around the perimeter of the lidded resevior with a legal set-back: and; includes Magnolia’s first dog off-leash area, P-Patch (about 60 plots), and walking trails around and through the Park.

It will allow for the creation of a path to the east, allowing access for the first time to the many neighbors below the exisitng park. It will have open space, informal play and picnic areas and will be part of a two part walking loop between MMP, Lawton Park’s and its new playground, Lawton School and the Lawton Ravine path. The Plan will be designed with sustainability and green practices so maintenace will be sustainable and minimal; yet, have creative and attractive landscaping and park elements.

Who served on the first Steering Committee? How were they chosen?

The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Neighborhoods suggested that the steering committee guiding this design process be comprised of individuals and neighbors with varied interests in the park. Sustainable Magnolia and Nancy Spragins chair gathered the group. Most of those on the steering committee did not know each other before this process began, though all are involved in the community and are eager to engage the community further in bringing about a design that will revitalize this park. They are all volunteers.

Susan Casey is a twenty-six year resident of Seattle, now living on Queen Anne. She serves on the Magnolia/Queen Anne Neighborhood District Council as the Interbay P-Patch representative and has a plot and is active in P-Patch events.

Steve Cellini (co-chair) is a 12 year resident of Magnolia and a neighbor and frequent visitor (with his two kids) to Magnolia Manor Park.

Grace Huang is a member of Sustainable Magnolia, leading its built environment team. She is an architect, ski instructor, and bike enthusiast, and an 8 year resident of Magnolia.

Toni Imfeld has been a Magnolia resident since 1986. She is an attorney who has worked with contractors and design professionals, and serves on the executive board of Citizens for Off Leash Areas (COLA).

Nancy Spragins (chair) has lived near Magnolia Manor Park for twelve years. She leads the local food/P-patch team for Sustainable Magnolia.

Lyon Terry is a 6 year Magnolia resident with 2 school age kids. He is a local school teacher, head of his Block Watch, and a board member of Sustainable Magnolia.

Cathy Van Dyke is a member of Sustainable Magnolia and a 17 year resident of Magnolia. She has been a residential real estate broker for 30+ years.

Monica Wooton is a lifelong resident of Magnolia. The mother of four grown children, Monica serves on the Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council and is president of the Magnolia Historical Society and lives near Magnolia Manor Park.

Did the Steering Committee design the new Park?

The Steering Committee did not design the new Park. The Steering Committee had the task of administrating the Department of neighborhoods Small and Simple grant: 1) Putting together a plan to advertise and hire a consultant in an open process, as per the conditions of The Department of Neighborhoods grant 2) To create a web-site (www.MagnoliaManorPark.org) for information to be kept and obtained by the public regarding the process 3) To advise the consultant regarding the issues to be considered in setting up a community process to gather feed-back from neighbors and stakeholders in designing the park elements. 4) To help advertise and run the community workshops/meetings 5) Enable as much involvement from the community as possible.

The Steering Committee members, as individuals with their own interests for the park, gave input about their desires for the Park Site Plan with all others of the community at the public meetings/workshops in the public process.

What is the Department of Neighborhoods?

“Seattle Department of Neighborhoods works to bring government closer to the residents of Seattle by engaging them in civic participation; helping them become empowered to make positive contributions to their communities; and by involving more of Seattle’s underrepresented residents, including communities of color and immigrants, in civic discourse, processes, and opportunities” (From http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods)

What is a Small and Simple Grant?

“The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program was created in 1988 to provide neighborhood groups with City resources for community-driven projects that enhance and strengthen their own neighborhoods. All projects are initiated, planned and implemented by community members in partnership with the City. Every award is matched by neighborhoods’ or communities’ resources of volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services or cash.”

“The Small and Simple Projects Fund provides awards up to $20,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project.

  • Provide a public benefit and be free and open to all members of the public.
  • Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the neighbors and community members who will themselves be impacted by the project.
  • Demonstrate community match.
  • Occur within the Seattle city limits.”

Community match -“Core to NMF is the contribution of community match – volunteer labor, donated materials, professional services and/or cash from community members – that awardees must raise to match the City’s award. Physical improvement projects (where something tangible and lasting, such as a playground or public art, is being created) require a 1:1 match (the community match must equal the funding request).” http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods

Laurie Ames from the Department of Neighborhoods has been assigned to assist the steering committee in carrying out the requirements of the grant.

What is the role of the Department of Parks and Recreation in this project?

Seattle Parks and Recreation must approve any site plan recommended for Magnolia Manor Park. Parks held initial meetings in 2006 for the siting of an off leash area in Magnolia and as a result of those meetings requires that a new site plan include an off leash area.

What is the role of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in this project?

SPU is the owner of the land where Magnolia Manor Park is sited. SPU must approve the final site plan for the park and protecting the reservoir remains its chief concern.

What is the role of the Emergency Preparedness Council (EPC) in this project?

The Emergency Preparedness Council, a sub-committee of the Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council has established Magnolia Manor Park as a ham radio transmission site and a hub site for emergencies/natural disasters that may occur. They will make suggestions as to what is needed at Magnolia Manor Park to implement their plan and the Landscape Architect is working with them on any issues that arise.

What was the role of the Landscape Architect hired by the Steering Committee for this project?

Site Workshop LLC (siteworkshop.net) was selected for the Site Plan design through a competitive and open selection process process. Site Workshop LLC did facilitate and document a public feedback and review process, through four community meetings, comments submitted on magnoliamanorpark.org, and an online survey (magnoliamanorpark.org/design/survey1), synthesizing the results into draft and preferred schematic site plans. The four community events were held on:

  • March 2, 6:30-8:30pm: Background and Brainstorming Workshop (Meeting #1)
  • March 5, 10am-12pm: A Walk in the Park (Informal Site Visit)
  • April 9, 10am-12pm: Draft Designs Workshop (Meeting #2)
  • June 8, 7-9pm: Preferred Design Review (Meeting #3)

At Magnolia Presbyterian Church, 3051 28th Avenue West. The site visit was at Magnolia Manor Park, 3500 28th Avenue West.

Three conceptual plans were reviewed by Seattle Parks and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). And, then with the community at Public Meeting #2. Based on community input at Public Meeting #2, three concepts were further refined into the Preferred Site Plan.

The Preferred Site Plan was reviewed and approved by Seattle Parks and SPU and then approved by the community at Public Meeting #3. The completed project included the detailed Plan, a project report of the process as well as preliminary cost estimates associated with park elements. The Preferred Site Plan and the detailed report prepared by Site Workshop will be used for fund raising and as a guide for future project implementation. The report is a public document and can be viewed by emailing us at contact@MagnoliaManorPark

Toward the end of the first grant and its completion a sub-committee of the Steering Committee formed to brainstorm how to keep the momentum going and realize the Preferred Site Plan. It was from this group that the Friends of Magnolia Manor Park (FMMP) Steering Committee was formed with the idea to get a second Depatment of Neighborhood’s Small and Simple Grant Award.

They also formed the new Friends of Magnolia Manor park (FMMP) Steering Committee with the charge of continuing on the work that had already be accomplished.

Who serves on the FMMP Steering Committee and how were they selected?

Friends of Magnolia Manor Park” (FMMP) Steering Committee

These are the folks working to take the design created during the initial “Schematic Design” phase closer to actual implementation of the Park. Some carried on the work of the original steering committee, others volunteered or were asked to serve by original members who came to know them through their participation in the development of the Preferred Site Plan. Most are neighbors of Magnolia Manor Park.

Ron Bomba supports the multi-use plans that include defined areas for picnic & play, dogs and P-patches.

PattyBomba joined the Steering Committee as Secretary, married to Ron, they have lived near the park for 40 years.

Carol Burton recorded the minutes for the existing Steering Committee and would like to see the vision for the park become reality.

Susan Casey serves on the Magnolia/Queen Anne Neighborhood District Council and is a longtime advocate of the P-patch program and urban agriculture. She was a member of the existing Steering Committee for Magnolia Manor Park. She will be the new chair.

Toni Imfeld is an attorney who has worked with contractors and design professionals, and serves on the executive board of Citizens for Off Leash Areas (COLA). She is a member of the existing Steering Committee for Magnolia Manor Park.

LuAnne Mitchell would love Manor Park to become the local park that could accommodate and integrate the community need for an OLA and the community desire for a P-Patch.

Marilynn Sheldon is retired as founding managing director of the 5th Avenue Theater and is avid gardener and painter and advocate and lover of musical theatre.

Geogre Tracy, his wife and six year old daughter, live two blocks from Magnolia Manor Park and he is interested in seeing it developed for the best use for every interest. He has been in the construction business since 1978.

Monica Wooton life long Magnolian and living near the park is the mother of four grown children, serves as president of the Magnolia Historical Society and is a member of the existing Steering Committee for Magnolia Manor Park.

What are the next steps that the Friends of Magnolia Manor Park are taking in getting the Preferred Site Plan designed and built?

Department of Neighborhoods awarded Friends of Magnolia Manor Park a Small and Simple Matching Grant Award on July 15th of $20,000 to do design and early construction documents of the Preferred Site Plan. Site Workshop will continue working with the FMMP Steering Committee, the community, and Parks to design the Off-leash Area, P-Patches, walking paths and other Park elements. (link to grant and award letters)

The Grant was signed between the Steering Committee and department of Neighborhoods the week of August 29th and funds become available. Site Workshop was hired in early October 2011 by the FMMP Steering Committee to begin the design process. Volunteer hours have been accumulating since May 9th on the match.

The Steering Committee is working with Site Workshop to develop the Preferred Site Plan elements and the community will be asked to comment on the design documents.

There will be 2 public meetings to be announced: November 16th, 7-9pm, at Magnolia Presbyterian Church 3051 28th Avenue West corner of 28th Avenue West and West Dravus Street; and, one public meeting after the first of the year TBA.