(This post was submitted by Richard Haag Associates, a Wallyhood sponsor. Rich Haag was the designer of Gas Works Park.)
Gas Works Park Children’s Play Area Renovation: An Integrated Solution
Inside and Outside the Play Barn
Patrick Waddell, Tom Grant, Judy Moise
Friends of Gas Works Park
The Gas Works Park Master Plan (1971) declares that a principal design element is to transform industrial age artifacts into a park offering opportunities for active and spontaneous play. This element was particularly rich within the Children’s Play Area. However, the play area constructed according to the original design has been lost over time due to lack of maintenance, and is now at odds with the Master Plan.
Fortunately, the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces allocated 1.4M$ specifically targeted for the GWP Children’s Play Area renovation. Work on this project has now reached active status for Seattle Parks and Recreation and public meetings are beginning to ensure community participation in the development of the project scope. The first of these meetings will take place at the Good Shepherd Center, next Tuesday, March 11, starting at 6:30 PM.
Shortly after the passage of the Parks & Green Spaces Levy, and at the time hoping for an early start to improve this important element of the Park, an ad hoc committee of Friends of Gas Works Park members and Wallingford residents worked to develop a “renovation plan”. This is exuberantly reflected in the Richard Haag Associates play area plan (see illustration). While school-aged children, especially those in the north Lake Union neighborhoods, will get the most enjoyment and use of the play equipment, the play area will delight all children and their companions visiting this historic park.
The Play Area Integrated Elements:
Inside the Play Barn:
- Fall-protected flooring
- Soft seat swings on stanchions
- Endless “monkey bars” to complement original historic machinery
- Daylighted formerly dark area (requires roof paneling, est. $150K)
- Modern, fun play equipment
Outside the Play Barn:
- Modern play equipment, connected by multiple slides to the indoor barn
- Spray and splash pool
- Camera Obscura/Children’s Light and Optics Display in the small tower
- Mural to incorporate energy production history, art in an educational way
- Play area brought up to current ADA and safety standards for accessibility
- Compatible with solar panel initiatives to set green standards for Solar Energy Collection, designed in collaboration with Wallingford Solar Initiative, a neighborhood solar organization
Friends of Gas Works Park members are passionate about this creative gem in the center of Seattle, and we strive to preserve its design vision and move its development toward completion as envisioned in the original Master Plan. Gas Works Parks is a Seattle Historic Landmark, listed on the Washington State Historic Register and the National Register of Historic Places 2013.
(There is a public meeting to discuss the Gas Works Play Area renovation March 11th, 2014 from 6.30-8pm at the Good Shepherd Center.)