If playing ultimate Frisbee or soccer in the mud is part of your winter ritual, then you’ll need to head somewhere besides Wallingford Playfield this year. The Parks Department recently closed to field to allow turf rebuilding. And this year they mean it! They have erected fencing to render the field largely unusable. I guess they finally realized that Wallingford’s winter sports enthusiasts, dog owners and restless youth were not going to stay off the field simply because a sign politely asked them to.
Margaret spoke with Seattle Parks and Rec crew chief, Colleen Hackett, who reports that the field has been leveled and seeded, and top soil was added to what they had placed on the ground last year. They’re also hoping to aerate the field, but there’s a pump that needs to be fixed first. “Probably February will be our next chance to put seed down and get it established in March,” adds Hackett.
But Hackett’s main concern is that she hopes neighbors will keep the dogs off the field. She acknowledged that the field is heavily used for soccer, ultimate frisbee, and Hamilton’s programs, but off-leash use is the one action that has the largest impact and is against park use.
So, we contacted COLA to see what it would take to establish a new off leash park, and Patrick Jones, who serves as Chairman for COLA told us that, “Once there is support for an off leash area, it helps to have a petition with signatures and then contact us on who wants to be the lead contact and then we can at least see if there is support other than a few people. It takes years, but we can try to cut that down when there is a community that really stands behind the steps.”
The closest off leash dog area to Wallingford is in at Lower Woodland Park, which is only a mile away, though it can be a pretty muddy place for pooches to play. But Jones tells us, “We have a new steward at Lower Woodland and we hope to be supporting that off leash area to resolve some of its muddy issues.”