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Cheasty Greenspace Meeting 1/29

On Thursday, there’s an informational meeting regarding the various projects planned and underway at the Cheasty Greenspace:
Everyone is welcome to attend this week’s 4th Project Advisory Team meeting on Jan. 29 from 6-9pm at Jefferson Community Center just off of Beacon Ave.
This is a public opportunity to learn more about this project, and its goals for creating equitable access to nature and recreation in Seattle’s south end, and restoring the Rainier Valley’s largest contiguous forest.
Public comment will be taken  during the last hour of the meeting.  Please come! Your presence and voice is critical to communicating to city officials the support of responsible recreational access and community connection in this particular public wooded parkland.”cheasty

Another Cheasty Update: The “Moleman’s” Half-Acre Tunnels

Not sure how I missed this one (which made it all the way to CBS news (click here for the video)). Here’s the story from The Seattle Weekly‘s Kelton Sears:

The Cheasty Greenbelt in Beacon Hill (currently under consideration as the site of a future mountain bike trail) has apparently been under excavation by a burrowing fellow for the past 5 years who is now being dubbed the “Moleman.”

photo from ednewbold.com

photo from ednewbold.com

Ed Newbold, an artist and Beacon Hill resident, has taken pictures of the Moleman’s work on his blog, where he also details encountering the mysterious figure:

“Each time I have been there, there are more excavations. On the morning of June 29 Delia and I visited the wetland and met the man. His name is James, he told me where he is from and where his parents now live, which is nearby. He asked me how many times I had been there. He apologized for how dirty he was when we shook hands. When I complemented the place he was living, he said there were too many noxious weeds. I tried to get him to differentiate between the natives ferns and Salmonberry and the invasive English Ivy, but I don’t think he bought it.

The Moleman’s work includes a cave like structure with a stick gate, an irrigation canal, a staircase, and a number of random scattered holes stretching a half-acre. Impressive as his labor may be, the city parks decided to put an end to his habitat-damaging digs. However, when they went to evict the man from his woodland hollow with a no-tresspass order, he was nowhere to be found. The man has reportedly been asked by park staff to leave multiple times, but continues to return.

The city says the work to fill the holes created by the Moleman, “could cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars,” according to CBS.

Latest Cheasty Bike Park Update

Yesterday, Publicola reported the following:

The council also put off (for one week) legislation that would allo8475634_origcate $100,000 in city money (out of an estimated cost of $750,000) to a new mountain bike park in Southeast Seattle’s Cheasty Greenspace, a long, narrow greenbelt that runs between Columbia City and Beacon Hill. Some neighborhood residents have argued that the greenbelt should be preserved as natural space and wildlife habitat. Proponents say it would provide recreation and education to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and provide a new connection between Columbia City and Beacon Hill.

Council member Sally Bagshaw said that even if the council does approve the legislation, “that isn’t a guarantee that it’s going in” to the city budget.

More on the Cheasty Bike Park

The debate over the Cheasty Bike Park has been dominating the Southend news coverage as of late. The Seattle Times‘ Lynn Thompson has the latest:

Joel DeJong is an enthusiastic advocate for mountain biking. He runs a commuter bike-building company in Fremont, takes his kids out on wooded trails outside of the city on2024180091 weekends and for the past seven years has marshaled hundreds of volunteers to help clean up and restore the overgrown woods near his home.

But his vision for a mountain-bike trail around the 27-acre Cheasty Greenspace on the east slope of Seattle’s Beacon Hill is dividing residents and drawing protests from nature lovers who don’t want one of the city’s few undeveloped parks turned over to active recreation.

The controversy is reminiscent of the fight two years ago when the Seattle Parks Department proposed allowing a private company to operate a zip line in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, a plan that was shelved after a public outcry.

“Our concern is this will set a precedent, that Parks will take away a natural area of which there are very few left,” said Mark Ahlness, a retired teacher who led the fight against the zip line and is now one of the directors of the Seattle Nature Alliance, which advocates for preserving and protecting the city’s natural areas.

DeJong and other supporters say the mountain-bike trail, which would be the first in a Seattle park, would give youths who aren’t able to get out of the city an opportunity to experience the joy of riding their bikes in the woods. And in the process, they argue, the kids would gain an appreciation of nature and a sense of ownership for the green space.

Read the whole piece here.

Cheasty Bike Park Moving Forward

SeattleMet’s Erica C. Barnett is reporting that the Cheasty Bike Park (click for more details) received the go-ahead vote on Tuesday:

Opponents of a proposal to build a series of trails for mountain bikes in Beacon Hill and Columbia City’s Cheasty Greenspace lost the first round in their battle yesterday, when the city cou8475634_origncil’s neighborhoods committee voted to move forward a bunch of neighborhood matching fund proposals that included $100,000 in city dollars for the mountain-bike plan. (The vote was 1-0-1—ties move legislation forward—with Sally Bagshaw in favor, and Harrell abstaining.)

Some neighbors of the park, which spans 43 acres in Southeast Seattle, oppose the 10-acre trail project (of which about 2 acres would consist of actual trail space) because, they argue, it would result in loss of wildlife habitat and urban tree cover; it will compromise the safety of park users (including cyclists); it will increase parking pressure in the area; and because, in the words of the group Save Cheasty Greenspace, “Passive use park lands should not be converted to active use park lands.”

Additionally, opponents argue that the council is moving forward with funding for the plan (which has a total price tag of $750,000) before proponents have raised their own half-million-dollar contribution and presented a formal plan to the council. “And by that point it is unlikely that there is any turning back,” an email from the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition put it earlier this month.“I’ve seen some videos of these mountain bikes—these kids are doing these twists and all this stuff. I asked the question on this project … [what about] safety concerns and insurance concerns?”—Council Member Bruce Harrell

(Parks director Christopher Williams said today, “We recognize that some of the input and concerns that the community has need to be reflected in the design and the proposal going forward. It’s our hope that we can still get there.”)

Proponents, meanwhile, argue that a series of bike and pedestrian paths will provide “enjoyment, recreation, and education” to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and will create a new pedestrian connection between Beacon Hill and Columbia City.

Click here for the whole article.

National Trails Day on Saturday: Volunteer at Cheasty Greenspace

National Trails Day this Saturday and the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace have an event planned for those looking for volunteers. From their Facebook page:

Friends, come out to the woods THIS Saturday, June 7, which is National Trails Day! Cheasty Greenspace is a host site for this day of celebrating how trails provide equitable access to nature and recreation. Meet at 2809 S. Alaska Place 98108 at 9:45am for registration; work party is from 10am-12pm. Gloves and tools provided!

Follow Up: Future Mountain Bike Park at Cheasty Greenspace

Following the last post on the future mountain bike park at Cheasty, Columbia City Source was contacted by Mary DeJong (Co-founder & Co-chair, Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mt.View) looking to get some more information out about the project and what they are doing to reclaim the site for public use:

Neighbors and Community members,

unnamed-2I want to respectfully address some of the misunderstandings and misperceptions around this current conversation about mountain biking in Seattle’s greenspaces.  The Cheasty Greenspace Trails and Mountain Bike Park (aka Beacon Bike Park) has been a very public project that was first submitted via the 2013 Levy Opportunities Fund.  The Friends of Cheasty Mt. View reached out for support, opposition, and public input through flyers, web based information, and numerous public meetings in 2012 when it was applying for the Levy Opportunity Fund grant.

Based on an out-dated bike use policy, the project wasn’t funded.  However, due to the tremendous interest and support this project has garnered, Seattle Parks entered into a very public process to consider amending the bike-use-policy.  In response to concerns of potentially seeing bikes in all natural areas, the Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners and Seattle Parks (via the public meeting/comment process) requested a pilot/demonstration project in Cheasty Greenspace.  For the following reasons, Cheasty Greenspace has been identified by Seattle Parks as the best location for this pilot project, which was unanimously voted in favor at the January 9 Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners public hearing.

Please, do come out for the public information meeting on Tuesday, March 25, from 6:30-8:00pm at Jefferson Community Center.  We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in response to the proposed design for a multi-use trail system that will see this land informing the health and wellness of our community.

Continue reading

Cheasty Greenbelt…Future Mountain Bike Park

6473854Dan writes:

Did you know that the city is looking to turn the Cheasty Greenbelt into a mountain bike park?  There’s a meeting about this on Tuesday.  The project, in my opinion, is being pushed through with as little noise as possible to avoid opposition.

The meeting is taking place this Tuesday (3/25) at the Jefferson Community Center from 6:30-8PM. According to this official meeting notice:

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to join in the Cheasty Mountain Bike Pilot Project public meeting on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave S, 98108.

The pilot project will take place in Cheasty Greenspace, located on the east slope of Beacon Hill directly above the Rainier Valley and Martin Luther King Way. The project will provide a soft surface mountain bike trail at Cheasty Greenspace. The goal is to provide a mountain bike experience for users of all ages and abilities in conjunction with ongoing and future forest restoration.

There’s a lot more info about the folks behind the proposal, the planning, and the goals here, at beaconbikepark.com. From their site, it looks like things are moving forward:

On January 9, 2014, the Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a mountain bike pilot project in

Cheasty Greenspace, aka Beacon Bike Park.  The Seattle Parks staff will be managing much of the process for building the park.  However, they are looking to volunteers (all of us) torestore the 34 acres of forest and build the trails.  Please stay connected to these efforts by joining our email list below and by liking our Facebook page.

Halloween in Columbia City

Interested in celebrating Halloween locally this year?

Columbia City is once-again hosting its annual Halloween event in the main business district complete with trick or treating, lots of adorable kids, and Geraldine’s Annual Halloween Costume Contest. As always, the competition is fierce.CCHalloween-Poster

The Rainier Valley Post also has a great overview of the events in the south-end. Be sure to click here to check out the RVP’s full post with links to all the details. Below are the details on just a few on the list.

There are so many fun Halloween events happening right here in the Rainier Valley both this weekend and next. Have fun, stay safe and use the comment section below to tell us what you did. You can even post your “South-End Halloween Scenes” on our Facebook Page. Enjoy!

The Fright On 44thColumbia City’s free annual haunted house comin’ at you live on Halloween night since the mid-nineties! The Fright (5036 44th Ave. S.) continues to expand by popular demand and even held a toned down pre-show for the little ones this year. Complete with backyard maze with live actors, props, attractions, tricks, treats, and the unexpected. All ages welcome but parental supervision is recommended. #BOO!

Trick or treat in Columbia CityThis is a fun, safe, annual trick-or-treat event in the heart of the Columbia City business district and sponsored by the Columbia City Business Association (CCBA). Look for orange and black balloons from 3 to 6 pm on Fri., Oct. 31, to identify participating businesses. Don’t forget to say, “Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, gimme somethin’ good to eat!” I mean, “Thank you!”

Lantern Walk in Cheasty Greenspace/Mt. ViewBased on traditions and cultures from all over the world that see the deepening darkness of Autumn as an invitation to shine our own personal light even brighter. Co-sponsored by The Makery and New Rainier Vista’s Seattle Housing Authority. Scheduled for Sat., Nov. 1, from 5:30 to 6:30(ish). Lantern making events are even in the works!

Update from the Beacon Hill Bike Park Meeting

Yesterday, the Slog (The Stranger’s online blog), recently posted Ansel Herz’s coverage of the March 25th public meeting regarding the Beacon Hill Bike Park at Cheasty. The post highlights the various viewpoints presented at the packed meeting and extends into 30+ comments that are also worth exploring.

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Melanie Coerver

From The Slog (be sure to click here to read the full post):

…”I’m bad at guessing numbers, but I’d say a couple hundred people showed up for the public comment meeting and many of them were of the angry yelling variety,” Coerver says. “Most of the opposition had hysterical complaints that the project would cause landslides and kill wildlife and that they hate this project because they don’t own a mountain bike and don’t like people who do.”

But then I called up Ed Newbold, a talented wildlife artist (seriously, I was randomly admiring his artwork without knowing who he was at Pike Place Market the other day) who’s an outspoken opponent of the project—he even took out an ad in the Seattle Times last week. And goddammit, he sounds downright reasonable and thoughtful.”I have a lot of respect for the people who are proposing this. I don’t question their motives at all,” says Newbold, who’s lived on Beacon Hill for thirty years. “The pro-bike people have a great track record of working on restoration in the southern part of the Cheasty forest. They’re not out to do evil or harm.”

But then he rattles off the beautiful little birds—Wilson’s warblers, Rufous humming birds—whose habitat might be threatened by the project. He claims the greenbelt is effectively a wetland, citing the presence of skunk cabbage, an indicator for wet terrain, as well as four houses that have slid in the area, including one that’s been condemned. “The reason it’s a greenbelt is essentially that the land’s unstable,” he says…