Breathe easy, all you pitchers and putters, servers and volleyers, thespians, lawn bowlers and swimmers of all stripes.
Early results from an ongoing poll on where a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool might be located are pretty clear: Keep it where it is — and don’t touch the Green Lake Pitch & Putt, The Bathhouse Theater, the Woodland Park lawn bowling area or the Lower Woodland tennis courts.
There was worry among longtime lovers of those signature spots when they learned that planners at the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department were considering relocating the new community center and pool to more stable ground.
The current Green Lake Community Center was built 91 years ago and is no longer able to handle the volume of people there to swim, use the gym or visit the bathrooms.
The plan is to build a new community center and pool in three to five years, with a focus on the needs of a much-changed city. It would not be just a pool and gym facilities, but a place with art spaces and multipurpose rooms for classes and meetings — all while maintaining the original vision of its renowned landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers, and honoring Green Lake’s long legacy.
So, planners considered their options, which included relocating to the center to the lawn bowling space, the theater, the golf course and the tennis courts.
“That was the challenge,” said Seattle Parks strategic adviser David Graves. “We knew going in that some people were going to be mad at us, and that wasn’t the intention.”
The COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to hold an in-person, town hall-style meeting. Instead, Graves created an online open house attended by 2,400 people and an online poll and survey so people could log in at their leisure, cast their vote and complete a survey about what they might like at the new community center.
With one day left to vote, the choice is pretty clear: Of the approximately 2,100 folks who voted online, about 1,500 voted to keep the pool where it sits.
“It’s been really great to hear from folks, especially at a time when we get maybe 100 people at a physical community meeting,” Graves said. “This will really push us to think differently about how we do our outreach. Online is a viable option.”
Graves expects to have the “raw results” of the survey on the Seattle Parks website in the next couple of weeks and is planning another online presentation on the new Green Lake Community Center in July. A decision on the location will be made in the fall, with $1 million in design work to follow.