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Tuesday, November 30, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Corner Of Reservoir Site To Be Used As Park -- Magnolia Plan Called Good Compromise

A compromise has been reached in a dispute over what to do with the old reservoir site on Magnolia's east hill: The northwest corner will be set aside for a passive park, and the rest will remain behind a chain-link barrier.

The Seattle Water Department has dug out the reservoir, near 27th Avenue West and West Bertona Street, and is building a $5 million underground tank and a concrete lid to keep out chlorine-degrading sunlight and bird droppings.

While some neighbors saw the lid as a chance for the city to create a new neighborhood park, others living next to the area wanted the new reservoir fenced off, like the old one, to discourage traffic, undesirable park users and crime.

Bart Becker of the Water Department said part of the fenced-off section will be over reservoir hatches that need to be secured. The park portion - two of the site's six acres - will be accessible only from 28th Avenue West.

In coming to the compromise, the city took into consideration a number of conditions proposed by the Magnolia Community Club, which had suggested seeking police help with the design to ensure visibility from the street, to preserve the privacy of neighbors, to develop a park with no sports, swings or merry-go-rounds, and to put the entrance at 28th Avenue West.

"Our feeling is the plan now presented meets all the considerations we outlined," said Tim Washburn, community club president. "It's a very good compromise."

Ted Holden, a parks department landscape architect, said the park will include grassy areas, trees, low-growing shrubs, a few benches and a pathway wide enough for police and parks vehicles to drive to a viewpoint to the east. The site has a view of the Cascades to the east and Mount Baker to the north.

"This is a very passive park," Holden said. "A lot of elderly people live in the apartments adjacent to it. Hopefully, they will adopt the park."

Opponents might have preferred no park at all, but they appreciate being heard.

"It's as good as we're going to get," said Tom Kesterson, an electronics technician whose home is bordered on two sides by the reservoir property. "It is not what we would have liked, which is to have left the property completely locked, but it's better than a lot of the proposals they originally had."

Becker said the reservoir rehabilitation project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 1995.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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