Controversy brewing over Counterbalance Park

Posted on April 6th, 2012 by Laura Fonda

A clash over changes being proposed to the Uptown/Lower Queen Anne Counterbalance Park is pitting neighbor against neighbor. Architect and urban planner Mark Hinshaw wrote a passionate entreaty for the preservation of the park, drawing further attention to the last work created by architect Robert Murase.

Flora Ninelles, a dissenting member of the Uptown Alliance Parks Committee, wrote to the Queen Anne View: “Counterbalance Park is in danger of having its elegant, zen-inspired design be spoiled… [by]… the Uptown Alliance Parks Committee. They are ready to saw through its beautiful, subtly designed boardwalk in a hasty decision to find a place to install a five-foot-tall basalt boulder inscribed with a tribute to major donors who made the park possible.

“This came about because the parks committee originally decided to locate the tall boulder with four other complementary boulders in the central area of the park in a grove of gingko trees. Later, the Seattle Parks Department and the Uptown Alliance parks committee wisely decided that the five rocks would make too heavy an image in the center of the park and that just the three smaller rocks would look better.

“But rather than sell off the two remaining large tall boulders and devise a better-looking , smaller plaque to acknowledge the donors, the leaders of the Uptown Alliance parks committee hurriedly tried to place the two leftover boulders somewhere on the edges of the park. There is no other place in the park where they would look good, but would only clutter the total elegant, spare, subtle design.

“Unfortunately, the location the Uptown Alliance parks committee chose is the most prominent of all the edges, the northwest corner by Queen Anne Avenue and the Willcox condos. And to do that they would have to tear up the beautiful boardwalk and install a fairly large cement platform to support the two large boulders.

“I happen to be a rogue member of the Uptown Alliance parks committee who regrets ever having been a part of this sorry idea to place boulders in a park which would look better left just as it is, but I have not been able to persuade the committee not to saw through that gorgeous boardwalk.

“I hope people in Queen Anne and Uptown will protest this desecration of Counterbalance Park. It was designed by an eminent landscape architect, Robert Murase, who had a special place in his heart for it but who unfortunately died during its construction and is not here to defend it.”

Visit the Uptown Alliance Parks Committee on Facebook.

The Uptown Counterbalance Park at night
Photo by Joe Mabel via Flickr

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