The before and after images of Lowman Beach Park are like night and day.
Before the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department renovated the park and opened up its beachfront, Lowman offered visitors a ragged and broken tennis court, industrial steel swings with not enough padding beneath them and a hint of rocky beach with limited driftwood seating. Not to mention, half of a crumbling seawall that was both unsafe and an eyesore.
Beach access widened
When the parks department and the Morgan Junction Community Association celebrate completion of the park’s reboot on September 24 from 10 a.m. to noon, visitors will discover a wide grassy park in place of of ugly tennis cement, new benches, a cleaned swing set for kids, a widely extended open rocky beachfront with plenty of drift wood to sit on while watching the waves or kids. The crumbling wall? It’s been removed.
A project long in coming
The southern half of the seawall failed in the mid-1990s. The renovation project included removal of the other half of the seawall and the daylighting of the portion of Pelly Creek that ran beneath the wall.
By removing the wall, the parks department was able to establish nearly 7,000 square feet of shoreline without any structures obstructing access or views. The shoreline park now boasts an open lawn area and a gradual transition from a vegetated upland habitat to a nearshore habitat. This aspect of the park’s redesign is aimed at restoring the area’s ecological functions and natural habitats and allow the beach to develop more naturally over time.
Ready to return to the park
“We’ve been waiting for this upgrade for years,” said a West Seattle mother of two who lives near Lowman. She preferred her name not be used.
“I stopped bringing my kids here after a while,” she said. “It just didn’t feel like a safe place for kids and honestly, it wasn’t the most beautiful spot. But we’re really excited about how it’s turned out.”
As barriers have been taken away over the last several months to reveal more spiffed up park space, more and more families have been venturing out to Lowman. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in good weather, the park is often covered in blankets. Down on the beach, kids examine rocks, people sit or balance on wood, kayaks and paddleboards are launched into Puget Sound, a few brave souls get in the water although Lowman is not one of the parks department’s designated swimming beaches.
Lots of learning opportunities at celebration
During the Saturday morning celebration event, the parks department’s Environmental Education Team and the Seattle Aquarium will have naturalists on site to help the community explore the beach.
Alki Kayak Tours will have stand-up paddle boards and tips for successful paddling on hand during the event. At the same time, volunteers from Whale Trail will be on hand to teach about the trail and the marine mammals that live along it. The celebration will offer an opportunity to explore the new beach and enjoy refreshments, including West Seattle’s Original Bakery donuts.
The Lowman Beach Park celebration event will be held Saturday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to noon at 7017 Beach Dr. SW in West Seattle.
More at Seattle’s Child:
“Eight great beaches to explore at low tide”