The Fussy Eye: Circles of Life

A park for the bats.

The city isn't opening many new parks during these budget-crunched times. A noteworthy exception, however, is the freshly renovated and renamed Thomas C. Wales Park, though it isn't a cheerful place for kids to frolic on swings or splash in the wading pool. Instead, it's a memorial to the federal prosecutor who was murdered nine years ago in his nearby Queen Anne home—a place to sit and reflect, to take in the view from Dexter Avenue down to Lake Union. Once a city-owned gravel pit, the 1.3-acre bowl now features gentle terraces, gravel paths, and well-positioned benches, all designed by SiteWorkshop Landscape Architects. At the center of the basin, artist Adam Kuby has created five raised rings—river stones held inside a metal mesh (called gabions). Up high on stilts, these discs are mysterious at first, but their smooth metal legs provide a clue: Predators won't be able to climb them to harm the birds and bats hoped to nest there. Below, a boggy trough will attract insects and other edible critters. From the barren old pit, new life shall rise. The $750,000 makeover was funded by our Pro Parks Levy a decade ago. Meanwhile, the FBI investigation into Wales' unsolved slaying has been going on almost that long. His namesake park opened this month; a formal dedication will follow next spring. It'll look better in a few years, when the greenery grows in—by which time we can only hope that Wales' killer will be rotting in prison. 

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