A corn hole game installed by the city of Seattle at Ballard Commons park. It is maintained by a "concierge" whose job is to build a comfortable atmosphere in the park. 
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A corn hole game installed by the city of Seattle at Ballard Commons park. It is maintained by a "concierge" whose job is to build a comfortable atmosphere in the park.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Ballard gets 'park concierge,' but it's not as fancy as it sounds

Across from the Ballard library is a park with cornhole, a skateboard area and splash pool.

Ballard Commons Park also now has a concierge.

He wears a city badge and is ready for any takers for a cornhole match.

It's a sign that residents of Ballard are not wrong when they say the problems of fast growth, including the problems related to homelessness such as public drug-taking and inebriation, have lodged in their community.

Because along with the fun and games, there are people sleeping on the grass or sidewalks around the park.

The city's parks department says the concierge's job is to build a positive atmosphere in the park so that people feel good bringing their children here. The concierge stays through the day and until evening.

People without places to live can still be in the park during the day, but the concierge will be there to prevent outbursts. The city says it will enforce laws that say people can't sleep in the park at night.

On Monday, signs posted in the park indicated the park had been recently swept. A woman walking by, who did not give her name, observed that city sweeps rarely resulted in change for long.

Neighbors said the city concierge won’t hurt. It’s a way to ease tension neighbors can feel while living beside homelessness — while not addressing the problems that created the homelessness.

Ballard Commons Park is relatively new. It's land made into a park after a grocery store was demolished for one of the neighborhood's many mid-rise housing developments.

It has a skateboarding area and children's splash fountain. The city is also spending $550,000 on a so-called Portland loo — a permanent restroom made of resistant material.