The Volunteer Park Reservoir was taken out of service in April, 2013 by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for decommissioning testing and seismic evaluation. After careful study, SPU determined in January 2019 that the reservoir should remain part of Seattle’s drinking water distribution system for emergency response purposes.
Volunteer Park Trust has prioritized the re-landscaping of degraded areas surrounding the reservoir, as part of the restoration of core features of John Charles Olmsted’s 1908-09 park design.
The original design featured an unobstructed axial view from the central concourse west toward the city, Sound and Olympic Mountains. The Trust would like to see this once again become the “Sunset Promenade” and recapture the experience enjoyed by city residents who took the 15th Avenue trolley uphill to Volunteer Park to hear music in the bandstand, walk around the reservoir, and view the sunset from benches arrayed along its west edge.
Like us, they enjoyed panoramas across the great reservoir reflecting pool, but their view was unmarred by chain link fence, graffiti, overgrown shrubs and weedy trees. We hope to work with Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation to find ways to bring back this magnificent space for the pleasure of today’s park users while still meeting the city’s needs for drinking water in emergency situations.