Courtesy photo: Amy Vanderbeck drowned in one of the park's ponds after falling in back in January.
Courtesy photo: Amy Vanderbeck drowned in one of the park's ponds after falling in back in January.

The Volunteer Park Trust has launched its fall fundraising campaign to cover two park improvement projects.

The trust plans to replace the low-quality, 14-inch tall wire fencing around Volunteer Park’s lily ponds with 30-inch-high metal fencing around both ponds that is expected to be safer than what is currently there.

Amy Vanderbeck, a 49-year-old Capitol Hill woman, accidentally drowned in one of those ponds in January.

“This project was actually begun two years before we even existed,” said Jeff Crandall, VPT administrative services manager. “We’re very sorry about Amy’s death, and we’re not sure if this fencing would have prevented her death or not.”

He added the fencing is expected to provide added safety for children playing around the ponds.

The Associated Recreation Council, working out of the Miller Community Center, began fundraising to replace the fencing around the ponds in 2010, but was only able to raise $2,800, Crandall said. The cost for manufacturing and installing the new fencing is estimated at $46,000. Crandall said ARC has put its $2,800 toward the trust’s efforts, and VPT is seeking grant funding through Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods.

The Volunteer Park Trust will be requesting approval for the project from Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks once a final design is reached.

“We hope to get started by the spring,” Crandall said, “and then have it installed by the summer.”

Working with SPR and Seattle Public Utilities, VPT is also raising funds to modernize Volunteer Park’s 40 street lamps and replace inefficient sodium bulbs with LEDs. The lamp globes will be replaced and the poles painted, according to a VPT community letter.

Replacing the globes and changing out the sodium bulbs with LEDs is estimated to cost $34,000, and then another $39,000 to repaint the light poles.

“This has been on the back burner of improvements we’ve wanted to make in the park since we were founded in 2012,” Crandall said.

Trust fundraising is also to support annual operations, monthly work parties and its biennial Restoration Days. The fall campaign is expected to run through December, with an end-of-the-year push, Crandall said.

To learn more about VPT or to provide support, go to volunteerparktrust.org.