“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site.”
A community “open house” at the planned Cayton Corner Park at 19th and Madison put plans on display Tuesday evening as the park enters its final phase of design. Planners say it should be open for the public sometime in 2017.
The park, which was named in 2013 to honor an important African American Seattle newspaper publisher, is located on a triangular, 4,500 square foot plot of land directly across the street from the Mount Zion Baptist Church. The land was purchased by Seattle Parks and Recreation in 2011 at the behest of the local community which had said there was a need for open space in the neighborhood.
“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site,” said Pamela Kliment of Seattle Parks. She said that parks was working closely with the neighborhood organization Friends of Cayton Corner Park to oversee the planning, design, and construction of the park.
So far the Friends have raised around $75,000 to fund the park, primarily through grants from the Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund. Most of the money up to this point has been spent on going through several rounds of design with the firm J.A. Brennan Associates, and now the park is entering “the phase where we can have a design ready for construction,” according to Allison Vasallo, a volunteer with the organization. Vasallo said the surrounding community gave input throughout the design process.
According to Drew Coombs, a landscape architect with J.A. Brennan, construction of the park will take place in three phases, beginning in 2016, and the park should be open sometime in 2017. He said one of the priorities in designing the park was making it accessible to people with disabilities. The park is locating right next to the Hearing Speech and Deafness Center, which gave input in its planning.
The park’s current design includes a sensory garden, ADA accessible pathways, and an embankment slide, among other features, according to Karen Portzer who is also a volunteer with the Friends of Cayton Corner Park. Portzer told CHS that the biggest challenge currently facing the park was securing funding for construction, which could cost upwards of $225,000.
“A lot of [organizations] do not fund capital improvement projects. That sorta knocks us out,” she said.
Challenges over construction funding were part of the reason it took five years to begin work to create Broadway Hill Park near Federal and Republican off north Broadway.
For Cayton Corner, Portzer said the Friends are hoping to receive the Large Projects Fund grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, which can provide up to $100,000 in funding. They’re also continuing to seek support from local foundations and the community.
The park should eventually be part of the changing face of E Madison as development projects have finally dug in, more are planned, and plans are readied to transform the street with a bus rapid transit project.
To find out more information or to donate to the park, visit seattleparksfoundation.org.