As our fearless blogmaster has been reminding me these last few weeks, it has been an awfully long time since anything was said on CHS about the park and P-Patch to be at John and Summit. I think the last news was that Unpaving Paradise was awarded the CHS Giving Snowball in December (thanks again!). Thus, it is my solemn duty to present to you State of the Park: a John and Summit Update.
To recap: Last year, the neighborhood came together in a series of public meetings to create a design for John and Summit Park that included 22 P-Patch plots, lawn space, native plantings, and the usual park amenities like seating and barbecues. Last August the Parks Department told the community that it only had enough money to create a sloped lawn with a few trees. Unpaving Paradise was created by the Capitol Hill Community Council to bridge the $150,000 budget gap between a utilitarian open space and the vision that the community created.
On April 13th, Unpaving Paradise turned in the Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant application for the John and Summit Park project. We asked for $85,000, which can be matched with cash, in-kind donations, and volunteer hours. We’re awaiting the next steps in the process, an open house in May. We have a great project and an excellent application (if I may say so myself), but the competition is fierce this year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed until the awards are announced in June.
UP has continued to pursue partnerships with businesses and organizations around the park site. You may have seen our sign outside of City Market, the posters for this weekend’s Guitar Hero Showdown at Cafe Metropolitain, or the CHS mention of our sponsorship of the Capitol Hill Garage Sale. In breaking news, Half Price Books just agreed to sponsor the park and to further partner with Unpaving Paradise by running a fundraising campaign. We’ve also begun outreach to Northwest School around their gardening and food bank donation program.
Last but not least are UP’s plans for donor recognition, aka the “put your name on the park sale”. In the park dsign, there are two steel support walls that face John St. What better place is there to put the names of our friendly neighborhood financial supporters? We’re still wrangling out all the details, but the info will be up on the Unpaving Paradise blog as soon as we have it.
We’ve got a busy time ahead of us – our fundraising deadline is August, so we’re planning on packing in a lot of events, grantwriting and outreach in the intervening months. And we’d love to have your help. If you’re interested in growing a park at John and Summit, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you’d like to pitch in.
Added bonus: P-Patch has confirmed that community members on the John and Summit waiting list that donate their time to starting the John and Summit P-Patch (fundraising, outreach, digging in the dirt, etc.) will get priority for receiving a John and Summit garden spot. Not only will your volunteer time give you a that warm fuzzy philanthropic feeling, it can also give you a place to grow the local organic produce you’ve always wanted.