City cans Capitol Hill Perugia Park idea – UPDATE

My Grandfather’s Art
Originally uploaded by ° fotobicchio °

UPDATE: 12:30 PM:
Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells us that Perugia Park is still being considered — it’s just not a decision that will be finalized right now.

“What happens next is we put this on the backburner,” she said. “We’ll pick it up in the spring. Perugia Park is not off the table but we have a long list of other recommendations.”

Hammerstad said her department hoped that naming the park for Perugia might be the start of a healing process.

“We hoped doing the park naming might help heal the relationship between Seattle and Perugia — even though it had nothing to do with judicial system it might be a good beginning. But obviously feelings are still pretty raw.”

Our news partners at the Seattle Times got a list of names submitted by the community for the Summit/John park — the first ones the Times posted, we pointed out, were for the 16th/Howell park.

UPDATE 11:40 AM:
We spoke with Mike James, president of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association, about the decision to hold off on naming the park to honor Perugia. James tells CHS he’s disappointed with the decision but understands the public reaction.

James said he believes the biggest problem is the timing of the name decision. “I would have waited. My understanding is they were going to wait for spring.I understand the reaction. I think a lot of the people who are upset about the verdict would object to the name.”

“Given the kinds of headlines we see and that the name Perugia has become synonymous with Amanda Knox,” James said, “it’s not a surprise. We’d hoped the park would become symbol of the positive. This kind of incident shouldn’t define the city.”

According to James, his organization submitted a request for the Perugia name during the community naming process. Yesterday, a Parks department spokesperson told us the name had been in the works ‘for years.’ We have also talked to representatives from some of the Hill’s largest community organizations. All said they had not been informed of the possibility of naming the park for Perugia.

James said his organization was also planning to help support construction of the park and had arranged for a sculpture by an Italian artist to be featured in the greenspace. The work by Artemio Giovagnoni was to include a woman sitting on a park bench with a bird on her shoulder. We’ve included an example of Giovagnoni’s work on this post.

Parks spokesperson Paula Hoff referred us to her counterpart Joelle Hammerstad for more information about the decision. We’re awaiting her return call.

Original Post:
Seattle’s Parks Department today reversed its decision to name a new Capitol Hill greenspace for an Italian ‘sister city’ due to “community concerns about the naming of Perugia Park on the heels of the recent verdict in the criminal case involving Seattle resident Amanda Knox.” Here’s the statement from the city:

Perugia Park Name Put on Hold

Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher announced this morning that he will put on hold a decision to name Perugia Park – a new park on Capitol Hill. The park was named to commemorate our Sister City relationship with the Italian city of Perugia, based on a recommendation from the public to the Park Naming Committee.

“Due to community concerns about the naming of Perugia Park on the heels of the recent verdict in the criminal case involving Seattle resident Amanda Knox, we will temporarily shelve the naming process for this park,” Gallagher said. “We will take up the process again in the spring.”

The new park is located at the northeast corner of E John Street and Summit Avenue E. The .22-acre park was acquired in 2007 with funding from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy and a matching grant from the King County Conservation Futures Tax. This space on the western slope of Capitol Hill will be developed into a neighborhood park and P-Patch. Construction is projected to begin in the spring. Development funds will come from both the Pro Parks Levy and the P-Patch Program.  For more information about the park, visit:

The Park Naming Committee is comprised of one representative of the Board of Park Commissioners, one representative of the Seattle City Councilmember who chairs the committee dealing with parks issues, and one representative of the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. For more information about the park naming process, please contact Paula Hoff, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-615-0368 or     

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14 thoughts on “City cans Capitol Hill Perugia Park idea – UPDATE

  1. I’m not exactly a founding member of “Free Amanda” but who’s stupid idea was it to come up wth Perugia?

    Doesn’t take mich sense to realize that name would raise the ire of a vocal minority.

  2. It’s a shame, isn’t it, that we’d get so caught up in such recent drama when proposing to honor our sister city that’s been around for at least 2,300 years.

    But maybe it serves them right for double timing.

  3. another name entirely if we cannot have Perugia Park. Maybe Kurcher Park in honor of the young woman who was murdered, or to bring it closer to home, Shannon Harps park ?

  4. .. That city might be mostly great, but the fact remains, its prosecutor railroaded a Seattle native, and will forever be known as the location of a persecution. Persecution Park has a nice ring to it.

    Do not name it after Shannon Harps either. If you want to foist a tiny greenspace off on a neighborhood, let the neighborhood itself come up with a name. Not some downtown sheltered group that won’t be up into Capitol Hill once they do their little ceremony and leave.

    I hate Perugia for what it caused the Knox family and whether Amanda is guilty of being a bit unable to handle sleep deprivation and Italian justice, one thing I am certain of, she is not guilty of the story that prosecutor put forth. The whole thing is a stain on anyone with a conscience. Memorializing that podunk town is a mistake.

  5. From: we get these priceless words of wisdom:

    “One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.”

    OK, evil overlords can get by with a 5 year old. I’d guess that Parks might need, say, a twelve-year-old to keep them rooted in reality.

    BTW It was doubly insensitive to propose naming a Capitol Hill park after a place Seattleites associate with a horrible murder on the day before the 2nd anniversary of the murder of Shannon Harps.

  6. Blog comment lists are notoriously unhelpful as places for a rational conversation, and as president of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association, I don’t want to get into a quarrel with people who call our ancient sister city “podunk,” etc. I simply want to state again that while our Association has enormous sympathy for the Knox family, there’s no reason in this unfortunate verdict to demonize and trash an entire town. The park proposal, as with the other sister city parks, is meant to celebrate a positive relationship and friendship that existed before the terrible events of November 2 years ago and will continue for years to come.
    For those unfamiliar with the Perugia beyond recent headlines, please see the link via our website:
    Mike James

  7. Good old Mike James … forever the PR person.

    This city is Italy drugville – your sister – not mine.

    Oh, I don’t get a choice … do I/we …

  8. Thanks Mike. We still aren’t interested in having a park in our neighborhood named after your favorite Italian city. We just don’t need the connection.

  9. Why not name the park “Send Your Daughter to College in Perugia Park?” Mike James praises Perugia for being “ancient.” It certainly proved itself to be just that. Perhaps its judicial system should finally join the modern era.

  10. Show police officers families our appreciation of what they’ve been going through…make the park in their names with a statute of them.

  11. i support Mike James and naming the park Perugia. i’m sad by the whole naming and renaming fiasco. i’m surprised a city full of educated people will make an irrational decision to un-name a park like this. this reminds me of the hatred shown towards japanese during the interment and muslim after 9/11. the verdict has nothing to do with the city and its people.

    mass media is notoriously one-sided. i’m not a legal expert to tell whether armanda is guilty or not. watching the sensational media doesn’t really help me to understand the case. but i won’t easily question a whole country and it’s long-established legal system because of the verdict.

    my 2010 goal is to have more compassion and less hatred. naming the park as originally proposed is the right path to start the healing.

  12. I still say we name John and Summit after a group or person active in the community…my first choice is to name it “Paradise Park” after Unpaving Paradise (, the community group that secured about half the construction budget for the park/P-Patch. But any name that the community connects with the neighborhood (in a positive way) is fine with me. Right now, it seems that the name “Perugia Park” only brings to mind question marks or the Amanda Knox case, not Capitol Hill.

    Since Parks is currently in the process of buying another plot of land to make into a park, why don’t we name that one “Perugia Park”? Some time will have passed after the Amanda Knox case, and maybe the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association can get in on the action and raise the money to make our next Cap Hill Park great.