With Perugia out, Seattle Parks aims for simple: How does Summit Slope Park grab you?

After backing off its previous plan to honor an Italian sister city, Seattle Parks announced Thursday that a naming committee has reached a decision on a final name for the Summit at John green space and p-patches completed in late 2010. Welcome to Summit Slope park.

The original plan called for the space to be known as Perugia Park to honor a sister city relationship — they, by the way, took a more subtle, tasteful approach with their Sister Orca Park. The decision under former Parks superintendent Timothy Gallagher was not popular. Pergugia, after all, is the city in which Seattle resident (and the Hill’s Seattle Prep high school alum) Amanda Knox was found guilty of killing her roommate in a crime story that has been part of tabloid headlines since the November 2007 murder. As the Knox legal team prepares to mount its appeal — and claim even more tabloid headlines and minutes on CNN/MSNBC/Fox/etc. — and with letters like this from the Capitol Hill Community Council opposing the Perguia name, interim superintendent Christopher Williams announced a more innocuous decision from the Parks naming committee charged with hanging a name on the new Capitol Hill open space.

The announcement, below, does note that Seattle Parks continues to seek a way to honor its sister city. We suggest the department might want to wait to see how the appeal in Perugia goes, first.


Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has named a new park on Capitol Hill – Summit Slope Park. This name reflects both the location and natural terraced layout of the park at 200 Summit Ave. E.

The Park Naming Committee unanimously recommended to the Acting Superintendent that the park be named Summit Slope Park, after a previous naming decision was reconsidered. The P-Patch located in the park is named “Unpaving Paradise P-Patch” to reflect the fact that this park site used to be an urban parking lot, and to recognize the community group named “Unpaving Paradise” that was involved in the planning and fundraising for this park. 

Summit Slope Park is located at the northeast corner of E John St. and Summit Ave. E. Parks acquired the .22-acre park in 2007 with funding from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy and King County Conservation Futures Tax revenues. Development funds came from both the 2000 Pro Parks Levy and the P-Patch Program funds that were included in the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. This space on the western slope of Capitol Hill is a neighborhood park and P-Patch. There will be a grand opening celebration this spring.

Instead of proposing to name the park after Seattle’s sister city relationship with Perugia, Italy, Parks and the Perugia Sister City Committee have reached agreement on a new approach to recognizing this ongoing relationship that will entail identification and recognition of a cultural icon such as a griffin (the symbol of Perugia) or an Etruscan artifact that reflects the city’s

Etruscan heritage. The park in Perugia that honors Seattle is named Sister Orca Park in recognition of the sister city relationship and Seattle’s rich Native American and maritime heritage. This recognition will take place in a new, as yet unnamed Seattle park.

Mike James, President of the Perugia Sister City Committee, said “We’re excited about working with the city to develop a park experience that will reflect the rich culture and history of Umbria, the region of our Italian sister city.”

Christopher Williams added, “We’re pleased to have agreed on a course of action that will take us forward to recognize this 19-year relationship as Perugia joins the other sister city associations honored at Beer Sheva, Bergen, Daejon, Kobe, Nantes, and Tashkent parks.”

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 paula.hoff@seattle.gov. 

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14 thoughts on “With Perugia out, Seattle Parks aims for simple: How does Summit Slope Park grab you?

  1. What was once a very nice park and vibe has been TOTALLY ruined in my eye from the huge over tall, over long fence that was installed. The park feels prisoned and sucks now in my neighborly eye.

    The skaters…which I was one for 15 years….don’t care about that feature. It’s boring and was only popular cuz it was new. Now it’s ruined the park in my eye.

    Build a god damn mini skate park on the hill already is what I say.

  2. Sorry, I just can’t support the backing off of the Perugia name. So, every time we disagree with a decision or policy in Italy, or another country, we want to dis them? This makes about as much sense as “freedom fries” did after 9-11 or the renaming of sauerkraut in WWII to “liberty cabbage.” Yep, that kind of dumming down just does a disservice to the goals of international understanding and cooperation that sister cities are supposed to foster.

    Whether the Italian court did an injustice to Ms. Knox is not a question that we, or the Seattle Parks system, should weight in on. This is why Ms. Knox has an appeal. I met the former mayor of Perugia who helped push through the sister-city relationship, and I visited his family in their city, and I would say I’m embarassed that the sister-city relationship should suffer such a petty blow. This is, after all, about the loss of a young woman’s life, regardless of whether it was Ms. Knox who took it or not.

    Let the hating begin…

  3. Thank you for saying that. It’s a shame that a young girl lost her life and another is paying for it. Whether it’s just or not is not a matter for the great city of Seattle to weigh in on via a park name. It’s a freakin’ park and I’m sure people in Perugia don’t feel much different than we do. I’m sure they have their questions and doubts. If we are wrong about Ms. Knox, there is a killer out there. And if we are right, why does a city that most of us haven’t ever been to and in all likelihood know nothing about get the hate.

  4. Just a couple of points:
    The park in Perugia might well have been named Seattle Park, but the striking feature is a 28-foot tall orca fin, cast in bronze, from Seattle artist Marvin Oliver. It made more sense, then, to name it Sister Orca – a gift from a sister city, named in signage at the site. Nothing to to with “subtle, more tasteful approach.”
    As to the article’s conclusion: “The announcement ….does note that Seattle Parks continues to seek a way to honor its sister city. We suggest the department might want to wait to see how the appeal in Perugia goes, first.”
    This argument, so utterly missing the point of sister city relationships, has been the problem from the beginning. Are we to make all decisions re: sister cities – whether to have them, continue them, honor them in any way, create educational and other exchanges, etc. – totally hostage to the outcome of a criminal trial and its appeals? That is to say what we think, from afar, ought to be the outcome? If so, we may as wel abandon the whole concept of friendship with other cultures.
    There’s plenty of room for debate on the criminal proceedings of other countries (we might include our own given the recent findings of police and prosecutor misconduct in cases where only DNA evidence ferreted out the truth), but Sister City relationships are not the place for them.
    Mike James, President
    Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association

  5. Thank you, Mike! I agree completely that the Knox situation is irrelevant to naming the park after Perugia, and it’s too bad the Parks Dept. caved on this and just had to be politically correct. I guess some people think we must “support” Knox by cancelling the proposed name, but the fact is that she has been convicted of a horrendous murder, and is not deserving of support. If it turns out she is innocent..doubtful…then she can get my support. But, regardless, the name Perugia Park should stand, in the name of international understanding and good will.

  6. We don’t need to make this anymore about sister cities then we do about Amanda Knox. Your friendship with this city exists with or without this park.

  7. oh, thanks, THANKS for this wonderful little park/community garden!! it makes me smile every time i pass (i live just three blocks down the street, so i pass a lot). and i never figured out how to or who to thank for the cheery sculptures that were in the park until it was time to work the soil, but those also made me smile. please thank the artist(s) for me.
    this whole thing is a happy blessing in these times of relentless unsettling news.