City plans overhaul of Capitol Hill park as part of super green Bullitt Center project

A $30 million project to build the super green Bullitt Center at 15th and Madison will include an overhaul of an adjoining city park space. Seattle Parks will hold a meeting next Monday to discuss project that will demonstrate “alternative green construction methods and reviews the possibility of a pedestrian oriented street” on 15th Ave between the future center and McGilvra Place Park, a green space called underutilized and, in one Seattle University study, “unwelcoming and cold.”


The McGilvra Place Park Project is funded in part by a $364,000 grant from the Seattle Parks Opportunity Fund process — we documented the five projects receiving Opportunity grants here. The Seattle Parks Foundation also has provided a “fiscal sponsorship” for the project.

The Monday, November 14th is the first of two public sessions to discuss the project. It starts at 6p and will be held at the nearby Seattle Academy at 1432 15th Ave.

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites you to learn about the new community initiated project at McGilvra Place Park at two upcoming meetings. This project provides for a more accessible and usable site which demonstrates alternative green construction methods and reviews the possibility of a pedestrian oriented street at 15th Avenue between East Madison and East Pike streets. The project site is located at the intersection of East Madison Street, East Pike Street, and 15th Avenue. At the first meeting Parks design team will present design options and gather community feedback for the final schematic design for the project. In January, Parks will present the schematic design for the renovation of McGilvra Place Park and gather additional feedback.

Despite some concerns that the park is being redesigned as an extension of the Bullitt Center’s ambitious project, representatives were optimistic about the park’s overhaul at this summer’s center groundbreaking. CHS documented some of those concerns and other details from a Seattle U study of the park that found only 4 out of 1,400 people observed near the park actually lying or sitting in the public green space along busy Madison in 2010.

17 thoughts on “City plans overhaul of Capitol Hill park as part of super green Bullitt Center project

  1. I’m just wondering how ecological it is to remove mature trees (just looking at the draft diagram above) in order to redevelop a green space into more of a usable eco park. The trees are serving as a sound barrier I’m sure, for the adjacent community — especially with Madison being such a thoroughfare for the area.

    I’m not opposed to its redevelopment, or even the vacation of 15th between Pike and Madison, but I think it would be best to help protect the tree canopy.

    Also, there is a park just a couple blocks from there, not on an arterial — so it isn’t like there isn’t anywhere to go. Green spaces don’t all have to be developed parks.

  2. I don’t see anything in there about removing the trees. Where do you see that? They are amazing, massive trees, and I’m guessing they have no plans to remove them. Certainly if they think they can cut down one of those giant old sycamore trees, I will be chaining myself to it in protest and people will be in an uproar.

    The people that “use” this greenspace are homeless people. Several people sleep in this park. I’m guessing the redevelopment is partially an attempt to drive away the homeless people and the trash they create there.

    With all the children crossing here, taking out that one road seems like a good way to cut down on traffic going through and make it more walkable.

  3. The little colored dots in the planting strips seem to represent the existing trees, and the note “Enlarged Planting Spaces at Bases of Existing Sycamores” suggests the trees will be retained. Good to check with Parks, though.

    “…people observed near the park actually laying or sitting in the public green space”

    Lying, please, not laying.

  4. I’d love to see the city take an interest in the park at John and 15th, as well. I can’t remember the name, but it’s across the street from Group Health and Safeway, is a transit connection point, and is also really underutilized and not very inviting. I support the McGilvra idea, but if it truly has nothing to do with the Bullitt Center, then I think the John Street park is every bit as deserving of a facelift as this one.

    OH, and if you look closely at the proposal, I think you can still see the trees (the round circles along the edges, one identified as a sycamore). I don’t think the city would DARE even touch them…

  5. the mature sycamore trees are to be kept under this plan. It’s frankly a huge waste of money and fuel to redesign the park. It’s an obvious attempt to drive away the homeless and cater to the building next door. shutting down that little tiny stretch of 15th isn’t going to do much harm to people, other than it will force people going down pike to turn left at the synagogue instead of having the option to turn right and go to Madison.

    frankly, the park project is BS and should be stopped. Screw the Bullitts they forced a business out of a long-time home, blocked an apartment building, forced code violations and bullied their way through the City of Seattle all for a project they could have just as easily put a block down Madison and not had any of those concrens.

  6. Its about time we got those filthy, goddammed homeless jerks off our public property. I hope they hurry up and die already so us productive consumers can zip around the city without being constantly reminded we live in a sick f-ing society.

    Good thing the city removed the benches from where Cal Anderson meets Pine. I feel safer already. Me me me me me. I I I I I. Get a job, loser.

    End snark.

  7. Seems to me that this little park (not recognized as such by Google maps) is just fine and that the Parks Department probably has better things to spend $364K on.

  8. It’s name is Williams Park. How do you define “underutilized”? It’s a beautiful green space with great mature trees of particular gracefulness. People waiting for the bus certainly appreciate it visually. It’s not large enough to have more than a few benches. Perhaps it would see more foot traffic if the retail space in the John Court building were filled, rather than mostly vacant from the date of the building’s completion years ago. If Parks were to redesign the park, most likely it would mean buying a lot more hardscape. Not an improvement, imho.

  9. Please…. Just say you’re joining the building and the park into one development via plaza, and be done with it. Parks aren’t enough. We need parks but we also need more public plazas and promenades.

  10. Oh yes…Williams Park. I should know as I go by it every day. And that is why I see it as underutilized. You never see anyone relaxing in that beautiful greenspace, as you call it, because it’s not inviting. No chairs, no benches, no table. Almost no plants, other than the really great trees and some grass. Even some perennials, or a few more rhododendrons, would make a difference. I just think that this park could be much more beautiful and inviting than it currently is.

  11. Typo, should be “that crosses”.

    The simplest change to make the park “more inviting” would be to eliminate the change in grade, but the big problem is that it’s a very small park next to two traffic arterials. The closeness to traffic makes it less attractive as a place to sit. Its neighbors on two sides are ugly: Safeway and its parking lot, and Group Health, so the view from outside the park in is maybe better than the view from inside the park out.