Funding to boost Melrose Promenade, Broadway LGBT center part of four Hill-area grants

The Melrose Promenade would help more people capture some fantastic Seattle views

Four Capitol Hill area projects have been awarded $56,750 in Seattle grants to improve life on the Hill. The city’s Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple grant program funds, more or less, any non-profit group to take on, more or less, any project that’s free and beneficial to the community. The latest round of grants reveals some important community projects in the works including a new LGBT center on Broadway and a plan to transform one of the most underutilized streets on Capitol Hill.


A total of 34 projects were awarded $534,666 after organizations pledged to match $760,123 in the latest round of grants. Contract signings and project completion dates will be set on a case by case basis. The city will award another round of grants this fall. You can learn more about the process here.

The Small and Simple grants are funded through the city’s Neighborhood Matching Fund. Grants of up to $20,000 are awarded twice a year. Groups must pledge to match at least half of the grant in cash or volunteer hours so lend a hand if you want to get involved.

Here’s what we can look forward to around the Hill.

LGBT center on Broadway
The real-estate surrounding Central Link’s future Capitol Hill/Broadway Station is shaping up to be some of the most desirable in the city. Luckily, Sound Transit has pledged been asked to carve out space for community focused non-profits. The recently formed Seattle LGBT Community Development group will use its $7,000 grant ($10,000 match) to nail down specifics on a proposed LGBT community center in the space. LGBT community leaders have been searching for new center ideas since the Seattle LGBT Center at Pike and Bored (Ooopsy!) Boren shuttered in 2008.

“Given that Seattle has the country’s second highest LGBT population per capita, we should really have a showcase center,” said the group’s co-founder George Pieper. “We want to capture our culture.”

Pieper said the group, which officially formed in January, would use the grant to gather community input and work with a developer to draft a feasibility study this summer.

Last summer, the Seattle City City Council worked out an agreement with Sound Transit to provide a framework of specific community guidelines for the process to open up development around the station. The process for securing those contracts for developing the properties will begin soon.

Outdoor movies
Three Dollar Bill Cinema will continue their 6-year tradition of public movie screenings in Cal Anderson Park (remember last year’s “Footloose” flash dance?) thanks in-part to its $10,875 grant ($7,000 plus volunteer hours match). Outgoing executive director Rachael Brister said the grant will allow the LGBT-focused non-profit to again show four family-oriented movies this summer. According to Brister, each screening costs roughly $2,000, which includes permits, an A/V contractor, staff time, and showing rights.

CHS recently reported on Brister’s exit and this summer’s movie lineup.

Melrose makeover
Supporters of the Melrose Promenade Project are convinced the scenic stretch of Melrose on the western precipice of Capitol Hill is the city’s next best street. Central Seattle Greenways was awarded $20,000 ($37,000 match) to help make it happen. The grant will fund a series of community cleanups and work parties along the street and trail. The group hopes to “increase safety, and create a more vibrant and inviting public open space.” CSG members and Capitol Hill Community Council members have been formally planning the project since at least last year.  

The Melrose Promenade project would redesign the street, particularly north of Denny, so that it is more comfortable for walking and enjoying the excellent views.

CSG formed this February to represent central neighborhoods in the city’s plan to create 11 miles of walking and biking routes each year. CSG is part of the broader Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition.

New E Madison park
A new neighborhood park at 19th and Madison has been in the works since 2010. The Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center was awarded $15,300 ($47,800 match) to build a public space on its property.  The center plans a “fully accessible, art-filled, sustainable park for all ages and abilities.” Project plans call for a “tranquil green oasis” in an urban patch of Madison that was once envisioned as a space for a mixed-use development. At one point, a group was also trying to build a parkour park at that location. Central District News wrote about the project here.

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6 thoughts on “Funding to boost Melrose Promenade, Broadway LGBT center part of four Hill-area grants

  1. This is a brilliant idea! I own a condo at the Highmark. The posted rendering shows the stairs that goes down to Melrose adjacent to the Highmark. We just spent $20K in new landscaping to revitalize the Highmark’s north slope. This promenade will be the best improvement to the portion of Capitol Hill in decades..

  2. 1) I cycle Melrose daily: great views, great deal of I5 noise

    2) E. Madison Park: Planned Parenthood built a very similar park, at 20th & Madison, a block east of the 19th & Madison Park. Only seen people in it once in about a decade. Both parks are right on Madison, the new one is on a steeper stretch which will presumably have even more engine noise.

  3. A good point, but I offer two examples where — if the space is compelling enough because of its views and character — noise is of secondary concern: the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in Brooklyn (above Interstate 278), and the Esplanade on the Willamette River (and under Interstate 5) in Portland. Both are fantastic places, above or below very busy highways, and are tremendous successes because the design of the space is first rate, and the views offered are tremendous, as would be the experience and views from Melrose. I would share your skepticism too, if it were not for successes such as these, where the experience of the place more that compensates for some negative environmental impacts. Nice work Mike Kent (and others)!

  4. Traffic noise is often be minimal under freeways (I’ve biked along the Willamette in Portland and recall no noise issues): see Colonnade Park and the adjacent new townhouses in the Eastlake neighborhood.

    So I won’t concede on the Esplanade on the Willamette River, and will visit Brooklyn Heights Promenade next time I’m back there.

    Melrose is right above I-5.

  5. Oh, I go on runs by there several times a week and walk home from work that way, and I just think the landscaping on the stairs is lovely. Thank you!

    I agree the Melrose Promanade would be amazing. I already see lots of people sitting on the steps to take in the sunrise – noisiness aside I bet it would get tons of use. I don’t mind the homeless encampments on the pedestrian path – I go running down there at 6am (in the dark in the winter) and haven’t ever felt threatened but it does seem like a little patch with a lot of potential to be something else. Though I always thought if I was down on my luck that is where I’d go camp out.

  6. “Pike and Bored.” I love it. Bored is what most (all?) LGBT centers are. A kiosk where folks can deposit their flyers would suffice. Use the space for something more useful, please.