Melrose Promenade, Gay City auditorium among grant-powered projects coming to Capitol Hill

A Bellevue Place Park could be part of the future Melrose Promenade

Let us begin with inspiration. The group seeking to create Capitol Hill’s “front porch” along the underutilized streetscape above I-5 have been piecing together funding sources large and small to create the Melrose Promenade. In that mix has been small but much-needed injections of funding from the city’s Small and Simple grants — a program designed as a grassroots solution to creating community assets. For anybody thinking about putting such an effort in motion, we have information on a workshop to get you started, below, as well as a few more examples of how the program is helping out around Capitol Hill. There’s also a big opportunity coming up for you to get involved with transforming Melrose Ave.


Melrose Promenade
“Want to help create the vision for transforming Melrose Avenue into the Melrose Promenade? NOW is the time to get involved!” — here’s the invite for next Thursday’s (January 24th) meeting at nearby Broadcast Coffee:

Melrose Promenade Community Visioning Meeting
January 24th — 6 to 8 PM 

Want to help create the vision for transforming Melrose Avenue into the Melrose Promenade? NOW is the time to get involved! Our first community visioning meeting will be Thurs., Jan 24, at 6pm at Broadcast Coffee (1623 Bellevue Ave., just south of E. Pine St.)

Any and all community members are encouraged to participate in this meeting! The team of the Berger Partnership, Weinstein | AU, and Schemata Workshop, along with the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee, will lead a series of activities to help us determine just how we want the Promenade to look.

This will be the first of three community visioning meetings that will eventually lead to a report outlining a detailed proposal for the Melrose Promenade.

So could p-patches along the bike trail just north of Roy Street

Powered by a $20,000 grant from the city to come up with a plan for the street, the Promenade project has grown into an effort to overhaul the streetscape and create gathering spaces, parks and, possibly, even a space for vendors along Melrose as it runs along I-5′s stream of cars and provides a front-row-seat view of the city. It will take more than $1.5 million to make it happen so larger grants will have to come through. You can also find out how to donate time and money to the cause at melrosepromenade.com.

Small and Simple
The City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund is split up into Small Sparks, Small and Simple Projects, and Large Projects. The Small Sparks fund up to $1,000, The Small and Simple grants can be up to $20,000, and the Large Project Funds up to $100,000. The next deadline for the Small and Simple Fund in March 4th. Getting the funds is a competitive process with many steps and no shortage of paperwork. The city is aware of this, and with that in mind there are workshops on offer.

The first of these workshops is coming up on Thursday January 17th. The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and the Department of Information Technology are teamed to provide information regarding criteria and timetables for applying for either the Small and Simple Projects Fund or the Technology Matching Fund. This is from 6PM-7:30 at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Another workshop focusing only on the Small and Simple Projects Fund will be January 29th at the Greenwood Library.

Three Capitol Hill groups have recently been awarded Small and Simple grants.

Gay City’s Calamus Auditorium
For the fall allocation of 2012 Gay City was awarded $19,000 for the construction of the Calamus Auditorium, a 99-seat community auditorium and performance space focusing on the LGBT community. The tech booth is scheduled to be completed in April, followed by the lighting and sound system. Gay City’s seasons will revolve around Pride with programming input from the Queer Arts Advisory Roundtable. Rentals at the E Pike facility will also be available, as well as a certain amount of community accessibility as mandated by the Small and Simple grant.

Jubilee Women’s Center
The Jubilee Women’s Center received $10,000 from the 2012 fall allocation to develop and implement a plan for emergency and disaster preparedness for staff, residents, volunteers, and neighbors. Additionally the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was granted $15,265 to upgrade the Blitz website and for the development of a mobile app.

Broadway Hill Park

(Images: CHS)

Meanwhile The Friends of Broadway Hill Park are using two previously allocated Small and Simple Grants to push the future park at Federal and Republican towards completion. That’s a $17,500 Small and Simple grant funding a schematic design, and a $20,000 Small and Simple grant funding design development. “Right now we’re pursuing an Opportunity Fund grant that would finance the construction of the park,” wrote Norah Kates, a spokesperson for the community group in an email to CHS. (The Opportunity Fund is separate from the Neighborhood Matching fund, with its own guidelines and requirements.)

Friends of Broadway Hill Park will be making a presentation to the Parks Levy Oversight Committee on January 23rd to try to convince them that their proposal is worth funding through the Opportunity Fund. On Monday, January 14th, the group will have a planning meeting and party at Umpqua Bank to prep for the presentation to the Levy Oversight Committee. People are encouraged to attend. “All that’s left is actually breaking ground and making all of the plans into reality,” wrote Kates.

Here’s the preferred schematic to whet your appetite. 

8 thoughts on “Melrose Promenade, Gay City auditorium among grant-powered projects coming to Capitol Hill

  1. …but no amount of landscaping is going to make Melrose a pleasant place to hang out. The freeway noise/air pollution down there is intense and the so-called “view” is basically just an overlook of the freeway and some boring buildings. Cant we spend our time and money creating parks in areas where people might actually want to hang out? Or sprucing up the many parks we already have?

  2. “Or sprucing up the many parks we already have?”

    Sounds like you would be in favor of upgrading Bellevue Place Park, which is part of the “Melrose Promenade” project! Currently the park is little known, scary at night, and unused during the day. It presents a great opportunity in one of the densest parts of Capitol Hill. Hope you can come share your ideas for how to make this park better. Cheers

  3. It is a derelict and dangerous area at the present time, but I think the possibilities are great. One thing that would really help would be to extend Melrose northward to connect with Lakeview Blvd E (including a bike path)….if that was feasible engineering-wise. If that part of Melrose remains off-limits to vehicles, it will continue to be a no-man’s land populated by the homeless, no matter what else is done to improve that area.

  4. Seeing these pictures just makes me think how amazing it would be if, somehow, a lid was built over the downtown through Eastlake portions of I-5 with a park occupying the reclaimed land.

    Not realistic at all. It’d be expensive as hell, an engineering nightmare, and would cause catastrophic traffic problems for well over a decade while it was being built. But it’d be pretty awesome.

  5. p patches are good BUT where will the homeless folks sleep? i am serious; that is a fairly secure out of the way place for many people to rest.

  6. There are many shelters in Seattle where the homeless can sleep. We don’t need to be providing them public spaces where they camp out, drink and drug, defecate and urinate, litter etc. Taxpayers help support the shelters indirectly through City financial grants. And there are food programs where a homeless person can get a hot meal (or 3) every day of the week.