Wanted: a parking space, or several, to place a shipping container to be the future home of the Capitol Hill Tool Library.
Plans for a tool share on Capitol Hill are moving forward, but now the organizing group Sustainable Capitol Hill is on a search for a location to park it. The potential benefits of a centralized tool share in garage-strapped Capitol Hill are fairly obvious, says Gina Hicks of Sustainable Capitol Hill.
“There’s no reason for everyone on Capitol Hill to have a ladder. You’re only going to use it a couple times a year,” Hicks said. “Also, there’s the cost: why go out and buy something you’re barely going to use?”
Sustainable Capitol Hill has kicked around the idea for a Capitol Hill tool library since at least last year. In January group member Gina Hicks said the group refocused with a plan to run the library from an empty shipping container. With some retrofitting — adding sliding doors, installing shelves — the “tool shed” could be ready by January.
CHS previously reported on the group’s initial efforts to mimic tool shares in West Seattle and NE Seattle.
Currently the group is considering two options for a location: place the container on various street parking spaces for 30 days at a time, then moving to a different spot on the Hill, or finding a private lot to park the container semi-permanently.
Hicks said city officials told her they could park the container on a non-arterial street as long as they had permission from the closest landowner. Hicks said she’s looking at spots on 14th Ave., as well as the Miller Community Center parking lot. Ideally, the tool library will eventually find a permanent home inside a building to allow for a workshop and classroom space, Hicks said.
“Tool libraries are places where people can hang out, it’s a community meeting place,” she said.
If all goes according to plan, Hicks said she expects the tool library could be up and running by January. Although the library isn’t yet open, Sustainable Seattle is currently accepting tools for sharing. Hicks has been tabling at the Capitol Hill farmers market to spread the word. She said she expects more tools and interest to flow in once the library has a visible home.
In addition to donations and late return fees to fund the project, Hicks tells CHS the group will be a applying for one of the city’s Neighborhood Matching Grants. The tool library will be volunteer run, as is Sustainable Capitol Hill.