— norm mah (@nmahsdot) August 9, 2015
Two prototype parks part of the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan were unveiled Saturday afternoon by Mayor Ed Murray, officials from city agencies, and community group representatives.
Murray lead a ribbon cutting ceremony and gave a speech praising the project. He told CHS that these small parks would give residents of First Hill a place to call their own.
“As we continue to grow, we need to create open space,” Murray told CHS. “We don’t have blocks and blocks to create parks like we did with Cal Anderson Park over a decade ago, but underutilized spaces like this are one of the ways we can give people a chance to be outside, have open space, to share community with their neighbors, have a little fun.”
Located at the three-way intersection of University, Union and Boylston and at Ninth and University, the two parks were built on what the city said were underutilized right of way spaces after Seattle Parks was unable to purchase land for a traditional park due to high costs in the high density neighborhood.
Murray noted that similar “pavement to parks” projects have succeeded in other cities in Europe and the U.S. and said that he was confident it would be successful in Seattle.
Susan McLaughlin of the Seattle Department of Transportation said that safety was a top priority in constructing the parks.
“We’ve been thoughtful in terms of the edge lines and the barriers and the color selection so that it’s really easy for drivers to understand that this isn’t a roadway anymore,” she said. SDOT worked with Seattle Parks and the First Hill Improvement Association on the project.
Alex Hudson, a coordinator at the First Hill Improvement Association, said the parks had “overwhelming support” from the community. Her organization will do programing at each of the parks, supported by a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods. The next event is a trivia night on August 25th at Ninth and University.