It just might be the last of its kind. The fences have come down around Broadway Hill Park, 12,000 square feet of grass, benches, community gardening space, and a sure to be popular BBQ grill in the middle of Capitol Hill. There may never be another.
Seattle Parks acquired the land at the corner for Federal and Republican in 2010 for $2 million after a townhome project slated for the property fell through. In the time since the project started, Parks has opened small greenspaces just off E Olive Way at the garden-filled, skateboard-popular Summit Slope Park and near 15th Ave at the sleepy Seven Hills Park. It also opened 12th Ave Square Park across from Seattle U, but even that woonerf-y paved square featuring sculptures and seating doesn’t appear to be the direction Parks will be taking for future Capitol Hill-area open spaces.
The near future, instead, seems to be focused on small investments in smaller spaces. Parklets, streateries, pavement parks. Inspired by success on First Hill, Parks and SDOT are planning the Hill’s first pavement park at Summit and Denny. There won’t be any grass but there will be some sort of playful feature like a street maze. Seattle Parks is currently looking for an artist to create the Summit/Denny centerpiece:
One of the most obvious reasons for the shift in focus, of course, is real estate. Every single lot on Capitol Hill is being sized up for development. The next great hope for a grassy park in Central Seattle, in fact, might just be building a lid over I-5.
In addition to space, a project like Broadway Hill needed a lot of community love to create its “large lawn area, seating at a ‘front porch’ area at the top of the site” and on the “seat wall.” A $750,000 construction budget from the parks levy was augmented by $37,500 in grants matched in volunteer time and effort by neighbors dedicated to creating the new park. You can celebrate with them July 14th:
UPDATE: Oops. One element at Broadway Hill is going to need an update. Check out the sign (which has already been yanked for a replacement):
Meanwhile, as mentioned in comments, Cayton Corner Park might be another contender for the “last of its kind” designation. The 4,500-square-foot lot is intended to eventually be home to a community greenspace.