The $260,000 project renovated the park at Summit and E John which first opened in 2011. Construction wrapping up to begin 2018 including preparing space for trees and turf patches to be installed along an extended sidewalk cut into half of the block. Vehicle traffic on E John will remain open, but parking in front of the park has been removed.
The enhancements to the small slice of open space and a short block of street in the middle of Capitol Hill entered the planning phase in 2012, but was on hold for a while, explained Toby Ressler of Seattle Parks. Seattle City Light added new vaults – the large electrical boxes – on the periphery of the park, Ressler said. So the parks department thought it best to wait for those to be complete before making its changes.
With City Light’s project wrapped up, parks took over, pushing Summit Slope farther out toward John and creating more space for planting beds. The sidewalk was also moved out, and walkways and a paved area were added, which will soon see game tables. Ressler said the tables will come with a built-in checkerboard, so chess or checkers players can take advantage of the spot. They will, however, need to bring their own pieces.
In conjunction with the project, ramps were installed at some of the corner curbs in the area to make them more accessible to people with mobility impairments.
A controversial feature which allowed for skateboarding remains and was not touched during the renovation. Additionally, a broken irrigation system is being removed and replaced.
The Department of Neighborhoods, which manages the P-Patch, hasn’t yet had time to measure the new space, said Lois Maag. She expects it will add enough space for at least three or four new plots, but will know more after in March.
The waiting list for a spot at that P-Patch is 131 people, with the expectation of a two-year wait, Maag said. The P-patch, known as “Unpaving Paradise” in honor of the group that first advocated for the park, currently has 31 spots. The Urbanist wrote this week about the group’s early hopes for a better pedestrian experience around the park.
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Dennis Saxman, an area resident who has had a spot at the P-Patch for eight years welcomed the changes, though he did note the project was taking a long time. Saxman also said he believed there was too much new pavement added.
“I would have rather had fewer sidewalks and more P-Patch,” he said.
Saxman was happy that the department had fixed the broken irrigation system at the park. The system helped water the common areas and had been broken for years, Saxman said.
Residents interested in joining the waiting list for a spot at the Summit Slope P-Patch can do so online or by calling (206) 684-0264, then pressing 7.