Central District’s Jimi Hendrix Park expected to open after summer construction

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

In 2006, what was once the Colman School parking lot on the corner of 25th and S Massachusetts Street was turned into a simple grassy field with a tall wall hiding it from the community.  Now, nine years later, the project to renovate the park and dedicate it to Jimi Hendrix has begun.

What once was hidden will become a source of pride among the neighborhoods that surround the park according to Kim Baldwin, Seattle Parks project manager.

In fact, one of the main focuses of this project is “connection to the community.”  Baldwin expects it to become a gathering place for people to “celebrate the neighborhood.”

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

The park’s rock and roll design is inspired by Hendrix, who grew up near the area.  For example, the park’s entrance and main path will be alongside a long guitar-like structure.  The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation also hopes to host music events at the park as well as cultural events and activities for the community. They hope to, through the park, “beautify Seattle, motivate youth and others to achieve in music and art, and strengthen the cultural pulse of the Emerald City,” according to the group’s website.

The renovations are already underway with construction starting earlier this spring.  April marked the beginning of underground utility work, and above-ground demolition will be the next step.

As construction begins, the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation continues working towards its fundraising goal of $1.5 million. The first stage of construction will not include the wave wall feature and canopy structure — future stages of construction will follow. Without issues in construction or funds, the park is planned to open with its first wave of features in September 2015.

You can learn more and support the park effort at jimihendrixparkfoundation.org.

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

Eastlake seeks ideas to make the I-5 Colonnade weirder and more useful

Fremont may have Seattle’s most well known bridge underpass, but Eastlake’s Colonnade Open Space under I-5 is more useful, impressive, and even weirder than hordes of tourists crawling over a troll.

Opened in 2005, the Colonnade is now in need of some work and the Eastlake Community Council wants input on how the park should be improved and expanded. An introductory public meeting on the project will be held Thursday night at 6:30 PM at the Agora Conference Center.

Located under I-5 along Lakeview Blvd. E, the Colonnade includes an off-leash dog park, pedestrian walkways, and an award winning mountain bike park. The Eastlake Community Council, which was responsible for obtaining the initial funds to open the space in 2005, has already kicked around some ideas for improvements to the park:

  • Adding new paths and sidewalks to improve access through the park.
  • Adding a skate bowl and ramps
  • Improved trail surfacing and bike themed art
  • An agility course for dogs with “paw-friendly” surfacing and dog themed art
(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

Improving pedestrian and bike connections from the park to Capitol Hill was also cited as part of a study completed by the community council in 2012.

At its south end, the study suggests that Colonnade park needs a stairway up to Lakeview Blvd., a trail south to the intersection of Eastlake Ave. and E. Aloha Street, and a trail southwest to the intersection of Franklin Ave. E. and E. Galer St. It also suggests that on the WSDOT land between E. Galer and E. Nelson streets that connects Colonnade with Eastlake Avenue, there could be steps and a switchback trail, and in the sunny upper elevation above the trees, possibly P-Patch plots to address the citywide shortage.

To learn more about the project and how to get involved, visit eastlakeseattle.org

Five streateries coming to Capitol Hill (Plus, the new Sugar Plum parklet)

A Central District parklet along E Union opened last year between 23rd and MLK (Image: CHS)

A Central District parklet along E Union opened last year between 23rd and MLK (Image: CHS)

Five of Seattle’s first dozen nine new “streateries” will be located on Capitol Hill. The hybrid combining the parklet concept with traditional sidewalk patios will create small seating and deck areas for customers in the section of the streetside typically reserved for parking. When the sponsoring businesses aren’t open, the streateries are intended to serve as public park space.

Here’s the roster of Capitol Hill locations announced Monday by the Seattle Department of Transportation:

  • Montana (conversion) — E Olive Way
  • Comet and Lost Lake (conversion) — 10th/Pike
  • Mamnoon — Melrose
  • Bottleneck Lounge — E Madison
  • New project from Comet/Lost Lake partners in former Kingfish Cafe space — 19th Ave E

Two of the five represent a conversion from permitted parklets at the locations into the new format that allows for businesses to operate the spaces as sidewalk cafes exclusively for their patrons during business hours — though the Comet/Lost Lake parklet was never implemented.

In addition to securing approval from neighboring businesses, the streatery hosts are also on the hook for paying for the displaced revenue from removed on-street parking –$3,000 per space, per year. In the case of Montana, site of the city’s first parklet that took up all of 1.5 on-street parking spaces, the E Olive Way bar is on the hook for $4,500 per year  doesn’t owe a damn thing because there’s no paid parking (yet) on E Olive Way. Dave Meinert and the guys at the Comet? They’ll owe around $6,000 per year, apparently. (Updated at 7 PM)

Montana owner Rachel Marshall tells CHS she doesn’t know about the timing for the conversion of her space on E Olive Way saying that working things out with the state liquor board will be her next step — along with writing that check to the City of Seattle.

Meanwhile, the city also announced that 15th Ave E will get a new “old school” parklet in front of the under construction Sugar Plum. The announcement, below, also teases a First Hill location for a new parklet — we’re asking for specifics on where that is planned to be located. UPDATE: SDOT says the press release is incorrect — the location being referred to is not on First Hill but in the Denny Triangle area, instead. Continue reading

14 Park and Street Fund proposals include Cal Anderson lighting, Pollinator Pathway

(Image: Joe Wolf via Flickr)

(Image: Joe Wolf via Flickr)

Exactly how community bodies like the East District Council fit in the future District 3 framework may not have been entirely worked out but the neighborhood representatives still have some important responsibilities. Tuesday night, the EDC will hear from finalists with projects proposed for parts of the $2 million in Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grants available in 2015. The fund can be used for projects up to $90,000 to fund park or street improvements.

Included in the roster are several ideas that have come up in recent CHS coverage including a proposal for funds to trim Cal Anderson’s trees and improve lighting to make the park safer and extending the area’s “Pollinator Pathway” infrastructure to connect to Cal Anderson.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6 PM in a 12th Ave Arts conference room if you want to stop by to support the applicants and check out the council’s prioritization vote. Three ideas will make it through with, believe it or not, the Mayor’s office holding the final decision based on feasibility.

Here are the ideas up for consideration around the East District and Capitol Hill:

  1. Cal Anderson Park — Lighting and tree trimming in the park
    Safety issues in Cal Anderson Park are a primary concern for the neighborhood. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a grant from the Office of Economic Development (OED) to fund a lighting plan for the Park. We have discussed the funding with Eric Freidli, Deputy Superintendent. Eric’s only caution was that community expectations around infrastructure projects remain realistic, given the amount of maintenance and infrastructure improvements in current Park planning. With that in mind, our intention in applying for this grant is to be helpful and proactive in this process. While the renovation of the Park completed in 2005/2006 was created w/ Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards, the past 10 years have shown that the landscaping and lighting plan could use further attention. Our goal is to spend 2015 thoroughly exploring the options for a safe, active, public space with lighting and landscaping improvements with monies from the OED grant and use the Neighborhood Streets and Parks grant monies, if awarded, to help implement that work.
    Continue reading

CHS Pics | Cal Anderson DJ beats + Easter eggs


(Images: Alex “Bunny” Garland for CHS)

IMG_3120As Jake One points out, it’s not every egg hunt, indeed, where the kids get a DJ’s beat for their mad dash to clear the park.

But in Cal Anderson Saturday, the plastic eggs were plentiful and the beats were hot even if the spring breeze was a bit chilly.

Once again, Capitol Hill records were set as egg hunters cleared the fields in less time than it took moms, dads, etc. to unlock their mobile devices.

You can check out even more pictures of the 2015 hunt on the CHS Facebook page.

IMG_2876 IMG_2888 IMG_3081IMG_2914


In the spirit of Costco Coffee and Pine/Pike, Vulcan redeveloping Cal Anderson as ‘Entitlement Land’

CBhI8GWUkAAWuUfThere have been a few extra special Capitol Hill April Fool’s sign pranks over the years —

2015 brings a swipe at developer Vulcan and a farcical project for the development giant to redevelop Cal Anderson Park.

While the jokes seem mostly centered on Vulcan’s work in South Lake Union, locals might want to turn their attention to the company’s plans south of Capitol Hill where an executive recently predicted that Yesler Terrace in 10 years “is going to be kind of like South Lake Union.” Continue reading

Seattle lights up plan to ban smoking in parks (again)

Are books next?!? Striped socks?!? Being cool??!? (Image: Michael Guio via Flickr)

Are books next?!? Striped socks?!? Being cool??!? (Image: Michael Guio via Flickr)

Seattle is, again, looking at banning smoking in public parks. And opponents of the proposal are, again, reminding that such a ban is likely to be used as yet another way to harass homeless people without providing solutions for those living outside.

“The proposed new rule would prohibit smoking in all public parks in the city of Seattle,” a statement on the possible ban reads. “This ban would extend the original smoking prohibitions put in place in 2010, which banned ‘smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use…within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.'”

What’s the proposed penalty for lighting up in Cal Anderson? “Breaking the rule against smoking would result in a warning, followed by a possible park exclusion for repeated violations,” the parks department statement says. “The rule would not become part of the Seattle Municipal Code.”

A public hearing on the proposal is planned next month:

The Board of Park Commissioners will host a special public hearing on Thursday, April 16, to take comments on a proposed parks-wide smoking ban. The Board of Park Commissioners public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Kenneth R. Bounds Board Room at Seattle Parks and Recreation Headquarters, 100 Dexter Ave. N.

The ban — which sounds like a good idea but really isn’t — is supported by Mayor Ed Murray:

Residents of and visitors to our beautiful city deserve to fully enjoy every amenity our parks have to offer, including fresh air and a clean, sustainable environment. We know the dangers of secondhand smoke, particularly for those with asthma and allergies, and we know that cigarette litter is abundant and harmful to our environment, especially for the wildlife that inhabit it. Waste from cigarettes leach arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins into our soil and water streams and damage ecosystems. This ban just makes sense for our community. It is the right thing to do for Seattle.

City Council member and parks committee chair Jean Godden supports the ban — but only if it is fairly enforced. “To ensure equitable enforcement, I’ll be reaching out to the Park Board to request that an evaluation be tied to the new rule,” she said in a statement.

So much for our plan for solving the renter’s pot paradox.

2015 Capitol Hill egg hunts include 3rd annual Spring Bunny visit to Cal Anderson

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

8603137719_c32bd07d53_b-400x599The Capitol Hill Community Council is asking how you help contribute to the culture of the neighborhood. You can include volunteering to help make plastic egg-crazed children happy on your roster. Seattle Parks has put out a call for volunteers to help put on 2015’s third annual Cal Anderson Spring Egg Hunt on April 4th:

Volunteers are needed for the Cal Anderson Park 2015 Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4! We’re looking for people to help with face painting, to hide candy, to supervise the park, to monitor children in the hunt area, to clean up after the event and to hand out prizes. Volunteers need to arrive at the park at 9:15 a.m. The program ends at noon. To sign up, contact Faizah Osayande at 206-512-5256 or Faizah.osayande@seattle.gov.

For the young egg hunters in our audience, below is a roster of the public hunts we know about in Central Seattle this year. Here’s a look at the fun in 2012 and 2013 and 2014 to give you a sense of what you are in for, helpers of young egg hunters. Our only advice is don’t be late. Even the youngest wave of egg hunters, like a colony of swift hares, clear their field in around 60 seconds. Continue reading

New Capitol Hill parks: One overdue for construction, one waiting for bid, one in search of grants

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special to CHS

This time last year, CHS posted updates on various small park projects around Capitol Hill, including Broadway Hill Park, 12th Avenue Square Park, and Cayton Corner Park. Here are our spring 2014 updates on Broadway Hill and 12th Ave Square and here is what we had to say about the naming of Cayton Corner.

Some of these small park projects have taken years to get off the ground, which can be baffling to neighbors who watch plots go unused season after season. The sluggish pace of development often comes down to lack of funding. Some cities, including Seattle, have cultivated corporate sponsorships to boost programming and construction times with mixed results.

Thankfully, funding is now complete or near compete for these three projects underway on Capitol Hill:

IMG_0756Broadway Hill Park — 500 Federal Ave E — Target: End of 2015
Thanks to a $750,000 city grant in 2014, bids are out to construct the Broadway Hill Park at Federal and E Republican. Work is expected to start this summer. “We are still looking at the end of the year to finish the project and will have better dates once a contractor is on board,” said project coordinator Toby Ressler.

The park is expected to cost $767,500. The remaining $17,500 from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple grant will pay for for the schematic design, which will include community gardening, artwork and open spaces. Continue reading

New streateries — parklets + street eateries — coming to Capitol Hill

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

Capitol Hill’s first parklet — and the first parklet in Seattle — is also slated to be one of its first streateries.

Montana owner Rachel Marshall confirmed to CHS that she is one of the first applicants for the latest twist in the City of Seattle’s parklet program allowing local businesses to apply to change two or three street parking spaces into public patios and decks.

In announcing the city’s transition of its parklet program out of its preliminary phase, Seattle City Hall also announced a new streatery variation which will give restaurants, cafes, and bars a tighter connection with the facilities. Here’s how the Seattle Department of Transportation describes them:

Streateries are like parklets except the sponsoring restaurant or bar can operate the space as a sidewalk café, providing space exclusively for their customers during their open hours of business. When the bar or restaurant is closed, the space will function as a parklet, open to everyone.

Continue reading