Standing ovation for design for new Volunteer Park amphitheater, still questions about museum expansion

Members of the Capitol Hill community spoke with Owen Richards Architects and the Volunteer Park Trust on April 6 at the Volunteer Park Conservatory (Image:)

Members of the Capitol Hill community spoke with Owen Richards Architects and the Volunteer Park Trust about the new amphitheater designs on April 6 at the Volunteer Park Conservatory (Image: Grace Kramer for CHS)

By Grace Kramer, UW News Lab / Special to CHS

The Volunteer Park amphitheater renovation project is drawing closer to approval and residents gathered Thursday night to discuss the proposed designs.

Owen Richards Architects and the Volunteer Park Trust invited the community for an open house on the proposed designs for the Volunteer Park amphitheater and there were lots of opinions, especially about another Volunteer Park renovation project, the Seattle Asian Art Museum expansion.

“It’s the first design I’ve seen in Seattle recently that’s actually an improvement,”  said Marge Mackinnon, a Capitol Hill resident, about the new amphitheater.

The SAAM expansion, on the other hand?

“There are lots of art museums in Seattle,” said Mackinnon, “To destroy part of the park sucks.”

This isn’t the first time that the public has had a chance to see the amphitheater’s proposed designs. ORA Architects and the Volunteer Park Trust, as part of the terms of their funding grant from the Neighborhood Matching Fund, have been required to keep the design process transparent. They’ve done many public meetings and open houses so that the community can provide feedback on their designs.

Owen Richards, founder and principal architect with ORA, has worked on other projects like Chihuly Garden and Glass. He said that when he holds public events for buildings and structures he’s nervous because changes in a neighborhood are typically emotionally charged, but he doesn’t feel that way about the Volunteer Park amphitheater.

“At this point we’ve talked so much with the public it doesn’t feel controversial,” he said.  Continue reading

Something upon which we can all agree: Hurrah for the new Volunteer Park amphitheater

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(Image: ORA Architects)

It’s been kind of a tough year for new things but one project coming to Capitol Hill seems to have risen above the tumult. Thursday, you can celebrate that general sense of neighborhood goodwill with the Volunteer Park Trust and check out the latest designs for a new amphitheater in the much loved northern Capitol Hill park:

Amphitheater Design – Open House

CHS showed you some of the latest designs and ideas behind the concepts last month.  The updated design calls for the translucent roof over the stage to be wavy, “referencing a leaf” with pivoting doors, instead of sliding, for a backstage area and new bathrooms as well as a flexible room that can be used for costume changes and storage. Other plans for the new amphitheater call for re-grading the seating area with a focus on reducing the flat space in front of the stage and improving ADA accessibility.

The new amphitheater is planned to be located just north of the current one which is masonry and in need of replacement.

Following Thursday’s meeting, ORA Architects will incorporate feedback and refine the final plans.  Grants from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and funds from Volunteer Park Trust have moved the project forward so far. The Seattle Parks Foundation will be the driver for fundraising and grant seeking to bring the project to life. The total project cost — design through construction — is estimated to be between $3 million and $4 million.

Construction is planned for fall 2018 with the new amphitheater hosting its first performances in July 2019.

You can learn more at volunteerparktrust.org.

Seattle Parks hosts LGBTQ youth job fair on Capitol Hill

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 10.04.52 AMHey kids! Get a job! A bunch of Capitol Hill and nearby businesses and organizations will be at 19th Ave’s Miller Community Center this weekend for a job fair designed for LGBTQ youth… and their friends.

LGBTQ and Allies Teen/Youth Job Fair 2017

The LGBTQ and Allies Teen/Youth Job Fair 2017 is part of the Seattle Parks Teens program and will feature “over 24 employers and organizations with lots of jobs, stipend opportunities, and internships for youth ages 14 – 24,” the department says.

Bring your resume and a confident but friendly handshake. None of this Donald Trump power play stuff, please.

Seattle Parks study next step in flipping switch on safer Cal Anderson lighting

By Tim Kukes for CHS

Capitol Hill’s central park, Cal Anderson already has another busy summer of upgrades ahead in 2017. A $50,000 study included in this year’s city budget will also help set the stage for the next big upgrade for the 14-year-old park — new, more efficient, and safer lighting.

“One of the key things for Capitol Hill where you have 80% of the population as renters living in apartments – they don’t have backyards necessarily to enjoy,” Joe Sisolak, sustainability and planning director for Capitol Hill Housing, tells CHS.  “Cal Anderson Park is the backyard for Capitol Hill. It is a critical space that a lot of people share.”

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Cal Anderson Park Alliance have been advocating for that backyard to be a safer place at night. Part of that means improved lighting. Continue reading

Parks board to consider making shorter Broadway Hill hours permanent

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Following a nine-month pilot of shortened hours for Broadway Hill Park since its 2016 summer opening, the Board of Park Commissioners will consider making those hours permanent on Thursday.

Rachel Schulkin with Seattle Parks and Recreation said the pilot of opening the park at 6 AM and closing it at 10 PM was spurred by a mix of what parks employees were seeing in the park and complaints from area residents.

Staff reported finding beer cans and damaged benches in the park, graffiti had been an issue, 911 calls about loud, late-night activities were frequent, and members of the community reported feeling unsafe in the park in the evening. Continue reading

98 or so ideas for Capitol Hill and Central District streets and parks

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The city asked for ideas, and the people have responded.

The first phase of the Your Voice, Your Choice program wrapped up in February, and brought in 894 ideas about how to spend $2 million across the city on smaller infrastructure projects – those with a budget of $90,000 or less. About 11% of the ideas came out of City Council District 3, centered on Capitol Hill and the Central District. Tuesday night, the penultimate effort to winnow that list down to a manageable eight projects gathered in the Central District at the Douglas Truth Library. Here are some of the District 3 safe streets and open space ideas they were wrangling.

The largest single category on Capitol Hill and the Central District seemed to do with either making it easier for people to cross streets, or forcing cars to slow down. Continue reading

Capitol Hill parks notes | Summit Slope legal fight, I-5 Columns design, Montlake lid

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

With the most excellent news of Volunteer Park’s new bandshell and amphitheater rounding into shape, here are a few more bits of news and notes from the Capitol Hill area’s parkland and open spaces.

  • Summit Slope Park: Here is some unhappy news from the Unpaving Paradise group that shaped the vision for the small — but growing — Capitol Hill park just off E Olive Way:
    Some Parks employees are starting the process of removing the table, benches, and BBQ from the upper area of the park this morning. They are taking the BBQ today. Their work order was to remove the boards of the table, leaving the metal frame. They had a call in to someone to see if they were also supposed to remove the boards from the benches. Then a Parks supervisor of some sort came by and she said they should remove the benches and table completely, since leaving the metal frames would be a safety hazard. They plan on moving them out in the next few days. But it all seemed to be a moving decision process, subject to change at any moment Continue reading

Designs for new amphitheater at Volunteer Park nearing completion

FRONT STAGE IN USEORA Architects is finalizing the schematic design for Volunteer Park’s new amphitheater, which it plans to present to the public in the first week of April.

There may be a few tweaks to the project after the public presentation, but overall the concept is established, Emily Perchlik, with ORA, told CHS.

“It’s going to be a terrific addition to Volunteer Park,” said Eliza Davidson, chair of the Amphitheater Task Force. “… It’s blossomed into something that is a much bigger contribution to the character and use of the park.” Continue reading

Visitors say goodbye, for now, to Capitol Hill’s Seattle Asian Art Museum

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As Capitol Hill’s Seattle Asian Art Museum welcomes hundreds of visitors this weekend for a last round of free tours before closing its doors to make ready for a multiyear construction project, none will know exactly when the park’s cultural center will reopen and what shape a planned overhaul and expansion to the 84-year-old building will take.

Seattle Asian Art Museum closing weekend open house

As visitors get a last chance to enjoy Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi, or Terratopia: The Chinese Landscape in Painting and Film, and Ai Weiwei: Colored Vases, officials have yet to work out a perspective that moves the project forward. Continue reading

Last chance to submit your $90K District 3 parks & streets idea

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D3, bringing up the rear

Seattle has turned to its citizens to decide how $2,000,000 in street and parks projects should be divvied up around the city — and District 3, your district, has been relatively quiet.

You have another day to change that. Your deadline is Sunday, February 26th.

Of the more than 600 ideas submitted this month for sidewalk repairs, new crossings, speed humps, curb bulbs, park benches and tables, traffic circles, and sidewalk designs in the Your Voice, Your Choice Parks & Streets process, District 3 representing Capitol Hill, First Hill, Montlake, Madison Valley and Madison Park, part of Eastlake, and the Central District was bringing up the rear with around 8.3% of the submissions as of Saturday morning. You can see the latest overall tallies here. Continue reading