$1.6 million in grants, plus new park projects coming to Capitol Hill and District 3

We do have money for this E John enhancement, though

We do have money for this E John enhancement, though

We don't have money for this right now

We don’t have money for this right now

Last week, CHS shared the most recent vision for the audacious idea to lid I-5 with a park to better connect Capitol Hill with downtown and South Lake Union. There’s zero dollars to pay for it.

But the good news is there are more than zero dollars to pay for plenty of other parks and community projects around Capitol Hill and District 3. Here are some projects ready do dig in or already in progress around the Hill and Central Seattle plus news on new grants to help pay for more.

Summit Slope Park E John Enhancement
E John next off E Olive Way will be “enhanced” starting this winter, Seattle Parks says. The plans to “pedestrianize” E John adjacent Summit Slope Park next to the E Olive Way Starbucks were mostly finalized way back in fall of 2013 but the end product will be a $150,000 compromise version. The effort to transform the street was part of the original plans for the park as ideas coalesced in 2009 but had to be put off in early planning and construction due to costs. The plan will reconfigure sidewalks and trees along the street and eliminate parking on E John as well as close off access to the street from E Olive Way. Starbucks customers, however, will still be allowed to exit the cafe’s parking lot onto John to Summit. UPDATE: Awesome planning and development site The Urbanist has more information about the E John changes:

With the removal of parking lanes, the sidewalk will extend into John Street, with room for a bioswale, new p-patches, and even two new tables for seating.

12th Avenue Square and Broadway Hill Park
12th Avenue Square on 12th at E James Ct and Broadway Hill Park at Federal and Republican were both under construction this fall. 12th Avenue Square, with its woonerf and giant hanging sculpture, is close to wrapping up though the official opening party will probably be held in 2016. Also lined up for a 2016 opening is the long awaited Broadway Hill Park on land purchased for $2 million five years ago.

New grants
Meanwhile, $464,823 in Neighborhood Matching Fund grants were announced in the latest wave of awards for organizations across the city. With the advent of Seattle’s new district system, the Department of Neighborhoods provided this year’s roster of grants organized by district. Your home district did well — D3 raked in more than $160,000 of the funds made available in this round.

District 3

  • $25,000 to Gay City Arts to organize events exploring the experiences of three marginalized groups within LGBT communities: people of color, transgender and genderqueer people, and people over 40. The free events will include classes in visual, literary and performing arts, along with community dialogues and performances. (Community match: $33,404) Continue reading

Meet the architect who wants to build a lidded park over I-5

(Image: Patano Studio Architecture)

We’d pay $5 to see the plans for this (Image: Patano Studio Architecture)

With Wednesday’s announcement of the $147 million sale of Convention Place Station and the end of buses in the transit tunnel by 2019, the way is now paved for the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion to open in 2020. Another nearby project of even larger scope might soon take smaller steps toward joining the new convention center wing in improving the connection between downtown and Capitol Hill.

Small steps is the way architect Christopher Patano, the man who wants to put a lid over the I–5, believes the 45-acre urbanist’s fantasy park can eventually become reality. Patano believes crowdfunding is his next step.Seattle CAP2 Seattle CAP

Patano’s architecture studio is carrying forward the seemingly quixotic idea to construct a lidded park over the interstate. The plan would cover the stretch of I–5 from First Hill all the way up to the Roanoke exit with a public, two-mile park. Patano’s plan would also include an expanded meeting facility, a hotel and an arena.

Ever since he made the first pitch, Patano said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive and the studio is ready to move forward. The studio has the ideas — now it needs the money. Continue reading

Want $1,200 to create an installation in Cal Anderson? Seattle tests new grant program

IMG_7164Last weekend’s Sparkle in the Park wasn’t paid for with funding from the new Put the Arts in Parks pilot program — but it could have been:

This pilot program supports neighborhood arts councils and community-based groups that are seeking to activate Seattle Parks with new and established festivals or events that promote arts and cultural participation, celebrate our diversity and build community connections through arts and culture while connecting with underserved communities. The funds for this program are contingent on the passing of the Parks District budget.

The new grant program has been designed to help fund events and art installations that take place in a Seattle park in 2016 and, if it’s a success, beyond. The proposals can be art events, or community events with an arts element like music or performances.

The city plans to select 40 projects for the 2016 pilot. The program’s budget is around $340,000. The new program is part of the $47 million Seattle Park District funding plan for the coming year.

Another new grant program called the Major Projects Challenge Fund is also being created to allow community groups to create projects for parks that will draw from a $1.6 million pool. “Merely being expensive doesn’t necessarily make it a major project,” the city notes. “It should significantly expand the life and usability of the subject facility such that it provides more opportunities for people to make use of the facility.”

Put the Arts in Parks projects must be free to attend, “have a significant arts and culture component,” and “provide a platform for under-represented artists and communities” — sorry Shitbarf, you’re over-represented. Same goes for your, Chihuly.

Priority will be given to projects taking place in “preferred parks” — here’s the list for our area:

CENTRAL • Cal Anderson Park • Denny Park • Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park • First Hill Park • Judkins Park • Flo Ware Park • Pratt Park • Powell Barnett Park

Grants are available at levels from $1,200 to $7,200. Individual artists or community groups may apply but only groups with “demonstrated ability to produce the event” are eligible to receive $2,400 or more.

The deadline to apply for the new citywide program from The Office of Arts and Culture and Seattle Parks is October 30th. You can learn more and apply on seattle.gov.

A freeway lid in push for Hill-friendly convention center expansion? Thinking too small — How about a 45-acre park along I-5?

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 4.19.44 PM

(Images: Patano Architects)

(Images: Patano Architects)

Following a hearing on the “public benefits”of the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion plan with a reported strong Capitol Hill-leaning set of community priorities, an even more ambitious initiative has apparently been rekindled by the opportunities in the project.

A concept for a “linear park” along and over I-5 from Patano Studio Architecture is being revived with hopes that the community effort to shape the Convention Center’s Pine Street expansion can possibly align with a massive initiative that would create an expanded meeting facility, a giant hotel, a 20,000-seat arena, and a 45-acre park along I-5 connecting Capitol Hill and neighborhoods east of the freeway with downtown:

The C.A.P. proposal solves multiple issues, our growing city can thrive from the complexity of the challenges facing its citizens. We can have a beautiful public park, a destination convention center, a downtown sports arena and affordable housing. Each of the neighborhoods have multiple opportunities to tie the city back together at large and small scales. Focus on the public amenities, public input and evolutionary process that the C.A.P. infrastructure supports will allow the development of the concept over time.

The concept is purely in the vision state at this point but some advocates believe the time is ripe to renew the push to lid I-5 — and they are hoping to harness energy from Capitol Hill community and development activist group the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council to make it happen.

UPDATE: Erik Barr of Patano tells CHS the push behind the concept is starting a “big idea” for Seattle. “That’s how Freeway Park started. Freeway Park started as an idea,” Barr said, calling the proposal “an opportunity for people to think about things in the big picture.”

Barr pointed at the boom times for big midwest and eastern cities that included massive civic projects in the 20th century. “Seattle is having its boom day right now,” Barr said.

PPUNC chair and past CHS contributor John Feit says the convention center expansion will again be on the group’s agenda Tuesday night at its September meeting at the Capitol Hill library:

The Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council

Meeting Agenda

When: Tuesday, September 15, 2015; 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm
Where: Second Floor Meeting Room, Capitol Hill Branch, Seattle Public Library

  1. WSCC expansion advocacy update (John F, 6:00 – 6:20)

  2. I-5 lid design concepts and graphics (Chris P, 6:20 – 7:20)

  3. Coalition building (All, 7:20 – 7:45)

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 4.21.36 PM

(Image: Patano Architects)

PPUNC has not yet endorsed the I-5 lid or Patano park plan but Feit said he is interested in how the idea might connect to his group’s push to improve the pedestrian connection between Capitol Hill and downtown with a Pike/Pine-friendlier plan for the convention center expansion design.

WSCC reps say they are also committed to creating an active and more-engaged next generation for the center that creates a better connection to the surrounding streets. The design process for the expansion project will continue with a third early design guidance session planned for October. As part of the design reviews, WSCC developers are also planning to complete a “codevelopment” process to design “a 30-story building with 428 housing units and a 16-story building with 595,000 square feet of office space” just north of the project as part of the expansion. WSCC plans to sell the codevelopment properties to help fund the convention center expansion.

“The downtown core and Capitol Hill are experiencing unprecedented growth and development,” the brief document on the lid idea provided to CHS reads. “As the urban core densifies opportunities for significant public green space downtown are becoming difficult to imagine.”

“C.A.P. proposes to insert topography and public park space into the chasm created by Interstate 5.”

The creator of the Patano Architects vision for the I-5 park Christopher Patano was traveling and not available for comment on the proposal or how it might fit in with the convention center plans.

More information is posted at lidi5.com. The Patano document is posted below. Continue reading

Your Capitol Hill summer is not over yet: bonus movie in Cal Anderson Park

(Image: Three Dollar Bill Cinema)

One of the largest crowds ever kicked off Three Dollar’s 2015 summer movie series (Image: Three Dollar Bill Cinema)

A drizzly end to August stole a small piece of your Capitol Hill summer. Three Dollar Bill Cinema plans to restore it with a bonus rescheduling of one last outdoor movie in Cal Anderson Park: 11874991_10153309447849425_5640551179295126267_o

The summer outdoor movie season is not over yet! On Friday, Sept. 4 beginning at8:00pm, movie fans will gather once more for a Seattle tradition: Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema at Cal Anderson Park. The ongoing series, sponsored by Sound Transit, called “Bedtime Stories,” kicked off with THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and has included EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and THE NEVERENDING STORY.The series will conclude on Friday with the last in this year’s lineup, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, originally scheduled for August 14, but rescheduled in response to bad weather.

Topping off the evening’s lineup will be a special surprise pre-movie screening. You’ll have to show up to find out what’s in store!The night is hosted by the glamorous Mama Tits, with music by DJGeneralMeow (Kendall’s DJ & Event).

WHAT:  Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema’s presentation of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING.
WHEN: Friday, September 4 beginning at 8:00pm (movie at 8:30pm)

WHERE: Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill – 1635 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

No word on what the “special surprise pre-movie screening” will be — like they say, you’ll need to show up to find out.

With hopes of becoming part of a changing E Madison — and a $200k construction challenge — plans revealed for Cayton Corner Park

“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site.”

A community “open house” at the planned Cayton Corner Park at 19th and Madison put plans on display Tuesday evening as the park enters its final phase of design. Planners say it should be open for the public sometime in 2017.

The park, which was named in 2013 to honor an important African American Seattle newspaper publisher, is located on a triangular, 4,500 square foot plot of land directly across the street from the Mount Zion Baptist Church. The land was purchased by Seattle Parks and Recreation in 2011 at the behest of the local community which had said there was a need for open space in the neighborhood.

“We are just so happy that people came out for this little site,” said Pamela Kliment of Seattle Parks. She said that parks was working closely with the neighborhood organization Friends of Cayton Corner Park to oversee the planning, design, and construction of the park.

So far the Friends have raised around $75,000 to fund the park, primarily through grants from the Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund. Most of the money up to this point has been spent on going through several rounds of design with the firm J.A. Brennan Associates, and now the park is entering “the phase where we can have a design ready for construction,” according to Allison Vasallo, a volunteer with the organization. Vasallo said the surrounding community gave input throughout the design process.

According to Drew Coombs, a landscape architect with J.A. Brennan, construction of the park will take place in three phases, beginning in 2016, and the park should be open sometime in 2017. He said one of the priorities in designing the park was making it accessible to people with disabilities. The park is locating right next to the Hearing Speech and Deafness Center, which gave input in its planning.

The park’s current design includes a sensory garden, ADA accessible pathways, and an embankment slide, among other features, according to Karen Portzer who is also a volunteer with the Friends of Cayton Corner Park. Portzer told CHS that the biggest challenge currently facing the park was securing funding for construction, which could cost upwards of $225,000.

“A lot of [organizations] do not fund capital improvement projects. That sorta knocks us out,” she said.

Challenges over construction funding were part of the reason it took five years to begin work to create Broadway Hill Park near Federal and Republican off north Broadway.

For Cayton Corner, Portzer said the Friends are hoping to receive the Large Projects Fund grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, which can provide up to $100,000 in funding. They’re also continuing to seek support from local foundations and the community.

The park should eventually be part of the changing face of E Madison as development projects have finally dug in, more are planned, and plans are readied to transform the street with a bus rapid transit project.

To find out more information or to donate to the park, visit seattleparksfoundation.org.

As community-powered Broadway Hill Park finally digs in, grants awarded to tool library, Central Area Block Party

Thanks to reader Neal for the picture

Thanks to reader Neal for the picture

Broadway Hill Park schematic

Broadway Hill Park schematic

Construction is finally ready to begin to create Broadway Hill Park on the empty lot at the corner of Federal and Republican some five years after the land was purchased by the city for $2 million.

The city’s Opportunity Fund grant process helped push the project to its final stages with a $750,000 boost. Another $17,500 from a Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple grant paid for for the schematic design including community gardening, art, and open spaces. That design, by the way, has been ready and on the shelf since 2011. The long wait hasn’t been a total waste, however. Neighbors have put the lot at one time lined up for a development project to some good use as a place to hangout — and sometimes more.

Meanwhile, a new wave of grants will help create new greenspaces and community projects around Central Seattle. The Capitol Hill Tool Library and a pocket park at 19th and Madison are just a couple of the projects that received matching grants from the city last week.

The Department of Neighborhoods awarded just over $467,000 in neighborhood matching grants through its Small and Simple Projects Fund. Neighborhood groups have pledged match with $600,000 in volunteer hours and donations to receive the grants.

Here are the Capitol Hill and Central District specific projects:

  • $25,000 to Friends of Cayton Corner Park to prepare construction documents for a neighborhood pocket park on Capitol Hill. (Community match: $12,630)
  • $12,000 to Capitol Hill Housing Foundation to engage renters living in the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict in voter registration and a 2016 Renters Summit. (Community match: $30,980)
  • $16,000 to Sustainable Capitol Hill to create a community tool library and fixer’s collective to provide items to check out or use in the workshop. (Community match: $42,100)
  • $10,000 to Gay City Health Project to solicit public input to create a database of health care providers to ensure the LGBTQ community has access to high quality, competent healthcare. (Community match: $7,220)
  • $11,500 to 23rd Avenue ACT (Action Core Team) to produce the Central Area Block Party in September to highlight the history and culture of the community. (Community match: $10,712)

Both the Cayton Corner Park and tool library are projects that have been several years in the making. Residents around the Cayton park have been working since at least 2013 to spruce up the triangle parcel. Sustainable Capitol Hill found a home for its tool share program in March at Crawford Pl and E Pike inside the First Covenant Church.

The application for Small and Simple grants reopens in October.


First Hill unveils its first ‘pavement to parks’ open spaces for community and ‘a little fun’

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.

A little tactical urbanism puts parks in streets of First Hill, test pedestrian zone on E Pike

Finding ways to make the city streets work best for residents, businesses, and the community in increasingly dense areas like First Hill and Capitol Hill requires a little bit of strategy and tactical urbanism. The summer of 2015 will see the deployment of a few early test missions on our streets.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-03-at-5.23.28-PM-600x401Organizers from the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict behind a plan to create a pedestrian-only zone in Pike/Pine have set a target for their test mission:

The pilot will close three blocks of Pike Street to car traffic on four Saturday nights in August. The first two nights, August 8 and 15, will be shorter and focus on crowd management and public safety. The second two nights, August 22 and 29, will expand on this concept with community based programming. Volunteers needed for data collection! Continue reading

CHS Pics | As plans form for its replacement, Volunteer Park stage hosts ‘music under the stars’

IMG_5207There will be more music in the park Thursday night after Volunteer Park gets its summer piano. Wednesday night, the Seattle Chamber Music Society hosted another “Music Under the Stars” session at the Volunteer Park amphitheater stage.

With life in a northern town meaning no stars until the sun’s light finally fades late into the night and with an amphitheater lawn already much more brown than we’re used to seeing in Seattle, the Sempre Sisters performed Handel — “plus fiddle favorites” — as a prelude to the picnic-friendly KING FM broadcast from Benaroya Hall. The 2015 series in Volunteer Park wraps up next week with July 22nd’s night of music.

IMG_5219Meanwhile, the effort to recreate Volunteer Park’s amphitheater is moving forward with a $25,000 grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to create a feasibility study to “explore technical requirements and community preferences for a new performance space.”

CHS wrote earlier this year about the Volunteer Park Trust’s effort to recreate the outdoor performance space. According to the city, a performance pavilion was designed into the park by the Olmsted Brothers back in 1912 — but that pavilion stood where the Seattle Asian Art Museum stands today. The current stage dates to the 1970s and is showing its age.Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.47.22 PM

“Public input will be a major component of the year-long study, with two community-wide meetings planned as well as targeted focus groups for neighbors, arts organizations, and major park users,” an announcement from the trust on the project reads. “Once the agreed-upon design is completed, the Trust will work with Seattle Parks in seeking a combination of public and private funds to finance construction, with the goal of having a new performance space completed by 2018.”

You can learn more at volunteerparktrust.org.