Sustainability group plans for Volunteer Park include rainwater system for conservatory, recycled water for wading pool

Volunteer Park wading pool, circa 1970s (Image: Seattle Municipal Archives)

A small group has big plans for an environmentally responsible overhaul of Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park including a project to put rainwater to use in the landmark conservatory and a plan that could eventually make the park’s popular wading pool more sustainable.

The Volunteer Park Sustainability Coalition will has been revamping projects geared towards making use of summer weather, rain or shine. The coalition plans to make its Free Effective Rainwater Now (FERN) project an educational experience for the public along with furthering plans to improve the park’s wading pool pump system.

“The rainwater harvesting concept has existed for probably five years at this point, but using it as an educational tool is a much newer aspect that we’re trying to work into the project,” said Sejal Soni, a volunteer with the VPSC. Continue reading

Pianos in the Park returns for another season in Volunteer Park — this time with neighborhood help

(Image: Pianos in the Park)

In August, parks across the Seattle area will feature new play equipment of a musical variety. The Pianos in the Parks installations are set to return — including a piano in Volunteer Park next to the Black Sun sculpture.

Now in its sixth year, the program managed by Capitol Hill-based One Reel is also making an important change to help keep the pianos a fun piece of the summer fun in Seattle parks. Continue reading

Project to replace Volunteer Park amphitheater in 2020 get funding boost from state

The Washington state legislature approved dedicating $500,000 of the state’s budget to funding a new amphitheater in Volunteer Park, allowing the space to continually fulfill its role as a community gathering place on Capitol Hill, the Volunteer Park Trust community group announced.

“With the generous backing of our community, The Amphitheater Project will replace the current concrete and brick structure with a modern facility that will have a roof, storage and green room space, all-gender bathrooms, upgraded electrical access, and a resilient floor that will even accommodate dance performances,” the Trust announcement reads. Continue reading

Meeting will pound out District 3 street and parks improvement ideas for ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ citizen budgeting

Work to improve safety at the Olive Way offramp from I-5 was part of the 2017 round of projects

Thursday night will bring one of the quirkiest elements of Seattle’s quirk-full citizen budgeting exercise, Your Voice, Your Choice for street and park improvements, district by district, across the city.

If you’re into safe streets and parks and are a patient soul, the District 3 project development meeting used to winnow down community ideas and suggestions is Thursday night, 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Branch Library. There, ideas submitted by the public will be filtered and discussed for a final slate to be voted on in September. Continue reading

Cal Anderson to host first Recess Seattle — a day of tetherball, DJs, and food trucks for grown-ups

Let’s think of sunny days and free time ahead. Recess is coming to Cal Anderson Park.

“It’s about getting out and playing a little bit,” Clay Lundquist of Center Stage Entertainment Marketing tells CHS. “After we become adults, we don’t play.”

The new day of grown-up play — “Relive the good old days with all of your favorite schoolyard games, music and food. But this time it’s just for adults.” — is set to try to become the latest new summer tradition on Capitol Hill, joining events like Pride’s picnics and festivals and the Capitol Hill Block Party on the slate of things to plan your summer around in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Students to lead Seattle Climate Strike at Cal Anderson Park

Don’t worry about those kids cutting school and gathering in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park Friday. They’re doing it for a good cause.

The park is set to host the Seattle Climate Strike, a student led demonstration part of a day of protests and walkouts planned across the country and around the planet Friday:

Seattle Climate Strike

Organizers here say they are fighting for “radical legislative action” and the Green New Deal: Continue reading

2019 survey could help set path for Volunteer Park to fully reach Seattle’s 1903 park vision

Volunteer Park circa 1913

Volunteer Park could one day be in line for a $760,000+ upgrade of its paths, plantings, and entryways to help the Capitol Hill green space more fully meet the vision of its original Olmsted design. Brothers John and Frederick Jr. carried forward father Frederick Olmsted’s philosophies and practices of landscape design to create some of America’s greatest urban parks and campuses. In 1903, the city hired the brothers to create a family of parks and boulevards across Seattle.

116 years later, Seattle Parks is conducting a survey to help it prioritize restoration investment in the city’s multitude of Olmsted-designed parks and boulevards: Continue reading

Work finally begins to make Cal Anderson restrooms all-gender, a first for Seattle Parks

Cal Anderson’s bathrooms — to the left — are getting an overhaul (Image: City of Seattle)

A delayed project to overhaul Cal Anderson’s notoriously filthy restrooms into an all-gender facility is underway in Capitol HIll’s central park. The result should be bathrooms that are better and safer for everybody. Plus, the park’s water feature and reflecting stream and pool will get a much needed infrastructure upgrade.

Seattle Parks and Rec announced the start of construction this week and says contractor Forma Construction Company already has the bathrooms closed down to begin work.

“Although the comfort station will be closed during the project, portable toilets are in place for park visitors,” the parks department promises. Continue reading

Family of Twitch CEO celebrates parents’ 40th anniversary with free admission at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

A Capitol Hill family is celebrating 40 years of love and commitment with a gift for everybody. The Volunteer Park Conservatory will offer free admission for the holidays and to start 2019.

“We grew up walking to the Conservatory during my whole childhood, and I know my parents want everyone to be able to enjoy this beauty and peace,” Emmett Shear said in an announcement from Seattle Parks. “In their honor, I’m excited to be able to invite people to come for free to the Conservatory again.” Continue reading

Seattle Parks ready to cut ribbon on new Interlaken staircase and bike runnel

Seattle has found it a major challenge to create much of its planned bike infrastructure but one important new feature for riders headed for Capitol Hill via Interlaken Blvd will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting Saturday.

The celebration for the newly completed Interlaken Park Path and Stair Upgrade will begin this Saturday at 9:30 AM (PDF) at the corner of Boyer and Howe. Continue reading