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Brainstorm: Sound Transit looking for community ideas on putting empty lot to use

A Picture for dreaming over

Originally uploaded by sonek321

With the pavement laid on the Capitol Hill light rail station construction site and the empty lot about to go unused for the next three months, CHS asked Brooke Belman, a community-outreach program manager for Sound Transit, how community members might work with the agency to activate the space.

Belman said Sound Transit is again working to coordinate artworks for the space similar to the program they created for the empty buildings in the area on Broadway prior to demolition. She also says Sound Transit is looking to work with people in the community to put the space to use:

Our original thought was to use the site for a groundbreaking/community celebration, which is what we talked to you about a couple of weeks ago. As we got closer to the site actually being paved, more interest has grown about using the space and we’ve had some good ideas come our way – like the skate party. Other ideas have been using our art program sort of like we did when we had the vacant buildings (same idea, but different concept given the space) and/or showing films.

If you are starting to brainstorm events and uses you’d like to see in the three-acre space (roller skate party for Ref 71?), Belman has some good news. One, your idea can involve power — electrical power. And, two, ST is looking for ideas:

We did direct our last contractor to provide some power sources so that we’ll have some flexibility on what we can do with the site. We’re interested in hearing specific ideas that the community has. We might have some issues around specific ideas, but we’re game to hearing ideas and seeing where we can meet.

Sound Transit offered the following guidelines to shape any ideas:

  • Non-Sound Transit sponsored event – If a private entity wanted to hold a non-commercial event, they would need to be in a position to organize and hold an event and be able to provide liability insurance.
  • Sound Transit sponsored community event – If a good idea emerges and there is a group who can help define and organize the event, Sound Transit would be willing to work them.
  • No alcohol, no commercial use and a mindful eye on how public funds are spent towards a community event

There’s the empty lot. Here’s the framework. Fill it up.

If you’d rather not think out loud and want to contact Brooke Belman directly, here’s her address belmanb at

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11 thoughts on “Brainstorm: Sound Transit looking for community ideas on putting empty lot to use

  1. I remember hearing that 3 Dollar Bill cinema was considering using the space for their outdoor movie series. Is that still in the works? Something like that could be like a Broadway drive-in… only, without the cars (since this is a mass transit site after all).

    I see the part about no commercial vendors, but there are plenty of restaurants that could be a take-out/snack bar for the patrons. :)

  2. sounds perfect. and the power is instrumental for the lights and music.

    but, i wonder, where can one find a bunch of old-school skates?

  3. Can chalk be used on asphalt with success? I don’t know if there would be time, but, how about a competition – chalk as the medium – among local or local , national and international architects for designs for the future development of the properties. Entries could be accepted by mail for execution by local artists. Each firm could be allocated sections of the site, or there could be a rotating series of full-block chalk designs. Designs would be based on input from the neighborhood on what they would like to see on the site in the future. Probably not enough time before the Fall Rains begin, but an international competition around designs for the site might provide some creative ideas. At minimum, would seem like a good site for local chalk artists to demonstrate their skills.

  4. I called and was told C. Hill Chamber was going to run any events and to call them. They never answer the phone.

    So will get some ideas to this lady.

    Why would you rather sit on paving than the grass at Cal Anderson? The outdoor movies are rather small events as well – this is a FULL block just paved over ….

    And a giant fund raising party for Ref. 71 is a great idea. 5,000 people, music, dancing and all ages except for the beer space …

    As far as forgetting the politics, must be nice to be an uninformed straight person. Most GLBT folks I know are going to fight like hell to keep their rights and win the referendum, Vote approve 71 to KEEP the law, that is the gay side.

  5. Sound Transit should make a corner of the lot available to mobile food vendors like Marination Mobile, Skillet, Maximus Minimus and anyone else.

    Perhaps also Josh Henderson and Gabe Claycamp could use the lot for the Seattle Street Food Fair they have been talking about?

  6. I am still wondering why they are letting the property sit for three months rather than starting to dig now. OK, perhaps they cannot dig towards downtown until they get the I-5 work finished, but could they not start digging towards the U District?

  7. It would be great to have a roller rink set up complete with sound system and refreshments.

    Also a grand trade and sell event for people wanting to sell or trade their wares.

  8. Empty for 3 months. Why not a couple events?
    A Ref 71 event by itself would probably require some group’s sponsorship for liability, since ST probably wouldn’t sponsor something political – maybe CHCC or Chamber of Commerce could. Skate party would be fun but I bet there’d be a lot of wipe-outs.
    How about a Capitol Hill Festival? ST would sponsor a community event that highlights nobody in particular but benefits all. Maybe set up the mobile foot vendors, have the B-way Farmer’s Mkt move there one sunday, get local groups/companies to have booths/tables there like the Imagine Capitol Hill festival did last year…