Passers-by found a large message waiting for them this morning in the empty lot at Belmont and Pine.
Slog posted an e-mail saying the sod art the work of Seattle photographer Ashley Genevieve:
About 10 people got together this morning for a Take Over of local cap hill empty lots by laying out sod in suggestion for a PARK rather than building or parking lot.
There’s also a picture of her (we presume) posing in front of the project. Her haircut has elicited the first two comments on Slog. We didn’t find Genevieve on our visit — only the sod message, a watering can and a plastic bucket. Perhaps her group will consult our list of nine of Capitol Hill empty lots in need of a pick-me-up.
The Belmont lot — the People’s Parking Lot — is a good place to start the project. The lot was left behind after a strip of much loved bars and businesses was razed to make way for a mixed-use project that never happened. We reported on the status of the lot and the developer’s plans in spring 2009 but fully admit we didn’t get much useful info. We’ve heard the lot is for sale but last we asked, Eastside-based Murry Franklin, the developer who bought the property in 2007 for $6 million according to county records, wasn’t talking. The developer also closed down the deal it had going with a paid parking company in the lot.
In the meantime, while mostly silent and disconnected from the community around its property, Murry Franklin has let us hold the Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale in the lot the last two years. The lot has also been home to other, less-planned ‘activations.’
As for more parks on Capitol Hill, we’re not arguing but the city would probably point Genevieve at the Summit/John project four blocks north and wrapping up construction this fall. Parks recently agreed to purchase an empty lot at Federal and Republican so green space acquisition does continue even as the city’s budget woes are producing operations and staff cuts. There’s also a park and p-patch project that will be complete later this summer on 16th Ave.
UPDATE: The Slog cares about that lot. A lot. Dan Savage’s reply makes some good points:
Saving empty lots near the new light rail station for green space—not set aside for housing—is anti-urban and anti-green.
And we’re pretty sure Savage really means it this time.