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12th Avenue Square project ready to dig in — Plus: Broadway Hill Park design plans ready

A conceptual image of 12th Avenue Square Park presented in 2011 (Image: Seattle Parks and Recreation)

A conceptual image of 12th Avenue Square Park presented in 2011 (Image: Seattle Parks and Recreation)

Back in June 2011, CHS posted design meeting plans for a 7,322 square-foot gravel lot on E James Court. It will soon be 12th Avenue Square Park. Now, with funding and a permit in-hand the Department of Parks and Recreations is looking to begin construction by late-spring/early summer and build upon the 564 12th Ave empty lot next to Ba Bar restaurant.

“The acquisition of the space was a community-initiated project from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund Project,” said Kerri Stoops of Seattle Parks. The Department of Neighborhoods passed the property to the parks department in 2008 who have acquired a steady flow of funds to get the project rolling that will include a woonerf to run “along James Ct spanning between the 12th Ave Park to the south and the new Seattle University and Seneca group development to the north.”

Meanwhile, a movement to create a Metropolitan Parks District in the city to manage development, operations, and maintenance of Seattle’s parks is making progress as the Seattle Parks Foundation has released its recommendations for the district’s structure:

A Metropolitan Park District would generate revenue dedicated solely to maintaining, operating, and developing a quality parks and recreation system in Seattle. A new MPD is a cornerstone of the plan to sustain Seattle parks because it is the only potential funding source that would be dedicated exclusively to parks. Parks would not have to compete for those funds with other capital priorities such as libraries, fire, transportation, and housing. An MPD would also be easy to implement and could be created by a vote of the people. The funds generated could be integrated into existing budgeting and operating processes, which are governed by city laws and by the parks department’s administrative code.

The district would represent a new taxing authority and the Seattle City Council would serve as its governing board. You can read more about the plan here.

You may also be wondering what a woonerf is. Here’s your answer:

A woonerf (Dutch plural: woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over motorists. The techniques of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits are intended to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.

Before construction can start on the 12th Avenue parcel the City has to find the right contractor.

“The project is now permitted and will go to bid.  If there is an acceptable bid, we will most likely, start construction late spring, early summer 2014,” Stoops tells CHS. Plans for the square were initially on-hold in 2008, but after bringing in $500,000 for the woonerf project from a 2008 parks levy and hurdling the public vetting process in 2011 the path is clear for construction.

The Seattle Parks Foundation is also chipping in $70,000 with an additional $490,000 coming from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy.

When it’s all done it will look more Westlake than Cal Anderson Park:

Designed by Hewitt Architects, the group will stay on as consultants for the woonerf project, according to a parks department description. “The park project and the woonerf project will go through design development, construction documents and construction simultaneously,” the parks website adds.

In addition to the pedestrian promenade the park will include artistic touches created by Ellen Sollod, who collaborated with Hewitt Architects on the project. “The artist has been selected by the community,” said Stoops. Sollod also serves on the Seattle Design Commission and Public Arts Advisory Committee.

Stoops said the construction schedule is slated to take 100 days.

Broadway Hill Park progress
Plans for Broadway Hill Park will soon be up for public review.

Stoops tells CHS that Broadway Hill’s design is complete and there will be a public meeting this spring. “The meeting will be a chance to hear about the project, design, and proposed timeline, and to give parks your feedback,” said Stoops. A date for the meeting has not been set.


The Broadway Hill Park corner has served as the recent home of the Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day community lot

Another parks link explains the completed design will include, “details such as specific sizes, materials, types of artwork, natural play, gardening and other details are worked out.”

CHS covered the park in May 2013 and the cash injection it was nominated for (and received) courtesy of the parks department Opportunity Fund. $750,000 is now earmarked for the project.

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3 thoughts on “12th Avenue Square project ready to dig in — Plus: Broadway Hill Park design plans ready

  1. I wonder what kind of a tax will be the funding source for the Metropolitan Parks District? Will it be part of property taxes? If so, that’s unfortunate as property taxes are already quite high, and they increase every year.

  2. The Parks District will replace the current levy, which expires this year. For the average household, the tax – which will be on property – will be $167 per year. Seattle Parks has a $270 million backlog of deferred maintenance, which the Parks District will help fund. It will also support longer hours at community centers, pools and wading pools, the Zoo and Aquarium, and new parks projects around the city.