By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special to CHS
This time last year, CHS posted updates on various small park projects around Capitol Hill, including Broadway Hill Park, 12th Avenue Square Park, and Cayton Corner Park. Here are our spring 2014 updates on Broadway Hill and 12th Ave Square and here is what we had to say about the naming of Cayton Corner.
Some of these small park projects have taken years to get off the ground, which can be baffling to neighbors who watch plots go unused season after season. The sluggish pace of development often comes down to lack of funding. Some cities, including Seattle, have cultivated corporate sponsorships to boost programming and construction times with mixed results.
Thankfully, funding is now complete or near compete for these three projects underway on Capitol Hill:
Broadway Hill Park — 500 Federal Ave E — Target: End of 2015
Thanks to a $750,000 city grant in 2014, bids are out to construct the Broadway Hill Park at Federal and E Republican. Work is expected to start this summer. “We are still looking at the end of the year to finish the project and will have better dates once a contractor is on board,” said project coordinator Toby Ressler.
The park is expected to cost $767,500. The remaining $17,500 from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple grant will pay for for the schematic design, which will include community gardening, artwork and open spaces.
Visit Broadway Hill Park’s Facebook page for updates and announcements.
Cayton Corner Park — 1831 E Madison — Target: 2016
The community group Friends of Cayton Corner Park continues to raise funding for the triangular patch of vacant space at 19th and E Madison as volunteers work towards an expected opening date in 2016.
The group recently applied for a $90,000 grant with the city’s Neighborhood Park and Street Fund for maintenance, and will apply for a $150,000 matching grant to the Department of Neighborhoods in early May. The group has raised a total of $50,000 between two grants, leaving $60,000 to reach their goal of $350,000, assuming all grants are awarded.
The blueprint of the 4,500 square foot park is in second stages of design, which include modifications for ramps on Madison St. for safer access. The city must now sign-off on soil reports to ensure the ground can support construction.
Volunteers and the park committee have been organizing dates meet-ups to pick up litter, paint over graffiti, and plant flower bulbs. “At some point, I hope to see the flowers, people sitting on the benches, and the trees,” said Friends committee member Karen Portzer.
Visit the group’s Facebook page for more information. The committee meets the second Monday of every month at Miller Community Center at 6:30 pm.
12th Avenue Square Park — 12th Ave and E James Court — Target: Summer of 2015
Along Seattle University’s stretch of 12th Ave, crews are ready to break ground on the 12th Avenue Square Park. TF Sahli Construction submitted plans to the city last months as they aim for a summer completion. Permitting issues had delayed the ground-breaking from last summer to March of this year.
During construction, East James Court will be closed to traffic and parking to help minimize noise and the impact of construction on the surrounding neighborhood. After construction, the now two-way street will become a one-way street going west to make it woonerf friendly.
Community activist and artist for the park Ellen Sollod told CHS to watch for “The Cloud,” a three-dimensional art piece involving a suspended ring and a fiber-glass mesh with mirrors attached to reflect natural light.
“It will be a really interesting and unusual piece … not like anything you’ve seen in Seattle,” she said. A second installation called “The Pillow” will be lodged on park grounds and can be used as a platform or a small stage. Sollod said she anticipates a large celebration and festival on a Saturday with live music and children’s activities.
The $1.3 million project is being funded through various sources, including the Parks and Levy Acquisition Opportunity Fund and the Seattle Parks Foundations’ Stim Bullitt Park Excellence Fund.
Of course, other much more elaborate Seattle parks were completed in about the same time it’s taken these small slivers of land to transform into parks. Those larger parks benefited from major fundraising efforts, like the $10 million donation from Vulcan to build the Lake Union Park.
Such investments are relatively rare and basically nonexistent on Capitol Hill today, according to Park’s contracts and grants manager Charles Ng. The most common private partnerships come after parks are already built, like businesses providing concessions or programing. “It’s more about activating the park and providing some public benefit in some way,” Ng said.
Recently, private investments in public parks have received some push back. In New York City, some residents are claiming private funding has created and overabundance of programming and limited open public space.