With a new initiative underway to add new features to Cal Anderson Park recognizing the power of the occupied protest camp and Black Lives Matter movement of the summer of 2020, another central city park is also in the middle of a public design process to upgrade the important public space.
Freeway Park, a public space connection to downtown through the convention center, is lined up for $10 million in upgrades — minus some consulting and design fees — thanks to the $80 million community benefits package formed to cover the value of public right of way being dedicated to the convention center’s expansion.
An online open house to show off concepts and collect feedback for the proposed changes runs through next week at freewaypark.infocommunity.org:
The initial scope of the capital improvements is based on the Finding Freeway Park concept plan, produced by the Freeway Park Association, and identifies infrastructure upgrades, lighting, wayfinding and possibly a new restroom. The design phase is expected to be complete with all necessary permits/approvals and construction bid documents by June 2021.
Designed by Lawrence Halprin and constructed in 1976, Freeway Park (700 Seneca St.) was the first park to ever be built over an interstate highway. The park is a respite from the city’s urban environment and is a result of community activism, forward-thinking, and Seattle’s civic process. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. SPR and the Freeway Park Association would like to thank everyone who has participated in the renovation project to date.
The open house and surveys focus on park-wide improvements like new signage and lighting as well as specific areas like the upper lawns. You can also see feedback so far on the various categories up for consideration. People agree with the need for lighting and want to see new restrooms and possible play structures on the upper lawns, for example.
More radical changes that could eventually incorporate or connect to the park, for now, aren’t part of the plan but the Lid I-5 effort continues with a completed feasibility study.
Originally, officials said the goal was to complete the improvements to Freeway Park by the end of 2021. The current timeline calls for construction to start in 2022.
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