Arboretum trail will give Central Seattle its very own Green Lake

Rendering of the future trail (Images: City of Seattle)

Rendering of the future trail (Images: City of Seattle)

Planners expect a center line to help split traffic on the trail's curves

Planners expect a center line to help split traffic on the trail’s curves

Following this winter’s rains, crews will begin work on a paved trail weaving in an out of the wetlands and gardens of the Arboretum allowing pedestrians a closer connection to the natural preserve and giving bike riders an alternative to busy Lake Washington Blvd.

“Seattleites love Green Lake… this is going to be a great alternative walk in a spectacular Seattle park,” said Paige Miller who works for the Arboretum Foundation and sits on the joint committee that is supervising the project.

The 1.2-mile loop will be 12-feet wide and paved perfect for slower traffic including joggers and strollers. Bicycle riders will be able to pedal through the Arboretum rather than brave the winding, motor vehicle-filled Lake Washington Blvd. Continue reading

Extending power of the super green Bullitt Center, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict plans community-backed solar project to help light up E John affordable apartments

E John's Holiday Apartments had a sun clock installed as part of its 2010 grand re-opening (Image: CHS)

E John’s Holiday Apartments had a sun clock installed as part of its 2010 grand re-opening (Image: CHS)

Holiday Apartments community solar rendering

Rendering of the solar panels on the Holiday Apartments (Image: Bonneville Environmental Foundation)

In the coming weeks, Capitol Hill residents could have a unique opportunity to directly fund a large-scale, rooftop solar panel project going up right in the neighborhood. And if saving the planet isn’t enough of an incentive, you’ll also get a rebate on your Seattle City Light bill to sweeten the deal.

Capitol Hill Housing recently solidified plans to install community funded solar panels at its Holiday Apartments property at 10th and E John by the end of October. The solar panels are the result of nonprofit’s efforts to create more tangible projects under the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, which CHH launched last April.

The solar panel project, which is benefiting from the state’s Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program, should be up and running by the beginning of November. At that time, SCL ratepayers who invest in the project will begin to receive credits on their electric bills. Around 1,200 solar panel units will be available to invest in at around $150 each.

“We hope most (participants) will be based on Capitol Hill. This is about engaging people in the ecodistict in solar energy,” said Joel Sisolak, who spearheads the ecodistrict at CHH. Continue reading

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a corpse flower bloom — Meanwhile, Friends of the Conservatory holding plant sale, raising funds before construction closure


Under construction at the Conservatory (Image: CHS)


This isn’t Edgar — but this *is* what a corpse flower looks like. What’s it smell like? Better get up to Volunteer Park to find out.

As of Friday morning, one of the Volunteer Park Conservatory’s corpse flowers is now in full bloom and reportedly it “stinks to high heaven.” The Conservatory — in Volunteer Park at 1400 E Galer St — will keep long hours Friday, September 12th, staying open from 10 AM to 9 PM so as many admirers as possible can have a chance to see and smell the rare occurrence. The plant is the first titum arum to bloom at the Conservatory since 2008. Under this pungent cloud of excitement, The Friends of the Conservatory (FOC) is holding a fund drive this fall to support the greenhouse during an upcoming two-month closure when no visitor revenue will be generated.

UPDATE: *This* is edgar

UPDATE: *This* is edgar

The simplest way to get involved — after visiting Edgar, that is — is to stop by the FOC’s fall plant sale in Volunteer Park on Saturday:

The Friends of the Conservatory Fall Plant Sale offers unique tropicals, orchids, succulents & cacti for sale; similar to the plants in the Conservatory! Frequently we offer select plants directly from the Conservatory displays and collections. Our Palm House Gift Shop will feature a variety of containers for your home or office to enhance your new leafy friends!

The restoration of the Conservatory in Volunteer Park will close the more than 100-year-old building to the public from the beginning of October to the end of November.  Earlier this spring, CHS reported on a series of planned closures to allow work to be completed to restore the glass, aluminum and wood structure. The $3.5 million needed for the restoration effort was raised over the course of a three-year capital campaign. 

FOC is planning a gala for December 6th to ”showcase the improved Conservatory and Multipurpose Space and to personally thank you for your support and contribution.”

“We want to celebrate reopening and thank everyone for their donations,” said Anthonio Pettit of FOC. Continue reading

Gay Games medalists, casual butterfliers part of Capitol Hill’s Orca Swim Team

IMG_2096IMG_0784Settling into a bonus lap or three after one of the hottest Seattle summers, you might be looking for a cooler Capitol Hill workout. Join the Orca Swim Team.

The Capitol Hill-based team practices six days a week out of the Connolly Center Pool at Seattle University.

“Orca is a tighter social group. We have a monthly potluck at a team member’s house and we go to dinner Friday nights together,” said Brock Jones who has swam on the team for a year.

The Orca Swim team is a predominantly gay and lesbian Masters Team but everyone is welcome. Masters Team means members are 18 and over — you maybe a master but Masters does not refer to skill level. The team has a wide range of abilities from people who have never been a part of an aquatic team to veterans looking for a solid workout.

“I’m mostly here for motivation and to help with stroke technique,” said Allie McGavock from Seattle U who coaches a couple of the practices a week.IMG_0928 Continue reading

High Voltage wants to keep the music going on E Pike

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

_DSC0964The closure of Platinum Records on E Pike is another moment of change for the entertainment culture of Pike/Pine. Those still rocking like High Voltage music and repair shop might feel like they’re the last ones standing.

“We don’t have everything under the sun but it’s really cool that the community wants this place to succeed,” said Pam Sternin.

Sternin says many phone calls she receives are people asking if High Voltage carries certain equipment before they buy from Guitar Center. But the abundance of musicians and music lovers and lack of stores and repair shops on Capitol Hill keep High Voltage buzzing with business which is getting better as the store moves out of its infancy.

The owners have transformed the space in the past two years taking DIY to heart. They added a new wall and stairs to a second floor full of desks and equipment parts where Tanner Brewer repairs amps. Continue reading

Capitol Hill and Madison Park-shot short Julia’s Farm ‘a dark crime drama with two women in charge’

(Image: Julia's Farm)

(Image: Julia’s Farm)

Shooting a movie on Capitol Hill is not the simplest endeavor, especially when the first day of shooting is May Day. Sudeshna Sen began to shoot her crime drama short on May 1st inside Capitol Hill’s Bonney Watson funeral home.

“We were doing dark, weighty scenes, and there was the parade and helicopters going around,” says Sen, “at one point I just thought maybe we should reschedule.“

The cast and crew were filming inside the funeral home and decided to go outside only to find a S.W.A.T team in the parking lot. The day’s events were unexpected but director and screenplay writer Sen was able to keep her capture the scene’s she needed.

Julia’s Farm was filmed in three day with 90% of the footage either in Bonney Watson or in an apartment in Madison Park.  Continue reading

Hop helpers hold Capitol Hill trimming party for special Elysian brews

The Elysian hop clipping crew (Image: Elysian Brewery)

The Elysian hop clipping crew (Image: Elysian Brewery)

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The parking lot of Capitol Hill’s Elysian Brewery was covered in hop vines Tuesday as a group of volunteers helped harvest the cones.

“I live at Elysian more than I like to admit,” said hops picker Sean Allan who lives right next door to the E Pike brewery.

Earlier this week, Elysian put out a Facebook call asking for hop trimming helpers. Most volunteers said they were interested because of their love for beer. The group included a young couple in college and a beer tap designer.

Elysian brewers said they needed to harvest the premature hops to stay on schedule. They are making two beers to enter into the Great American Beer Festival in Denver the first weekend of October._DSC0949

Continue reading

Capitol Hill theater company stages one final performance before move to 12th Ave Arts

Inside the future home of the Main Stage at 12th Ave Arts (Image: CHS)

Inside the future home of the Main Stage at 12th Ave Arts (Image: CHS)

Ali el-Gasseir's WET will be one of three theater groups resident in the new development (Image: CHS)

Ali el-Gasseir’s WET will be one of three theater groups resident in the new development (Image: CHS)

By Rayna Stackhouse with reporting by Justin Carder

Greg Carter and Strawberry Theatre Workshop aren’t about to get rich. But the company is putting on one last show on Capitol Hill the old-fashioned theatre way.

“Our industry doesn’t work very well in a capitalist model,” says Carter. “The rich get rich, while the poor get poorer.”

While the city’s behemoth performance and arts organizations like Seattle Opera have a full staff to raise money, sell tickets and can support and pay their performers, small theater companies around Capitol Hill typically barely scrape by. The money they make is mostly from tickets and booze, Carter says.

The 12th Ave Arts building, slated to open in early November, should help change that equation for Strawshop and its two companion theater companies, Washington Ensemble Theatre and New Century Theater Company, teaming up to form a new kind of arts organization resident in the new Capitol Hill Housing development.

Capitol Hill Housing and Black Box representatives were on hand this week for a “hard hat” tour of the new building. The $47 million $38 million, 29,000 square-foot 12th Ave Arts project is creating 88 affordable apartment units, office space, retail space and a theater facility above parking that will also be utilized by Seattle Police’s East Precinct.

The project is the result of a two-decade push from community groups and organizations to create something greater with the East Precinct parking lot that used to call the land home.

Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath said it was community pressure that finally moved the project through the mire at City Hall.

“These citizen volunteers went down there and said there’s a better use for this,” he said about the old, barbed wire-ringed police parking lot.

In a most unusual twist on the typical “mixed-use” development around the Hill, 12th Ave Arts will also have two fully tricked out, state of the art performance spaces totaling nearly 6,000 square feet: one with room for 149 seats, the other Studio Stage with an 80-person capacity. Hardcore theater geeks will nerd out at the catwalks above and sound suppression enveloping both venues. Continue reading

Capitol Hill gay bar R Place turns 30

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

_DSC0826R Place celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and, despite repeated concerns about the end of the Capitol Hill “gayborhood,”  business is better than ever.

“Seattle is just more gay popular and gay friendly. What used to be just a gay bar is not just a gay bar anymore,” said manager Floyd Lovelady.

Though the number of gay bars and clubs on the Hill has diminished, more people feel welcome at R Place, a “gay bar that is straight friendly,” Lovelady said. Continue reading

Gilda’s Club painting Capitol Hill doors red, holding 5K walk/run

(Image: Gilda's Club)

(Image: Gilda’s Club)

A red bike and the red door at Gilda's Club (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

A red bike and the red door at Gilda’s Club (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

Andrea Morrison, the owner of E Pine running store Fleet Feet, wants everyone to know about Capitol Hill’s Gilda’s Club.

Mayor Ed Murray, organizers say, will also show his support for the nonprofit and the fight against cancer by turning the door of City Hall red on September 13th.

Gilda’s Club is a free, supportive community for people affected indirectly or directly by cancer. It is a national organization that has more than 20 chapters across the country. The Seattle club is located at Broadway and Union. The organization was founded in memory of comedienne Gilda Radner.

The club has 6,000 members across Washington and membership is free.

Gilda’s Club calls one of the most beautiful buildings on Broadway home, but organizers say not many in the neighborhood know who they are or what they do. Continue reading