I have gathered different bits of information over the past few years about this plot of land. Though I do not know for a fact that any of my conclusions are true, but my observations are. We have walked by this place regularly for years and have seen its evolution. All things change and we can help direct that change for good.
First, if you can imagine, there was a house here. The house was torn down and soon after hand made signs were put up expressing anger, sadness, injustice, and grief over what took place. Some of the signs were written as apologies to the person that lived there. Her home was gone and now so was she.
Very soon after all the small hand-made signs were torn down and replaced by a large city council sign:
Land Use Action Site
Proposed Development Permit
Or something like that. Anyway, the land had been bought and what they hoped to build was another set of tightly packed, 3 story town homes, each probably being budgeted to sell for at least $500,000. This has become pretty standard here—probably not just here. Well, it did not take long before the sign was covered in graffiti, some of it protesting the newly proposed construction. Fences were put up and the lot set empty for at least a year. The next thing to happen was that the land continued to sit empty, but one day the large sign was down. Then again, nothing. Just an empty lot.
From the beginning you could tell that something in the neighborhood was stirring about this piece of land. Since, we were mere walk-by observers and remained to be (it wasn’t our fight, sometimes you just know) the signs were our only guide to what was happening. We just kept hoping the good guys would win….to me that meant the community winning!
The next thing we know, we walk by and there is a notice that the City of Seattle now owns this property. That still could mean anything. They could sell or they could turn it into a community space. But, it wasn’t long before we walked by and saw that it would be a future neighborhood park! As of right now they are still planning out the space. There are meetings and discussions, but the lot is not longer vacant. They have opened it up for temporary use (before the official park construction actually takes place) and it is great. The community has very respectfully taken advantage of this opportunity. At first it was just a rocky patch of weeds, which Finn and I played in! But it is growing. Now, people are growing food. There is a picnic table. A table and chairs. Chalk and a big wall which people of all ages draw on. Finn and I love going there and I actually like it better than most designed public parks. It feels like a community backyard. I kind of think this is the way a lot of things are supposed to work. People being involved and caring. It gives the community an opportunity to take ownership and pride in it.
I know I could have gotten involved in this or at least used my curiosity to do some research, but I didn’t. One thing I think we all need to know are the battles we are and are not going to fight. We can’t fight them all and sometimes it’s just nice to go for a walk, observe, and wonder. Remember, this is important too. Balance.
However, when something does stir in you and pull you toward it…go after it! There are opportunities and sometimes it works out!
Thank you for all those who created this pleasant and peaceful space. I already have many lovely memories of time spent here.
Links for more detailed (and accurate information):
Seattle.gov: Federal/Republican Park Info
Yahoo Groups: Federal/Republican Park