Last week nearly 40 people met at the Bayview Retirement Community to tell community-group FOLKpark and architecture firm HBB Landscape Architecture what they want out of Lower Kinnear Park. And now organizers are asking those who couldn’t make it to the meeting to weigh in on the future of Lower KP, the first park planted in Seattle.
Though they’ve been together for less than a year, FOLKpark has been operating under an aggressive time-line to revamp the five acres of urban forest, winning a $15,000 grant from the city’s Department of Neighborhoods to fund the project.
Last Thursday the group printed off large posters of the park in its current state and asked community members to sit down in small groups, each with a leader from FOLKpark, the city or the architectural firm, and literally cover the maps with markers and post-it notes highlighting suggestions for park developments, redesigns, additions, problem areas – any ideas for the enhancement of the park.
FOLKpark chair Debi Frausto asked participants to consider how they like to use the park/would like to use the park, how the enter and interact with the park, what would give the park a stronger connection to the community, what does the park give back to the neighborhood, and what stories, if any, they have of the park, when brainstorming ideas. At the end each group presented their ideas, while graphic recorder Patti Dobrowolski created a pictorial visualization made of up everyone’s input. (See the final product here).
Some of the major concerns were safety, lighting, adequate trails for biking, strolling, and short routes for those walking through the park on their regular commute, highlighting the park’s historic story, making the best use of communal space (ideas for an environmental/educational play area and community pea patch were discussed), inviting entrances, parking and building a link from Uptown to the waterfront through the park.
“We just started a discussion about the Uptown Loop showing Kinnear Park as the missing link to the waterfront via the Helix Bridge on the Discussion Board. Would you like to walk down the hill and get to Myrtle Edwards Park?” Frausto wrote.
HBB took notes on the ideas and suggestions from the neighborhood and will create a draft plan for the park, to be presented to the community at the next public meeting on Thursday, February 25 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bayview Retirement Community, located at 11 W. Aloha St. In the meantime, Frausto encourages those who couldn’t make it to the meeting to engage in further talks/share their ideas on the FOLKpark Facebook page. Also, stay tuned for a video (currently being edited) of highlights from the evening.