Community invited to celebrate the new open space at University Heights Center

Join us for ribbon-cutting event on Sat. March 19

Seattle Parks and Recreation and University Heights Center along with our partners, U-District Farmers Market, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Garden program and U-District Partnership invite the community to celebrate the new open space at University Heights Center on Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The University Heights Center building and site are designated historic Seattle Landmarks located at University Way NE and NE 50th St. The project provides valuable infrastructure to support community activities and contributes much-needed park space for the University District.

“As density increases it is important to improve open space and maintain landmarked buildings,” said Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent. “This community driven project in the University Urban Center delivers a useful multi-functional gathering space for the entire community. It puts Seattle Parks and Recreation values of access, opportunity and sustainability into action.”

The celebration takes place during the U-District Farmers Market. The event will feature music from University Heights Center organizations, children’s crafts, seed giveaways, P-patch tour, light refreshments from community partners and U-District Farmers Market, and a ribbon-cutting with Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Rob Johnson and Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent, Jesús Aguirre.

The University Heights open space is a community-initiated project that creates a multi-use urban community space for all. Shortly after University Heights Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation closed on their respective purchases of the historically landmarked building and open space in the summer of 2009, the park project received development funding from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund.

Seattle Parks and Recreation and HBB Architects worked with the community on the open space master plan and design for the development of the park. Through several community workshops, a strong community desire emerged to maximize the open space for multiple uses and to create a seamless design between the various properties. The improvements include a multi-purpose plaza that functions for parking and to host festivals and events. The parking plaza flows into the park plaza which integrates scored panels for chalk art by adjacent school children and a basketball hoop that also functions as overflow gathering space for events. Almost all site rainwater runoff is directed to a linear rain garden that runs along the entirety of the south property line. The rain gardens are planted with small trees to protect views of the historic building but still provide a visual buffer from the street.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is currently running a naming process for the property. The public is invited to submit potential names for this new open space. The Park Naming Policy, clarifying the criteria applied when naming a park, can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Publications/namingPolicy.htm. The Parks Naming Committee will consider all suggestions and makes a recommendation to Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre, who makes the final decision. Please submit suggestions for park names in writing by Thursday, March 31, 2016, and include an explanation of how your suggestion matches the naming criteria. Send to Seattle Parks and Recreation, Parks Naming Committee, 100 Dexter Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109, or by e-mail to paula.hoff@seattle.gov.

More information on the project can be found here http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/university_heights/open_space.htm. For more information on the event please contact Karen O’Connor at karen.o’connor@seattle.gov.

 

Lots of Joy and Creativity at the 13th Annual U District Swag Party

More than 200 people participated in one of the University District’s favorite traditions, the U District Swag Event. Held at the U District Farmers Market, neighbors gathered greens, pine cones, ribbon and wire and let their creativity run wild!  Plus, for the first time, neighbors made enough swags for the Food Bank to deliver a swag with every bag they take to home-bound seniors (61 swags!!!).  Seattle Public Utilities crews hauled greens from the Cedar River watershed and the U District Farmers Market, the U District Partnership, the U District BIA, University Heights, Display and Costume Design, local merchants, and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods contributed to the event. 

Treats from Rockridge Orchards, Mighty O and Starbucks helped to fuel the creativity.  Guests from ROOTS (young adult shelter) again worked the event and welcomed the opportunity to be part of this community tradition (plus, make a little money). Be sure to put this event on your calendar for next December and be a part of the fun, joy, and spirit of the season.  To view more photos from the event click here.