The new parklet in Uptown will feature seating, bike parking and a Little Free Library. Contributors who donate a certain amount to its construction will have their names featured in the stars. Photo courtesy of VIA Architecture
The new parklet in Uptown will feature seating, bike parking and a Little Free Library. Contributors who donate a certain amount to its construction will have their names featured in the stars. Photo courtesy of VIA Architecture

 

In an effort to activate the Uptown neighborhood and bring more public space, community members have received approval for a parklet. Now, they are crowdfunding the money to build it. 

The parklet idea came from the Urban Design Framework that the Uptown Alliance has been working on with the Department of Planning and Development for the last two years, said Uptown Alliance co-president and urban designer Katherine Idziorek. 

During its planning, Uptown Alliance members thought about future changes they’d like to see in the neighborhood. Creating more public space for residents was one of the goals. The group applied for and was accepted into the city’s Parklet Pilot program. It is one of 13 parklets the city is testing. 

“We thought this little project would be the perfect fit — to provide a neighborhood-like space, where people could sit,” Idziorek said. “It’s also a really cool part of the street space and community identity of the neighborhood.”

The parklet will take up the two southern parking spots in front of SIFF Cinema (511 Queen Anne Ave N.).  When the group looked for sites to put the parklet, the members identified this corner as an area that could use some “softening,” James Underwood said. Underwood is a designer for VIA Architecture and Idziorek’s colleague. 

The Queen Anne Avenue corner anchors the southern end’s activity. 

The group also wanted to do something that celebrated SIFF’s new role in the neighborhood, Idziorek said. 

The parklet brings activity to the street in a way another urban space couldn’t, Idziorek said. Creating a parklet is the “best thing for your buck,” Underwood said. 

The designers hope the space will bring a colorful and welcoming aspect. It will incorporate SIFF by using old film reels along the handrail. There will be benches and chairs, a Little Free Library, bike racks and metal stars that will decorate the floor, engraved with the names of the people who donated $250 or more to the fundraising campaign. 

They will use treated wood that will last a long time and will treat the reels so that they can withstand the weather, Idziorek said. 

Even though parklets can be temporary, organizers plan to make this parklet as permanent as possible. To keep the parklet long-term, they’ll just need to renew its permit every year. 

Fundraising through July

The fundraising campaign is being hosted by the Seattle Parks Foundation on the crowdfunding website, See Your Impact.org. There are rewards for all the fundraising levels. The group will fundraise through July. It has been a big success already, Idziorek said; so far, it raised $12,751, as of Monday, July 14. 

Seattle Parks Foundation finance director Shava Lawson is helping the group run the campaign. 

Any public space can activate the community, Lawson said. 

“The neighborhood doesn’t really have much greenspace other than Seattle Center,” she said. “It’s nice to have the opportunity for people to hang out in a mini park.” 

The money raised will buy materials, furnishings and permitting fees. The permitting costs $1,500. All of the design and construction time from VIA Architecture and Slater Construction are being donated pro bono. 

Once the fundraising ends, the group will submit construction documents. The construction is dependent upon how much money is raised, but Idziorek hopes the parklet is up and running by the end of the summer so people can use it during nice weather. 

The good thing about the construction is that it can be built in pieces that are put together at the end, Underwood said. This means, the construction will probably only block off the sidewalk for a few days while the crew puts the pieces together. The organizers hope to do this in August or September.

The community has come together to support the parklet, Idziorek said, with some local business making big donations as soon as the campaign launched: “We feel really good, and we’re excited that people are excited.” 

To donate to the parklet, visit seattleparks.seeyourimpact.org.

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