Join us Oct 27 for EBCA Fall Festival and Gemenskap Park grand opening

EBCA Fall Festival

East Ballard Fall Festival & Grand Opening of Gemenskap Park Saturday October 27, 2018 10:30AM-12:30PM 6000 14th Ave NW

Gemenskap Park represents the culmination of 13 years of perseverance by the East Ballard community. Gemenskap (Yuh-MEN-skawp), Swedish for ‘community’, is a 2 block linear park on 14th Ave NW between NW 59th and NW 61st streets. The East Ballard Community Association and Seattle Parks and Recreation will be hosting a Fall Festival on Saturday Oct 27 from 10:30AM-12:30PM to celebrate the grand opening of Gemenskap park with a Halloween costume parade, music, treats and activities for all ages. Pets are welcome too! Gemenskap Park is the most recent achievement toward the community’s larger vision to create greenspace, improve safety, and address environmental concerns along the one mile stretch of 14th Ave NW between Salmon Bay to NW 65th Street.

For more information about how the community grew this park, please visit: and

Save the date for Gemenskap park grand opening

The grass in Gemenskap park went in last week and the park was transformed this weekend with kids rolling around on the hills, neighbors having picnics, dogs playing fetch and people saying hi as they strolled or rolled by!

After 13 years of waiting for this day to finally happen, East Ballard is ready to celebrate!

Save the date!

East Ballard Fall Festival & Gemenskap Park
Grand Opening Celebration
Saturday October 27

We need your expertise!

join us Thursday Sept 27, 7:30PM for our first event planning meeting. please reach out to and we’ll send you details. If you are unable to attend, but are interested in helping us on the day of the event, have connections to local musicians, are good at getting donations, or have other ideas on how you can help, please contact us!

Stay tuned for more details of the celebration. Rumor has it, a Halloween costume parade is in the works! In the meantime, check the awesome new aerial photos we added to our Gemenskap Park construction photo album on Flickr or better yet, get outside and enjoy the park in person!

Update on Gemenskap park

We’ve got plants in the rain gardens!

Now that the weather is getting cooler and we have water on site, we’re seeing new plantings in the rain gardens and a few trees scattered throughout the park. There will be a couple more planted later in the winter since Parks has to wait for them to go dormant before they can be moved.

…we’ve got trees and more on the way!

Click on the bench to see more park construction pics or just click here.

The irrigation system should be complete soon, and if all goes well, they will be planting sod next week. We’ll continue to keep you posted.

Be on the lookout for an opening celebration before the end of this year. If you’d like to help us plan, please reach out to

Mark your calendar for 2 summer events in East Ballard

EBCA July events flyer

Join us Thursday July 12 when the EBCA and St. Alphonsus parish team up to host a crime prevention educational meeting to learn about Gemenskap park and share concerns as well as ideas to ensure the park and surrounding neighborhood remain a safe and vibrant place for our community. Representatives from the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks Department and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods will be on hand to answer all of your questions and provide valuable resources and educational material.

What:    East Ballard Crime Prevention Meeting
   Thursday July 12, 6:30PM-8PM
Where: St. Alphonsus Family Center (1415 NW 58th St)

Then join us on Saturday as we clean up 14th Ave NW and Gemenskap park! Food and beverages will be on hand to get you motivated! Bring your friends, bring the kids, we’ll bring the rest!

What:    EBCA Summer Clean Sweep
   Saturday July 14, 10AM-1PM
Where: Meet at Blowing Sands Glass (5805 14th Ave NW)

Update on Gemenskap Park




You’ve probably noticed that construction of Gemenskap Park has stopped and you might be asking yourself, where’s the grass, the trees, the plants? They’re not done yet are they? Well, we had the same questions and so contacted our Parks Manager to find out what’s happening. Here’s the scoop…..

The contractor, Jansen, has completed as far as they can until water and electrical are hooked up. The hole with the pipe in it is the 12” water main.  We are in the queue for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to tap the main and install the meter.  When that’s done, they’ll be able to connect it to the irrigation. The electrical cabinet with meter and irrigation controller have been installed.  We are now in the queue for Seattle City Light (SCL) to install power to the meter, which powers the irrigation controller and lights.

Unfortunately, the Parks Dept hasn’t received any exact dates from SPU or SCL, except that the park is on their work order list. Once water and electricity are hooked up, they can start planting, since it doesn’t make sense to install plants without the capability to water them!

This stall may delay our plans for a celebration this summer, however, we’re hoping to host a street cleanup event and a neighborhood watch meeting focused around the park this summer, so stay posted for event dates. If you love to plan events, please contact us a at we’d love to have you join our team!

While the park is awaiting electricity and water hookup, the street and intersection work is complete. The Parks Dept is meeting with SDOT this week to get final review of the street. Upon receiving SDOT approval they will be allowed to open up 14th Ave NW. We’ll keep you posted!

Want to help plan the first big party in Gemenskap Park?


The city is quickly coming to the end of the construction phase for Gemenskap park (should be end of May), and the Parks Dept would like to partner with the East Ballard Community to put on a big party this summer to celebrate the culmination of the 13 years it has taken to transform this patch of pavement into a community park.

We’re currently seeking a few neighbors with party planning experience and time to team up with the Parks Dept on a planning committee.  Our initial meeting will be Tuesday May 22 at 7:30PM. If you’re interested in attending, please contact Dawn at for more details. Please also reach out if you’re interested, but that date doesn’t work for you.

Once we get a bit more organized, we’ll have a lot more opportunities for more neighbors to provide input and help with certain tasks. If you have a great idea, a special talent to share or just want us reach out to you for some help, please contact us and we’ll put you on the list.

And, of-course, we want you to come and celebrate with us! We’re shooting for a date in mid August when parks is ready to open up the lawn and landscaped areas to foot traffic. Stay tuned!


Gemenskap park tree plan

existing trees between 59th and 60th

For those of us who live on or close to 14th, we are already experiencing the changes that have come with constructing Gemenskap (Yuh-MEN-skawp) park. Jansen, Inc. has been onsite this past week and have seemed very helpful and easy for members of the community to approach, so that’s a good start.

One very noticeable thing that Jansen did this week was to post signs on 12 trees that will be removed along the east side of 14th. This amounts to ALL of the trees on the east side except for the large maple between 59th and 60th. This came as a shock to many in the neighborhood, since, at face value, it doesn’t make sense to remove green living things in order to create new green space.

Removing existing trees
We dove into the engineering drawings and spoke to the Parks Department to help see the bigger picture around the tree plan for the park. We took a look at the drawings and confirmed that the 12 trees that are currently marked for removal are the ones listed on the drawings. These include 11 Kwanzan cherry trees and 1 big leaf mapleWe spoke with the parks department and they confirmed that in Feb, 2012, an SDOT arborist assessed the trees. The arborist advised that all of the cherry trees are infected with cherry bark tortrix (CBT) which is an invasive insect that feeds on the bark and girdles the tree leaving it open to other infestations. Nine of these cherry trees were rated low retention value and two were rated moderate by the arborist. Also note that Kwanzan cherries have a short life expectancy of 15-25 years, and these trees, according to the Seattle Street Tree Map, have been here since at least 1991. The big leaf maple that is slated for removal was identified as a high risk tree and removal was encouraged. The other maple was identified as healthy and will be retained. The multi-use path in the park will be designed with paving to accommodate the tree and root system.

black tupelo leaf in fall

yellowwood flowers









Replacing with new trees
Diving into the drawings again, we have identified that the 12 trees being removed will be replaced with 24 new trees: 1 Yellowwood, 1 Scarlet Oak, 2 Frontier Elm, 2 Black Tupelo and 17 Serviceberry. All but the Serviceberries will be 4-inch caliper size (about 14 ft  tall) when planted, and should grow to around 40-50 ft when mature. The Serviceberries will be planted in the rain gardens. They are listed in the drawing as shrubs, but are considered by Parks to be small trees. They will be 6 ft tall when planted and grow to around 10 ft when mature.

The big picture
The initial impact of losing the existing tree canopy will feel significant, both during construction and while the trees mature, but many factors were taken into consideration within the context of the overall design. Some of these factors include the health and age of the existing trees and their existing placement with respect to the new 12 ft wide multi-use path that will replace the existing sidewalk. When selecting new trees the designers were also sensitive to the community’s input for flowering trees. Although we will be losing the spring blossoms from the cherries, the new trees were selected for their spring flowering nature and many will have beautiful colors in the fall.

Update on Gemenskap Park


We heard from our Parks Project Manager, Toby Ressler, this week who shared with us some good news on the construction plans for Gemenskap Park. Here’s what we know:

  • As of Friday Oct 6, Seattle Department of Transporation (SDOT) has approved and issued the Street Improvement Permit (SIP) for construction of the park.
  • Construction start date is tentatively set for January 2, 2018, however, Seattle Parks are in discussion with the contractor, Jansen Inc., to outline the best time to begin construction while still providing safe pedestrian and vehicle accessibility on 14th Ave NW during construction.
  • Construction will require a 2-3 month detour route on 14th Ave NW between NW 58th and NW 60th.
  • Jansen Inc. anticipates completing the project in late spring 2018.

It looks like this is actually going to happen, and soon! We’ll continue to keep you informed as we receive new updates!

In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendar for Saturday Nov 4 10AM-1PM for our Clean Sweep event along 14th Ave NW. We’ll be posting an invite soon with more details!

Name for the 14th Ave NW Park announced by Seattle Parks


It takes gemanskap to build a park!

Readers may remember that back in March, Seattle Parks and Recreation asked the community to submit name suggestions for the 14th Ave NW Park. The Park naming committee received over 60 unique name suggestions and after long deliberation announced their decision in a press release yesterday afternoon.

The new name for the 14th Ave NW park will be Gemenskap Park (pronounced Yuh-MEN-skawp), which is the Swedish word for community. The name was chosen “because this was a community initiated project and because of the area’s Swedish history and influence, the Park Naming Committee believes this unique park will help build community by turning parking into park space. While there are several Ballard parks that have Norwegian names, this is the first with a Swedish name.”

Now that the park has a name, let’s hope that it’s a good sign that the City will be breaking ground in the near future! We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.




The latest tally for naming the 14th Ave NW Park


Thank you neighbors for your thoughtful contributions for naming the 14th Ave NW park. We’ve put together a word cloud above that shows the combined suggestions collected from last September’s Ballard Summer Parkways event and from your recent recommendations via our Facebook page and email. The larger names in the graphic reflect repeated suggestions (or likes). Here’s a complete list of the suggested names as originally submitted.

According to the criteria set by the City, naming the park should take into consideration geographical location, historical or cultural significance, distinctive natural or geological features, and should not be named after someone still living. Looking through the list, there seem to be a few themes that bubble up based on the criteria:

Suggestions that are historically and geographically significant for East Ballard

The Trolley Line , Trolley Park,  Trolley 27 Park or The Park @ Trolley  27
Naming the park after the #27 Trolley that used to run along 14th Ave NW from Salmon Bay up to NW 70th would be historically and geographically significant. The tracks used to run up the middle of the street, where the medians are today. The long term vision for this park is to run the full mile from Ballard High School to Salmon Bay, like the Trolley Line did. Check out Vintage West Woodland’s recent article about the #27 Trolley here.

Augusta Gay Boulevard Park
There used to be a majestic red farmhouse that stood on the SE corner of NW 60th and 14th Ave NW for 98 years. It was the home and office of former real-estate and insurance agent, Augusta Gay. In 2002, this home was moved to a location further east on NW 60th and replaced with the town homes that are there today. Many people in the neighborhood refer to this  home by the women’s name (The Augusta Gay House). Naming the park after Augusta Gay would be historically and geographically significant, and named after someone significant to the neighborhood who is no longer living. Here’s a link to a 2002 article about moving the house, a pic of the house today and what the neighborhood map looked like in 1904 (14th was Railroad Ave and NW 60th was E. Baker St).

Suggestions that are historically and culturally significant to Ballard, but maybe not to East Ballard

Edith Macefield Park
Edith Macefield
 was a real estate holdout when the Ballard Blocks were developed along 14th Ave NW south of Leary. She was a very strong lady who gathered the support of her community and brought people together by the common goal of doing what was right. They built around her but didn’t break her spirit. 

Charles Treat Park
Charles Treat was the first Mayor of Ballard before the city became a part of Seattle (due to the need for fresh water). It seems a “treat” to have a new park in Ballard.

Shilshole Park
Named in honor the first settlers of this area, The Duwamish Tribe, who lived off the plentiful salmon and clams in the region. Shilshole is Duwamish for “Threading the Needle”.

Leaf-Air-N-Sun Park
A play on Leif Erikson, an Icelandic explorer considered by some as the first European to land in North America. Leif is a very well known historical figure in Ballard and a symbol of the strong Nordic Heritage in this community.

Hyggelig Park
In keeping with Ballard’s Norwegian heritage, hygge or hyggelig means the good feeling of spending time with family and friends. Shared time that warms the soul. This suggestion was submitted by a neighbor who lives close to the new park whose family is from Norway and she’s lived in Ballard for over 45 years.

It’s been fun learning more about the history of our neighborhood and to see some excitement growing about the park. We will be sharing this information with the Parks Department this week and will continue to report back as we learn more!