Gemenskap park tree plan

14 01 2018

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

12 10 2017


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

17 05 2016

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

22 03 2016


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!


What should we name the Park on 14th Ave NW?

24 02 2016

It’s been quiet again on the 14th Ave NW Park front, but we did get some encouraging updates from the Parks Dept. this week that the Street Improvement Process (SIP) has started moving forward again and submittal for final approval to Seattle Dept. of Transportation should happen in 3-4 weeks. It will most likely be another 4 months after that before SDOT approves the design and allows permitting, which by this phase, should go more smoothly than in the past. At this pace, we’re looking at hopefully breaking ground near the end of this year (fingers crossed). In the meantime, the Parks Dept. feels confident enough that this Park is going to happen, that they’re ready to start taking names…for the Park that is!

What should we name the the Park?
Late last week, the Parks Dept issued a news release providing the opportunity for the public to submit a name for the 14th Ave NW Park. The EBCA plans to formally submit name suggestions before the March 31 deadline and would like to hear directly from you, our neighbors, what you’d like to name the Park. We encourage you to share your name suggestion on the EBCA Facebook page comments for this post with a short description of why you think it should have that name. If you like a name someone else suggests, than indicate that by ‘liking’ the comment. You can also email us and we’ll post the suggestion for you. We’ll keep you updated on the naming progress throughout the month!

Need some inspiration?
We asked at Ballard Summer Parkways in September what you’d like to name the Park and below is what we collected to help you get the ideas flowing. Please note that the City’s selection committee will be following some specific naming criteria which includes names referencing geographical location, historical or cultural significance, and natural or geological features. A park may be named for a person no longer living (deceased a minimum of three years) who made a significant contribution to parks and/or recreation.


We’ll keep you posted on the results and if you’d prefer to send your name suggestion directly to the City, here’s the contact info:

Paula Hoff or by mail to:
Seattle Parks and Recreation
Parks Naming Committee
100 Dexter Ave N
Seattle, WA, 98109


Update on the 14th Ave NW Park

6 10 2015


We’re happy to report that the 14th Ave NW Park has reached a new milestone! In City of Seattle terms, it has just reached 90% Complete Street Improvement Plan (SIP). Engineering drawings are now available on the City’s website. When these drawings are approved by Seattle Department of Transportation and once contractors are hired, construction could begin as early as Spring 2016. If all goes well, we may just have a new park by Fall of 2016!

If you’re not an engineering geek and your eyes just glaze over at the site of all those lines in the engineering drawings, then no worries, we sat down with our designers at Mithun and compiled the following overview to help you out…

What’s the park going to look like?
The 14th Ave NW Park is going to be a 2 block linear park that runs along the east side of 14th Ave NW from NW 59th St to NW 61st St. The current sidewalks on the east side (for these 2 blocks) will be replaced with brand new 12′ wide concrete sidewalks that will be wide enough for walking and wheeled activities. The park will include rain gardens that will not only filter stormwater before entering Salmon Bay, but will also provide a buffer between park users and vehicle traffic. Vehicle traffic will run side by side on the west side (no longer separated by a median) between NW 59th and NW 61st.

How are cars going to be diverted at NW 59th and NW 61st going north?
Speed limit on 14th Ave NW between Market and NW 65th will drop down to 20 mph (today, it’s 30 mph). This significant drop in speed will allow for vehicle transition to be done at stop signs. There will most likely be a 4-way stop at NW 59th and another at NW 61st. If you are traveling north, you will stop at NW 59th, transition diagonally to the west alongside south bound vehicles and then stop again at NW 61st where you’ll transition back to the east side with vehicles separated by a median again. If you’re traveling south, you’ll stay in the same lane along 14th and will stop at NW 61st and NW 59th.

What about lighting?
Pedestrian scale lighting, will be provided along the 2 block park that should provide adequate lighting of the walkway without affecting neighboring homes. The existing street-scale lighting will remain as well. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with the light between NW 59th and 60th that’s strung in the middle of the median. We’re pretty sure that’ll get replaced with pedestrian-scale lighting.

June2014_drawingWhat’s going on at the NW 60th intersection?
The intersection at NW 60th will have a 4-way stop and will be raised to sidewalk level so that people driving across the intersection will encounter a bump up when approaching and a bump down when leaving. People walking or biking along the sidewalk through the intersection (north/south) will not experience an elevation change. There will also be bollards on the north and south sections of the intersection on the park side to provide a buffer from vehicles.

What about the trees?
Some existing trees will be removed and replaced with a mixture of larger and smaller trees where it makes sense. The significantly large tree near NW 59th on the east side will remain in place and accommodations will be made for its root system in the new sidewalk design.

Will there be play structures?
Not at this stage of the project. There will be a few grassy mounds to play/roll around on, plus the rain gardens will be accessible for learning and play. There will be grass space for lawn games as well. Once the park is complete and the community has played in it for a while AND there’s a strong interest for structured play equipment, this could be added at a later time.

What about an offleash dog park?
Sorry, no offleashing in this park. It’s really not big enough. You and your leashed dog will be more than welcome to enjoy the park!

What’s next?
The latest permit drawings have to get approved by Seattle Department of Transportation. When they get approved, we’ll be at 100% SIP and the Parks Department will have the authority to go out for bid to contractors, which will hopefully be this Spring. Construction could start as early as Spring 2016 and the park could be complete by end of Fall. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!

Additional information about this park project and how to get in touch with our Parks Project manager can be found on the Parks Department website. You’re also welcome to contact us at the EBCA and we’ll do our best to get you the info you’re looking for.















City Council Passed legislation for the 14th Ave NW Park!

9 12 2014

Did you feel that something momentous happened in the East Ballard neighborhood at about 2 PM yesterday afternoon? Well, that “something” came from the Seattle City Council meeting where they unanimously passed legislation to fund the 14th Ave NW Park! Thank-you to those from the neighborhood who attended the City Council Parks Subcommittee last week to show support. Jean Godden and crew voted to approve legislation at that meeting, but full council approval was also needed. That official approval came yesterday with a unanimous 8-0 vote. We now have funding to go out for bid once the Parks Dept and SDOT finalize design. SDOT’s Street Improvement Process (SIP) continues to be a big hurdle. The Parks Dept is stalled at reaching 60% completion of SIP right now and working with other City Departments to get the process moving forward again. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the process and are pleased that the momentum is in the forward direction!