$1.5 million for a Park Boulevard on 14th Avenue NW
The Seattle Parks Levy Oversight Committee has allocated $1.5 million for the Park Boulevard on 14th Ave NW Project.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Peter Locke of the East Ballard Community Association. When Locke moved into his house on 61 street and 14th Avenue NW in 1998 he realized there was some underutilized space and, being an architect by training, started sketching.
“We were lacking green space,” he said. “We can’t access green space without crossing a major arterial.”
Zack Thomas, WASLA landscape architect said Locke became interested in the “what if” and got ideas flowing.
After various studies, community meetings and bouncing around of ideas, the East Ballard Community Association came up with the idea of narrowing 14th Avenue between 59th and 61st street and turn the underutilized space into a Street Boulevard.
“We applied for funds from the Parks Levy targeted at urban village areas which are underserved in park space,” Thomas said.
Similar to the Bell Street project in Belltown, money from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy Acquisition Fund were redirected as a development fund because the property is in the right-of-way, Thomas said.
"But our project is much simpler than the Bell Street one. Ours is not a Bus or fire lane," he added.
Locke said the vision is a one-mile stretch of Street Boulevard and that the two block stretch is the first step.
“That’s the twenty years vision, right now we’re focused on getting those two blocks in,” Thomas said.
Still, it will be a while before the public will see any green space along those two blocks on 14th Avenue.
“There still are lots of hurdles to go through,” said Locke.
“First it needs to be approved by the city council. Then, we’ll hold city meetings to determine what we’re going to do with the space. We’ll get the public’s input whether they want playgrounds, an open lawn, a dog park, etc.”
Thomas said that in addition to the public’s opinion, there will be the necessary talks with Seattle City Light and utilities companies before there will be any designs drawn in earnest.
“It will be the end of 2012, before people will see anything green,” Locke said.
In January, the project funding recommendations will go to the mayor and City Council and will be up for approval in March.