Junction Plaza Park: Design almost done; 1 more $ hurdle to clear

That’s the updated design for Junction Plaza Park (42nd & Alaska) shown to about two dozen people last night at the Senior Center of West Seattle – or, for a somewhat more-3-D type of view:

Landscape designer Karen Kiest, who worked on the original design 3+ years ago, was back to explain how it’s evolved. And Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization who’s also helped lead Friends of Junction Plaza Park, explained where the park-project money picture is now.

Kiest explained how the design evolved from “two (paved) plazas” to one plaza area on the small park site’s eastern half – “Your neighborhood has really changed in terms of some of its interests.”

Instead of being meant mainly as a place for performances and events, the park is now envisioned as a simple gathering place, where events are possible too – the circle at the top-center of the drawing is a “performance pad” rather than a raised stage. Some worried that the grass half of the park will be a magnet for the growing area residential population to bring their dogs to relieve themselves; others worried the park had too much pavement and too little grass.

Kiest explained the tree scheme (and underlying plantings) around the park, including a tentative plan for a “specimen tree” area front and center – maybe a Western red cedar, maybe birch, maybe even baby madrones to serve an “educational purpose.”

While project manager Gary Gibbons said the $300,000 in the budget — more than two-thirds of which came from a concentrated fundraising effort by Friends of Junction Plaza Park — will cover the “bones” of the plan, Karlovits says $40,000 more is needed to run power into the park to use for purposes including concerts and events, and to put some pole lighting in the park itself (right now the plan only calls for lighting on the streets, in the area governed by SDOT), plus to upgrade the type of “pavers” that would be used in the non-green areas – true brick-colored pavers, rather than gray concrete. (Whichever color is eventually used, the pavers are to be placed “permeably,” so water will run between them and into the ground.)

What else goes into the park? Some benches and “wall seating,” with options shown on this board:

Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association – also a leader in Friends of Junction Plaza Park – talked about standards now being outlined for “street furniture” such as benches and light poles – not just for consultation in projects like this, but also for developers.

The park won’t have an official play area, but “we do want it to be playful and friendly,” Kiest said. Its low plantings and shrubbery will come from a list of native plants, and its street trees will be “Greenspire Linden” like others in the area (including outside the new QFC) along Alaska, vine maple or serviceberry along 42nd; along the alley, in front of the existing birch trees by Alaska House north of the park, there’ll be a variant of dogwood. SDOT will be doing sidewalk work alongside the park; Friends of Junction Plaza Park got a grant for $60,000 of the $74,000 the sidewalk work will cost, and say that SDOT is looking for money to cover the remainder.

That leaves Friends of JPP with the $40,000 to raise for lighting, power and paver tone. They’ve sent out a letter to their mailing list but are also accepting donations through their website, junctionplazapark.org.

TIMELINE: Friends of Junction Plaza Park has till December to raise $40,000 more for lighting, power and brick pavers. Parks says the plan will be settled by the end of December, and the project’s likely to go out to bid early next year, with construction in the spring, done by summer.

11 Replies to "Junction Plaza Park: Design almost done; 1 more $ hurdle to clear"

  • Mike October 6, 2009 (9:04 am)

    Sounds and looks very nice. It is something I would consider contributing to, even though I wouldn’t be using it personally. There is becoming less public, park places and more residents in that area that would use this. I do have two questions that were not addressed in this article. Who will be maintaining this, and who covers any liability issues that could come up?

  • wseye October 6, 2009 (9:09 am)

    Could we plant some really really tall trees against that big ugly blank white wall? That is the worst part of that location and needs to be addressed in the design somehow.

  • Buster October 6, 2009 (9:32 am)

    For wseye: That wall you are negatively referring to is the home to many fixed income residents. Derogatory comment regarding their home, that is next to the park, was insensitive. You could have simply suggested tall trees at the north side of the park, without insulting the living space of people doing the best they can.

  • ericak October 6, 2009 (9:39 am)

    Mike – Junction Plaza Park will be part of the Seattle Parks department so they will maintain it.

    wseye- The hope is in a few years to put some public art in front of that wall. The plan is intentional to have only low plantings in front to leave the ability to bring art in later.

  • Jim October 6, 2009 (9:45 am)

    doesn’t anyone miss the convienence of the the Gull gas station that use to be there??? Nice looking park, it will make a nice addition to the junction!

  • Rick October 6, 2009 (9:54 am)

    I thought that used to be a FLYING “A” station.

  • WSB October 6, 2009 (10:36 am)

    This is two days in a row that Google Map links have gone awry after I posted them. I may just stop using them for a while till they stabilize. Have to report the bug first … taking out of this story, in the meantime.

  • WSHC October 6, 2009 (11:15 am)

    Would have loved to have seen a skate park at this location.

  • Jim October 6, 2009 (5:44 pm)

    Rick, it could have been a Flying A. After I posted that I got to thinking about it, Tony’s Market on 35th & Barton was the Gull Station.

  • Silly Goose October 6, 2009 (7:01 pm)

    Love this design I think it will bring alot of life to that area of the Junction. Looking forward to sitting on a bench in this new park. I saw whooo hooo to more greenscape and less buildingscape.

Sorry, comment time is over.