Community Post

19th & Madison Park to be a "tranquil green oasis and sensory garden"

There was one surprise in the draft list of projects slated to receive funds from the Parks Levy. While we’ve talked a lot about the 12th & James Woonerf, the proposed park 19th & Madison was news to us and many of our readers in the Miller Park area.

A query to the Seattle Parks Department produced the 19th & Madison project application, which proposes for the city to buy the vacant lot on the southwest corner of the intersection and hold it for future development of a small park.

The corner was the historical home of a neighborhood fruit stand. When the brothers who ran the stand passed away in the previous decade, the property was bought by developers who started the permitting process for a mixed-use building on that site. But like so many others, that project died in the turmoil of the great recession.

Project plans call for a “tranquil green oasis” in that urban stretch of Madison Street. It would be fully accessible to all the neighbors near it, including the many residents of the nearby Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center (HSDC) and the Seattle Association for Jews with Disabilities.

The property is a small 5,000 square feet, but the project planners want to take advantage of the angled corner of the lot to create “interesting streetscape features” and make good use of the space available.

HSDC has secured a one-year option to buy the property for $450,000, and will transfer that option to the city if the project is funded. The remaining portion of the $473,000 project budget would pay for administrative costs and legal fees on the property transaction.

It’s important to note that the project is only funded for property acquisition and not park development. Organizers say they have an offer of pro-bono design services from a landscape architect to design the details of the park. But that would still leave a multi-hundred-thousand dollar bill to construct the park and make the project a reality. Funding for that is not identified in the project documents, but will likely require a future application through one of the city opportunity funds.

0 thoughts on “19th & Madison Park to be a "tranquil green oasis and sensory garden"

  1. There’s a similar little triangle just down the street at Madison and Olive. Planned Parenthood built it some decade ago. It’s neat and tidy and tranquil, and I’ve NEVER seen anybody use it.

    It, like the proposed park, is right on Madison: maybe the traffic makes it undesirable.

  2. I don’t see how a “tranquil green oasis and sensory garden” can exist anywhere along Madison Street. I’m all for public space, but I, too, wonder if many will choose to use it.

  3. Discussion about the attractiveness and usefulness of the proposed park is legitimate. Presumably the people who have organized the effort to bring a park to this location have thought about these matters. No one wants to spend their time, and the City’s money, on a park that won’t be a success. Is there a chance that those who are concerned can get together with the park promoters for a conversation?

  4. I was contacted recently by Mt. Zion, who wanted to share the plans for the development of their campus with the neighborhood.

    I urged them to hold a neighborhood meeting, and to invite other Madison Street developers (Jim Mueller, Val Thomas). This conversation would be a nice part of that meeting.

  5. This is a neighborhood effort we at the Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center started over a year ago. We’ve been working with neighbor nonprofits (Mt. Zion, Deaf-Blind Service Center, Helen Keller NW, League of Women Voters, Powerful Voices, Jewish Family Services, the Pride Foundation, NW Baptist Federal Credit Union, Seattle Works, and the Views at Madison Affordable Housing) to solve the eyesore on the corner with something that could be used by all the residents and clients we all serve. The goal if the City approves the application is for these nonprofits to work together to fundraise and use volunteers to both develop it and maintain it. We believe this can be a powerful way to bring the neighborhood together around a project that provides tangible and beautiful results.

  6. Andrew, your make a perfect comparison. I live near 20th and madison and have never seen anyone using the planned parenthood park. The only advantage I would give the 19th and madison parcel is the occasional view of Mt. Rainier. I don’t think the space was an eyesore until they put up the chain link fence around it. it was just a nice little piece of open green space which I don’t think many people would really mind seeing developed eventually.

  7. I’ve walked through it a couple of times, but I’ve always thought it was PP’s property and maybe either just pleasant landscaping or intended for employees and/or clients, so I didn’t linger very long.

  8. Thanks for the info. As noted above, the neighborhood had not heard about your efforts.

    Any thoughts as to what will make the park more popular than the Planned Parenthood park at 20th & Olive, a block to the east? I’ve never seen anyone in that space which (at a first glance) seems very similar to yours

  9. I’ve been living on 20th just south of the 2 parks, the Planned Parenthood park and the proposed park on the old fruit stand site. Like Andrew I rarely see anyone in the PP park .. it’s a noisy triangle to be sure but I think better design with contained beds with lower lying landscaping and perhaps a water element would help. The PP park doesn’t really invite walking through and sitting down .. I think the new park location design should aknowledge the shortcomings of the PP park and look to become a place that invites slowing down rather than sitting down.

  10. Ditto on Andrew’s comments about the neighborhood not being aware of these efforts. I live on 19th, toward the Union end of this street and think that many of my neighbors would be interested in learning more about this project. Will there be an easy way to get more info (website, flier, meeting)? I’d be happy to do a little doorbelling.

    Also, given the size of the lot, would a small community garden component be an option? Would be great to at least consider incorporating edible plantings into the space.

    Looking forward to learning more!

  11. Good comments. Our plan is that if the City approves this and purchases the property for a park, we would start having neighborhood meetings to talk about design, use, components of the park, etc. We’re hoping to put together a team of neighborhood volunteers to work as a design committee and help shape this project. Right now, all fingers are crossed that the City approves this and we can develop something cool we all can share.