FPA 2019 Annual Report

Page 1

Freeway Park Annual Report

Annual Report 2019

Brews and Tunes, 2019

Fountain Fest, 2019

Fall Lantern Fest, 2019

Dear Friends On behalf of the Freeway Park Association (FPA) -- our board of directors, our diverse team of members, partners and volunteers, THANK YOU for a wonderful year of growth and community building. The following 2019 Annual Report captures our ambitious and meaningful work to ensure that Freeway Park is active, safe, and evolving with the needs of our community. 2019 was a remarkable year of growth for FPA, marking a major milestone in our evolution from an all-volunteer grassroots community group to a well-established non-profit with an inspired strategic plan, dedicated staff and a broad base of active volunteers. Our staff of two welcomed four new outstanding seasonal members whose daily efforts inside the Park led to explosive growth in areas of outreach and engagement, membership and volunteerism. With a bigger team, we were able to take the community spirit at the heart of FPA and spread it more equitably across the many groups who love Freeway Park -- from City agencies and staff, to park visitors and event attendees, to program partners and institutional neighbors, to scholars and practitioners of landscape architecture and design. 2019 was also a year of significant recognition for Freeway Park and its principal designers Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva. After a year of advocacy with a variety of partners, the National Park Service formally listed Freeway Park on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2019. The groundbreaking design to reconnect neighborhoods over a freeway as well as the innovative process and public involvement that led to the design were heralded as the first of their kind. The NRHP recognition is a triumph for the Park and will help protect and celebrate its unique character for generations to come. To this end, 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of investment in Freeway Park as we officially embarked on the Capital Improvement Project funded by the Washington State Convention Center public benefit funds and managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation in partnership with FPA. These investments in the restoration, accessibility and visibility of Freeway Park signal major progress toward our vision for the Park as an equitable place where all people can access and enjoy nature, art, respite and recreation in the middle of our city. And although our namesake Jim Ellis passed away in 2019, this new vision for the future of Freeway Park is full of hope and ingenuity, much like the man himself. His work will continue to resound throughout our region, leaving an indelible mark on the way we experience the urban landscape together. We are honored to continue Jim Ellis’ work in making Freeway Park one of Seattle’s greatest places. Sincerely,

Riisa Conklin Executive Director


About the Freeway Park Association Our MISSION The Freeway Park Association mobilizes resources and community members to ensure widespread enjoyment and the continued maintenance of Jim Ellis Freeway Park in partnership with the City and the community, for present and future generations of Seattle residents and visitors.

Our WORK Advocacy & Stewardship We work alongside Seattle Parks & Recreation to build a diverse team of stakeholders who care for, activate, and raise funds and awareness for their neighborhood park.

Outreach We offer a range of opportunities for our community to be involved in our work toward stewardship of this unique place.

Activation We develop diverse programs and activation strategies that bring people together in the Park.

Community-Based Planning We mobilize our community and work with Seattle City Agencies to identify capital improvements to our shared resource that has unique maintenance and infrastructure needs as an historic park built over a freeway.

Our VISION Through the creation of rich and dynamic outdoor experiences in a well maintained and safe environment, the Freeway Park Association is recognized as the innovative driving force behind Seattle’s most iconic downtown park and is a model for community/city partnerships working toward the improvement of urban public spaces.


About Freeway Park Freeway Park is a special place. It is a masterwork of Lawrence Halprin, a precedent-setting landscape that defined a new land use typology. It is the result of community activism and forward thinking, a jewel of the Seattle civic process. It is an arboretum, providing respite and connections to nature in a city center. It is a civic gathering place as well as a network of small, intimate space. It is a thoroughfare for commuters traveling between neighborhoods seemingly disconnected by I-5. It is a resting place to a few of the many people struggling with homelessness in our city. It is downtown Seattle’s largest public park -- yet it remains one of its best-kept secrets. Help us share this unique national treasure with those who have yet to discover it. Invite your friends to join the Association as a member, a volunteer, an event attendee or simply for a walk through the park.

6 Distinct Spaces: Upper Lawns, Pigott Corridor,

Park Features:

Underpass, Upper Seneca, Seneca Plaza, Great Box Gardens.

5.2 Acres

1 mile walking loop

12 Entrances

2 Information Boards

17,000 sq ft of event space

6 Special Grove Species: Hemlock, Bitter Cherry, Golden Larch, Serviceberry, Witch Hazel, Japanese Maple, Quaking Aspen

4 Unique Fountains: American Legion, Cascade, Canyon, Naramore.

2019 Highlights: 63 Free special events 15,080

Total hours of

park activation

1,267.5 Volunteer hours 8 Free meals served in the park


Average increase in park event attendance from June - Sept

23% increase in all social media participation


was a bustling year for the Freeway Park Association, the most active to date! The following numbers provide a snapshot of our activation, advocacy and outreach successes from the year.

458 Surveys collected 3

Outreach & Engagement Engaging our Community Keeping park patrons in the loop on upcoming events, while reaching out to new neighbors and communities, requires strategic and diverse outreach methods. We stay active on social media and send out monthly e-newsletters, while also hitting the streets of First Hill and Downtown for tried and true postering and word-of-mouth outreach.

1600 1400


Outreach Methods & Participation Increases 2018-2019


1200 1000 800





287 322 145 164

200 2018



Newsletter Subscribers



Facebook Likes



Instagram Followers



Twitter Followers

240 100 2018


Surveys Collected

Lending a Hand Our volunteers are the backbone of our community, donating time and energy to help steward the FPA mission. Youth 31 Hours Programs 85 Hours

Public Meetings 290 Hours

Sign up to be a volunteer @


Help us with Tabling at events Board & Committees 534.5 Hours

Special Events 327 Hours


Ways to help

Total Volunteer Hours: 1,267.5 Hours / 12% increase

Follow us on Social Media Join our Committees Share the Park with your friends!

GRAPHIC DESIGN AT A GLANCE: 2019 EVENT POSTERS Communication Is Key + 1,000 + event posters and calendars were distributed via social media, signage in the park and surrounding business/resident bulletin boards. + More than 241 daily/weekly posts were made on social media

+ We sent a total of 25 e-newsletters to 1,442 subscribers to inform about upcoming events and news + Our Staff were in the park M-F sharing information and engaging park users for approx 1600 hours this year.

*Graphic Design by Bianca Yvonne, Jeremy Morales, Christina Kim

GETTING OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY: Committees We Served On: + Lid I-5 Advisory Council + Lid I-5 Feasibility Study Committee + SDOT Pedestrian Wayfinding Project Advisory Committee + DSA Parks & Public Space Committee + FHIA Urban Design & Public Space Committee + Freeway Park Improvement Project Selection Panel + Freeway Park Improvement Project Advisory Committee

Public Presentations & Tours We Gave: + Lid I-5 Walking Tour + Freeway Park Improvement Project Kick-off + Freeway Park Improvement Project Open House at Town Hall Seattle + Friends of Waterfront Seattle Speaker Series: Reimagining Freeways + Hotel Concierge Meet & Greet at Hotel Sorrento + Freeway Park & You Event at Cielo

Trainings We Participated In : + De-Escalation Training w/ Seattle Parks & Recreation + Narcan Training w/ REACH +Racial Equity Training for Urban Parks Partners w/ Equity Matters + Mental Health First Aid w/SPD + Special Events Summit w/ WFEA + How to Plan an Accessible Event w/ City of Seattle


How Do People Use Freeway Park? : Survey Results What types of activities do you do in the Park? Go for a walk Pass through Relax Eat lunch Enjoy fountains Admire foliage/landscape Watch people Attend event Walk my dog Other Exercise Bring kids Visit bookcart











4% 7 Upper Seneca

36% What entrance do you use to get into the park ? 1. 6th & Seneca 2. Other 3. I don’t know 4. Pike & Hubbell 5. Convention Center 6. 7th & Seneca 7. 6th & University 7. Pigott Corridor



Great Box Gardens

Seneca Plaza

Seneca St



10% 5

11% 4

Inviting Feedback We use a variety of survey techniques to gather information on park use directly from park users: intercept surveys during regular park hours, event attendee surveys and online surveys. We collected a total of 240 surveys in 2019, up from 100 in 2018 -- a 140% increase. .

8th Ave

Upper Lawns

Bike 5%

Light Rail 3%

Other 5%


7 Underpass

Car 9% Bus 10%

walk 68%

Pigott Corridor

How do you arrive at the Park?


Never 2%

Seneca St

Other 11% Every day 11%

6 Distinct Spaces: Upper Lawns, Pigott Corridor, Underpass, Upper Seneca, Seneca Plaza, Great Box Gardens.

Every week 37%

Every year 11% Every month 28%

How often do you visit the Park?


How Do People Use Freeway Park? : Observations Daily Snapshots: FPA staff collect and record observations in the Park at regular times and days to provide a snapshot of park users. They count visitors and observe behaviors for 30 minute intervals between 12-2pm Mondays - Friday in both Seneca Plaza and the Upper Lawns area throughout the year.

Observing What People Do In the Park Lying Other Standing Running

Bike 0.6% Wheelchair 0.3% Stroller 0.2%

1.1% 1.1% 1.2% 1.5% Sitting 16%

walking 78%

Observing How Many People Use the Park 100


0% Increase 23% Increase


14% Increase

77 76

92 92




46% Increase


16% Increase






62 56












* Darker color highlights months that experienced park user growth. * 2019 was an unusual summer with approx 41% more rainy days June - Sept.




Spring Spring 1%

Summer 2% 3%





2% 3%




Observing Who Uses the Park 39%


6% 4% 4% 6% Fall










4% 4% 2% 2%

2019 2019



47% 47%


38% 38%

56% 56%

43% 43% Fall Fall 2%










Programming & Activation Connecting People to Place Through activation and programming, we create opportunities for people to connect with the Park and one another. Our activation strategy layers these three tiers of activation to provide a balance of passive and active programming: daily activations, event series and signature events. Daily activations offer amenities and passive programming for patrons to interact with on their own terms: the book carts in Seneca Plaza, or the chalkboard and games in the Upper Lawns. Event series, like Zumba and Painting Parties, offer consistent weekly programming, and cater to distinct interests and hobbies. Our signature events are seasonal celebrations and offer something for everyone. We gather and mingle with food, music, art and games. We strive to sustain the Park as a place of respite, while serving as a social and creative hub of engaging programming for our community.


tio a v i ct A y il

Da s

rie e S t

e /On e r u nat g i S

s ent v E e Tim

n Eve Yoga




Book Carts


SPR Buskers




Chalkboard& Community Board


Painting Parties


Winter Lights


Chamber Music Festival


Park Concierge



Dancing til Dusk


Kite Installation


Fall Lanter Fest


Fall Planting Day


Movie Nights


Twinkle Twinkle


Brews and Tunes


Partner Events




Freeway Park in Bloom


Fountain Fest

21 hours total / 34% decrease 10

116 hours total / 40% increase

14,952 hours total / 111% increase

Event Attendance by Type: 38%

Dance Music


Signature Events

22% 9%

Movies Fitness 2%

Kit o gi ters 2 9 4Y s


2 P UB




er nc



Total Event Attendee Count



Bu es ts

er el s

250 In BloomRev er


a 487 Classical nd En T i F l m 9 Buf th 43 f a u 350 F ll Fest s

2 25 Other Events 1 1 e Pain


697 Brews


in Fanati a t n ba Da cs u n m c Fo 3 ZuTwinklers ers 2

1,850 Dusk

23 0

Community Art


22% increase from 2018 11

Freeway Park Improvement Project Working Together to Create and Maintain a Vision Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation owns and operates Freeway Park. Since 1993, FPA has been their community partner and eyes on the ground, reporting maintenance and landscape issues, public safety concerns and improvement ideas as well as raising funds to support programs, needed infrastructure and capital improvements. In October 2017, after a year of advocacy with the Community Package Coalition, FPA secured $10 million in public benefit funds from the Washington State Convention Center expansion project for much needed renovations and improvements to Freeway Park. FPA will manage $750,00 for park activation over the next several years, while Seattle Parks and Rec will manage $9,250,000 for planning, design and construction of the capital improvements led by Walker Macy Landscape Architects.

Freeway Park should be a great Seattle destination that The Freeway Park Improvement Project (FPIP) builds off of the 2017 Finding Freeway

connects the city and brings people together, a tranquil

Park Concept Plan priorities to repair, restore and enhance original park features in

place with an adventurous spirit.


support of the park’s daily use, maintenance and programming.

Project Timeline

We are at the beginning of a two year process to restore, and improve Freeway Park.




Winter - Spring2020 Winter - Summer 2020

Fall 2019


Summer2020 - Spring 2021 Fall 2020 - Spring 2021


Spring - Fall 2021

Summer 2021 - Fall 2021

CONSTRUCTION Winter 2022 - Fall 2022 Winter 2021 - Fall 2022

Why Change? Why Now?



photo credit: Scott Bonjukian

The park has changed and needs to be restored repaired. Learning from and the past to serve the future: At 43 years old, Freeway Park is considered

Since it opened in 1976, Freeway Park has

matured and evolved,signi andficant so haspark the city It is a nationally that

around it. It is time to restore the historic and maintenance.

a ground breaking masterpiece of

+ At 43 years old, the Park has changed and requires a thoughtful design approach that balances modernist landscape architecture.

deserves high quality materials

restoration with new opportunities to serve the community.

The Improvements Project requires a thoughtful design approach that balances needs high quality materials and ongoing maintenance. restoration with new opportunities that wil community needs and developing an City and park context have changed dramatically since it was + The context around the Park has changed dramatically sincecommunity. it was designed. Physical and serve the adaptive management plan that honors changes may be necessary to preserve the Physical and programmatic designed. programmatic changes may be necessary to preserve the Park’s use and its legacy. this precious space today and for park’s use andpublic legacy. design



generations to come.



+ The Park is a nationally significant park and a groundbreaking work of landscape architecture that

+ The Park was meant to be an innovative response to the pressing urban challenge of its time: the freeway. In 2019, the challenges are different. Responding to contemporary influences with

The park was meant to be an innovative response to the pressing thoughtful updates would support this original vision. 12 urban challenge of its time: the freeway.In 2019, the challenges are different. Responding to contemporary in fluences with thoughtful updates would support this

Community Outreach One of the critical components of this project is public outreach. There is a very diverse set of stakeholders that use and care about Freeway Park. In 2019 we held a project kick-off in Seneca Plaza, hosted an open house and panel discussion at Town Hall Seattle, met with our Advisory Committee, held a series of stakeholder meetings to share information and collected




Open House & Panel Discussion 100 Participants

Project Kick-Off 40 Participants


feedback on the project.

6 Observations from the Design Team 1. Many people don’t know the Park or understand what it offers. 2. Entrances and exits are hard to find from inside and outside the

The Walker Macy design team spent three months analyzing Freeway Park. They reviewed original drawings and design intent; assessed and mapped park systems such as access, circulation, and arrangement of park spaces; and observed how the Park is used today. They have assessed how the Park’s


3. The Park has many barriers, both physical and perceived. 4. There are not many children and families using the Park. 5. The Park is no longer as comfortable as it should be. 6. Programming brings more people to Freeway Park, but the Park’s

design and current conditions support or challenge positive

design poses challenges.

opportunities facing Freeway Park today.

uses. They arrived at six key observations, which provide a basis of design for all their work moving forward. The FPIP will respond to these observations with park-wide strategies and specific designs to address the most important challenges and

Preservation & Restoration Freeway Park is a groundbreaking masterpiece of landscape architecture and was just recently recognized as such by the National Register of Historic Places. The most essential work of the FPIP is to restore the Park to its original design and condition. Adhering to the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, the project will focus its design efforts and construction budget on ensuring that Freeway Park is properly restored and that its systems are updated to meet modern standards.

Preserve & Restore

Repair & Replace


Preserve and restore original character

Repair or replace broken elements.

Remove features that detract from the original design.

defining features. Make adjustments to

Adapt the design to discourage misuse,

Replace them with high quality standards.

meet current standards and codes.

vandalism, and theft.

- wooden storage facilities

- fountains and walls

- paving

- pedestrian lights

- paving

- benches

- round planters

- lawns

- trash receptacles

- portable toilets (seasonal)

- significant trees and planting

- drinking fountains

- overall park design

- irrigation and drainage systems

Visit the project website to learn more: www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/freeway-park-improvements

Thanks to our 2019 Team: + David Graves and Katie Bang - SPR + Lara Rose, Calder Gillin & Team Walker Macy + Marcia Wagoner and Rebecca Fornaby - 3 Square Blocks + The FPIP Advisory Committee


Advocacy & Stewardship Building a Diverse Team Partnerships are the fuel of any community non-profit and FPA relies on our neighbors and other organizations with similar missions and visions to guide and support our work. To this end, we engage individuals, businesses and organizations to join our community of park advocates by becoming dues paying members, board members, event sponsors and volunteers.

Our Team

2019 Financial Summary

Our Board of Directors


Expenses 2.5%

Tim Holt - Washington Holdings, President


Mary Cutler - Town Hall, Vice President Sheila Smith - ACT Theatre, Secretary Dan Johnson - WSCC, Treasurer Alex Hudson -Transportation Choices Coalition Anne McCullough - First Hill Improvement


30.2% 55.8%


3.8% 7.8%

5.2% 6.3%

Association Brian Hultz- Horizon House James Erickson - First Hill Resident, Merrill Gardens Jennifer Casillas - Downtown Seattle Association Mike James - First Hill Resident, Royal Manor

WSCC Public Benefit Funding


Rich Mencel - Virginia Mason Medical Center

Organizational Membership Individual Membership

$39,500 $5,000

Our Emeritus Council

Seattle Parks UPP Funding Seattle Parks UPP Funding

$49,500 $4,000

Bob Anderson David Brewster


Joan Carufel


Mike Evans Marilyn Hoe


Our Staff


Riisa Conklin - Executive Director Alex Zeiler - Program Manager Christina Kim - Engagement Coordinator Nathan Stueve - Lead Park Ambassador Emily Yamashita - Park Concierge Montano Northwind - Park Concierge



Staff / Payroll / Taxes / Benefits Other expenses (Office, etc.) Equipment & Activation Outreach & Marketing Consultants / Contractors TOTAL

$11,700 $24,000 $307,200

$157,336 $7,016 $85,262 $14,686 $17,700 $282,000

Individual Members/Donors

Alex Hudson

Our Members Our Members are the fiscal stewards of Freeway Park, paying annual membership dues. These dues directly support programming and activation in the Park.

Alex Zeiler Barbara Rhoe Bob & Julie Anderson Bob Hollowell Bruno Lambert Cassandra Carothers Cath Brunner Darlene & Kerry Krenzke Debra Feist Dorothy & Richard Cole Elena Silesky Elizabeth Topping Ellen & Albert Carlin Evelyn M Rucker Gaerda Zeiler Iain M. Robertson James Erickson Jane Stevens Jay Conklin

Our Program Partners

Joseph White

Our Program Partners collaborate with FPA to produce and promote meaningful programs and

Katheryn Rode

experiences in the Park.

Kendall & Sonia Baker Linda Harris Madison Solano

21 Progress

Neighborhood Boys

ACT Theatre

Optimism Brewing

Brewin Around

Performance Sound

Mark Blitzer

Compass Housing Alliance

Royal Manor

Mary Cutler

Dance for Joy

Seattle Chamber Music Festival

Mike James

Dickens Carolers

Seattle Design Festival

Mike Reid

Downtown Seattle Association

Seattle Parks Foundation

Mildred L Templeton

First Hill Improvement Assoc.

Seattle Tree Ambassadors

Molly Watkins

Friends of Seattle Public Library

Tacos El Tajin

Miriam C Sutermeister


The Great Surprisal

Richard Mencel

Green Tree Early Childhood Center

The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Scott Bonjukian

Harbor Herbalist

UW Meany Center for the Performing Arts

Sheri Ward

Hazel Landscapes and Design

Visit Seattle

Susan & Larry Jones

Hotel Sorrento

Washington Athletic Club

Thomas Spiro

Imperfect Produce

Waterfront Seattle

Minda Martin

Our City Partners:


Join Us! Become A Steward Of Freeway Park There are many ways to help support Freeway Park and the work of the Freeway Park Association.

Make A Gift To Freeway Park The Freeway Park Association’s mission for the past 25 years has been to mobilize our community around Downtown Seattle’s largest and most iconic park. Your taxdeductible donation is so important in keeping this historic park an active, vibrant space for all. Support the Freeway Park Association with a financial contribution.

Become a Member of FPA Your tax deductible membership comes with a variety of benefits including free books at our summer sales, event calendars and a true voice at the table with your neighbors as we work together to steward this historic and beautiful public park. In addition to individual membership, your company or organization can donate at a higher level and join our coalition of prestigious neighbors who value and support the park as a resource to their business, their employees, their patrons and their tenants. Organizational memberships and sponsorships elevate your company’s visibility, showcase your commitment to the local community, and provide unique engagement opportunities (including corporate volunteer days) for your employees.

Sponsor An Event We invite you to become a Freeway Park Partner and support our popular calendar of free, year-round events in downtown Seattle’s largest public park. Corporate sponsorships provide special opportunities for companies of all sizes and interests to reach the diverse community of Freeway Park users. We are interested in working with you to tailor a sponsorship benefits plan to align with your strategic objectives.

Become A Volunteer FPA relies on the energy and hard work of our neighborhood stewards. We offer a wide array of opportunities to get involved and are always looking for more! Please consider lending a hand, meeting other stewards of the Park and getting involved.

Find out more at:

FreewayParkAssociation.org/joinus/ or drop us a line at info@freewayparkassociation.org

This report was designed and produced by FPA. + Report Infographics/Design: Christina Kim + Photography: Hannah Letinich, Riisa Conklin, Rebecca Fornaby


+ Improvement Project Graphics/Info: Walker Macy


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