Freeway Park Annual Report
Annual Report 2018
Dear Friends 2019 marks an important moment in the history of Freeway Park and the Freeway Park Association and a critical time for thoughtful planning among the many partners who steward this important public place. The following Annual Report captures the ambitious and meaningful work of the Freeway Park Association as well as the importance of public/private partnerships for the future of public space management and activation. The Freeway Park Association has been working alongside Seattle Parks & Recreation since 1993 to activate and advocate for our city’s largest downtown public park. FPA began as a few concerned neighbors hoping to bring life back into their aging neighborhood park. Today we are a coalition of 1200 individual advocates and volunteers, 9 organizational members, 13 volunteer board members, 2 staff – an Executive Director and a Program Manager - and an army of partner organizations who provide programming, funding and outreach. Our members and volunteers make up the backbone of the Association and represent our constituents in both First Hill and Downtown. Our work includes advocacy, fundraising, partnership building, program design, activation and community outreach. 2018 was significant to the history of our work in particular as it marks 25 years of our partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation as well as a turning point for the Park in the greater city landscape. After over a year of advocacy with the Community Package Coalition, FPA secured 10 million dollars in public benefits funds from the Washington State Convention Center expansion project. The funds will support a Capital Improvement Project to restore and upgrade the Park’s aging infrastructure and historic design as well as realize modern amenities like wayfinding, public restrooms and retail options that were identified as community priorities through the Finding Freeway Park project of summer 2017. To invest in the restoration, accessibility and visibility of Freeway Park is to truly invest in our city as an equitable place where all people can access and enjoy nature, respite and recreation in the middle of the urban environment. I am honored to help lead this growing coalition of neighbors and Seattle civic leaders and want to give special thanks: - To our Founder Mike Evans for lighting the torch. - To our entire Board of Directors for their vision, dedication and commitment to meeting our goals. - To Alex Hudson for leading the Community Package Coalition to great ends. - To Christopher Williams, Victoria Schoenburg, Lisa Neilson, Rodney Nealer and their teams from Seattle Parks & Recreation who support our innovative partnership and keep our 5.2 acre Park beautiful, safe and clean. - To Jeff Blosser and Linda Willanger from Washington State Convention Center for investing in the future of our shared backyard. - And to the tireless leadership, mentorship and inspirational quotes from Bob Anderson who will forever inform the way we do our work. I know now, as a coalition of partners, we are well-grounded and poised to create a park that meets the needs of our community today and into the future. Thank you,
Riisa Conklin Executive Director FPA
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
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 Seattleâ€™s most iconic downtown park and is a model for community/city partnerships working toward the improvement of urban public spaces.
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 in 1976.
About Freeway Park Freeway Park is a special place. It is a master work of Lawrence Halprin & Associates, a precedentsetting 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 spaces. It is a thoroughfare for commuters traveling between neighborhoods seemingly disconnected by I-5. It is a home or a resting place to a few of the 11,600 people struggling with homelessness in our city. It is downtown Seattleâ€™s largest public park â€“ yet it remains one of its best kept secrets. The Freeway Park Association was formed in 1993 by a group of neighbors who aimed to steward the Park back from years of neglect and misperceptions of lack of safety. FPA formed an enduring partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation to raise funds and awareness about Freeway Park and to advocate for the Park as an essential space for community building. This model of public/private partnerships in urban public space management is growing in popularity and could signal a change for public parks as communities play a greater role in the stewardship of their places.
2018 was a banner year for the Park, the Association and the Neighborhood and showcases the important role of public/private partnerships to bridge community, design and politics for successful management of public spaces.
2018 Highlights 2018 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.
62 Free Special Events 7,255 Hours of Activation 1,131 Volunteer hours 3 Community Art Installations 8 Free meals served in the park
$10 million secured for a Capital Improvement Project
75% increase in Social Media participation Average
22% increase in park
attendance from June - Sept 3
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, event sponsors or volunteers.
Our Team Our Board of Directors 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 Association Beth Topping- Cascade Public Media Brian Hultz- Horizon House Chea Morgan- Berkshire Communities James Erickson- First Hill Resident Jennifer Casillas- Downtown Seattle Association Mike James- First Hill Resident Rich Mencel- Virginia Mason Medical Center
Our Emeritus Council Bob Anderson David Brewster Joan Carufel Mike Evans Marylin Hoe
Our Staff Riisa Conklin- Executive Director Alex Zeiler- Program Manager
2018 Financial Summary REVENUE Seattle Parks UPP Funding ARC Funding SDOT Funding DON Grant Funding
$49,500 $4,000 $25,000 $28,000
WSCC Public Benefit Funding
Book Cart Proceeds
Book Cart Donation to FSPL
Our Members are the fiscal stewards of Freeway Park, paying annual membership dues. These dues directly support
programming and activation.
Bob & Julie Anderson
Mark Brands & Sarah Fraser
Mike & Donna James
Ellen and Albert Carlin
Miriam C Sutermeister
Nancy & Kirsten Olsen
Tim & Elizabeth Holt
Greg & Linda Harris
John & Kay Martin Kate & Jerry Campbell Kyle Vixie
Our Program Partners:
Our Partners are advocates for the best interests of Freeway Park and
Our Program Partners collaborate with FPA to
the surrounding neighborhoods.
produce and promote meaningful programs in the park.
Hazel Landscapes & Edibles
Our City Partners:
Outreach & Engagement Engaging our Community We keep our patrons and stewards engaged by putting them to work! As a small organization, we are fueled by the support and hard work of our Board Members, Program Volunteers and Summer Youth Ambassadors. We strive to offer opportunities for community members of all ages and abilities to get engaged through volunteering, like planting tulips at Planting Day, selling books at the Book Carts, or painting a Kite for a Community Art installation.
A Commitment to Creating Diverse Volunteer Opportunties:
1,130 volunteer hours in 2018
in volunteerism Youth
320 Hours280 Hours Programs
Board & Committees
Board & Committee
600 volunteer hours in 2017
Hearing from Our Youth Volunteers: “Before I started the YES Program, I had never stepped foot in Freeway Park. On my first day, I really had no idea what to expect. I have to say it has really been a great experience...I’ve interacted with many regulars and first timers of the park, from the elders of Horizon House to the friendly homeless people, all of whom enjoy walking past our information and water table and exchanging hellos with me. Lola, the one-eyed pug is one of my favorite regulars.” Tammy Huang YES Volunteer - Age 15
(Youth Engaged in Service, Seattle Parks)
Communication Is Key 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
Outreach Methods & Participation Increases 2017-2018
Live Bluegrass from the Neighborhood Boys
Celebrate the bounty of the summer landscape at Freeway Park!
Tree tour of the Park's arboretum
June 23, 2018
Flowers and botanical art with Hazel Landscapes
18 17 20 20
in B l oo m
Downtown for tried-and-true postering and word of mouth outreach.
Free BBQ and iced treats for all!
More Moreinfo infoat atFreewayParksAssociation.org FreewayParksAssociation.org
Getting Out Into the Community:
Friday October 26th 4:00–7:00pm Upper Lawns
Join us for a celebration to launch the
Committees We Served On:
Public Presentations & Tours We Gave:
Art Panels We Served On:
+ Lid I-5 Advisory Council
+ First Hill Futures Tour
+ WSCC Artists Selection Panel - 9th/Pike
installation of Community Lanterns in Freeway Park! We will gather to celebrate the creativity of our community, and collectively embrace the change of seasons with color, light, and music.
• Games • Seasonal Crafts • Live Music • • Free sausages, cider, and other treats! • • Fall Photo Booth • **while supplies last
Signature Graphic Design
+ SDOT Pedestrian + WASLA Design Festival Wayfinding Project Advisory Panel Committee + WSU Landscape Arch + DSA Parks & Public Space Students/Faculty Committee + Imagine Greater + FHIA Urban Design & Downtown Stakeholders Public Space Committee
+ DSA Urban Parks Artist Selection Panel
How Do People Use Freeway Park? : Observations Observing What People Do In the Park running, 1.5% biking, 1.5% stroller, 1.5% wheelchair, 1.5% lying, 3.5% 18 20
Observing How Many People Use the Park
walking 67% June
Our Methods for Collecting Observations in the Park : Regular Snapshots
Explanation Here: AFPA Daily Snapshot: staff collect and record observations in the Park at regular times and days to 12-2pm provideObservations a snapshot of park users. This data is collected by counting and recording park M-F/ - Spetember userJune observations for 30 minute intervals between 12 - 2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year.
Observing Who Uses the Park :
Data increases between 2017- 2018
47% 4% 43% 50%
Observing Who Uses the Park :
2018 Data 5% 5%
47% 42% 50%
How Do People Use Freeway Park? : Survey Results How do you arrive at the Park?
What types of activities do you do in the Park?
light rail, 2%
go for a walk
other 6% bus 8%
enjoy foliage enjoy fountains
watch people eat lunch walk my dog
How often do you visit the Park?
never, 3% every month, 7%
attend event exercise bring kids
Our Methods for Survey Collection
40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
every day 26%
every week 36%
What entrance do you use to get into the park ?
every year 28%
Intercept surveys in the Park Con
ntion C ve
Event attendee surveys
We use a variety of different survey techniques.
& Univer h
tt Corr i go
We collected a total of 256 surveys between 2016 - 2018 and have now analyzed the data from those surveys.
pike & hubbell piggott corridor
6th & university 6th & seneca
7th & seneca do not know
Intercept Survey Box at Entrance to park
Programming & Activation Connecting People to Place Through Programming and Activation, we create opportunities for people to connect with the Park and with one other. 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. Our Activation Strategy layers 3 tiers of activation to provide a balance of passive and active opportunities; Daily Activations, Events Series and Signature Events. Daily Activations offer amenities and passive programming for patrons to interact with on their own terms; an open book cart in Seneca Plaza, or the chalkboard and games in the Upper Lawns. Event Series, like Zumba and Kite Painting, offer consistent weekly programming and cater to distinct interests and hobbies of the community. Our Signature Events are seasonal celebrations of transformation in the Park, and offer something for everyone in our community. We gather and mingle with food, music, art projects and games.
Daily Activation Bistro Tables and Chairs Book Carts SPR Buskers Games Chalkboard Community Board Winter Lights Park Concierge Food Cart Kite Installation Vounteer Concierges
7,140 hours total
Signature/One Time Events
Yoga Zumba Painting Parties Chamber Music Festival Dancing til Dusk Movie Nights Jazz and Blues
Community Lunch Motherâ€™s Day DesignFest: Sketching Freeway Park in Bloom Fountain Fest Fall Festival Fall Planting Day Twinkle Twinkle Velocity: Strictly Outside
83 hours total
32 hours total
How Do People Use Freeway Park? : Observations Event Attendence by Type : movies, 1% horticulture, 2% community art, 2% fitness, 4%
horticulture, 0.5% movies, 3% community art, 3% fitness, 6.5%
signature events 17%
signature events 17%
Specific Event Attendence : 2017 & 2018
770 Jazz Lovers
2017 480 Classical Enthusiasts
136 Film Buffs
117 Zumba Dancers
438 Jazz Lovers
133 Kite Painters
64 Kite Painters
60 Horticulture Enthusiasts 57 Film Buffs
250 Fountain Fanatics
1,420 Dusk Dancers
58 Yogis 30 Horticulture Enthusiasts
212 Zumba Dancers
1,682 Dusk Dancers
125 Fall Fest Revelers
250 Fountain Fanatics
150 In Bloomers
376 Classical Enthusiasts
150 In Bloomers
Hot Dogs Grilled
FREE Meals Served 11
Community Based Planning Working Together to Create and Maintain a Vision Seattle Parks and Recreation owns and manages Freeway Park, Seattleâ€™s largest Downtown Park. Since 1993, the Freeway Park Association has been the eyes and ears on the ground, reporting maintenance and landscape issues, public safety concerns, and improvement ideas from the community as well as raising funds to support needed infrastructure and capital improvement projects.
An Historic Partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation to Accomplish Capital Improvements 8th Ave Underpass Widening
1993 - 1995
2006 - 2010
Pedestrian Scale Lighting
2010 - 2012
SDOT ROW Improvements
2017 - 2019
Finding Freeway Park
Capital Improvement Project
2019 - 2021
The Finding Freeway Park Project: 2017 The Finding Freeway Park Project was developed to reconnect the Park with the city, and the city to its Park through thoughtful community engagement and urban design strategies that addressed visibility, accessibility and safety to and through the Park. In May 2017, a steering committee of Park advocates, neighbors and city design professionals selected SiteWorkshop Landscape Architects to lead this effort with funding from two Seattle City grants. Our challenge was to address and ask for feedback on how we could improve: ROW connections and entrances to the Park, wayfinding and lighting through the Park, and community amenities within the Park. FFP culminated in community based recommendations to REPAIR elements of the original design that have been lost (paving edges, fountain lighting) as well as aging infrastructure, RESTORE elements of the Park that have suffered from decades of deferred maintenance (fountains, irrigation, plants, soil) and ENHANCE the Parkâ€™s iconic design with modern and equitable amenities (drainage solutions, lighting, restrooms and shelter, playful spaces). FPA was honored to facilitate this important conversation about the future Freeway Park as it signaled a critical tension in the life of many public spaces: How do we protect an historic cultural landscape while acknowledging that it exists in an ever changing urban environment and needs to be adaptively managed in order to thrive.
A New Beginning for Freeway Park In October 2017, after a summer of community engagement, FPA and Site Workshop presented the Finding Freeway Park project and design recommendations to the Seattle Design Commission with the goal of leveraging a portion of the WSCC expansion projectâ€™s public benefits package for Freeway Park. The project was unanimously approved by the Commission to become a substantial part of the public benefits package.
$10 million dollars of public benefit dollars were awarded to Freeway Park thanks to the tireless efforts of the Community Package Coaltion. From that funding, $9.25 million is dedicated to Capital Improvements at the park and to be managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the remaining $750,000 will be managed by FPA for activation within Freeway Park.
The Freeway Park Improvement Project will begin in April 2019 and extend through December 2021. Community outreach will be ongoing during 2019 and will inform design and improvements, building off of the findings from the Finding Freeway Park project. The design phase is expected to be complete, with all necessary permits, approvals and construction bid documents, by June 2020.
Excerpts from the Finding Freeway Park Final Report: Estimate for Project Budget
Concept for ROW Improvements
Concept for Temporary Public Art
Concept for Moveable Play Space
Rotating Art Installation
Freeway Park Association | Site Workshop | 2017
Freeway Park Association | Site Workshop | 2017
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, their tenants. Organizational Memberships and Sponsorships elevate your company’s brand identity, 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/
This report was designed and produced by FPA. + Report Infographics: Studio Robles + 2018 Graphic Design: Alexa Terfloth + 2018 Event Photography: Hannah Letinich &
“Freeway Park has been the backdrop for so much of my life, adapting to whatever I needed from her at that time. As a kid, it was a place to play. As a teenager, a space to wander with friends and explore our independence. And as an adult, it is a beautiful respite from the city when I need a break from concrete and cars. It’s like an old friend -- ever changing but always there.” Beth Topping (Cascade Public Media and FPA Board)
““I always love working the special events at Freeway Park. It is an artistic expression of activation amidst an oasis of calm tranquility. The fountain, book carts, kites and lovely evening dances provide something that no other park quite matches. Whether it’s a barbeque before chamber music, a Tilth class, listening to an awesome busker or watching children learn about architecture, Freeway Park offers something special to the community.” Philip Craft (SPR Lead Parks Concierge)
“The Freeway Park Association embodies key catch phrases as ‘get ‘er done,’ and ‘small and mighty.’ The dedication, collaboration, teamwork and talent this group brings to the community is second to none. The park itself is full of surprise and delight. You never know what you might see or stumble upon. Could be a book cart, a concert, an art class, pleasant lighting, the hum of a waterfall, patches of colorful flowers, beautiful vegetation and more. Visitors are bound to smile at both the serenity and the vibrancy of it all. A true gem in our shared city.” Jennifer Casillas (VP Public Space Operations & Events Downtown Seattle Association and FPA Board)
“The Washington Athletic Club is grateful to have access to a versatile outdoor space in the city that can be used for community events. It has been a wonderful partnership that is growing each year in participation. Being part of our extended community provides a great platform to make a connections, encourage an active lifestyle, and add to the vibrancy of our diverse downtown city life.” George Sommerack (WAC Fitness Programs Manager)
“Freeway Park is a wonderland. A green oasis born of concrete, surrounded by the glassy mirages of skyscrapers, it floats above the interstate creating a plethora of delights for all who visit. Gorgeous plants bursting into bloom and creating a cathedral of leaves, an ark of animals both domestic and wild, and non-stop parade of people – it’s a spectacular monument to people, nature, and the possibilities of our collective imaginations.” Alex Hudson (ED, Transportation Choices Coalition and FPA Board)
“Freeway Park is an oasis in the heart of the city. I use it as a corridor to go from First Hill to downtown and back on errands, but I’m often drawn by its beauty to just sit awhile and enjoy it. As Seattle grows, becomes denser, more high-rise, and more crowded, having a lush, green space like Freeway Park refreshes my soul. What foresight the City showed in creating this lovely place—I hope it can serve as a shining example of the value of preserving public land for parks.” Hollis Palmer (Former Director of Communications at Horizon House)
“My favorite experiences in Freeway Park have been with my daughter: walking through the beautiful park in the morning on the way to preschool all seasons of the year, getting covered in s’mores and singing along with the Dickens Carolers in all sorts of winter weather - at the annual Twinkle Twinkle Freeway Park event in December, and playing badminton and building with the giant blue blocks at fun summer events like the Park’s annual ‘In Bloom’ festival.” Mary Cutler (General Manager, Town Hall Seattle and FPA Vice President)
“Few convention centers around the country enjoy the luxury of having a public park next door, particularly one as beautiful and interesting as Freeway Park. And we are so pleased that our long-time board chairman, Jim Ellis, is honored as the Park’s namesake. The Washington State Convention Center looks forward to further strengthening our ties with the Park, with the Freeway Park Association, and through it with the many neighbors and friends around this special urban place.” Daniel Johnson (WSCC Administrative Services Manager)
“Freeway Park is a common place for those without shelter to stay dry and to rest. More subtly, it also seems to be a place where people can go to get a break from the busier parts of the city. I have always found the park to be quiet and inviting. I’ve heard repeatedly from people there that they like it for the same reason.” Eric Dodd (Public Safety Street Outreach Specialist Metropolitan Improvement District Outreach Team)
“Through the collective efforts of the Freeway Park Association, our community partners and area residents, there has been a noticeable improvement in safety, the sense of security and I believe a reshaping of some of the lingering perceptions of the park. I’ve noted many more members of the Virginia Mason team actively utilizing the park amenities, participating in the many wonderful engagements or simply walking through this beautiful space on their lunch breaks. I’m very proud the group’s efforts to improve the safety and access to the park and look forward to our further work to sustain this progress.” - Landon Le Blanc
(Director, Security & Logistics, Virginia Mason)