Urban Sparks’ Projects
These are projects where Urban Sparks was a significant contributor or the fiscal sponsor.
Scroll down to see them all!
Community Greenways and Trails Project
Urban Sparks’ Community Greenways and Trails Project is an education and funding project to help educate the public and powers-that-be about greenways, trails and active transportation as well as help fund physical projects. Physical projects may include associated public amenities like bike racks and covered seating.
Using funding methods available only to a 501(c)(3), we’ll facilitate the excellent work being done by the various Greenways project leaders around the city. If you or your foundation would like to make large tax-deductible or employer-matched gifts to support a particular Greenway or Trail project, please contact us. If you’d like to support the broader education movement, we’re doing that too.
Here are a few links to plug you into the Seattle Greenways Movement: Read more
Love Wins Love
Love Wins Love believes in the regenerative power of love. We are making 4,505 unity flags to represent the people who are living unsheltered in King County. By bringing those who are not housed and who are housed to experience our shared humanity by making art together, we hope to tap into people’s creative ideas for manifesting a world that works for all- and build a more compassionate, resilient community.
See our Love Wins Love FaceBook page and you may donate to Love Wins Love through this button: which will direct your donation to Love Wins Love / Urban Sparks. You will receive an email confirming your donation. Thank you!
The first Greenways group on the Eastside!
Kirkland Greenways is a steadily growing group of Eastside residents and business owners who want safe comfortable streets for all road users; whether you walk, run, jog, roll, drive or ride. Kirkland Greenways brings together people from multiple neighborhoods, who are working together to identify and create a network of safe streets for people of all ages and abilities.
You can learn more on their webpage: www.kirklandgreenways.org
Make the dream of safe U-District bicycling into a reality!
University Greenways believes in the vision of a vibrant, thriving University District where everyone can walk and bike safely and comfortably within our community and to adjoining neighborhoods.
You can learn more on their webpage: http://www.ugreenways.org/
Undriving and Undriver Licensing
Undriving is an innovative program designed to reduce carbon emissions and oil dependency, ease congestion and parking, and encourage community connections. By increasing awareness of personal transportation options and eliciting individualized car-trip-reduction pledges, Undriver Licensing playfully engages people to make more informed and empowered transportation choices. Undriving is changing how people think about getting around.
You can learn more on their webpage: www.undriving.org
Healthy Habits Education
This program, run by Dr. Jeff Metzger, educates at-risk youth and elders about improved general nutrition, nutrition for individual constitutions, and nutrition to aid in illness/disease prevention and healing. Individuals may also be treated as patients as requested and as appropriate. All of these services will be provided to recipients, free of charge. Read more
J.P. Patches and Gertrude Statue
J.P. Patches and Gertrude go Bronze to raise funds for Children’s Hospital!
Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza
Alki’s 1/18th scale Statue of Liberty is one of 200 replicas installed around the country celebrating the Boy Scout’s 40th anniversary. The Seattle Statue of Liberty Plaza Committee built a permanent classy setting for Seattle’s recast bronze Lady Liberty. CAST Architecture and E Workshop donated the design of this project, while Mayor Nickels and the Seattle city council granted $50,000 in city funds. Once the plaza was paid for and built, the community kept selling bricks until the plaza was sold out. We gave the money to the Parks Department in exchange for a Memorandum of Understanding that the money would only be used for maintenance of that plaza and no more quickly than 10% of the total per year.
Marra farm is a large ongoing project of Solid Ground and Lettuce Link. Urban Sparks was the Fiscal Sponsor for these Marra Farm Projects:
Race and Social Justice Outreach Grant, NMF
This project in South Park, Seattle reached out to local organizations and the Spanish Speaking Community to establish an active neighborhood-led advisory board for Marra Farm, representing the diversity of South Park.
Multi-Purpose Tool Shed, Small and Simple Grant, NMF
Using a Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant, the Marra Farm Coalition built a small tool shed with an outside teaching wall, harvesting station & gathering place. It facilitates community building and increases farm functionality.
Starbucks Neighborhood Parks Program Grant
This Marra Farm Community Project built three welcoming entry signs with bilingual signage and two new vegetable wash stations and purchased two picnic tables, an apple cider press and a portable barbeque. These elements create a dynamic and engaging neighborhood hub for gathering, learning and playing.
Beacon BIKES (Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe)
Formerly Beacon Hill Family Bike and Pedestrian Plan Committee (BHFBPPC),
this group morphed to become Beacon BIKES (Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe)
with a simple mission: “We crave safe, family-friendly walking and cycling paths that link our neighborhood hotspots. For more information, please visit our Mission page.”
This was a wonderful project where a neighborhood refused to wait to see what a might trickle from a city-wide plan down to them. Instead they brought their neighbors together to think about what they actually needed, while using professional planners to write it up. They also thought about how to get parts of the plan as soon as possible and to prioritize what bear waiting.
Alta Planning + Design produced their beautiful plan. This is an excellent example of how a neighborhood can begin the process of establishing Greenways.
For current info, visit Beacon Hill Safe Streets’ Facebook page. They changed their name again!
* We were their fiscal sponsor for their D.O.N. Matching Fund Grant.
For more on Greenways, see our Community Greenways and Trails Project.
Pinehurst Playfield Shelterhouse
After three years of twists and turns in a bad economy, the Shelterhouse is completed! From a pile of lumber to a bright-and-beautiful space, the project was a great success. Completed March 2010! Visit the park at NE 120thand 14thAve NE.
The Friends of Pinehurst Shelterhouse asked us to be fiscal sponsor for their project to fully remodel a boarded-up Parks’ structure in a well-used park to make it a welcoming community space and teen center. We were especially happy to help since Lorena has been leading neighborhood projects for at least 12 years and helped Jack conceive of Fremont Peak Park, the inspiration for Urban Sparks. It was our opportunity to give back. Read more
Hazel Heights P-Patch
We helped purchase this property for the P-Patch Trust. In the process a covenant was put on the land to protect it in perpetuity, so that it can only be an open space or community garden — forever.
After the purchase, we also helped the Friends of Hazel Heights and the P-Patch Trust with the design and construction grant writing. Read more
Neighbors of the Troll – Traffic Mitigation
Fremont’s Troll is visited by a seemingly endless stream of pilgrims arriving in cars, tour buses, and even amphibious troop carriers (really). The Neighbor’s of the Troll worked for years with Seattle DOT and the Department of Neighborhoods on a Large Project Fund matching grant to install traffic circles, curb bulbs and a round speed bump to slow traffic on their narrow street. Their match requirement was easily met with volunteer hours and cash donations from the Fremont Neighborhood Council and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
Interesting tidbit – The contractor dug up old rail ties from the long-gone trolley under Woodland Park Ave.
We were the fiscal sponsor for this project.
Beacon Mountain Playground Project
The Beacon Mountain Playground Team (BMPT), a subcommittee of the Jefferson Park Alliance (JPA) is working together to create a world class playground in South Seattle. “With the reconstruction of Jefferson Park, we’ll soon have access to some of the best views and recreational space in the area. Our playground is a featured piece.”
California Place Natural Play Area
Two lovely mothers, working with the Seattle departments of Neighborhoods and Parks and Recreation, organized the parents in the neighborhood to try to improved an unused park property so that the kids in the neighborhood could have a natural place to play and explore. It was also intended to provide a place of respite near the bus stop. They did excellent inclusive work and it was a joy to work with them.
Unfortunately the process turned up a neighbor who led a tireless mis-information campaign which scared and mobilized a disruptive retired crowd who created so much trouble in every meeting that the process simply couldn’t proceed. Their chant was “No Change!” It was a very sad to see community optimism killed by organized fear. The community process produced some nice drawings, but they aren’t likely to get used for the benefit of this generation of kids.
We were the fiscal sponsor for this design process.
Urban Sparks Work Parties
Urban Sparks’ work parties are fun opportunities to spend some time with generous people doing good work. Get some fresh air and tidy up the neighborhood with great people.
Sometimes we broadcast a work party to our whole email list, but you can be one of the self-nominated volunteers that hears about every opportunity. Join our email list and mention volunteering.
- NW 46th Street Adopt-a-Street clean-up and Mayor Nickels’ Clean Seattle work day in Fremont.
- Earth Share of Washington’s Day-in-the-Park, Golden Gardens
- In 2005, we led a team of 22 volunteers to remove hundreds of pounds of ivy and spread mulch to keep it from coming back.
- In 2004, nine of us removed lots of scotch broom, mustard, blackberries, and ten tall black locust trees.
I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Trails
The idea of mountain bike trails under Interstate 5 in Seattle was first proposed by John Zilly in his book, Kissing the Trail. Later, the Eastlake Community Council proposed it to the community and to the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the Pro-Parks Levy I-5 Open Space Park. Simon Lawton of Fluid Ride, a local downhill coaching business, drew up a course that got the mountain bike community excited. Then Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club (BBTC) and Urban Sparks started working to make it happen. Read more
Magnuson Park Native Species Restoration and Bicycle Skills Course
Urban Sparks volunteers designed and built, with help from Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, the Cascade Bicycle Club, Bike Works, the BMX community, Fremont Rotary, Red Bull and Trips for Kids, an extensive Bicycle Skills Park at Magnuson Park. It had singletrack trail, log piles, obstacles, skinnies, and BMX jumps for all ages to play and build skills on. The Skills Park was built as an outdoor test area for the Cascade Bicycle Club’s 2005 Bicycle Expo with expectations that we could keep it for a year of two after Expo. Read more
Bicycle Skills Parks
We’ve been working to familiarizing the city of Seattle with the concept of bicycle skills parks. Bicycle Skills Parks come in all shapes and sizes. Where there is just a little space and maybe a desire to draw some activity to an underutilized spot, a skills park can be a small collection of obstacles that provide hours of practice and distraction for bicyclists who enjoy honing their skills. Much like skiing, skill cycling can provide a lifetime of incremental improvements.
For young people, skills parks can be very important places to build confidence and self-esteem. It’s common for student’s grades to improve after they’ve found a passion like BMX bike riding or skateboarding. For active people of any age, these are places of focus and escape from the tensions of daily life.
BMX Jumps are one type of Bicycle Skills Park. Right now, BMX Jumps need attention to build awareness around this exceptional sport. Like skateboarding was a few years ago, BMX is still not understood. It has many of same healthy characteristics; it’s active, it doesn’t require scheduling, it’s practiced by kids and adults in a supportive environment, and it doesn’t require much space.