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Posts tagged ‘community space’


Community Greenways and Trails Project

Temporary Curb Bulb

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: Steve Shay

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 »


Kirkland Greenways

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:

Photo collage of pedestrians, bikes, and wheelchairs.

Read more »


University Greenways

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:

A map of a proposed University District Greenway


Service House

Opening frame of video - A Day in the Life of Service House

New Video!  

Watch A Day in the Life of Service House.

See how Service House will support the service community including AmeriCorps volunteers, nonprofit professionals, philanthropists.

Ready to join the Service House momentum?

Click here to learn more about Service House >>


J.P. Patches and Gertrude Statue

J.P. Patches and Gertrude go Bronze to raise funds for Children’s Hospital!

Kids growing up in the Northwest counted on J.P. Patches to put them in the mood for fun each morning before school from 1958 to 1981. Gertrude and all of her/his (Fabulous Bob Newman) alter egos filled the show with guest characters. From 2006 to 2008, J.P.’s (Chris Wedes) carpenter Carl Lovgren and author Bryan Johnston led a team to honor these characters with a bronze statue including a coin bank collecting donations for Children’s Hospital, J.P.’s favorite charity.   The statue is in place and $82,000 in excess funds were donated to Children’s.

Read more


Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza

Photo Credit to David Hutchinson

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 that 10% of the total per year.


Marra Farm

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.


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.

Troll with visitors

Photo Credit:


Staircases as Transportation

Staircases are great connectors.

Image from King County Parks

Seattle is full of staircases.  They go places that cars cannot go which makes them important to the web of active transportation – lower traffic routes that people can walk and bike – Greenways.  Besides providing healthy transportation, they can be fun.

Does a staircase near you need a bicycle runnel?  Contact us.

See how our stair climbing friends are celebrating staircases and places to walk.  Links below: Read more »


I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain Bike RiderThe 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

Folks at Magnuson ParkUrban 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

Family BMXing at Greenlake

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.

Read more »


Fremont Peak Park

View from Fremont Peak Park

Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson

Fremont Peak Park at N 45th & Palatine N was three houses in the woods in 2001.

Aerial view of the houses at the time of purchase

Photo Credit: unknown Helicopter pilot?

Fremont Peak Park (FPP) was the precursor to Urban Sparks.  Jack Tomkinson and Karen Moe, members of the FPP steering committee, were so moved by the experience of creating this park and receiving guidance from park instigators from around the city that we started Urban Sparks to capture and share the hard-earned lesson from successful project leaders.  We thought more people would do public work  if they knew that it was within reach and if they knew where to begin.

Read more »


Joe King Park Fitness Centre, Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada

Particularly in wet cold climates, indoor spaces can be as important as outdoor spaces.

Hornby Island’s community and aging population benefit from this new indoor fitness facility, especially during the winter months combating “cabin fever. The leaders Judith and Peter said “It was a great pleasure for both of us to see the doors open in November 2007 and watch people’s faces light up with joy as they piled in to see what was accomplished by a community effort”.

See Judith and Peter’s volunteer profile for the bigger story. volunteer profile »

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.


Ballard Commons and Ballard Skate Bowl

Ballard Skate BowlThe Ballard Commons Park has finally been built after 10 years of planning and a huge controversy over the temporary-turned-permanent skate bowl. Now it’s a beautiful park with a top notch skate bowl and a fountain that you can play in. Be sure you visit this contemporary park that has plenty of timeless amenities.

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.


Dahl Playfield Skate Spot

Skate Park DesignBoarders 4 Parks is a group that is designing and building a skate spot at Dahl Playfield. They are one of a growing number of groups who want to put opportunities for wholesome challenging physical activity for kids in neighborhood parks. We’ve enjoyed comparing notes with them.

Image credit to Seattle Skateparks and New Line Skateparks.

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.