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.
“I think that everyone is moving so fast and that our cities are growing. Often times you are living so close to your neighbors and it is nice to have a green space to appreciate quiet, to meet your neighbors, for kids to play or to view a beautiful sunset. I think that preserving green space in any city is important. In Minnesota where I am from, we have more space and so here I feel dedicated to keeping some of the city green. If we can preserve land, it would benefit Seattle a lot.”
“I want to contribute in some way. It is like me to want to do something with a lot of freedom about when I do it. I don’t have to schedule it with other people; I can do it if and when I want to and I like that what I’m doing is outdoors. I think every action makes a difference. Every ounce of peace in someone’s heart contributes to world peace.”
“Barbara Donette says that in community gardens we grow food and we grow community. You can connect with people over gardening in a way that you can’t otherwise. I know the people down at the garden more than I do the neighbors in my apartment building. It means that we connect over a larger geographic area, we are growing things concurrently and connecting on a basic level. We all need the garden to connect with community and to grow healthy, local, fresh food.”
I like being an active member of my community, instead of just passively enjoying it. And volunteering is a great way to meet my neighbors. It tickles my sense of fun and creativity to be able to create interesting spaces with things for people to look at and interact with – doing something as easy as planting a few colorful flowers by a public staircase brings so much enjoyment to others and contributes to the character of my community.”