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Posts tagged ‘Neighborhood Matching Fund’


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 than 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.


Beacon BIKES (Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe)

walking, stairs, bicycles, bicycling, crosswalks

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.

Troll with visitors

Photo Credit:


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.


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 »


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 »