The rendering shows how the future park in Lake City will connect to the street with sidewalk, plantings, and bike parking. It also possible see people enjoying important future park elements such as bench seating, a large outdoor sculpture, basketball courts, and a children's play area.
Rendering of the planned park coming to the Lake City Urban Village. (City of Seattle)

Seattle Parks and Recreation is heading toward awarding construction contracts on three parks in areas of the city with fewer acreage of parks and open space than most Seattle neighborhoods. The impact of Covid-19 on the overall budget of Seattle Parks has caused many park development proposals to be paused, but these projects are advancing in large part because of the oversized impact that increasing green space in these neighborhoods would have relative to the other park development plans in the pipeline. All of these parks are located in urban centers or villages where Seattle has concentrated most of the new housing in the city in recent decades, and many of them have been in planning for a very long time. These parks still lack official names, but they are sure to be beloved additions to the neighborhoods where they are being built.

Lake City

Currently there are no parks on the east side of the state highway that is Lake City Way within the Lake City hub urban village. The new Lake City park will be on 33rd Avenue NE, just north of NE 125th Street, immediately adjacent to a Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) complex and abutting the SHA play area. This park is over ten years in the making, with the property having been purchased by the city in 2010, and the office building that was standing on the site demolished in 2016.

A map showing the location of the future Lake City Park on 33rd Ave NE near NE 125th St. There is an existing play area north of the future park as well as a Seattle Housing Authority complex. Parking lots are located to the south and east of the park.
The long-planned Lake City Park abuts a SHA complex and play area. (City of Seattle)

The park will feature a half basketball court, a small climbing wall near the play area, a section for P-Patches, and a gathering space with a central art feature (see image at the top of this article). The new park will also fill in an important gap in the sidewalk network by installing a high quality sidewalk connection where there’s currently a substandard pathway. The construction contract is estimated to be $687,000 to build this new park.

A rendering of the future park in Lake City illustrates the site plan key, which will include a landscape/furniture zone, 6 foot pedestrian sidewalk, public art, pedestrian lighting, bench seating, central lawn space, basketball court, raised planters, the previous concrete walkway, net climber, short climbing wall, play zone, p-patch, native and adaptive plantings, and a proposed tree. The largest area of the park will include the central lawn space, p-patch, and basketball court.
Plans for the new Lake City Park, with the frontage along 33rd Ave NE shown at top. (City of Seattle)

North Rainier

A new park at S Charlestown Street between 34th Avenue S and 35th Avenue S in the North Rainier urban village has grown quite a bit since it was originally planned. Originally only funded at a fraction of its current size, Seattle Parks eventually was able to expand the plan for the park to nearly one full acre. Earlier this year, the City Council approved the transfer of a recreation covenant to this new park from a property that the city has owned since 1970 in South King County near Black Diamond. That covenant will specify that the land cannot be used for purposes other than outdoor recreation.

The rendering of the planned park at South Charleston Street shows an oval central lawn area ringed by a walking path. The other park elements, such as the play area, exercise area, and basketball court are located exterior to the central lawn.
Plans for the new North Rainier park. (City of Seattle)

In addition to the half basketball court, play area, and adult exercise equipment (a community priority), the central green is designed to accommodate large community picnics as well as events — up to 30 tents could go up in the park for a festival without any infringing on other park uses. There’s also an area planned for a possible future. Portland loo-style public restroom. Street improvements around the park’s border will include new curb bulbs as well.

A drawing of the future South Charleston Park depicts where tents could be located during future festivals and community events. The majority of the tents are located in a ring encircling about one half of the oval shaped central long, although a few tent spaces are designated near the park's edges as well.
The North Rainier park is designed to accommodate community events and festivals with many tents. (City of Seattle)
A drawing shows a potential view from the North East entry where it is possible to observe children playing soccer in the central lawn,  person seated on a bench eating, and families playing near a climbing structure and other play equipment.
Rendering of the new North Rainier park’s central lawn and play area. (City of Seattle)

In addition to this segment going out to bid, the City is also moving to purchase the property between this park and the South East Effective Development (SEED) housing property to the north. Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre told a City Council committee earlier this month that the property owner was considering developing the site as townhomes, but the City moved to purchase it instead. That property, appraised at $1.62 million, will be purchased by the City for $2 million in exchange for the property owner demolishing the existing warehouse on the site and preparing the site to be able to be utilized by the city more quickly. It remains to be seen how this new segment will integrate into the new park. The construction contract for this project is expected to be $2.3 million.

A bird's eye view of a photo map shows the location of the South Charleston park and the adjacent rectangular shaped parcel of land that will increase the park's size.
The new North Rainier park will see another piece of property added to it soon. (City of Seattle)

Little Saigon

An aerial photo map illustrates where the future park will be located in Little Saigon on a narrow parcel of land between South Jackson Street and South King Street. The future park is identified by a red border and the boundaries for the Little Saigon neighborhood are denoted by a yellow border. The neighborhood boundaries run on Rainier Avenue South and South Main Street.
The new park in Little Saigon will serve a neighborhood significantly lacking open space. (City of Seattle)

Little Saigon has been identified as an area in need of public open spaces by city reports since at least 2009. This new park in Little Saigon will utilize a narrow parcel situated between Jackson Street and King Street. As such, this park will function as a pedestrian connection as well as a gathering space. The lot, currently used for parking, has a fairly significant change in grade between Jackson and King that had to be incorporated into the design. Ramps bridging that grade difference take up a fairly big portion of the site, but the park also makes room for a play area, lawn, and a performance area with amphitheater-style seating. The existing weeping willow tree on the site will be incorporated into the design. The construction contract for this new park is expected to be a little less than $1.3 million.

A photograph of the site of the planned park in Little Saigon. The area is currently used as a parking lot and has large willow trees that will be preserved. Adjacent to the park are the Ding How Center and Nisei Veterans Memorial.
The planned park will take the place of a parking lot between King Street and Jackson Street. (City of Seattle)
A rendering depicts the layout of the future park with park elements. Key park elements will include a South King Street entry plaza, an open lawn with seating, a performance area with amphitheater seating, a play area with a rubber surface and seating, and a Jackson Street plaza and programmable event space.
Plans for the new park in Little Saigon. (City of Seattle)
An illustration of the upper portion of the future park shows how it slopes downward from the park entry on South Jackson Street. Ramps and walls will be installed during the steepest portion of the decline and the plaza steps at the amphitheater will be located a second steep decline closer to lawn.
Profile view of the upper portion of the new park in Little Saigon. (City of Seattle)
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Ryan Packer lives in the Summit Slope neighborhood of Capitol Hill and has been writing for the The Urbanist since 2015. They report on multimodal transportation issues, #VisionZero, preservation, and local politics. They believe in using Seattle's history to help attain the vibrant, diverse city that we all wish to inhabit. Ryan's writing has appeared in Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Bike Portland, and Seattle Bike Blog, where they also did a four-month stint as temporary editor.