More green in Greenwood: Alice Ball Park opens June 14
By Julie Gangler
The new Alice Ball Park—originally known by the community as “Library Park”—is nearing completion and slated to open June 14 in conjunction with the PhinneyWood Art Walk that evening.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony with City officials and community leaders, music, entertainment, and food is planned.
Located just north of the Greenwood Library, the park will be a much-needed addition of green space along Greenwood Avenue. The park will be a multi-use space for visiting, playing, reading, and attending community events.
Alice Ball Park, designed by Cascade Design Collaborative, will feature an eight-foot-wide loop walking path around a large central lawn, plaza/gathering space with seating, reading nook area, digging discovery place for kids, nature discovery trail, and planted areas.
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) funded a raised crosswalk with the “Page Turn” design, which will connect the park to Greenwood Library. This design received the most community responses and depicts an open book’s pages turning…into plant leaves! It symbolically links the library and the park while providing a safe, highly visible pedestrian crossing.
Seattle Parks and Recreation collaborated with SDOT to provide a 12-foot-wide meandering sidewalk bordering the park along Greenwood Avenue. Creating the park has involved soil grading, irrigation work, lighting installation, utility/power hook-ups, placement of boulders and planting of trees, shrubs, and lawn.
The park features boulders that were salvaged from the Greenwood Library project completed in the spring of 2017. The boulders in addition to the raised crosswalk give a sense of connection between the two spaces. The central lawn area will be fenced off until the grass is established and ready for community use by fall 2019.
The concept for the park began when Seattle Parks and Recreation purchased two property sites between N. 81st and N. 82nd on the east side of Greenwood Avenue.
The former Quick Stop market site was acquired in November 2012 and the Bleacher’s Pub site in July 2015.
The sites were later cleared and temporary landscaping put in place until work on the park could begin in fall 2018. Michael Arndt collaborated with a group of local artists on murals that were installed and brought life to the interim park.
Early on, community input was sought on park location, uses, and features. The Greenwood Community Council (GCC) and Phinney Ridge Community Council (PRCC) worked with the City to identify potential park sites. Friends of Library Park—now renamed Friends of Alice Ball Park—was formed by community members who recognized this important opportunity to add green space to the neighborhood.
Key GCC members ensured the park’s design and development would meet the community’s needs. They included GCC President Rob Fellows, environmental engineer Bill Farmer, urban planners Joel Darnell and Alexa Berlow, and landscape architect Joanna D’Asario–all whom actively reached out to engage community members.
Seattle Parks and Recreation put out a call to the community for ideas to name the park. The name selected was Alice Ball Park, after Seattle chemist Alice Ball. Jesse Ballnik, PNA Member and then a third-grader at Daniel Bagley Elementary, spearheaded the campaign for the name.
She created a video about Alice Ball and postcards for neighbors to send the City, plus garnered letters of support from local businesses and scientists.
Alice Ball was born in Seattle in 1892, graduated from the University of Washington in 1915, and became the first woman—and African American—to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Hawaii. She developed an injectable oil extract that was the most effective treatment for leprosy until the 1940s. Unfortunately, she died at age 24.
Friends of Alice Ball Park will continue to work with Seattle Parks and Recreation as the park opens and through its final completion stage this fall.
The group began a park activation program last year, including the temporary mural project and various day-long activities.
This program will continue through the summer—and hopefully into the future—with the support and participation of the Greenwood Public Library and the community.
For the latest information about Alice Ball Park’s opening, visit the Seattle Parks web site.
To stay up to date on details on construction, design process, and activities, follow the Facebook Group.
Originally published in the summer 2019 edition of The Review
Celebrate Alice Ball Park!
Friday, June 14 . 6-8 pm . Free
Ribbon cutting 6:15 pm
Music, food, crafts . Free & fun for all!
Join Seattle Parks & Recreation and the community to celebrate the park’s opening during the PhinneyWood Art Walk, with music by Kenny Mandell Duo, food from Valhalla Sandwiches and crafts with Seattle ReCreative. Greenwood Library staff will be in the park’s “Reading Nook” with coloring sheets, books, and giveaway prizes.
The ribbon cutting will be at 6:15 pm. Everyone is invited to help create the ribbon for the opening ceremony beforehand at the Greenwood Library. Drop by anytime during open hours to decorate strips of paper for the community ribbon.
Location: Alice Ball Park, 8102 Greenwood Ave N