The Bell Street “Park Avenue” Open House. June 4th, 2009 4-7:00pm at the Intersection of 2nd and Bell. More pics and the handouts after the jump.
The Park Boulevard Proposal will change Bell street from 1
st-5th avenue into a park, of sorts, with the potential for all of these things: grass, trees, park benches, a place to play with your children, maybe even a water fountain, one lane of traffic and a designated bike lane. Sounds like a beautiful amenity that any community would love to have. Given that Belltown is not a new community, and there is no chance of knocking down buildings to build a “Central Park”, this is our option for a green space in the city.
This idea came out of a construction project already in the works. Next year at this time, Bell street is going to be torn up anyways for a project by SDOT. Coupling the two projects together to rebuild the streets into a “Park Ave” after the repairs, would be convenient and cost effective. The proposed cost is 2.5 million, but it is still awaiting approval.
In a Q&A session with Sarah Wysocki and Gary Johnson, residents of Belltown voiced their concerns about drug-trafficking, prostitution, and the homeless population. The main theme of the questions encompassed ‘Would this be safe?’ Would it turn in to a place that houses an environment for illicit activities to occur? Would it be a place for the homeless population to sleep? Would it turn into something similar to the Denny “De-Grade” Park? A senior citizen woman who lives in the area, bless her heart, asked if prostitutes would just lean up against a wall and do their business in broad daylight. She said that she sees this all of the time. I’ve lived in Belltown for a while and I’ve never seen this. Maybe I’ve just lucked out (or haven’t been here long enough.) 🙂
When doing an interview with Komo news I was asked the following questions:
What do I think about it?
I think this could potentially be a great amenity for our community, only if there were plans in place to help discourage it from turning into a housing place for illegal activities to occur. I mean, crime will never be completely gone from anywhere, the streets, the parks, etc. But the potential of this park turning into an unsafe area is real, so the problem definitely needs to be addressed before it is built. If it is approved, the community should hold a brainstorming session to bring ideas to the table about how to keep this park safe and clean. There is always the response of having the area highly patrolled, lots of lighting, park furniture that is not conducive or comfortable to sleep on. (I got all of these answers when I asked what they would be doing to protect this area). But I wonder if there are any other ideas that people have to ensure the safety of this street? Could we come together as a community to “own our streets” like the COP program. Organize walks every night with our neighbors to report activity and make the culture of this street one that we control? Living in a community isn’t just being a consumer, but it is giving back and doing our part to help make it a thriving community. We are powerful in numbers, singularly we could never do as much as we could collectively.
2.5 million, is that a lot?
Yes. But relative to a project of this size and location, it is not that bad. I think that if this is successful, patrolled and planned wisely to discourage illegal activity, the potential of this street to be a place that induces natural community is great. It would be a street to grab coffee and meet your neighbors, play with your children and walk your dogs, the possibilities of the kind of community that could organically occur here are endless.
What are your thoughts on the Bell Street “Park Ave?” The proposal that was handed out during the open house is attached to this post. Give it a review and be sure to share your thoughts on this forum.
– Resident of Belltown and lover of building community in our city and our neighborhood.