Community celebration draws scores to Wards Cove, P-Patch (with video)

UPDATE: This post has been updated since it was first published. Names of P-Patch volunteers have been added.

Video of the celebration, including Mayor McGinn’s comments, is embedded below.

Under brilliantly sunny skies, Eastlake neighbors strolled a community celebration Saturday that featured music, pets, classic cars, ribbon cuttings and and an appearance by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

The occasion was the Eastlake Community Celebration to mark the completion of the Wards Cove green street and beach and the dedication of new plots at the Eastlake P-Patch.

Pets paraded on Fairview as visitors looked at classic cars gathered by resident Tommy Eggleston. At Fairview Park, a violin and cello duo (Jen Kozel on violin, local resident Paige Stockley Lerner on cello) played under shady trees to an appreciative audience.

Visitors had a chance to view and vote on the Eastlake walking fish decorating contest. The winner was Pam Farrow’s pirate themed fish. She’ll get a $100 gift certificate to the Eastlake business or non-profit of her choice.

At the Wards Cove parking lot, non-profit groups offered information on everything from proper bike helmet fit (Cascade Bicycle Club) to neighborhood issues (the Eastlake Community Council), water quality (People for Puget Sound) and the PARKing Day project (Feet First).

Mayor McGinn arrived on his bicycle around 2 p.m. and toured the street and P-Patch before the official ribbon cutting for both projects. McGinn noted that he often rides his bike up Eastlake but hadn’t been down this stretch of Fairview for several years. He said he was really surprised by the dramatic improvements in the area.

In his remarks to the crowd, he put in a pitch for filling in the gap in the Chesiahud Lake Union Loop to make it easier for bike riders to access the section of Fairview between Hamlin and Furhman.

McGinn noted the city was becoming more dense and that that is something that happens in cities. Places in the city like Eastlake, where you can walk to work or a coffee shop or catch a bus, are becoming more popular, he said. “So, projects like this are just absolutely essential” to preserving the character of a neighborhood.

“This is a great example,” McGinn said, pointing to the street. “I was kind of blown away coming down here … because I haven’t been down this street in a few years. To see these changes and the beautiful park, the P-Patch and the new walkway, it’s just amazing. So kudos to everyone here who made it work.”

McGinn then cut a ribbon to officially open the new walkway and beach at Wards Cove. He walked down the street to cut a ribbon marking the completion of the new plots at the Eastlake P-Patch, then toured the garden to see the improvements. The Department of Neighborhoods handed out t-shirts to Eastlake residents who were instrumental in the expansion project, which was funded with a mix of city and private money. Honored with shirts were Barb Donnette, Jean Johnson, Valerie Margulis, Rebecca and Bryan Partington, Lisa Hummel and Mary Jones.

The day included a chance to tour the renovated office building at Wards Cove and check out the display of historic images and memorabilia in the downstairs hallway. The afternoon finished with a Brazilian beat as the samba band Batucada Yemanja played in the Wards Cove parking lot.