Work begins on renovation to Roanoke street end park

Construction work has begun on a community project that will renovate the Roanoke street end park, home to four Heritage Trees and one of Eastlake’s access points to Lake Union.

The project is the result of a collaboration between community members and Perkins+Will architects, under the sponsorship of the Eastlake Social Club and with the support of the Eastlake Community Council, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department and the Seattle Department of Transportation. Funding for the project is coming from the city.

City crews began removing asphalt at the site last week to get an idea of the extent of tree roots under the project. It is expected that new planting at the site might take place by the end of March. Completion of the project is expected by April 2012.

The first work on the park renovation came from neighborhood resident Carsten Stinn. Stinn is a project designer at Perkins+Will, a national design firm with an office in Seattle that dedicates one percent of its staffs’ work hours to developing projects that will benefit the greater community.

The aging park had long been on Stinn’s radar so he proposed it to Perkins+Will as a community project. The firm chose to dedicate time to the design and management of the renovation.

The park, located where E. Roanoke turns onto Fairview E., was in need of some help. Ivy had taken over much of the space. Benches were falling apart and asphalt walkways were cracked.

When Perkins+Will agreed to work on the design for the park, Stinn connected with a neighborhood resident, Johann Wassermann, a surveyor who agreed to help. Perkins+Will employees spent more than 200 hours drawing up plans for the park with an initial survey. (See the attached renderings.)

Amanda Bailey, a local landscape designer, donated many hours of her time to craft a planting design. Other Eastlake residents who donated their time included Mary Hansen, Linda Furney, Dane Jensen and Tim Ahlers.

Stinn describes the pre-renovation park as a “sea of asphalt.” His hope was to separate the park more from the street and provide more plants. Plans also include more access to Lake Union at the park. Ultimately, he’d like to see a pedestrian and bike path marked in the area. The renovated park will also be accessible to the disabled.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department had public meetings to gather community input on the project. The city will do the major construction on the project, Stinn says, and neighbors and employees of Perkins+Will will do the planting and provide artwork.

“It’s really nice to see that there’s collaboration,” Stinn says about working with the city.

According to David Graves, senior planner for Seattle Parks, the city has reviewed Perkins+Will’s proposal and made modifications so it meets city standards. Money for the project is coming from the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop fund.

The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop Master Plan identified improvements to a street end or street ends around Lake Union to enhance the loop experience as a projects to be funded. Cost of the project will be approximately $50,000.

Graves praised neighbors for being the motivators behind the project and also Perkins+Will, the firm where Stinn is employed, for allowing him the time to work on the project.

It had been hoped that funding would be found to include work on a second, smaller section of the park that lies parallel to Roanoke and faces Mallard Cove. There is currently a bench and a trash can on that site. Both Stinn and Graves would like to see it renovated when funding is available.