The much anticipated Kirke Park (7028 9th Ave NW) is now open, and there will be a grand opening party tomorrow from 10 a.m. noon.
The celebration will include music by Pasquale Santos, food and other fun activities. The park includes a play area, an adventure trail, a central commons and P-Patch. For some background, the name Kirke means church in Norwegian, which plays tribute to the Norwegian heritage of Ballard and the history of the site, which was home to the Church of Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel for more than 90 years, according to Seattle Parks.
From Groundswell NW:
The former site of the Seventh Elect Church in Israel, this 39,000 square foot parcel has long been a welcome block of green in the Whittier Heights neighborhood, and drew attention as a potential park as long ago as the early 90s. In 2007, Groundswell leaders received an anonymous email indicating that the surviving members of the church had a realtor quietly marketing the property. We contacted the realtor and Seattle Parks to express our interest in the property, then continued to facilitate negotiations over the following months. It appeared that the effort was unsuccessful, and that the property would be subdivided and filled with 11 or more homes. Then at our March 2008 Annual Meeting, Mayor Greg Nickels announced to our surprise and delight that the property had been purchased for a park.
Whittier Heights neighbors quickly mobilized to begin discussions about what the park should be and how to make it happen. Groundswell advocated for development funds as part of the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which was generously supported by Seattle voters. The first fences came down on July 19, and the park has been an instant hit in the neighborhood as kids scrambled over the playground at the south end and P-Patchers started preparing the gardens at the north.
Thanks to Seattle Parks for negotiating the purchase then managing the park construction, to Site Workshop for leading the design, and to the Whittier Heights community for spearheading the effortto make this a neighborhood asset for generations to come.