Neighbors, volunteers and politicians gathered Saturday morning to officially open Ballard Corners Park on 17th Ave. NW and NW 62nd St.
“I now pronounce Ballard Corners Park open!” exclaimed volunteer David Folweiler as the ribbon was cut. He thanked a long list of volunteers, contributors and officials for making the park a reality.
“Dozens of neighbors told us what they wanted in a park,” Folweiler said. “People said they wanted a play structure, a rain garden, a concrete living room, an open lawn and a corner store. And as I stand before you today, I’m proud to say we gave you all of what you wanted.” Folweiler and Rebecca Carr head up the Friends of Ballard Corners Park volunteer team.
“It’s a rather magical park that is really quite unique,” said Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher. “You made this park happen, not just by your activities and energy, but by voting for the Pro Parks Levy.” Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Director Stella Chao also spoke at the ceremony.
The park has been years in the making. The property was once an empty lot and a home that was “deconstructed” to reuse its materials. Groundswell NW, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, first identified the site as a park and began the development process. Today, they showed a timeline (above) of all the Groundswell projects over the years.
One of the park’s prominent features is the “living room” created by Nathan Arnold — a concrete couch, chair and table that has fooled a few people who thought the art pieces were the real thing. Barker Landscape Architects, Dariotis Construction and WS Contractors all helped with the park’s development.
At today’s ceremony, Veraci Pizza served free slices — a big hit with neighbors.
“It’s great, it’s a wonderful place for the kids. We’re here a lot,” said neighbor Matthew Carr. “It’s a nice spot to have close by, and a lot of open space. There are enough things to jump and climb on to keep the all kids happy.”
“I felt it was important for all of us to create something bigger than ourselves, to create a better future for us and our children,” Folweiler said. “It’s a fantastic relief to have the bulk of the effort done. We just have a few remaining details to take care of. It’s just coasting from here on out.”