Ballard Commons Park reopening met with celebration and civic action

Ballard Commons Park is officially reopened to the public, and community members of all ages showed up to celebrate its opening this past weekend.

Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss, the Ballard Alliance, and Seattle Parks & Recreation hosted the celebrations on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, featuring a large sampling of local businesses and organizations. Local food trucks, games, crafts, giveaways, and performances in the newly renovated community space attracted hundreds of visitors within its first few hours of reopening.

The events offered a first look at the substantial work completed since the park’s 2021 closure, including tree plantings, maintenance, cafe-style lighting, five new benches, and other improvements. 

About a dozen protesters also joined the scene, using the park’s opening weekend to draw attention to encampment sweeps. Prior to its 2021 closure, Ballard Commons Park had been the site of one of Seattle’s largest homeless encampments.

Equipped with drums, a megaphone, pamphlets, and posters featuring names of homeless community members lost in the past two years, they demanded better and more humane solutions to the neighborhood’s housing crisis. 

Acknowledging the protests, Strauss highlighted the importance of ongoing work toward housing resources, extending an open invitation to his weekly office hours to further the dialogue.

While the protests underlined the ongoing challenges facing the neighborhood and city, the celebration welcomed a new chapter for Ballard Commons.

“The vision for this park is a place for all ages and abilities,” said Councilman Dan Strauss at the event, noting plans to add a children’s playground and new family-affordable housing at neighboring St. Luke’s Church as top priorities for the next year. 

“Every Seattle community deserves a great Seattle park in their neighborhood,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell in a press statement.

“I’m excited for Ballard kids, families, and neighbors who will now be able to enjoy a reopened and restored Ballard Commons Park following needed renovations and improvements. Leading with community input, we will continue to revitalize and strengthen parks, playfields, and public spaces across our city, making them welcoming, activated, clean, and accessible to all.”