With so much construction underway around Seattle, one local group says it's important to try and preserve a little open space. Groundswell Northwest works with residents to convert empty lots or other pieces of land into parks or green space.
A lot of the group’s work has been in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood where they say there's a lack of open space. Groundswell representative Dave Boyd says a Parks Department survey back in the 1990s showed Ballard was second only to downtown in the lack of green space, per capita.
Their current project focus is a stretch of 14th Avenue NW. They plan to turn two blocks of the road, between NW 59th and NW 61st, into a park by shifting both directions of traffic onto the west side of the road and converting the other side into a park.
The group points to spots like Kirke Park as a success story. The city purchased a former church property on 9th Avenue Northwest there several years ago and then Groundswell worked with neighbors to organize and build a park.
Boyd said designating open space is important.
“That’s where the community comes together, that’s where you meet your neighbors, where you have neighborhood functions community gatherings,” he explained.
Boyd added that it’s a good way to balance all the construction Seattle is undergoing.
“You hear people complaining about these big buildings going up and turning the streets into canyons and you really need just some breathing space," he said.