Wedgewood Neighborhood, Seattle Washington
Lacking an outdoor green space, the community members of Wedgewood want to create a gathering space for all ages that reflects the vibrant character of NE Seattle. With the generous donation of space by the Hunter Family of Hunter Tree Farm, this already much loved space can now be enjoyed year round. Figuring out how to make a movable gathering place so the Hunters can sell their wonderful trees during the holidays has been the catalyst for ingenuity and one of a kind design.
In April of 2011, the Wedgwood Community Council partnered with the Hunter Family to submit an application for a Gathering Places Grant from Tully’s Coffee and the Pomegranate Center. We were 1 of 17 communities to apply and 1 of 3 communities in the greater Seattle area to be awarded the grant. The Hunter Farm site is located in the heart of Wedgwood, between the two commercial nodes at NE 75th Street and NE 85th Street. It’s location is an ideal and intuitive place for many NE Seattle community gatherings. The primary goal of the gathering place project was to improve the ability of the site to accommodate greater public gatherings while allowing the Hunter Family to maintain their thriving Christmas tree business.
After winning the grant, the Wedgwood Community Council reached out to several civic groups, school PTAs, and adjacent community organizations that are all stakeholders of the site to form a steering committee. This steering committee was intended to be a representative group of the greater NE Seattle community to provide logistics support throughout the project and a sounding board on behalf of the community during design iterations.
As part of the project design development, there were 2 community meetings. The first community meeting was held on June 11th at Messiah Lutheran Church. This was a full day workshop to solicit ideas and develop concept-level plans from those ideas based around realistic site and budget limitations. From this workshop, 68 unique ideas were proposed by the community and 4 concept plans were developed.
Following this kick-off community meeting, volunteer design professionals from the Pomegranate Center and NE Seattle community (Public Space Rangers) built upon the community’s ideas and refined them further using material availability, estimated construction costs, and further considerations/input provided from the Hunter Family. The result was presented at the final community meeting, on July 13th at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, to unveil the project design.
Between August 18th to 21st, the NE Seattle community came together to build the project. Through tireless work by hundreds of volunteers, the project was largely completed by the last community build day. You can read more about Day 1 (August 18th), Day 2 (August 19th), Day 3 (August 20th), and Day 4 (August 21st).
Additional links telling the story linked with pictures and videos:
The Hunter Farm Gathering Place Grand Opening Bash
Tully’s & the Pomegranate Center – Hunter Farms build in Wedgwood
Overwhelming Turn Out for the Hunter Farm Community Build
Day 3 of the Hunter Farm Community Build
Emergency HUB planned for Hunter Farms Gathering Place Makes National News
Even More Progress Being Made on the Hunter Farm Gathering Place Project
Progress Already Being Made on the Hunter Farm Gathering Place Project
Brian Turnbull serves as president of the WCC. Brian, his wife, and their two boys have called Wedgwood home for the last five years. Brian is a missional pastor of a house church movement in Northeast Seattle, and owns a landscape company called Green House Landscaping. Brian enjoys people and the outdoors, which are two great assets we have here in Wedgwood. As the chairperson of Events Committee, Brian enjoys coordinating our annual Outdoor Cinema and Business Trick or Treat.