Wedgewood Community Council – Hunter Farm Gathering Place

Jeff Littlejohn – Imagine NW

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.

CFA Winter 2011 Newsletter

Download December updates from CFA

Newsletter Winter 2011

Family Day in the Park Day 2011

Al Santino – Northeast Community Transformation

This is an older story from AmeriCorps Member, Pam Ramos, Ayuda Community Center. 

Today was another good day in Hunting Park, Philadelphia. On Saturday, July 16, 2011, Hunting Park United, an organized neighborhood civic-association group made up of community individuals and partnering organizations, launched their first annual Family Day in the Park 2011. It was organized by our very own AmeriCorps member Pam Ramos. She is in her 8th month of service and has had the privilege of working alongside great community leaders and invested organizations. In the process of organizing this huge event in the park, she has had community meetings and has gathered community leaders for the purpose of input to what it was the community wanted at this event. With much work and collaboration of all, there were 25 non-profit organizations represented and over 75 volunteers recruited and more importantly over 500 plus community people that participated.

With all the resource tables available for the adults, from health screens put on by Esperanza Health Center’s Summer Medical Institute which is a program that allows medical students from around the country the unique opportunity to serve in an urban setting, engaging neighbors and performing various health screenings. Esperanza Health Center’s own Community Health Promoters graduates were on hand to answer questions. This is a lay-health class offered to community people who wish to be educated on various health issues; given 50 hours of training are then certified to promote health topics in varies ways. There was donated food BBQ’d & served by Richard & Friends United in the Community and finally Zumba aerobics instruction given by our local friend Cindy Ortiz from the Philadelphia group.

There was also plenty for the kids to do like face painting provided by a local congregation (One Hope Community Church) to plenty of crafts and games put on by a brand new coalition established in Hunting Park by four existing organizations to create S.E.A.C. Its mission is to work with engaging families to prevent drug-usage & abuse.  It includes Spirit & Truth Fellowship, Esperanza Health Center, Ayuda Community Center, and Casa De Consejeria translates into “House of Counseling. As you can see that Hunting Park United understands the power of community development and organizing– partnering for the greater good of the community. I’d say this community event was a success people went away full of resources and food…another fine day in Hunting Park, where it takes community to build a community.

Lincoln Neighborhood: Developing Leaders, Connecting Neighbors

Eric Smith – Think Tank INC

I met George Young at the Springfield Promise Neighborhood Kickoff and Community Celebration, the first community event planned alongside residents, nearly one year ago. It turns out that George is a long-time resident of the Lincoln Neighborhood. As part of the listening process, I met with George for a one-on-one learning conversation.

It quickly became evident that George was interested in seeing the ethic of responsible fatherhood integrated into the fabric of his neighborhood. He also had a clear passion for developing the character of the youth of his community. However, George did not have an opportunity to exercise his gifts and passions.

I therefore invited George to attend a leadership training series on the principles of Asset-Based Community Development. Through the training, George’s vision crystalized. Another of the attendees, as it turned out, had a similar interest. So following the training, George invited a select group of his neighbors, also long-time residents of the neighborhood, as well as his colleague from the training, to a meeting.

The neighbors quickly decided that they could accomplish the corporate desire that they all had to impact others if they formed into an organized group. The initial meeting has led to the birth of the Lincoln Neighborhood POPS Club. The Club has been connected to Urban Light Ministries, the responsible fatherhood initiative in Springfield, to provide stability as needed.

As their first project, the Club leaders have worked to establish a safety patrol program at Lincoln Elementary. Though very much needed, Lincoln Elementary has not had a safety patrol program for many years.

What is inspiring and transformational about this story is that fact that now a core group of neighbors is more alive because they are able to give of their gifts and experience to influence the next generation. Even as they are becoming more alive and aware, they are instilling pride in the 16 youth that are part of the safety patrol. The patrol is quickly becoming an opportunity to nurture good character, self-regulation, and aspirational thinking in the lives of a select group of youth.

What was lacking before was merely the vision to see the gifts and dreams that connected the neighbors to each other and the Club to the youth. Imagine now what other opportunities exist just around the corner in a neighborhood of over 4,500 neighbors and youth!


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