The translation of Hing Hay Park is “Park for Pleasurable Gatherings,” and Seattle Parks and Recreation staff want to make it continue to live up to its name. A project is underway to partially renovate the existing park and develop the adjacent post office site acquired with 2000 Pro Parks Levy funds. For the last five months, Seattle Parks staff have reached out to neighborhood groups and organizations to gather input and inspiration.
Hing Hay Park is located in the Chinatown International District, home to a diverse population and rich with multiethnic culture. Hing Hay is often used as an event venue and lunchtime spot. Seattle Parks wants to make sure the new development reflects the community’s needs and tradition.
The Seattle Parks team hired designers ready to take on the challenge of partnering with a diverse community. The Seattle firm of SvR is working together with the Beijing-based firm of Turenscape to ensure a design with both local and international perspective. Seattle Parks aimed to hear from diverse cultures and diverse age groups. After completing the standard outreach process, they went the extra mile.
In addition to the three public meetings held in the International District Chinatown Community Center to gain input on the expansion, flyers translated into Chinese and Vietnamese were mailed to residents along with a survey that triggered 150 responses. At each meeting, the 60 to 100 people who attended had the opportunity to discuss ideas in their native languages and report to the group using interpreters.
Representatives from Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development, a nonprofit youth program in the Chinatown International District, attended meetings to provide youth perspective and help seniors arrive safely.
The Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority and the Friends of Hing Hay Park helped promote the meetings and conduct outreach.
Seattle Parks staff and the design team also visited hard to reach groups and held listening sessions. They hosted youth art workshops. At the Chinatown International District’s Lunar New Year celebration Seattle Parks had a booth where visitors could color various pictures representing the neighborhood and have them made into buttons while they learned about the project.
“People would stop by to get buttons for their grandkids,” Public Relations Specialist Kerrie Stoops said. “It was a fun way to make the project more visible and gather input, with us going to the community rather than the community having to come to us.”
The public outreach process is now complete. Next, the design team will refine the details of the schematic design and determine what materials and methods can best translate that vision into reality.