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Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent names several new parks

Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre has approved the names of several new parks: a two-block stretch of 14th Ave. NW in Ballard, a community space on the south side of the University Heights Center for the Community (UHCC) in the University District, and several small sites in the Thornton Creek Watershed in north Seattle. Seattle Parks and Recreation invited the public in February to submit potential names for these sites to the Parks Naming Committee.

The 14th Ave. NW project will be named Gemenskap Park. Gemenskap (pronounced Yuh-MEN-skawp) is the Swedish word for community. This project converts two l blocks of 14th Ave. NW, between NW 59th and NW 61st Streets into a park. The park replaces the gravel parking median and portions of the existing concrete roadway. It includes green infrastructure and incorporates safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, provided approximately $2.9 million for design and construction of the 14th Ave. park. More information can be found here.

Because this was a community initiated project and because of the area’s Swedish history and influence, the Park Naming Committee believes this unique park will help build community by turning parking into park space. While there are several Ballard parks that have Norwegian names, this is the first with a Swedish name.

The University Heights Space on the south side of the UHCC is named University Heights Plaza. This multi-use community open space includes a performance area/plaza, rain gardens to improve stormwater quality, pedestrian pathways, lawn areas, landscaped areas and other amenities. This project is one of 15 community initiated projects that received Opportunity Funds from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, combining $747,000 from the Opportunity Fund with $254,000 from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy. Construction was completed on January 4, 2016. More information can be found here.

The name reflects the site’s roots in the neighborhood and its location adjacent to the 114-year old school building.

Thornton Creek Watershed Sites:

  • The site next to Jackson Park Golf Course is named Flicker Haven Natural Area on Thornton Creek. This parcel, contiguous with Jackson Park Golf Course, is located along the North Fork of Thornton Creek. Properties at the south end were acquired in 1950, using cumulative reserve funds. This Natural Area features excellent habitat with wetlands, forests and pools. There are also trails in the uplands part of this Natural Area. Seattle Public Utilities has restored some areas of the creek. The name reflects the presence of flicker birds, which provide very distinctive sights and sounds in the Jackson Park neighborhood.
  • Little Brook Creek Natural Area on Thornton Creek’s name will stay the same. It has been called Little Brook Creek Natural Area since it was acquired in 1995, and the community and creek supporters want to retain the name. The creek is the dominant geographical feature of this natural area and the reason the natural area was purchased and restored.
  • The 95th and Sand Point Way site is named Chinook Passage Natural Area on Thornton Creek. This 2.5-acre site is the main stem of Thornton Creek. It was acquired between 1992 and 1998 with funds from the 1989 Open Space and Trails bond program. Although much of the property is steep, there is a limited access point across the street from Matthews Beach Park. Neighbors and stewards have removed invasive plants and replanted with natives including conifers.

Criteria considered in naming parks include geographical location, historical or cultural significance, and natural or geological features. The Park Naming Policy, clarifying the criteria applied when naming a park, is available here. For more information about the park naming process, please contact Paula Hoff, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-615-0368 or