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).
Common Questions and Misconceptions
Q1: I thought Wedgwood was working with the Parks Department to acquire a new park at the Morningside Substation near the intersection of NE 86th Street and 35th Ave NE? Is this a new park site that Wedgwood and Seattle Parks are acquiring?
A1: This project is completely separate from WCC’s efforts to acquire a new park for north Wedgwood. This project will remain a private property although will be used as a public gathering place during a portion of the year. For more information on the park acquisition process, please see the Wedgwood Parks Committee‘s page.
Q2: What’s going to happen to the tree farm? Where are they going?
A2: Nothing, this is a partnership with the Hunter Family. Their tree farm is a highly regarded asset of our community and the goal of this project is to develop a public gathering place on their private property to be used during the off season. The fact that the family would even consider this project exemplifies just how amazing they are.
Q3: I hear Tully’s Coffee is part of the project. Will the gathering place include building a Tully’s Coffee or a mobile Tully’s barista?
A3: Nope. Tully’s Coffee is an AMAZING partner in this project in that they’re providing the funds to four communities, Wedgwood (NE Seattle) being one, to design and develop their own gathering place. They strongly believe in the Pomegranate Center’s vision of building leaders, building places, and building community. The Hunter Farm site is owned by the Hunter Family and will remain a private tree farm + a public gathering place. If you do come to the meetings, we’ll most certainly have the finest coffee known to man as supplied by Tully’s Coffee. Also, can you believe how ridiculously easy it is to use the Keurig Brewer?