Community

Parks Perspectives: Sequim’s ‘Pocket Parks’

From left, Greg Felando and Brian Buntain, artists and members of the Blue Whole Gallery, visit, relax and enjoy the sunshine at Seal Street Park across the street from the gallery.  - Sequim Gazette photo by Alana Linderoth
From left, Greg Felando and Brian Buntain, artists and members of the Blue Whole Gallery, visit, relax and enjoy the sunshine at Seal Street Park across the street from the gallery.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Alana Linderoth

Among Sequim’s larger parks, there are a few small city parks nestled into town dubbed “pocket parks” given their size and intercity locations.

Instead of providing outstretching grassy space or playground equipment for children to play, pocket parks provide a place to take a quick breathier while walking through downtown, an area to host public events or simply a place to sit and wait for the next bus.

Sequim’s pocket parks include Seal Street Park, Centennial Place and Heritage Park.

Seal Street Park

Once a through street off of Washington Street in central Sequim, Seal Street was established as a city park in 2003 as part of a Downtown Revitalization Project, according to Sequim City Council meeting minutes. The park was fittingly named in recognition of Charles Franklin Seal who was an entrepreneur within the area and built the Sequim Trading Company at the corner of Washington Street and North Sequim Avenue. Although Seal already had a successful mercantile store in Dungeness, he refocused his attention on Sequim in anticipation of the railway in 1915. The original building built by Seal still occupies the same street corner and currently houses a variety of local businesses.

Though Seal Street Park is only one-tenth of an acre in size it has three benches, an exercise station, a World War I veterans memorial drinking fountain, an informational kiosk to help navigate around town and is surrounded with shrubs and trees making it an aesthetically pleasing place to sit and relax. Also, nearby Seal Street Park there’s a city map and signage with information about the Roosevelt elk herd.

 

Centennial Place

Last year by unanimous vote the Sequim City Council approved a $215,000 purchase of a 8,700-square-foot plot of land, now known as Centennial Place in the midst of downtown at the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue. In past years, Centennial Place was a Gull gas station.

“Owning the property is a great opportunity given its central location,” City Manager Steve Burkett said. “The property has a lot of potential, but we need to put together a longterm and financial plan for it.”

After referring to the property as the “former Gull property” for months after purchasing the land, by September 2013 the city council settled on the name “Centennial Place” because the property was bought in Sequim’s centennial year and thus marks a significant point in history for the city.

Creating a future plan for Centennial Place is among the many topics to be addressed in a project to update the 2006 Park Master Plan.

The City of Sequim Parks and Recreation Board will be working to help with the update and then city officials will be meeting with a variety of community organizations, Special Projects Manager Joe Irvin explained.

“It is my intent to have the Parks Master Plan to the city council for approval before the end of November 2014,” Irvin said.

For now, with the Park Master Plan still in its preliminary stages, Centennial Place will be an area for community events and activities, including the new location for the Sequim Farmers Market every Saturday until Oct. 26.

Heritage Park

It’s probably safe to say Heritage Park is one of the most artfully and well-kept bus stops in town. Located on Washington Street, the land now used as a Clallam Transit bus stop officially was deeded by the Co-op Farm & Garden (Clallam Cooperative Associations Inc.) in June 2001 to the City of Sequim. However, in an effort by the city council to “create an attractive and safe pedestrian environment throughout commercial areas of the city” construction of Heritage Park actually began in 1998, according to the statutory warranty deed. The design and development of Heritage Park was a joint effort among a number of organizations, but primarily the city council, Clallam Co-op and Sequim 2000.

Sequim 2000 was a division of the Chamber of Commerce which formed in 1995, but grew and changed names throughout the year and currently is the Olympic View Community Foundation. The foundation’s focus is on improving and enhancing the Sequim-Dungeness Valley community’s quality of life, now and into the future.

The Sequim City Council decided to utilize the donated land as a way to honor the deeply rooted agricultural history of Sequim and the year 2000.

Those waiting for the bus or just taking a break are protected from the weather by the large rustic roof topped with a cupola. Colorful tiles painted by local elementary students decorate the walls of the open structure and the area is planted with a wide variety of native plants and grasses.

In 2013, Dungeness Community Church members got involved with the City of Sequim’s volunteer opportunity “Adopt-A-Planting Site.” Heritage Park is one of four areas within the city Dungeness Community Church members volunteer every summer to weed, re-plant and do any necessary maintenance.

For more information on city park volunteer opportunities, contact Volunteer Program coordinator Pamela Leonard-Ray at 582-2447 or City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese at 683-4139.

 

Reach Alana Linderoth at alinderoth@sequimgazette.com.

 

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