What used to be a vacant lot on East Washington Street between Jose’s Famous Salsa and The Rusting Rooster is now a temporary park that will soon be open to the public.
This temporary community park known as Whimsy Park will celebrate its opening from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 5, with live music from the Malcolm Clark Band and an official ribbon cutting at 5:15 p.m.
Ken Stringer, head organizer of the park, said this is a Community Plus project that started in the fall of 2016 for the purpose of having a community gathering place in Sequim.
“It’s a gathering place for everyone and where all kinds of performances and entertainment can take place,” Stringer said.
The park cost between $7,000-$10,000 from donated materials and services.
Stringer said he contacted the owner of the lot Bill Littlejohn, Diana Young-Thompson, who owns the building on the lot, and Jose Garcia, owner of Jose’s Famous Salsa, that occupies the building and proposed turning the lot into a temporary park.
He said it is called Whimsy Park “because it’s all (built) on a whim.” Stringer said the best thing about the park so far is seeing community members walk by and show interest in the project.
The park features several walking paths made out of wood chips, a stage for musicians to play, straw bales for community members to sit on, plants and trees from local nurseries and a “Whimsy Art Wall” started by Sequim High School’s AP Art students.
The art wall will be an evolving project that includes planned renditions to engage community members.
“It will evolve by whimsy, rather than design,” Stringer said.
Some of these renditions may include a working door that opens to a painted scene and windows displaying shop scenes.
“Painting the mural has been a fantastic opportunity for the AP students to get to beautify their community and work alongside community members,” AP Art teacher Jake Reichner said.
“It is definitely something they are proud of.”
There also is a bistro table and chairs located on top of a small patch of concrete next to the working door and windows for community members to sit and eat.
Stringer said all that is left to do is finish mulching, complete the beautification process and paint a white movie screen square behind the stage.
He also said he wants to add picnic tables, trash cans and has proposed the idea of putting in an adventure playground for children to play and build with Styrofoam blocks.
The park was built to accommodate the Sequim Farmers Market on summer Saturdays and will hold the first farmers market of the season at the park from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Stringer said the park will remain open until Littlejohn decides he wants to develop the lot.
Contributors to the park include Alcan Forest Products, Blake Tile &Stone, City of Sequim, Hermann Brothers Logging &Construction, Jim Bishop Excavating, Jose’s Famous Salsa, Bill Littlejohn, New Dungeness Nursery, Parry Construction, Peninsula Nursery, Rodda Paint, The Rusting Rooster, Sequim High School — Reichner’s AP Art Class, Vision Nursery and Diana Young-Thompson.
Learn more about Whimsy Park and its grand opening at http://sequimcommunityplus.com/whimsy-park-ready-open/.