Guest column: Centennial Place, reimagined

Centennial Place (at the northeast corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue) will become the beating heart of Sequim. The challenge in its creation is capturing the uniqueness of the town and the region while also expressing the uncommon spirit of the people who call this neck of the woods home.

An extraordinary concept and publicized execution could gather national/international attention, further inspiration for people to come visit us year-round.

Create a forest that is a kinetic work of art. Sculptural trees formed from varied materials — fiberglass, aluminum, composite — rise over the park providing a protective canopy. Native ground plantings/natural stone seating/a nurse log.

Beyond the sculptural beauty of the trees, the park is also a programmed fountain delivering a variety of rainfalls at random times during the day. The premier event is a full-bore thunderstorm with building low rumbles signaling its arrival.

Using fundamental golf course drainage techniques, the falling rain is gathered, tanked and recycled. The rain would only fall on limited regions allowing visitors to stroll the park without getting wet.

A waggish scribbler suggested that this rain park could become a counterbalance promotion to Sequim’s claim to aridity. “Visit Sequim. We can guarantee a rainstorm.”

By design, the public never really knows what brand of storm the park is going to deliver — drizzle, shower, downpour, thunderstorm? — or when the storm will arrive.

Impatience might be profitable

What if you could bypass the programming and request a storm? A selection panel and credit card slot would be handy. Revenue would support regional artists.

Casting a gaze across the street, there are latent creative possibilities within 1st Security Bank’s park. After offering the world an artistic expression of our forests, why not artistically interpret our shorelines?

Paint classic Japanese seascape waves on the brick wall including ultra-violet accents. By night, illuminate the mural with modulating black light to convey a sense of motion. Day and night, the muted sounds of waves and sea birds flow over the park.

Place benches strategically, add boulders, a few Madronas, some large driftwood. Provide ample room for blanket picnic lunches on a fine gravel surface.

In an era when sameness has become a virtue, a town like none other deserves at least one destination park like none other. “In water, there is wealth!”

Editor’s note: City of Sequim staff said they’re still working on a proposal with a final design tentatively for sometime this year to city council.

Greg Madsen is a Sequim resident.