Seattle, WA

Greenwood's Alice Ball Park receives Merit Award for Public Design

Chris Maykut

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Seattle Parks & Recreation

Alice Ball Park opened in June 2019, miraculously replacing a small convenience store, teriyaki/burger business and the former Bleacher’s Pub. Located just north of the Greenwood Library, the park is a much-needed addition of green space along Greenwood Avenue.

It was recently announced that the park’s designers and landscape architects, Osborn Consulting Inc. (formerly Cascade Design Collaborative), received a Washington Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA) Merit Award for Public Design.

“Much loved. Well used. Community driven” are the words used to describe the park. Born through the vision and hard work of Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Libraries, a creative design team, and, most importantly, engaged and active neighbors, Alice Ball Park reflects what is possible when the public design process goes right. It is a multi-use space for visiting, playing, reading, and attending community events. The park features an eight-foot-wide loop walking path around a large central lawn, plaza/gathering space with seating, reading nook area, digging discovery place for kids, nature discovery trail, and planted areas. The project also includes low-impact design strategies featuring amended soils, porous concrete, and increased infiltration created by the new open space.

Seattle Parks and Recreation put out a call to the community for ideas to name the park. The name selected was Alice Ball Park, after Seattle chemist Alice Ball. Jesse Ballnik, PNA Member and then a third-grader at Daniel Bagley Elementary, spearheaded the campaign for the name. She created a video about Ball and postcards for neighbors to send the City, plus garnered letters of support from local businesses and scientists.

Alice Ball was African American chemist who developed an injectable oil extract that was the most effective treatment for leprosy in the early 1900s. Born in Seattle in 1892, Ball graduated from the University of Washington in 1915 and became the first woman, and African American, to graduate with a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii.

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