As soon as the PARK(ing) Day crew awoke to a dazzling, pink sky on Friday morning, it was clear that the day’s activities would include at least a modicum of success. If nothing else, there would be very little, if any, muddy sod to peel off the street.
The installation team started arriving at 7am, coffee and doughnuts awaiting, to begin rolling out the layer of visqueen that contained the park and made for speedy clean up. The putt-putt course had been prepared earlier in the week by Chris Golden, so it was quick and easy to lay the pieces in place. Once the course was set, fresh sod was unrolled and cut to fit, with wood chips filling in the gaps. The car tops went in next, which when covered with sod required the muscles of six people to carry out of the parking garage, across the street, and onto the course. A few minor angle tweaks, a little AstroTurf here and there, some cardboard ‘bumpers’ painted green, and our course was starting to look pretty legitimate.
Briar Bates showed up with her moss- and plant-covered furniture and spare plants at 8am, about the same time that the King5 news camera rolled in to start filming the installation. Once the furniture was placed, last minute touches such as trimming turf, adding bumpers, and fine-tuning the course was underway.
Over the course of the day, dozens of passerby’s tried out the hole, and it was determined that it was more or less a par five. At least two golfers got birdies, but the average was around seven strokes. At the end of the day, Chris Golden tried to make it in one shot with his wedge, coming really close, but there is no “close” in golf. It’s hard to criticize him though, given that the entire WT staff was peering down on him from the office!
We were met with enthusiasm and support throughout the day, and it was a great way to connect with neighbors and community members. Many park visitors exclaimed “This is so cool! I wish there was a park here all the time!” If only for the day, it was great to be part of a city-wide conversation about open public spaces in densely-populated cities. For us, it was also a chance to encourage contemplation of our car-based culture, something we’ve been very attuned to lately.
All in all, our park enjoyed a fairly robust 15-minutes of fame, but more than that, we had a heck of a good time.
Thanks to the entire crew for having the vision and motivation to pull this off, the last-minute helpers for doing so much heavy lifting, Chris Golden for creating the course, Alki Lumber for supplying materials, Erin Schiedler and Aaron Swain for their trips to the junk yard, Cody Lodi for braving so much broken glass, Nicole Winn and Branden Born for the moral support and for hauling the leftovers away when it was all said and done. Lastly, a huge thank you to Briar Bates for allowing us to borrow her unique furniture for the day.
Want to see additional photos? View the album on our Facebook page.