Funding the Beach at Be’er Sheva Park

logo for Rainier Beach Link2Lake

Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks is very pleased to lend our voice in support of the Be’er Sheva Park Capital Campaign. This project will create a beautiful and welcoming beach at the park, in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. It will also fulfill part of Olmsted’s vision for shoreline access in this neighborhood. 

current shoreline conditions at Be’er Sheva

Community-led and designed, this decade-long dream is ready to be built, but additional funding is needed. Seeking both large and small contributions, the goal for Phase 1 is $1,000,000 by April 30, 2021. Approximately 60% of that goal has been reached to-date, with possible additional grants pending. We invite you to make contributions through this link and encourage others to add their support as well.

This community project is led by Rainier Beach Link2Lake Open Space Steering Committee, whose fiscal sponsor is the Seattle Parks Foundation.

along Henderson Street
Henderson Street connection to lightrail

FSOP is particularly excited about this project, not only for its improved waterfront access for an underserved neighborhood, but also for how closely it mirrors Olmsted’s vision, described well over a century ago. In 1908, Olmsted recommended a shoreline parkway be extended south from Seward Park to an expanded park at this location, which he later described as having “very notable landscape advantages.” Additionally, the Rainier Beach Link2Lake’s broader vision to create a pedestrian-friendly green corridor along Henderson Street, which would connect the park to lightrail and the Chief Sealth trail, traces Olmsted’s proposed parkway route connecting the neighborhood to Beacon Hill and other park boulevards. As Olmsted noted in his 1908 report, all these improvements would be “exceedingly valuable” for “making the lives of the people of the neighborhoods better worth living.”

Please consider giving your support for Be’er Sheva Park, especially as we look forward to 2022 and the national ‘Celebrating Parks for All People‘ effort of the Olmsted200 bicentennial.

Call for Volunteers

Are you interested in becoming more involved in matters regarding our Seattle Olmsted parks and boulevards? Consider joining us!

Historical photo showing rustic road bridge in Interlaken Park

We are currently seeking new members to serve on our Board of Directors. Board activities include consulting on park improvement projects, creating and organizing walking tours, advocating for our historic parks, and partnering with community groups to help meet shared goals. Included on our current board are landscape architects and designers, a horticulturalist, a lawyer, a business manager, retired park staff, graphic designers and community relations professionals. We seek additional individuals with expertise and/or interest in at least one of the following areas:

  • Historical Research – looking for a candidate willing to do in-depth research for specific properties or projects, one of which is expanding our narrative to include related instances of racial injustices
  • Community Outreach – looking for a candidate who will identify and work with community groups and individual Olmsted Parks groups to help with park improvement projects
  • Educational Programming – looking for candidates who can help lead walking tours and/or identify and develop additional teaching opportunities
  • Accounting – looking for a candidate who can assist with our bookkeeping
  • Landscape Design – looking for candidates who are comfortable reviewing design proposals
  • Fund Raising — looking for candidates that are interested in leading our fund raising initiatives
  • Strategic Planning – looking for candidates who can help direct and implement our long-range planning
  • Communications – looking for candidates who can spearhead letter-writing campaigns and help build our social media presence
  • Anyone with an interest in the importance of unique urban parks and a willingness to advocate on their behalf

Terms begin in September immediately following our annual meeting on September 14, 2020, and run for three years. Our board meetings are typically held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. We are currently holding our meetings remotely via Zoom. As conditions allow, we will hold in-person meetings again at the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation headquarters in Denny Park (plenty of free parking available).

Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks (FSOP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Seattle’s unique Olmsted landscape heritage and raising awareness of the Olmsted philosophy of providing open space for all people.

Please contact FSOP President Douglas Luetjen at friends@seattleolmsted.org if you are interested in getting more involved!

Color photo of about 25 people gathered together in middle of vegetated meadow.
Walking tour through WA Park Arboretum

Update on New and Restored Paths at Volunteer Park

We are very excited that a further piece of Olmsted’s original design for Volunteer Park is now being restored and/or installed for the first time! ‘New’ pathways are currently being constructed, and existing paths repaved, in the park’s eastern greensward as part of mitigation efforts for the SAAM expansion project.

A gently sweeping path leading NE from the water tower to the central area of the greensward was originally proposed by John Charles Olmsted to connect these two features of the park. On-site discoveries suggest that this path did originally get built, but it was lost and disappeared over time.

A second, new path extension will formalize an existing “desire path” into the park at its SE corner. In addition, a new pathway north of the SAAM museum will replace a former walk leading through the museum’s service area to provide a cleaner, safer connection between the greensward and the park’s central concourse.

If you happen to visit Volunteer Park sometime in the next several months, you will also encounter much temporary fencing — these are in place for general safety and/or to protect the existing mature trees on-site.

For more info, please visit http://volunteerparktrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Path-Restoration-Flyer-Nov-2018.pdf

crushed rock path leading between two tall shrubs, with chain link fencing in background

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