Friends of Ballard Corners Park

Corner Store Decision

We need your opinion regarding additional work on the park.  Please take time to review the choices at the bottom of the email and respond with your preference. Please respond by Wednesday, 22 Apr (Earth Day!).

Ballard Corners Park is nearing completion.  If you go by the park, be sure to check out the concrete living room furniture being created by Nathan Arnold.  Nathan’s very proud of his work and shows it off very willingly to passersby. Be sure to say hello.  The grass is growing and needs to be mowed twice before the contractor can take the fence down.  The first mowing was occurring this morning as I drove to work.

Background on Corner Store

There is one element of the park that has not yet been completed.  For those of you involved in the park design workshops in 2006, we batted around a lot of ideas.  The community decided that it liked the play structure, curving sidewalk, rain garden, “living room”, and the corner store homage.  All of this has been completed, excepting the corner store.  The corner store has not been constructed because the bids we received for constructing it in its original format were too high.  Of the desired options, the community preferred the raingardens and living room over the corner store in the case of insufficient funding.

The steering committee has been working hard with John Barker, our landscape architect, to determine if some version of the corner store could be constructed.  The concept of the corner store is that it would honor the corner stores that used to be on lots of corners in Ballard and especially Bill Boutin’s corner store on the park site. The corner store would bond the present and the historical, letting people know what used to be on the park site.  Some say it puts the “corner” in Ballard Corners Park. The corner store is designed to have a playful and whimsical nature to it. Kids could play “store” or sell lemonade. Adults could sit with a coffee and/or newspaper. Neighbors could chat. Families could picnic at the counters. Historical photos and oral histories would be set into the columns and possibly the countertops.

Nathan Arnold, the concrete artist who is doing the “living room” furniture has expressed interest in building the concrete portions of the new corner store design. Preliminary estimates appear to be within our budget for completion.

Here’s a Depression-era photo of the store on the northern portion of the park site.

Revised Corner Store Design

Barker and his colleagues originally created an entry feature that honored the corner store with four columns, two counters with swiveling stools, and an overhead metal lattice.  A lack of adequate funding requires us to rethink our original design.  Barker has come up with a plan to scale the original design back and still allow us to fulfill this design vision.  Currently, there are only two columns, the counters are lowered and downsized, and the trellis is gone.  There are a variety of opinions regarding the construction of such a feature.  We’d like your opinion.  Here is the revised corner store design. Click on this link or the picture for a closer look (

barker drawing of new corner store

The columns and plinths would be made of concrete. The color and texture would mimic the bevel-sided homes in the neighborhood. The countertops would be made of a very durable laminate, similar to what is seen on interpretive signs. The stools would have a “bomb-proof” stainless steel bases and durable wood top (i.e. purpleheart as seen on the foundation wall caps).

John Barker put a mock up of the corner store entry on the park site.  It is crude and is just there to show the size, location, and shape of the corner store.  It also doesn’t include the swiveling stools; you’ll have to imagine those. The store is set back from the sidewalk to allow pedestrians to pass and not be within the SDOT right-of-way which extends approximately two feet in from the sidewalk.

The steering committee met in the corner store mock up to discuss options.

John Barker in the entry of the mock up.

What we need you to do (by Wednesday, 22 Apr – Earth Day) is to tell us whether you’d like to have:

Option A – A scaled down corner store with columns, counters, and swiveling stools.  The columns would contain the donor tiles, historical photographs and information, and a major donor plaque.  The countertops could contain additional historic photos and oral history quotes.

Option B – The columns with the donor tiles, historical photos, and major donor plaque, but with lower seating benches in place of the countertops.  There would be no swiveling stools.

Option C – Just the columns with the donor tiles, historical photos, and major donor plaque.  No countertops, benches, or stools.

Option D – I don’t want any additional park elements, just leave the park the way it is. There’s enough there already.

Option E – I trust the steering committee to make the best decision. I look forward to enjoying the park.

I want you to email me (David Folweiler – my email link is on the People page) with your vote:  I like Option __ the best.  I’ll tally up the votes and that will allow us to make a collective decision the Seattle way! 😉 If you have additional questions, feel free to email me.  Or you can leave your vote in the comment section below.  Please leave your name.  Feel free to add your comments.  

Posted on April 17th 2009 by David Folweiler in construction,Design,Meetings | Comments Off on Corner Store Decision |

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