Photo by Brandon Macz: Cayton Corner Park is being developed at the corner of 19th Avenue and East Madison Street.
Photo by Brandon Macz: Cayton Corner Park is being developed at the corner of 19th Avenue and East Madison Street.

Plans to redevelop a 4,500-square-foot parcel at 19th Avenue and East Madison Street into a new park have been reenergized by the addition of new partnerships and a revised funding strategy.

“I think we have a much better chance now that a lot of these other people are involved,” said Scott Daniels, treasurer for the Friends of Cayton Corner.

The neighborhood group has spent the past five years working to get a park designed and constructed, with support from fiscal sponsor the Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation, which owns the property.

The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center in 2015 had Urban Artworks complete a mural along the back wall that separates the park space and HSDC. The park’s namesakes are Horace and Susie Revels Cayton, who lived in the neighborhood from the 1880s to 1940 and published several local newspapers.

HSDC’s involvement in Cayton Corner Park had fallen off, and the Friends of Cayton Corner lost several members over the years. Daniels credits SPR parks liaison Pamela Kliment for bringing HSDC executive director Lindsay Klarman on board, as well as walkable communities nonprofit Feet First and Aegis on Madison.

“It’s like everybody wasn’t talking to each other, and then I told them all that they could talk to each other and made some extra phone calls, and they did it,” Kliment said. “It was just giving it an extra shot and really getting in it.”

HSDC has fundraising and grant-writing experience that Friends of Cayton Corner was missing, Daniels said, and the hope is this partnership will help the organization reach its fundraising goals. Feet First could also assist with grant writing, he said, adding adjacent Central Co-op has joined the effort to make Cayton Corner Park a reality.

There is a park design that was created by Drew Coombs and Emily Griffith with J.A. Brennan Associates, which includes a plaza, chess table, sensory garden and a slide for kids.

“The design on the poster is not really something we can afford,” Kliment said.

A work meeting is being held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 in the Hannah Grunbaum Board Room of the HSDC building, 1625 19th Ave. The expectation is to scale back the design to fit a $300,000 budget. Another $50,000 is anticipated for additional design work and permitting. Kliment said the hope is that people will show up ready to help with the revision process. Friends of Cayton Corner meets the first Tuesday of every month at HSDC.

Daniels said the sensory garden is a big ask.

“That’s something that we’re really trying to keep there, but it’s really hard to have a sensory garden and then also keep a big space,” he said.

Klarman said she believes $300,000 is a realistic goal for constructing the park, and HSDC has a grant writer on staff that is helping with acquiring funding.

“We have found over the years people dream really big, which is great, but a lot times they can paint themselves in a corner,” she said.

HSDC is also working with the Deaf-Blind Service Center next door to gain insights into what other features might be beneficial.

“We’re getting a lot of this urban infill and we’re seeing a lot of our green space go away,” she said, “and there’s some new life being breathed into Cayton Corner Park.”

The Deaf-Blind Service Center could use that space for cane and service dog training, Klarman said.

“We are the only preschool program that serves deaf and hard of hearing children,” Klarman said of HSDC’s ASL-immersion school. “It’ll be nice to have a safe place for our deaf kids to be able to play.”

HSDC provides services for infants and elders, and, like Aegis Living’s multigenerational approach, Klarman said she sees a park space where youth and seniors can be connected and benefit most.

Cayton Corner Park was recently reseeded, and SDOT will repair the adjacent sidewalk on 19th Avenue in the spring. Daniels said there also will be some improvements along Madison as part of SDOT’s Madison Bus Rapid Transit project.

If everything comes together as planned, the goal is to have construction of Cayton Corner Park completed by early 2019.

Click here to donate to the project or learn more. The Seattle Parks Foundation will provide $1,000 for 15 donations of any amount.