Freeway Park Improvement Project

Project Summary:

Seattle Parks and Recreation has $10 million for capital improvements and activation at Freeway Park. The Washington State Convention Center gave this funding to the City as part of an historic public benefit package associated with their expansion project. The public benefit package was a direct result of the work of the Freeway Park Association as part of the Community Package Coalition.

The resulting capital project, led by Seattle Parks & Recreation with landscape architects Walker Macy is an exciting opportunity for Freeway Park to receive much-needed attention to its aging infrastructure and historic architecture as well as add new park amenities that reflect the needs of a 21st century public space.  Freeway Park Association is honored to help steward this important project. Funding details and allocation, project history and phase 1 project elements are all explained below.

For questions and media inquiries, contact FPA Director, Riisa Conklin at or 206.229.4996.

Questions for Seattle Parks & Recreation should go to: David Graves at or 206-684-7048.

Funding Details:

The Community Package Coalition, an alliance of community organizations serving neighborhoods adjacent to the three-block Washington State Convention Center Addition came together to ensure that the $1.6 billion expansion – to be built, partially, on publicly owned land, by a public entity, and using public funding – provided a suite of public benefits commensurate with its size, scale and impact. 

The Freeway Park Association was one of eight organizations who worked for two years to develop a successful partnership with the WSCC and realize a shared vision to build a well-connected, accessible, people-centered city. This partnership demonstrates what is possible when developers and community organizations work together. 

The package put over $80 million into investments for public open spaces, safe crossings for people walking and infrastructure for people biking, and homes affordable to working families. For information on all the Community Package projects visit

Freeway Park Funding Allocation: $10 million total / $9.25 million for the Capital Project

– Soft Costs – $3.75 million 

  • SPR Project Management 
  • Consultants/Design – ($2.3 million)
  • Landmark Nomination etc. 
  • Contingencies
  • Tax/Other/Misc costs 

– Hard Costs (construction) – $5.5 million 

  • Updated infrastructure
  • New infrastructure
  • New park amenities

– Park Activation via Freeway Park Association – $750K 

Project Details: 

The Freeway Park Improvements Project is managed by Seattle Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Freeway Park Association. FPA has been collaborating with SPR for almost 30 years in a dynamic partnership that is a model for how public and private entities can effectively work together. Visit the City’s website to see up-to-date project information and community outreach documents.

Freeway Park is an extremely complicated site, built in 1976 as a bridge to reconnect pedestrian flow to Downtown Seattle; it is over an interstate highway with multiple city streets flowing above and below. When developing the scope and priorities for improvements, the project team had to consider all of the maintenance and upkeep associated with a 45 year old elevated park.

After identifying $23 million in park improvements, the project team needed to value-engineer the project to meet both basic needs and community priorities within the $9.25 million budget. Phase one of the Improvement Project manages to meet the varied needs of the park with limited funding while leaving a plan in place for phase two. 

The entire park will be given a significant face-lift with a focus on lighting and wayfinding, two priorities identified by the Finding Freeway Park Project in 2017. The Upper Lawns restroom structure will finally be renovated and reopened with two new gender-neutral stalls. Seneca Plaza, the heart of the park, will see the majority of the major improvements and the majority of the construction budget. A new series of structures tucked in the corner of the plaza will allow for regular activation, outreach services and hygiene stations all managed by full-time staff. Pigott Corridor and the Box Gardens will be cleaned-up and prepped for major renovation in phase 2. 

The Design Development phase of the project is complete. The team is now moving into field investigation work to verify existing conditions. Once the field work is completed, construction documents will be drawn up. The construction documents phase will run through to late 2022 and construction is estimated to begin in 2023. 

FPA will continue to work closely with SPR to ensure that the entire package of improvements identified by the project team are fully funded and realized in the near future.

Project Elements Funded in Phase 1: 

Entire park

  • New lighting at existing light poles 
  • Architectural lighting spot improvements  (e.g., 8th Ave Underpass)
  • New Wayfinding signage
  • Landscape, irrigation and drainage spot improvements

Upper Lawns 

  • Renovated restroom structure with 2 gender neutral stalls
  • 60% Planting/Irrigation

Seneca Plaza

  • New larger plaza
  • New paving and seating elements
  • New planting and lawn terrace
  • New lighting and signage
  • New buildings: restroom with 2 gender neutral stalls, concierge, storage
  • Improved access to Canyon Fountain

Box Gardens

  • Clean-up and tree removal
  • 60% Planting/Irrigation

Pigott Corridor

  • 60% Planting/Irrigation

A brief timeline of FPA’s role in the project:

  • 2017 – FPA worked with landscape architects Site Workshop to identify community priorities for park improvements.
  • 2018 – FPA works with Community Package Coalition to secure $10 million for park improvements.
  • 2019 – FPA helps to select Walker Macy landscape architects to lead the Improvement Project. 
  • 2019 – present
    • FPA helps to select community members to serve on the Improvement Project Advisory Committee.
    • FPA advises on community outreach plan with 3 Square Blocks.
    • FPA meets with project manager and design team regularly

For questions and media inquiries – contact FPA Director, Riisa Conklin at or 206.229.4996.

Questions for Seattle Parks & Recreation should go to: David Graves at or 206-684-7048.


The Freeway Park Fountain Discharge Retrofit Project is a separate project. Both the Seattle Park District and the Real-estate excise tax contributed to the $1.2 million budget for this project.

Seattle Parks and Recreation are working to reroute the discharge from the American Legion, Paul Piggott, and Canyon Cascade fountains from the storm drains to the sanitary sewer. This project was developed to upgrade the fountains to meet the new water quality code that was approved in 2012.  

 If you have questions or need more information about the Freeway Park Fountain project, contact Sandra Albertsen at: or (206) 684-8938