09-23-19 | Department

Paradise Parking Plots

Community Garden in Washington

by Logan McClish, EIT, CESCL

The Watershed Company has collaborated with World Relief Seattle to donate time to plan a welcoming garden in Kent, Wash., comprising a bioswale, fruit and nut trees, aquaculture pond, pollinator habitat, native restoration, local art and educational programming. The project is still in progress, with the construction phase slated to start this fall.
At a community design meeting, members received colored dots used to choose the design features and plants that will make up the garden project. Here, a man selects his desired fruits such as a fig. Photo credit: Jared Knutzen

The Watershed Company (TWC), a Seattle environmental services and landscape architecture firm, has partnered with World Relief Seattle to design Paradise Parking Plots food forest and flood mitigation park, in a parking lot donated by Hillside Church in Kent, Washington. This garden primarily serves refugees, immigrants, and low-income families in the community.

TWC's Logan McClish, EIT, CESCL, started volunteering at the garden in 2017. While onsite, the program coordinator said they had flooding problems due to the increased urbanization of land upslope and the existing impervious surfaces. Being a designer by trade, McClish thought this could be a way to help in areas others may not be able to. He set to work thinking about and planning potential solutions and brought on other TWC staff to add additional expertise. TWC donated consulting time, development of a concept design, project planning, grant writing assistance (King County Flood Conservation District Flood Grant), and sometimes shoveling gravel and winterizing planting beds. World Relief was awarded the grant funding and has since hired TWC to complete site design, provide permitting assistance, interpretive panel design, and assist with construction administration.

As of June 2019, the parking lot has been de-paved. When the project is complete it will have removed over 14,000 square feet of asphalt, installed an aquaculture retention pond, a 150-foot bioswale, walking paths, habitat features, local art, and planted more than 80 edible plant species. All of this adds to the hard work already done onsite, including 50+ raised bed gardens, three 4,000-gallon cisterns, 5 rain gardens, 20,000 square feet of removed pavement, an industrial kitchen and associated programming.

A public greenspace to provide education on the importance of green infrastructure, local food production, and urban pollinator habitats through World Relief programming, the project also seeks to reduce the negative impacts of urbanization on nearby properties and promote inclusion and safety among the most vulnerable populations in Kent

As seen in LASN magazine, September 2019.


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