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Nathan Hale Sentinel

Cal Anderson park brings people together

 

12 million gallons of water power the fountain at Cal Anderson park.

12 million gallons of water power the fountain at Cal Anderson park.

Cal Anderson park is special. Capitol Hill’s diverse community give the park and the surrounding area a unique laid back feel. A person hears a variety of languages, a soccer ball hitting the net of a goal, skateboard wheels on pavement, sees people playing soccer, frisbee, people taking pictures, they can smell the food of many cultures. A community drawn together.

Far before the park was built, or Cal Anderson was even born, there was the Lincoln Reservoir and Lincoln playfield. Over the years the area had many names, but in 2003 the whole area was officially named Cal Anderson Park.

Cal Anderson was Washington’s, and possibly the nation’s, first openly gay state legislator. Anderson passed away in 1995 due to the AIDS pandemic; the lack of information and void of treatment made his death inevitable. The park was built and named to honor his memory and the impact he made for the LGBTQ community.

One of the few cons of the Cal Anderson park is the high crime rate. The majority of Capitol Hill’s residents being young people increases the use of drugs and alcohol, which can endorse crime. “As someone who’s on the Hill often, I’d say it’s pretty common knowledge that [Cal Anderson Park] is not the best place to be at night,” said local charity specialist Curtis Thomas when interviewed by the Capitol Hill Times.

In 2008 the reservoir was rebuilt as covered basin, with a fountain and grass field on top, and two huge metal containers that together hold over 12 million gallons of water below. The park is made up of a vast grass field, a fountain feature, an astroturf baseball and soccer field, a playground, a basketball court, a pair of tennis courts, and of course restrooms. The astroturf field and basketball and tennis courts were originally part of the Lincoln playfield but were refurbished when the covered basin was built. As long as weather permits both the grass and astroturf fields almost always have people playing soccer, football, frisbee, baseball, or just sitting around relaxing and talking. The massive water feature and fountain near the grass field are powered and supplied by the huge vaults of water stored beneath the park.

Seattle’s skateboarding community has in recent years flourished more than ever before. For example, at Cal Anderson Park, the local skateshop 35th North, located barely 2 blocks away from Cal Anderson park, sets up skating features such as rails, ledges, and launch ramps on the tennis courts. Within the skating community this is known as “the courts”. The courts are one of Seattle’s most popular places to skate, “there will probably be 50 people there tonight” said local skater David Koler. With shops like Black Market Skates and 35th North, places like the courts are possible. The tennis courts at Cal Anderson have and are being used for almost everything but tennis. On certain days there are communal dodgeball games, and every once and awhile there’s even cycle polo (hockey on bikes) games, but the main use is for skating. “Overall it has been a huge plus,” Says a 35th North employee when asked about the courts.

Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill, is a bustling staple of Seattle’s community. Capitol Hill is home to arguably the most diverse sub-community in Seattle. Each person’s individuality helps the area thrive, and Cal Anderson Park brings these people together.


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