Upgrades bring much more to Jackson Park in Everett
Mariah Redhage lives in an apartment in northeast Everett. Now, just a quick walk from home, she and her 4-year-old daughter Eliana are planting onions, tomatoes, cabbage, squash and peas.
Brandy Peterson’s house is several blocks from Everett’s Henry M. Jackson Park. These days, her son and daughter can’t wait to get to the park to try a new zipline and scramble up the giant climbing net.
“We love it,” said Peterson, who was playing at the park Monday with her 10-year-old daughter, Amberle, son Noah, 4, and one of their friends.
Henry M. Jackson Park will host a grand reopening celebration starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. The community is invited to see the park’s new state-of-the-art playground, community garden plots, picnic shelter, paved paths and a new basketball court.
By early this week, neighbors had already discovered the family-friendly features sure to make Jackson Park a popular destination. The park is named for U.S. Sen. Henry M. Jackson, whose legacy in public service, human rights and the environment is honored in a section of the plaza.
In a modest neighborhood of the late senator’s hometown, people appreciate their updated park.
“We’ll be over here at least once every day. Being in an apartment, this is our land,” Redhage said.
Late last year, the 27-year-old mom could hear construction work going on at Jackson Park. She saw that one of the new structures had the word “Grow” as part of its decor, Then came the garden plots. “I was so glad to get one,” she said.
The park’s community garden has two types of plots, 35 in all. There are 10-by-12-foot ground-level plots, and 5-by-5-foot raised beds. Use of a garden plot costs $29 per season, April 1-Oct. 31. Scholarships are available for low-income gardeners. The eight raised beds were built for gardeners with mobility issues. Some may still be available this season.
“It’s the only city-managed community garden. There are several other neighborhood group P-Patches,” Everett Parks Director Lori Cummings said. The Bayside P-Patch, started in 2003 just west of Everett’s Grand Avenue, is partly on land still owned by the Kimberly-Clark Corp.
For Redhage’s daughter Eliana, planting seeds is an exciting new experience. “I like to water, and I like when plants grow,” the little girl said.
The improvements to 14-acre Jackson Park cost $2.5 million, including design and construction, said John Petersen, assistant director of Everett Parks and Recreation. Most new features — the playground and garden — are on four acres on the park’s west side.
Along with the city’s capital improvement funding, money for the project came from the state Recreation and Conservation Office through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the state Department of Commerce, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Snohomish County Parks.
Kids are wowed by the towering new net structure on the playground. “Eliana climbs all the way to the top,” Redhage said. “You can get your exercise, too,” said Peterson, 30, noting that the park has two elliptical machines suitable for adults.
On Monday, Monselly Lang, 37, was on one of the outdoor fitness devices. She encouraged her 7-year-old son, Paul, who was trying out the other one.
“It’s all based on getting kids more aerobically conditioned,” said Petersen, the assistant parks director. He said the equipment gets kids climbing and doing things they couldn’t try on a typical playground.
Access for all was also a priority in the renovation. Along with the raised garden beds, there are paved paths, adaptive swings, and a barbecue that’s wheelchair accessible.
Dan and Rachael Bauer divided their garden plot into sections, giving space to each of their three children. Wolfgang, 10, Annika, 8, and Viggo, 5, split their time Monday between the community garden and the zipline.
“It’s really great to meet the people here,” said Dan Bauer, who works at Everett Community College. His wife is a master gardener.
Their crops will soon be thriving. Already, community is growing in Jackson Park.