Thanks to community input gathered by the Our 42nd Avenue neighborhood prosperity initiative, design work is well underway for a community plaza in the Cully neighborhood, on a strip of land located between The Spare Room lounge and Morel Quick! print and mail shop on Northeast 42nd Avenue. The property was donated for the project by Morel Ink co-owners Bill Dickey and Matt Witham.
For now, the project remains unnamed, according to Laura Waddick, Our 42nd Avenue’s community coordinator.
“We’ve been more focused on the design concept than the naming process, but we will be seeking more community input soon,” said Waddick. “So far, the most popular name seems to be Eddie Morgan Square.” Eddie “The Weatherman” Morgan was a neighborhood icon who died tragically in 1995.
Arnoud Van Sisseren, a consultant with Our 42nd Avenue, has facilitated the community design process for the project and posted an idea board in front of the Morel building in May.
“The ideas for the community plaza that people gave us through the board, idea cards, and many conversations inspired our team to hold a making-day event,” said Van Sisseren. “We wanted to test some of the ideas in real time and used props and temporary furnishings to organize the space in front of the Spare Room building.”
“That led to a more specific conversation about the use and design of the space. It really brought the ideas to life. Some of the concepts that we tested are drawn up in our artist’s impressions,” he said.
Van Sisseren sketched out three options for the space. The conceptual drawings were presented at community events to gather additional input.
“At Sunday Parkways, we gave away free ice-cream sandwiches and that resulted in more than 250 votes and comments,” said Van Sisseren. “This gave the team an even better understanding of how all the initial ideas can evolve. We are still counting votes and collecting input, feedback and addressing concerns.”
Our 42nd Avenue hopes to wrap up the design phase in September and would like to begin construction in the fall. They are targeting a phased implementation, with a rain garden and public seating to be installed first. The team is working closely with property owners, business owners, landscape architect Verde, and neighborhood contractors to make the project a reality. For more information, visit www.42ave.org.