SEQUIM — Concepts to redesign Centennial Place, one of Sequim’s most visible intersections at the northeast corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street, could see the Sequim City Council’s approval in late October.
Consultants with JETT Landscape Architecture and Design developed three concepts following input from a 2021 community survey and video from the Sequim Understory project, along with interviews with business owners, local stakeholders and members of the Sequim Arts Commission and the city’s Parks, Arbor and Recreation Board.
Todd Bronk, Landscape architect and sustainable building advisor with JETT, said at the Sept. 11 city council meeting the company won’t whittle the designs down to one but rather three designs — “Farmyard,” “Flow” and “Woven” — and prepare them for the city to decide later on.
JETT consultants plan to revise and present more finalized versions of the concepts tentatively with the Parks, Arbor and Recreation Board on Oct. 16, the Sequim Arts Commission on Oct. 23, and Sequim City Council on Oct. 30.
According to city documents, Sequim council members budgeted $50,000 for the designs, and the city’s 2024-2029 Capital Improvement Program has $100,000 scheduled for continuing progress. Both are funded from the city’s General Fund.
Hannah Merrill, Sequim’s parks and facilities manager, said staff can use the designs and cost estimates to pursue grant funding, but “it’s uncertain how long it’d take to secure funding for construction and maintenance.”
The City of Sequim purchased the property, formerly known as the Gull lot, in 2013 for the city’s centennial year.
It’s been readily used since the purchase but relatively unchanged aside from new benches, plants and trash bins installed.
JETT’s first concept, “Farmyard,” offers a rain garden along the west side of the lot, a lawn in the middle, a porch and swings along East Washington Street, a seat-wall along the lawn, an interactive storm(water) feature, and covered enclosures north of the property for sitting and eating.
The “Flow” concept proposes a multi-use pavilion, a stage, lawn, sun dial, “Welcome to Sequim” in 3-D letters, a promenade and plantings.
For the “Woven” concept, it envisions a large sculptural structure, such as the mountainscapes, a stage, a boardwalk at the northern part of the property and small gathering spots.
Consultants said in an online video to council that Farmyard is the “most expected and regular of the concepts,” while “Flow” connects the Sequim Civic Center’s Plaza to Washington Street in design and feel.
With “Woven,” they said the sculptural structure would need to have an artistic presence at day and night.
All of the concepts provide a space for more dining and seating, and a spot for the downtown Christmas tree to go following feedback.
The “Woven” concept proposes putting the tree in the middle of a large sundial.
Consultants met with business owners, stakeholders and city commissions from April through August about the lot redesign.
Some of their points emphasized the need for the park to function well during festival days while being welcoming and comfortable on non-festival days, making the lot an “Iconic Front Porch to Sequim,” adding enhanced/curated art,balancing hardscapes and softscapes, adding noise buffering; plantings should be native species, and they asked for consideration of crime prevention and weather-proofing any structures.
Consultants said there were discussions about the importance of the history of the lot and Sequim, so they will seek ways to incorporate that into designs.
At the Sept. 11 council meeting, council member Vicki Lowe echoed that sentiment, saying she wanted something to connect Sequim’s history to the lot.
Overall, city council members split on their favorite concepts and elements, such as adding green space and keeping a space for a Christmas tree.
Council member Rachel Anderson said the greenspace would be an improvement, but she felt the structure proposed in “Woven” “serves no purpose” and “would get in the way.”
She was also hesitant about adding any decking for fear of children getting hurt.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.