Olympia wants ideas for developing Rebecca Howard Park


Olympia is seeking proposals from creative design professionals to develop a master plan for Rebecca Howard Park.

The city aims to create an inspiring master plan for the 0.34-acre park that helps support the community's cultural needs and is looking for a successful candidate who will demonstrate proven skills and technical competence in landscape and park design and integrate the stories of Black and African American community members.

As previously reported in The JOLT, one idea previously under consideration was converting a section of 9th Avenue to parkland, between the Olympia Timberland Library driveway in the southeast corner and the residential driveway to the west, which would increase Rebecca Howard Park's size to around 0.6 acres. 

A request for qualifications (RFQ) released on Monday, April 1, outlined the services needed to create a comprehensive master plan to guide future park improvements. The preliminary scope of the project's work includes assessing existing conditions and park uses, community engagement, and developing a master plan based on community, stakeholder, and staff input.

The city requires that the final design for the site plan include amenities, building purpose and location, vehicular, bike, and pedestrian circulation and access, parking, ADA accessibility, emergency access, utilities and stormwater management, site furnishings, and opportunities for public art and historical/cultural interpretation.

The proposal submission deadline is Wednesday, April 22, at 4 p.m. For questions about the RFQ, contact Sarah Giannobile, Parks Planner.

Rebecca Howard Park

In 2018, the city purchased 0.34 acres in downtown Olympia for a housing program. However, in 2020, the city shifted its focus from housing to healing space for community members to find peace, connection, and belonging. The property was eventually transferred to the Olympia Parks Department to develop into a park.

In 2022, the park was named after Rebecca Howard, an accomplished and respected black businesswoman who owned and operated the Pacific House Hotel from the late 1850s to the 1870s.

Located directly behind the Olympia Timberland Library, the property has served as an educational hub for urban sustainability, a demonstration site for growing food, and a gathering place for community events.

The property includes a 936-square-foot house built in 1931. Over the years, it has been remodeled to showcase examples of eco-building techniques.

The city is considering other potential uses of the existing house as part of the project. One concept discussed is partnering with a third party to operate a coffee shop within the house.

This is part of a mural recalling Rebecca Howard, an Olympia pioneer, after whom the city is considering renaming a park.
This is part of a mural recalling Rebecca Howard, an Olympia pioneer, after whom the city is considering renaming a park.



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  • Southsoundguy

    Better grass.

    Monday, April 8 Report this

  • wildnature

    It sounds like a really good idea, and template for more to come.

    Monday, April 8 Report this