Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Marra-Desimone Park
Pro Parks Project Information

9026 4th Avenue South

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Seattle Parks and Recreation has re-named this park Marra-Desimone Park. For more information, see the press release.


Gary Gibbons, Project Planner
800 Maynard Ave. S., 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98134

Thank you Seattle, this phase is complete!
This phase of the work at Marra-Desimone Park was completed in 2009. For information on next phase funding, projects and long range plans for this site visit Marra-Desimone Park Parks and Green Spaces Levy Project Information.

August 2009
Seattle Public Utilities finished their work on the project which incorporated many improvements to Marra Farms East, and includes new parking space, walking paths, and planting beds.

The West portion of Marra Farm has received an expanded planting space, and improvements to the maintenance entrance, and some minor repairs to existing fences.

July 2008
In June of 2008, and proceeding through October 2008, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is implementing a drainage project in the neighborhood. This particular project utilizes a portion of the East property section of the Mara Desimone park property, and establishes a series of bio-filtration drainage swales along the East and North property lines. The establishment of these swales is important in filtering surface water flows. They provide for the settle-out of sediments and potentially hazardous materials that would otherwise end up in our local waterways.

In a collaborative effort, SPU has provided for user features on this portion of the park which include:

  • New trail system which links to the Arc of the Sun path from the farm, and completes the path circuit.
  • Provides pedestrian bridges over the new swales, allowing for a continuous path system in the new open space created on this space.
  • Provides new public parking for all users of the park and garden areas.
  • Establishes native vegetation within the swales, and meadow throughout the open space for active and passive use.

The Farm space will grow a bit toward the South after Parks prepares new service access on the SW corner of the farm area. The garden receives material deliveries in this area, and maintenance crews access the site in general at this location. The modification of this portion will increase the available garden space approximately 1000 square feet.

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners recommended to the Superintendent adoption of the Long Range Development Plan for Marra Farm. This plan shows the general layout, location and character of improvements to the park. It includes the following:

  • Regrade the eastern portion of the site to integrate it with the western portion.
  • Relocate parking and gathering green to eastern portion of the site. This will make more of the western portion is available for farming.
  • Expand of gardening/farming opportunities from 2.2 acres to 3.4 acres, a 55% increase.
  • Establish a hierarchy of trails to encourage public enjoyment of the site and to allow maintenance. The plan identifies two main circulation features, a Sun Arc path and a perimeter path. Smaller paths provide access between farm plots.
  • Develop several smaller social nodes amongst the farm plots. The main social areas will be the gathering green and childrens play area. Smaller opportunities will be integrated along the Sun Arc path to re-enforce the public interaction with farming .
  • Work with SPU to explore accommodating detention facility on-site. The concept is supported by Parks and the MFC if it benefits park development and it does not impact agriculturally-suitable land.
  • Add a childrens play area that features creative play elements with a farm theme.
  • Site a community pavilion. that will be a focal point for their successful Summer BBQ and Fall Festival that bring the community to the farm, and for classes and picnics.
  • Identify a site for a potential education center that would provide learning opportunities about local produce and food security.

The General Goals for the project were to....
Goal #1 Develop and approve a long-term plan for the park

Goal #2 Development a Memorandum of Agreement between the City and park stewards.

Goal #3 Purchase furnishings and construct some of the infrastructure improvements outlined in the Opportunity Fund grant that fit with the long-term development plan.

En espaol

Cules son los objetivos de Pro Parks Opportunity Fund para el futuro de Marra Farm?

Objectivo #1 Desarrollar y aprobar un plan a largo plazo que sirva como gua para el crecimiento y la programacin futuros.

Objectivo #2 Ayudar hacia el desarrollo de un Memorndum de Convenio entre la Ciudad y los representantes del parque que apoye al plan de desarrollo de Marra Farm a largo plazo.

Objectivo #3 Comprar el mobiliario y construir algunas de las mejoras de infraestructura, descritas en forma general en la concesin del Fondo de Oportunidad, que se acomoden dentro del marco del plan de desarrollo a largo plazo.
9026 4th Avenue South
The Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund provided $180,000 for this project.
Planning: 2005-2006
Design: 2006
Construction: 2006-2007
Completion: 2007


What is the future of Marra Farm?
Cul es el futuro de Marra Farm?

Marra Farm and the property east of it at 9026 4th Ave S. were transferred to Seattle Parks and Recreation from King County in December 2004. The Marra Farm Coalition nominated these properties for funding from the Pro Parks Opportunity Fund and received $180,000. Parks staff will work with the community on a long term development plan for the new park as well as review construction projects that will be built during the next year. The construction projects may include accessible paths, new park furnishings, vegetation, and better parking areas.
En espaol

Marra Farm y su propiedad al este se transfirieron de King County a Seattle Parks and Recreation el ao 2004. Marra Farm Coalition nomin estas propiedades para financiamiento por medio de Pro Parks Opportunity Fund y recibi $180,000 el ao 2005. El personal de los parques trabajar con la comunidad para crear un plan de desarrollo de largo plazo para el parque nuevo, as como para analizar los proyectos de construccin que se edificarn durante el prximo ao. Los proyectos de construccin podran incluir senderos accesibles, mobiliario del parque nuevo, vegetacin, y mejores reas de estacionamiento.

Marra Farm is an 8.7-acre property.
- The west half of the site, known as Marra Farm, is a community farm, open to the public. Formerly, it was a traditional truck farm that supplied fresh produce to Seattle farmers' markets in the mid-1900s.
-The east half of the site is separated from Marra Farm by a row of trees. It consists of a grassy field bordered by blackberries.

In September 2005, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved projects nominated for the Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund, including $180,000 for the Marra Farm Community Project.

The Opportunity Fund project will help develop a plan for the site, improve infrastructure, and develop or enhance community facilities.
Driving directions and bus routes to Marra Farm available on the Solid Ground web site.


The Marra Farm Coalition (MFC) nominated Marra Farm for the Opportunity Fund. The Coalition's mission is to address community food security needs, provide a space for sustainable agriculture education, and engage community members. Currently four members, Lettuce Link, Seattle Youth Garden Works, P-patch program, and the Mien Community Garden each roughly manage just under an acre of Marra Farm property.

The current MFC members are:

Lettuce Link is a food security program and part of Solid Ground. The Lettuce Link garden produced 13,000 pounds of produce on .75-acre of Marra Farm for South Park food banks in 2004. Lettuce Link also teaches South Park neighbors and students at Concord Elementary School about farming, nutrition and environmental stewardship. Lettuce Link supports a childrens garden at Marra Farm. The program employs one full-time staff at Marra Farm and numerous volunteers.

Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) is a program of the Church Council of Greater Seattle that started in the University District to empower youth with garden-based education, training, and employment during the summer. Youth tend plots and sell produce at farmers markets. In 2005, 46 youth grew 2,000 pounds of produce on one-acre of the park. The SYGW program is now entirely based at Marra Farm (although many youth are bussed from the U-District during the summer). Four staff (some seasonal) are employed by the Church Council to administer the SYGW program.

P-patch program is supported by Department of Neighborhood staff. In 2004, around 20 gardeners maintained plots at Marra Farm.

Mien Community Garden is connected to WSU/King County Master Gardeners which employs an outreach coordinator who recruited Mien community members to farm on .75-acre using traditional Mien agricultural techniques. The produce supports the Mien community and local food banks.

IMAPAL worked with volunteers and the King County Conservation District on a program that day-lighted and restored a stream on the Parks western boundary. Future restoration efforts are likely.

Master Composters/ Master Soil Builders have recently located informational programs to the farm. The program is operated through SPU and may expand at Marra Farm in the near future.

Nearby neighbors, including Fred Marra, who farmed the property decades ago and now lives near the park, attend MFC meetings. MFC received a Race and Social Justice grant from DON to reach out to more community groups and involve them in Marra Farm programs.

South Park Area Redevelopment Committee (SPARC) is the neighborhood plan stewardship group and provides the MFC with meeting space and liability insurance.

Marra Farm Coalition (Si hablo espanol):
Sue McGann (206) 694-6746


Timeline of the project You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.
Cronologia del comunitario Marra Farm You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

Community Meeting #1 10/01/05

Information about the farm from the 10/1/05 Public Workshop #1 You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.
Questionnaire from Public Workshop #1 You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.
Questionnaire results You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.
Property survey You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

Community Meeting #2 04/29/06
Meeting Notes You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.
Notas de la reunin You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

Community Meeting #3 06/07/06
Meeting Notes You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

3rd grade class survey/Encuesta sobre las clases de 3er grado  You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

Open House/Meeting #4 10/07/06
Parks had a booth at the Marra Farm Coalition's Fall Festival to discuss the draft final of the long range development plan. Approximately 75 - 100 people attended the 3-hour event. Parks had Spanish and Mien interpreters available. Staff and the consultant engaged approximately two dozen people, answering questions about the project elements and schedule. Community members were supportive of the plan.


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