Agents with the Ben Kinney Team at Keller Williams Realty spent this year’s RED Day pulling weeds and invasive ivy and blackberry out of Leschi Park.
Short for Renew, Energize and Donate, RED Day is an annual day of service for all Keller Williams Realty offices around the world.
“All the offices close on this day, and we all have our RED Day committees to decide what ours is,” said Christi Webster, director of operations for the Ben Kinney Team. “One of our agents lives right by here, and I think she was talking to the parks department.”
That was managing broker Janice Brown, who is also president of the Leschi Community Council.
Webster said her team volunteered with Mary’s Place and the YMCA for food and Mother’s Day baskets last year, and had a work party at Camp Long in West Seattle the year before that. Parks are a good fit for RED Day, she said, because it’s easy to get volunteers all together in one place.
“There’s all kinds of really cool history about the park,” Darcy Thompson told volunteers before the cleanup started on May 10.
A neighborhood volunteer and member of the Friends of Frink Park, Thompson said Leschi is one of Seattle’s older parks.
Seattle’s old trolley line terminated there, the trestle still visible behind on the west end. People would get off and walk down to Lake Washington to catch a ferry to Mercer Island or the Eastside, Thompson said.
Developers had held on to the land for a number of years, building around it and using the park to offer various amenities. It had housed elk and other wildlife, Thompson said. When the land was granted to the City of Seattle, the animals were moved to Woodland Park for its new zoo.
Leschi Park celebrated 100 years as a public park in 2003.
Volunteers have historically focused on Upper Leschi Park, where it connects to Frink Park, said John Barber, who has been the Parks and Greenspace Committee chair for the Leschi Community Council since 1983. Fighting blackberries on the Cable Car Bridge Pathway has been an ongoing battle for the past 15 years, he said.
At 18 1/2 acres, Leschi Park’s needed plant and weeding maintenance is a tough job, and not something Seattle Parks and Recreation can take on alone, Barber said; that’s why volunteer support is so important.