Friends of Madison Park arrives

The Friends of Madison Park meet in July.

The Friends of Madison Park meet in July.

The energy and vibe of Madison Park is back. Neighbors are emerging after close to three years of hunkering down with Covid. Restaurants and bars are full again, shops are thriving, block parties are back, the beach has been humming this summer and the parks ringing with the sounds of children on the playground, tennis balls pinging and dogs in the park.

And stepping into that eagerness of the community to be back to normal and connect again is the emergence of The Friends of Madison Park, our new neighborhood association.

In less than 6 months, Friends of MP has built a Board of 12 members and 9 Committees- ranging from Public Safety to Welcoming Committees, from a Business Liaison to Events and Development chairs. And quickly, the community is reaping the benefits of these combined neighborhood efforts and partnerships with the businesses.

The July 15 Children’s Parade and Picnic had close to 200 children and families enjoying a day of the parade, a watermelon eating contest, sack races, snow cones, face painting and much more. August has brought back the Music in the Park Series on Thursday evenings with bands ranging from salsa music and dance to country to rock and roll. September too has the return of the popular Art Walk on September 8th. And plans ahead include holiday festivities, a November Warmth and Wine fundraiser, Tuesday “TED Talks,” Beautify Madison Park and Garden Tour in the spring and so many more ideas in beginning stages, such as a Farmer’s Market, yard sales, kids’ concerts, dance party, block watch and emergency preparedness classes…

How and why did this happen so quickly? Where will it go from here?

Following with closure of Pharmaca/Medley and City People’s Garden Store, the idea hatched with the simple question on Next Door- do we have a council? can we have a unified response to these losses? can we revive the council that began in 1975 but has gone quiet during Covid? The response to neighbor Octavia Chambliss’ question was a full throated “let’s bring back our community organization”.

The seeds of that idea quickly coalesced with Courtney Kennett from McGilvra’s Pub connecting with Octavia to enthusiastically spread the word to patrons she knew and network with the other businesses. Erik Wicklund suggested the association start back up with a new name, a new energy and face- thus emerged the Friends of Madison Park.

And people reached out- Elizabeth Talbot offered to bring back the Children’s Parade and Picnic, Emily Morton stepped up for the Music in the Park Series, Mary Beth McAteer to help with organizing Friends, Diane Buckley to be the treasurer, Brooke Fulton to be the City Liaision, Libby Samuelson and Robin Kilwine to help coordinate all our events- to name just a very few.

At that first meeting held at a McGilvra’s, neighbors met over wine and beer and a festive sense of a gathering and purpose. Over 80 people showed up and the momentum has continued to grow. Neighbors gave suggestions of what events and programs they’d like to see and how they’d like to volunteer.

From that night, check out Friends of Madison Park’s website,, to see what events are being planned, where volunteers are needed, a bi-monthly newsletter to let folks know what is happening and how to make donations to the organization so additional events can be funded and planned. Friends also now has an Instagram account- Friends of Madison Park. Seattle, a Facebook account Friends of Madison Park-Seattle and a new Bulletin Board that hopefully should be on display outside the Madison Park Pharmacy and Wellness Center by the time of this publication thanks to their generous approval of using that space.

And most significantly, in late June, Friends merged with the existing Madison Park Community Council (MPCC). The cooperation of MPCC’s president Karen Kane and other prior board members has been huge for Friends of Madison Park by allowing Friends to acquire their status as a non-profit organization and have all donations be tax deductible.

The bones of the organization are well in place- bylaws and structure are established, and the mission statement is clear: to promote a resilient and civically-engaged community by connecting neighbors; to create a welcoming and inclusive neighborhood through cultural and multi-generational engagement and outreach; and to foster neighborhood pride by promoting a beautiful, vibrant, and respectful community.

What are the plans going forward for Friends of Madison Park after this whirlwind launch?

Step one is to spread the word that Friends of Madison Park is here.

Step two is to have the community enjoy and participate in the events that are coming to the neighborhood in 2023/2024. Subscribe to the newsletter at and see all upcoming events.

Step three is to support Friends of Madison Park by being a volunteer and/or contributing in any amount towards these events. Neighbors can become a Friends Funder with recurring monthly donations of $10, $15, or $25. Two quick examples of immediate needs are Friends is seeking matching funds of $3000 to bring back the tree lights along the Madison business district corridor (Parkshore is contributing $3000). Friends needs $1500 to establish the Community Bulletin Board for the neighborhood, being created by chalkboard artist Anne Woodford. 

To learn more, attend Friends’ Neighborhood meetings, the last Monday of each month, 6:30-8 at the Bathhouse.