Content and photos by Jennifer Furber published on May 21, 2017
Friday Harbor has a unique characteristic of being the largest town in the San Juans while maintaining a neighborhood charm. It is what draws so many people to stay with us at the Tucker House Inn and the Harrison House Suites which are both part of the San Juan Island Inn Collection. This time of year, the Island streets are bustling. People return from a winter away, arrive as the whole island wakes up in Spring. Friends leaning against buildings, lost in conversation, crowd the streets. But now, there’s a new place to catch up: Breezeway Park. The mayor officially declared the park “open” on May 10th, 2017. The park features locally made functional artwork that speaks to the art-centered heart of the islands and adds to the beauty of the center of town.
What is a Pocket Park?
Breezeway Park is commonly referred to as a Pocket Park. Pocket Parks are typically common in urban areas where gathering space is limited. This park has native landscaping, provide a meeting place for locals and tourists, and helps to safety for street crossing. Friday Harbor’s Pocket Park also acts as a beautiful entryway into Sunshine Alley. Sunshine Alley leads to Brickworks where Friday Harbor’s famous Farmer’s Market is held each Saturday in the Summer. It is also home to many other art and community happenings.
It has a lot of Island Character
The park features San Juan Island Sculptor Tom Small’s stonework. His granite couch, granite chair, and carved stone table create a wonderful place to rest, to meet up with friends, and take in the sights of downtown. I’ve always loved when form meets function, and this is exceptional. Friday Harbor consistently does a great job of incorporating art in public spaces. Tom Small’s granite and stonework is a welcome addition to the heart of Friday Harbor.
Town Administrator Duncan Wilson says, “I think the park creates what planners often call a ‘sense of place’. It’s a focal point and gathering spot that feels right. This is not only for tourists, it is for everyone and we hope it will be adopted as a community asset.”
The park provides a wonderful new downtown view. Pacific Northwest architect Patricia Lenssen of Bow, WA designed our little park. Elegant Iron of Burlington, WA, manufactured both the steel wall and curved bench. Like most big jobs on the island, Friday Harbor’s new Pocket Park is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration. The Parks fund and Lodging Tax dollars primarily funded the project. The town of Friday Harbor also received a grant from the county Public Facilities Fund for $35,000.
Just a Short Walk Away
So when you’re out exploring all of the Island shops, be sure to take a break at the Breezeway Park. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some coffee or some fish and chips from the Bait Shop. Just a short walk away from the Tucker House, it will be easily become your favorite people watching perch. Just be careful not to blink, or you’ll miss it!