Crews are putting in pavers around trees lining West McGraw Street, adding more walkable space while also increasing protections for the roots of the trees.
Crews are putting in pavers around trees lining West McGraw Street, adding more walkable space while also increasing protections for the roots of the trees.

Crews began work installing tree pavers along West McGraw Street on Monday, kicking off the first of five phases to beautify Magnolia Village.

“Teamwork is what made this happen. Not only the team, but the community,” said Magnolia Beautification Committee member Cheryl McQuiston. “It has really just been a neighborhood project.”

The Reimagine Magnolia Village campaign started as a conversation about beautifying the neighborhood’s business corridor, said Magnolia Chamber of Commerce executive director Jason Thibeaux.

“The project, in its planning stages, was a long process,” he said, “because we’ve been meeting for two years now.”

McQuiston used her fundraising experience to solicit donations from Magnolia business and community members starting in late summer. About 75 people attended a fundraising event on Oct. 2.

“It was one of those are fundraisers where you felt like people were there because they really wanted to be there,” said Magnolia Beautification Committee member Ann Goos. “It’s been truly delightful to meet everybody who’s been involved in this.”

With a big boost coming from several $25,000 donations and numerous smaller gifts, the committee reached its fundraising goal for Phase 1 early than expected.

“We got to our goal of $120,000 by some very generous donors from all over the board,” McQuiston said. “We worked hard and we had a wonderful grant writer and it all happened, but, of course, now we have four more phases that I’m raising money for, but I think it will be easier.”

Phase 1, which includes the tree pavers, bistro lights, installing poles and hanging flower baskets, and adding tables, chairs and benches along the sidewalks from 32nd to 33rd avenues west, is also being funded with a $25,000 matching grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The large squares of dirt surrounding trees along Magnolia Village get filled with leaves, cigarette butts, miscellaneous trash and dog feces, said Magnolia Garden Center owner Chuck Flaherty. The pavers will add extra space on the sidewalk, which will be needed when additional seating and tables are added, Flaherty said, and also will keep the tree roots cooler in the summer.

“The garden center has been trying to up the game here for the last 20 years,” Flaherty said about Magnolia Village. “We were trying to bring over some of what we do at the garden center, with the flowers and hanging baskets and so forth onto the street.”

Flaherty said the committee is lucky to have members that include an arborist and streetscape architect.

Phase 1 is expected to wrap up next spring. Any remaining funds will go toward the second phase of the Reimagine Magnolia Village campaign, which will cover West McGraw Street, from 33rd to 34th avenues west.

“The fundraising for the second phase has just started,” McQuiston said. “It’s just ongoing.”

Learn more about the project and how to donate at discovermagnolia.org/mbc.