Cal Anderson Park reopens after homeless camp sweep

Cal Anderson Park reopened Wednesday after nearly two dozen people were arrested during a homeless camp sweep last week and previous protests forced the park to close for several months. 

The Capitol Hill park has been closed since June due to widespread protests that took place in the area. After the large homeless encampment was removed, it took crews a week to clear 100 tons of debris from the park. They also had to remove graffiti and repair buildings, SPR said in a news release.

"Cal Anderson Park has been an epicenter for activism and social justice movements for decades and is the heart of the Capitol Hill community. As we move into 2021, Cal Anderson will continue to be a hub for the entire community —neighbors and park visitors alike," said Mayor Jenny Durkan in the news release.

"As we reopen the park, the community and the City will continue its ongoing conversation to provide services to those who are unhoused, create new ongoing activities to support diverse community needs, increase safety, and restore the vibrancy and inclusivity of the Capitol Hill neighborhood," said Durkan.

The park has been a popular gathering place for Capitol Hill residents long before protesters took over. Superintendant Jesús Aguirre said the department will roll out recreational activities at the park this week, including ping pong tables, a scavenger hunt for kids and a map of walking loops around the park and neighborhood. 

"These activities are just the beginning and we look forward to continuing to work with the community to build on these efforts to support a more inclusive park that reflects community needs and desires for this important gathering space," Aguirre said.

Last week, Seattle Police arrested at least 24 people at the homeless camp as protesters rallied against the sweep. 

Repairs are still needed at two comfort stations installed in April to increase sanitation among the homeless population. There's also damage to the shelterhouse, a small venue that can be rented for events.