The first traditional Korean garden in Washington state is beginning to take shape in Federal Way.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Aug. 28 to celebrate the incoming Hanwoori Korean Garden, a collaborative effort between the Federal Way Korean American Association, Federal Way officials and many regional partners, according to Mike Park, board chair of Korean School of Federal Way and former mayor of Federal Way.
Park became the state’s first Korean-American mayor in 2000 and served 16 years on the Federal Way City Council, along with service in many other city and cultural organization roles.
The garden’s location at 550 SW Campus Drive sits between the Panther Lake Trail and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. “Hanwoori” means “we are one” in Korean, Park said.
“It’s very easily accessible to the citizens … I think it’s an ideal location,” he said.
Efforts to build a Korean garden park in Federal Way began over seven years ago, though funding sources proved difficult to secure. Now, the 13,000-square foot Hanwoori Garden is funded in part by matching grants from the Port of Seattle.
“It requires a lot of resources and a lot of coordination,” Park said.
Hanwoori Garden will be a mix of traditional Korean and modern design elements, expected to be completed in 2023 or 2024. It will also be a symbol of unity between Federal Way and the city’s sister city of Donghae in South Korea.
Site plans include a pagoda, an open courtyard, traditional Korean pavilion, and flower beds. There will also be seasonal gardens, a stone waterbed, a Jangdokdae and serenity stones.
At the Aug. 28 event, 38 local youth from the Federal Way Korean Parents Association were appointed as keepers of the Hanwoori Park, to preserve and manage its environment upon completion.
“This is a moment I have dreamed of,” Park said. He quoted Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s phrase: A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
“I think this is the perfect reflection of the Hanwoori Garden,” Park said.