Seattle has money set aside to buy park land in the First Hill neighborhood. The First Hill neighborhood, however, doesn’t really have any park land for sale. The solution? Move
$1 million $500,000 from the Seattle Park’s acquisition funding and invest it the neighborhood’s existing central green space — First Hill Park.
UPDATE: An additional $500,000 to complete the project will come from the Swedish Medical Center public benefits package.
The Seattle City Council’s civic development committee will discuss the proposal Wednesday afternoon following years of community involvement to reshape the 0.2-acre city park adjacent Stimson-Green Mansion at Minor and University.
“First Hill Hub Urban Village was identified as a priority neighborhood for park acquisition in
both the 2000 Pro Parks Levy and the 2008 Parks Levy. Because of scarce opportunities and high land costs, DPR has not been able to acquire a property in the First Hill neighborhood for a new neighborhood park,” the council bill summary reads. “Due to very high property values, we do not anticipate this changing in the foreseeable future.”
The proposed legislation would authorize moving $1 million into the “Opportunity Fund Category” and allowing Seattle Parks to deploy the cash for the First Hill Park upgrades. If approved, construction to add new pathways, gathering areas, lighting, benches, and play features would begin in 2019.
While the reallocation would mean no new public park space would be created in the neighborhood, officials point to “other public open space” being “developed in the First Hill
neighborhood through other projects, including, for example, approximately 10,000 square feet of new open space included in the new private development at 8th and Columbia.”
The city has also experimented with its “pavement to parks” program to create new public spaces in the densely populated neighborhood.
Wednesday morning, the council is discussing the latest draft of a new “Tree Protection Ordinance.” CHS wrote about the effort to create new rules to protect the city’s urban tree canopy here earlier this year.
The latest draft of the ordinance is here.
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