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‘The project pause has been lifted’ — Officials satisfied for Volunteer Park museum expansion to move forward

Over the weekend, CHS reported on the last visits to the Seattle Asian Art Museum before two years of construction and word from Seattle Parks official Michael Shiosaki of an “un-pausing” of the $49 million plan to overhaul the infrastructure of the 1933-built museum and expand it 3,600 square feet into its home Volunteer Park.

Monday morning, a spokesperson for parks and rec head Jesus Aguirre confirmed that the superintendent is ready for the project to get back on track.

The responses that SAAM provided to the issues raised by the community display an alignment with the mission and values of Seattle Parks and Recreation. The museum contributes to the use and activation of Volunteer Park and is an asset of our parks system that we treasure. We look forward to continuing public discussions about the project and have communicated to SAAM that the project pause has been lifted.

In January, CHS reported on Aguirre’s request for a pause and more information about the project after a wave of criticism from neighbors and park proponents concerned about the encroachment of the museum facility farther into the meadow behind the facility.

Monday’s announcement indicates Aguirre is satisfied that  Seattle Art Museum director Kim Rorschach’s responses to the issues raised, including one key component establishing that the museum is, indeed, a key component of the park and, therefore, its expansion does not violate a voter initiative passed to prevent park lands from being developed for non-parks related purposes:

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 10.39.29 AM

Rorschach’s complete letter is below:

The museum had been planned to reopen in 2019 after about two years of construction. Before any works begins, museum officials still need permit approvals from the city, and final sign-off from the landmarks board to alter the 84-year-old building.


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10 thoughts on “‘The project pause has been lifted’ — Officials satisfied for Volunteer Park museum expansion to move forward

  1. O.k. Justin, we get it: You are determined to spin this story toward a museum victory lap. And while you might just get what you wish for, there are still a few hurdles to clear. Your “officials” are only at the Parks Department, which signed off on this project years ago. Nothing really new here, except that by not specifying the officials in your headline you imply that the City has given the museum project a green light, which is not the case. Your last sentence about further approvals covers your butt, but those are much more significant steps than the “unpause” by Parks. Safe to say most readers new to this issue would take your headline to mean the museum is now going to expand in Volunteer Park. You and I both know that’s not even close to being true. By stooping to a clickbait story you diminish the integrity of your coverage on an important issue smack dab in the middle of Capitol Hill. What’s the name of your blog again?

    • Important issue?

      The SAAM is in desperate need of a renovation, the proposed design is great and a massive infrastructure improvement of what currently exists, and it will bring more people to the park!

      The resistance is absolutely insane and part and parcel of the weird NIMBYism that happens here in Seattle.

      I mean, the current SAAM is an eyesore from the rear, how could this be anything BUT an improvement?

    • Great news, and I really appreciate the coverage of this little neighborhood drama. We are lucky not only to have this beautiful park and historic museum in Capitol Hill, but excellent reporting from CHS. The park’s remaining approvals aren’t the newsworthy item–action by the Parks department to unstick the project is the legit news story. Best wishes to SAAM and CHS.

  2. To clarify, the opposition are not immediate neighbors by and large. Those close to the museum are largely in favor of the project. The most vocal opponent lives some distance away. Please do not throw around the NIMBY accusation absent compelling evidence. I live close and am thrilled to see this project almost underway and hope that the opponents find another target for their deep concerns.

  3. I got a lady mad at me when I said I was for this. She sneered at me, “WELL YOU’RE WINNING.” I found it very amusing, albeit scary: this turf gets ugly real fast. She immediately tried to discredit me by saying I don’t visit the park enough…but laid off when I said I lived a few blocks away.

    Her pitch against it was very interesting…. (she was trying to get a gaggle of cartoonists to draw “nasty” cartoons about it). The Seattle Process, indeed.

    Kudos on the design- I am very excited about the much-needed expansion!

    • Something tells me you were talking with the woman who has been most verbal in attacking this project. She has a sign in her front yard which says the addition will be “raping” the park, that it’s a “cocktail lounge for the Mayor and his cronies,” and other irrational claims.

    • You can disagree with our positive opinion of the expansion if you want to, but there is nothing “petty” about our comments….they are simply stating the facts. Try to avoid the personal attacks, please.