Parks & Seattle Center Committee recap for August 4th

The Parks & Seattle Center Committee met yesterday with a full agenda, and I’d like to take a moment to revisit the meeting.

Our first focus was again on Building 11 at Magnuson Park. Over the course of four committee meetings, my colleagues and I have evaluated a proposed lease amendment that made alterations to a lease agreement originally approved in September of 2008.

If you’re not familiar with the topic, or if you’d like to recap the course of our discussions and deliberations over the last two months, Seattle Channel on-demand video is available for the committee meetings held on June 16 , July 7, July 21st, and August 4th.  Additionally, I’ve covered the matter with a number of blog posts that provide the background of this legislation. The current issues section of my website also features links to a number of relevant documents.

A lease amendment, when requested by a tenant of the City, allows the opportunity to review and renegotiate some of the original terms as part of the process. Over the course of many months, we did just that with Building 11 LLC. The City bored into the details of the lease, and as the community weighed in, the City worked to incorporate new elements, balance them against the changes requested by the developer, and worked on addressing community concerns.

We negotiated in earnest and in good faith with the objective of securing a fair return for the LLC, a fair deal for taxpayers and a beautiful new addition to Magnuson Park.

Substitution Version A (also known as Version 10A) includes a series of changes to the proposed lease amendment. These changes were made at the direction of the members of the Parks & Seattle Center Committee and were formally presented at the committee meeting on July 21st, 2011.  This amended version of the lease agreement passed out of yesterday’s Parks Committee with a 3-0 vote (Bagshaw, Rasmussen, and Licata in favor).

With a unanimous vote recommending approval of the lease amendment, the legislation now moves to the agenda of the Full Council on Monday, August 8th.

The committee’s action at Thursday morning’s meeting was driven in good part by the engagement of our citizens and their passion for our parks. I extend my appreciation to everyone who called, emailed, and provided testimony at our meetings. Future public/private partnerships will be better thanks to your collective involvement in this matter.

Waterfront Park on Pier 58, looking northwest

Our next topic related to Council Bill 117239, which pertains to a lot boundary adjustment at Waterfront Park on Pier 58. In 1989, the City acquired Piers 62 and 63 from a property owner by trading ownership of Pier 57. Over twenty years later, the final details of this exchange were coordinated by preparing  and recording a Lot Boundary Adjustment which defines the boundary between Piers 57 and 58 (home to Waterfront Park) to be consistent with the physical boundaries of the piers. 

As part of the legislation, the City will convey a strip of tide lands which requires an ordinance authorizing the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation to execute and deliver the deed. That particular sliver of property is part of Waterfront Park, and the agreement continues to allow public access across that portion of the pier.

Our other major discussion at the committee was an introduction to the Partnership & Planning Analysis of our community centers, the result of Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) 101-1-A-1 from the 2010 budget review process.

This SLI requested a comprehensive research and analysis of management, operations, planning, and fundraising for the City’s Community Centers. Additionally, it asked for alternate staffing, operational, and management models of those centers.

Thursday’s discussion was a starting point for what will be a substantive discussion over the next few committee meetings. The briefing memo that outlines the SLI and provide a timeline for committee action are available here, with a comprehensive summary of each community center available here.

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