FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/31/2013
Community celebrates expansion of Smith Cove Park
King County, Port of Seattle, city of Seattle join neighbors, park advocates
With Mount Rainier and Downtown Seattle as their backdrop, residents of Magnolia, Interbay, and Queen Anne joined representatives of King County, the city of Seattle, and the Port of Seattle in celebrating the plan that will expand Smith Cove Park and improve water quality in Elliot Bay.
“The expanded Smith Cove Park is the culmination of two decades of community advocacy to create a waterfront gateway to Magnolia and the region,” said King County Councilmember Larry Phillips, who represents the Magnolia and Interbay neighborhoods on the County Council. “I applaud the Port, City, and County for listening to the community and coming together to expand waterfront parkland and improve water quality. Smith Cove Park will be a testament to cooperation and persistence, and will be a treasured community asset for generations to come.”
“By partnering with the Port and the City, we are able to transform this underused property into a tranquil public place along one of Seattle’s most scenic shorelines,” said County Executive Dow Constantine. “This project shows how much we can accomplish by working together.”
“The community has worked hard for many years to make the expansion of Smith Cove Park a reality,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Through regional collaboration, we can improve public access to the waterfront and breathe new life into this space. Thank you to our partners at King County and the Port of Seattle for working with us to make this possible.”
The expanded park, which will include waterfront space along Elliott Bay, is the culmination of a two-decade effort by the Magnolia and Interbay neighborhoods to develop Smith Cove into public open space along Elliot Bay with access to Puget Sound.
“Our goal at the port is to be an engine for economic growth while reducing our environmental footprint,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Tom Albro. “We’re working with the city and county to build a future where our kids have good jobs and a healthy Puget Sound.”
“Congratulations to Smith Cove neighborhood! Thanks to coordinated leadership with active neighbors, the Port, the County and the City, we have the opportunity to convert an area now surrounded by a rusting chain link fence and blackberries to a waterfront park open to everyone,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “We’re leveraging resources to improve water quality at the same time. It’s a true testament to steadfast regional cooperation.”
“Now we can celebrate more public park land to protect our waterfront for generations to come,” said state Representative Gael Tarleton, a former Port Commissioner. “It’s the best gift we can give to current and future citizens of Seattle.”
Just west of Pier 91 on Elliott Bay, the 7-acre park will grow by an additional four acres because of an agreement between the City, County and Port of Seattle to construct new park space and build a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) facility.
The area was used by the Navy as a supply depot during WWII and the Korean War. In 1992, residents of Magnolia and Interbay urged the Navy to transfer the property to the city of Seattle for use as a park. In 2003, funds from a voter-approved Seattle parks levy, as well as funds secured by Councilmember Phillips to mitigate expansion of the West Point Sewage Treatment Plan, were used to purchase a portion of the property for use as a park.
This year, the City, County and Port reached an agreement that includes the Port selling the property to serve a dual purpose for the City and County.
The County acquired one acre of the property for a CSO facility that will help protect Puget Sound from overflows of stormwater and sewage that occur near Smith Cove Park during heavy rains. This CSO facility site was located and designed to accommodate future park use in the surrounding area.