It started in 2008 with the Parks and Greenspaces Levy which identified Wedgwood as a community with a gap in accessible park space. Responding to this ‘gap analysis,’ the Wedgwood Community Council led a park siting process to identify a preferred site for a new neighborhood park. In 2011, more than 150 people in the community attended a public meeting hosted by the WCC to select Wedgwood’s newest park site. Following this, Seattle Parks and Recreation led an acquisition process where Seattle City Light (the former landowner) cleaned-up the site and demolished the structure that was there before its formal acquisition of Wedgwood’s newest park site in 2013.
Unfortunately, at the time, Seattle Parks and Recreation was suffering significant budget challenges with lingering budget challenges from the Great Recession and had a maintenance backlog that prevented further capital projects. So, Wedgwood’s new park was “land banked” for future development. As a result of the budget challenges experience by Seattle Parks and Recreation, voters passed Proposition 1 (Parks for All) in 2014 which, in part, created the Seattle Metropolitan Parks District. More important to us was that it also included funding specifically for the development of the city’s 14 land-banked park sites, which included our new park site. However, at a rate of developing 2-3 new parks per year, it wouldn’t be until 2019-2021 until Seattle Parks and Recreation would get to designing and constructing our new park.
In September 2018, Seattle Parks and Recreation began a design process to lead to a preferred park design for our land-banked park site. The city announced it had $1,273,388 for the planning, design, and construction of our new park. After three community meetings, the city unveiled its preferred park design in June 2019 (see image below). Construction was scheduled to begin in summer 2020.
However, in summer 2020 we learned that the our new park project was suspended as the city responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus; we enter our 13th year of advocating for our new park.
Today, we spoke with Parks and Recreation to learn more about where things stand with our new park and its expected fate. Here’s what we learned:
- Seattle Parks and Recreation is moving ahead with permitting the construction of the new park during this suspended phase.
- The preferred park design has been selected and the construction documents were paused at 60 percent. Two additional internal reviews of the construction docs will be needed before they’re ready to go out for bid. This won’t resume until new funding is identified for the park design and construction.
- Seattle Parks and Recreation initially anticipated that funding could be appropriated by city council for the design and construction of the new park around 2023-2024. Note: this is an estimate and there is no certainty of this timeline for funding.
- Once funding is appropriated, it would likely be 1-year until we got a new park with a few months needed to finalize construction docs, a few more months to bid the project, and a few more months to construct the park.
- While Seattle Parks and Recreation was soliciting suggestions for a name for the new park, no decision on the name has been made and few suggestions were received.
As noted above, it’ll likely be at least another 4-5 years until we have a built park. That will culminate in nearly 20 years of advocating for a new park in our neighborhood! In order for this schedule to not slip further, it could be helpful to remind our councilmembers that we would like our park as soon as possible, given legitimate budget challenges due to the pandemic. So, next time you talk with your councilmember, please remind them how excited you are to have a new park in Wedgwood!