Construction on two new public assets to begin in 2022, adding critical greenspace to South Seattle neighborhoods
On December 15, Seattle City Light (SCL) received approval from the Seattle City Council Transportation & Utilities Committee to transfer a 46,000-square foot plot of land, known as the Georgetown Flume site, to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) to develop a new off-leash area and pedestrian thoroughfare in the Georgetown neighborhood. This connection will provide an acre of green space including 80 new trees, and is a critical part of the Georgetown to South Park Connection project, which, when completed, will create a walkable, bikeable connection between Georgetown and South Park.
“The transfer of the Georgetown flume site from Seattle City Light to the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation is a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we work together. Thanks to this inter-departmental collaboration, the City of Seattle will be able to deliver much need park space in South Seattle and a critical pedestrian connection between the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “As we reviewed all underutilized properties, we knew the transfer of the Georgetown flume site from Seattle City Light to the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation would create a valuable public asset for generations to come.”
“This environmental infrastructure project is an amazing example of multiple departments under Mayor Durkan’s leadership as well as three branches of government working collaboratively to implement an ambitious vision for a lengthy pedestrian and bike pathway, additional tree canopy, and a dog park for neighborhoods most in need of such investments,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, Chair of the Transportation & Utilities Committee, who shepherded multiple pieces of legislation for the complex project culminating with Council Bill 120230. “I have appreciated working collaboratively with both Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Tammy Morales whose districts will most directly benefit from this project – as well as with all my Council colleagues, because success required key investments from our City budget.”
The Flume site, which is located between the Aero Motel and the nearby Boeing campus, was the historic site of the conveyance that transported water from City Light’s Georgetown Steam Plant to the Duwamish River, until the plant ceased operation in 1975.
Seattle City Light is transferring the eastern piece of this property to Seattle Parks and Recreation and the western piece to Seattle Department of Transportation as part of a public benefit package. As part of the transfer, Seattle City Light will receive a ‘street vacation’ in this area. Street vacations are a mechanism to allow a private use of the right-of-way, based on public benefit.
“This is a win-win situation – the street vacation allows City Light to meet our operational needs at the South Service Center while the land we’re transferring will support these long sought-after improvements for the Georgetown and South Park communities,” said Debra Smith, General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. “Today’s vote wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation from our fellow City departments, support from City Council, and robust community involvement.”
“We’re grateful for the close coordination by Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and Seattle Department of Transportation to make this land transfer happen” said SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe. “Neighbors advocated for both the dog park and the walking and biking connection between Georgetown and South Park and we’re glad to share that both projects are getting built.”
“Working with our partners in City government and community leaders has brought a critical addition of open space to the Georgetown neighborhood,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “We look forward to continue this partnership with community and SDOT as we create a multifunctional space that will provide access to recreation, community gathering, and transportation connections.”
The new off-leash area will join 15 existing dog parks in Seattle, which together provide 25 acres of space for Seattle dog owners to let their furry friends run, play, and exercise.
“Creating an off-leash dog park in Georgetown and walking/biking trail that connects Georgetown and South Park has long been a goal of the Georgetown community. We are excited that this land transfer, in addition to the funding agreed to by Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks Department and SDOT, will allow these to become a reality in our neighborhood.” –Kate Kohler, Georgetown resident and Co-Chair of the Georgetown Open Space Committee
Construction on the new 20,000 sq ft off-leash area is expected to take place from summer 2022 through spring 2023; construction on the new walk, roll, and bikeway is expected to begin in Summer 2022 and open to the public in 2023.