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An aerial view of the vacant lot at 4731 40th Ave S.W., where Seattle's Parks Department plans to purchase one-quarter acre and turn it into a public park.

City to fund new West Seattle park, offsetting urban growth

For now, the vacant lot at 4731 40th Ave S.W. is nothing more than overgrown weeds and chain link fences. Luckily for West Seattle, the city council has different plans.

On Dec. 10, Seattle’s City Council unanimously (8-0) approved their parks department’s plan to acquire a portion of that vacant space to build a new park. The location, near the Fauntleroy Triangle and just west of a proposed massive apartment complex and Whole Foods grocery store, fits perfectly into the city’s goal of offsetting aggressive urban growth and towering stories of development with green spaces.

“West Seattle, with all the development going on, is a little hard to get a handle on … and I think the whole idea of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy was recognizing of these urban centers to try and put open space and parks where density is going and this couldn’t be a better example of that,” Parks property manager Donald Harris said in a preliminary meeting with the council on Dec. 6.

According to city documents, the park will be paid for by the 2008 Parks Levy Fund as part of the Neighborhood Park Acquisition program. The cost is $1,465,000 and will be been added to Park’s 2012 budget to make the purchase before the year’s end. The area is just over one-quarter of an acre, or 11,500 square feet.

Lise Ward, the Parks Dept. real property agent in charge of executing land purchases, said she came upon the park by chance after negotiations to expand the Dakota Place Park (4304 S.W. Dakota St.) fell through on price.

“It’s sort of one of those dream acquisitions where we are driving around looking at property and there it was with a for sale sign on it, so we jumped on the opportunity,” Ward said.

“The family (who owns the land, listed as Arvid Andersen Trust in public records) is excited that it is going to be a park.”

So far, according to Parks’ Acquisition Planner Chip Nevins at the Dec. 6 meeting, public feedback has been positive.

“In the comments we’ve gotten, people are very excited about having a park in the central part of the urban village there,” Nevins said, adding “and the developer saw this is a great asset to their development.”

Nevins was referring to developers Weingarten Realty, who are working on “the biggest building in West Seattle” at 4755 Fauntleroy Way S.W, taking up three-quarters of a city block just east of the park location. They plan a six-story mixed use building with 370 apartments, 570 parking stalls and retail to include a Whole Foods grocery store and a chain drugstore yet to be announced. From their perspective, it will be easier to sell apartments with the promise of a nice new park just next door, and their early design plans include a pedestrian walkway bisecting the project from 40th Ave S.W. (the park’s location) east to Fauntleroy Way S.W.

Plans are also in the works for a seven-story mixed use project with apartments and a fitness center across the street to the north, where "The Hole" has sat idle for several years.

Parks said the public can expect more information on the new park in 2013, including public meetings to help form park features and, eventually, seeking ideas for a name.

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