Feb. 10, 2009
King County cities on track for open space, quality of life enhancements
Open space projects designed to enhance the quality of life in 10 King County cities would move forward under a county ordinance allowing for distribution of $6.6 million in Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) funding.
King County Executive Ron Sims is transmitting to the County Council this week the ordinance that would authorize agreements with cities and help pay for 17 projects that protect the environment, provide passive recreational opportunities, and enhance the region's attractiveness to businesses and organizations. The money was approved in King County’s 2009 budget last fall.
“Together, these urban open spaces will contribute to the protection of greenways and natural areas, and will create new parks and trails in some of our region's most heavily populated communities,” Sims said. “These projects meet the goals of several planning efforts, ranging from city plans to Water Resource Inventory Area salmon habitat efforts, and they will help King County meet its obligations under the State Growth Management Act and the Endangered Species Act.”
The ordinance will enable the distribution of CFT funds for five open space acquisition projects totaling more than two acres in high-density Seattle neighborhoods. These include:
- A nearly acre-sized neighborhood open space in Ballard in an area lacking a neighborhood park.
- Acquisition of an inholding in the Harrison Ridge Greenbelt in the Madison Valley community.
- A citizen-led effort to protect a grove of trees at Waldo Woods in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.
- A small park on Westlake Avenue in the Denny Triangle neighborhood to provide much needed public open space for this vibrant, emerging neighborhood.
- A new urban center park on Madison Avenue in the First Hill neighborhood located adjacent to senior housing.
The recent passage of the Seattle Parks Levy in November will enable Seattle to continue to be a strong participant in the CFT program and meet the challenges of continued residential growth.
Projects in nine other King County cities will lead to the protection of more 100 acres of open space:
- Normandy Park will help protect important nearshore marine habitat important to endangered salmon and other aquatic species through the Beaconsfield-on-the-Sound Project.
- The City of Kent will acquire open space at Panther Lake on the plateau east of the city, an area that is heavily urbanizing. Kent will also acquire open space in the headwaters of McSorely Creek in the western area of the city.
- Bellevue will continue to acquire open space in its Greenway System, primarily in the Richards Valley area located south of downtown and east of Interstate 405. It will also acquire a property on Lake Sammamish at the eastern terminus of its Lake-to-Lake Greenbelt trail system.
- Auburn is acquiring a small inholding parcel on the Green River which will allow that city to significantly improve a planned river levee setback that will benefit salmon and steelhead habitat.
- Federal Way will acquire open space called the Enticknap wetlands in the headwaters of Hylebos Creek, another important salmonid system.
- Issaquah will purchase additional in–city salmonid habitat on Issaquah Creek.
- Shoreline received a final allocation for the Krukeberg Gardens projects, which is a regional resource for botanical studies founded by University of Washington Professor Emeritus Arthur Krukeberg.
- North Bend will receive initial funding for initial negotiations for a proposed rail-to-trail project along East North Bend Way.
- Lake Forest Park has been allocated funds for two open spaces identified in that city's visionary open space plan.
CFT levy funds are collected from property taxes levied throughout King County and its cities for the purchase and permanent protection of open space lands. CFT funds are allocated during the King County annual budget each November, based on an application review process conducted by the King County Conservation Futures Citizens Committee in the spring.