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White Center

King County Executive

King County
Executive Office

Ron Sims, King County
Executive 701 Fifth Ave.
Suite 3210
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-4040
Fax: 206-296-0194
TTY Relay: 711

White Center Community Enhancement Initiative

The people of the White Center area are enjoying the benefits of $15 million in economic redevelopment underway from the Executive's White Center Enhancement Initiative. The effort, launched in Sept. 2005, is intended to spur private investment and foster a vibrant, healthy, mixed-income community.

Click on a number below to find out more about the County's White Center projects.

whitecentermap 987691234510White Center Community Enhancement Initiative map

List of White Center projects

1. Greenbridge Hope VI Development: King County has made a major investment in the Greenbridge project, a King County Housing Authority Hope VI development that will replace 569 units of severely distressed public housing with a model mixedincome community. With up to 1000 units of housing, an urban center, and service facilities, Greenbridge will provide rental and homeownership opportunities in a new urbanist community. This quarter-billion dollar development is being financed by leveraging a $35 million grant from the federal government, and over $10 million from King County.

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2. New sidewalks in Central Business District: King County spent $1.19 million to replace existing sidewalks on both sides of 16th Avenue Southwest from Roxbury Street to Southwest 100th Street. Approximately 120 pieces of community designed artwork were integrated into the sidewalk along the length of the project. Existing parking was re-striped as "back in" parking only.

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3. Facade Improvement Program: King County offers low interest loans to commercial property owners to restore and enhance their storefronts. This program helps sustain and grow the Central Business District.

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4. Zoning changes and redevelopment: New zoning is in place that supports the revitalization of the underdeveloped parcels on the east side of 15th Avenue Southwest and 14th Avenue Southwest, between Southwest 98th Street and Southwest 100th Street, by allowing mixed-use development, housing and more retail. The county has begun working with the developer of a large vacant parcel in this area to finance a new 67,000 square foot, 2-story retail/office complex that will create 100 new jobs.

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5. SW 98th Street Pedestrian Corridor: King County is collaborating with the White Center Community Development Association to provide a safe and attractive pedestrian corridor between the new Greenbridge community and the Central Business District along 98th Street. This project implements the findings of the county's landmark Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality and Health Study (LUTAQH) (330KB PDF), which found that people who live in "walkable" communities are more healthy. As a first step, a toolkit of design principles (914KB PDF) was produced by residents, community leaders, and design and development professionals to highlight opportunities for making 98th Street safe and pedestrian-friendly. The toolkit will serve as a resource to guide county investments in the corridor and to foster other community-based projects. More information (788KB PDF) on schedule and public participation opportunities.

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6. Wireless Pilot Project in White Center Park: White Center is hot! A demonstration project in White Center Park allows the public to access the internet free of charge through a MSN Wi-Fi hotspot and the King County Public Access Network. Desktop and laptop computers are available on-site for immediate use by King County Parks to serve their youth programs. King County will work with other organizations that would like to use the Log Cabin, Wi-Fi, and computers for community development activities. Also as part of this pilot, students from the county's Digital Bridge Technology Academy refurbished 30 computers and hosted a computer giveaway for residents of White Center who did not own and could not afford to purchase a computer.

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7. 21st Century Community & Learning CenterLakewood : The county contributed $2 million toward a partnership with the Technology Access Foundation, a Seattle-based leader in technology education, to construct and operate a community center in the underutilized northeast corner of Lakewood Park. The community center will offer classes and activities for youth and families aimed at building the skills necessary to succeed in school and on the job.

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8. Flood reduction and water quality enhancements: King County will has invested nearly $1.5 million in a series of infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding. An additional $150,000 has been invested in water quality projects for Lake Hicks and Mallard Lake. These enhancements will provide residents with greater opportunity to enjoy the natural environment in community parks and open spaces.

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9: Natural resource stewardship: King County awards grants for urban forestry projects. The funds have supported habitat restoration and tree planting in Lakewood and White Center Heights parks, provided summer jobs for White Center youth and engaged adult volunteers and students from three local schools.

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10: White Center Heights Park makeover: A $550,000 gift from Starbucks Coffee Company is the largest ever received by King County Parks and will fund an "ultimate makeover" of White Center Heights Park over a period of just seven days. The donation is part of Starbucks $1 million commitment in 2007 to neighborhood parks in the Puget Sound area.

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For more information contact:

White Center Community Enhancement Initiative
Sarah Jepson
Office of Management and Budget
(206) 296-4167 or Sarah.Jepson@kingcounty.gov

Annexation Initiative
www.metrokc.gov/exec/annexinit/
Elissa Benson
Office of Management and Budget
(206) 296-3414 or Elissa.Benson@kingcounty.gov

County Councilmember Dow Constantine
www.kingcounty.gov/constantine
James Bush, Legislative Aide
(206) 296-1008 or James.Bush@kingcounty.gov