The city’s deal to buy 5,750 square feet of land to expand Dakota Place Park is one vote away from being final.
On Tuesday, the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Gender Pay Equity Committee, chaired by Councilmember Jean Godden, gave the purchase its unanimous approval. Before getting to the action item, the committee heard from two West Seattleites voicing support, including Lafayette Elementary student Ethan Jones, who said that since he is on the student council, “I know what it’s like to make hard decisions, but fortunately, this isn’t one.” It’s all right at the start of the video above, which features the entire meeting of the committee (whose members include West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who first told us about Ethan’s appearance). Six minutes into the video, the presentation/discussion begins.
We first reported the deal a month ago. Parks staffers reviewed the history, saying they had been in negotiation with the owner before, then turned their focus to other Junction-area sites – purchasing two on 40th SW – and then, the owner sold this to a developer. When they were talking to that developer about another site in Ballard, it was explained, he told them he’d be willing to sell the city this one. The purchase, funded by the passed-by-voters-in-2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, is expected to close in early April. The city expects to tear down the three unoccupied cottages on the site as soon as possible, but the commercial building will remain until there’s a plan for developing that part of the site, which will take “some creativity,” Parks acknowledged, since the purchase hadn’t happened by the time they factored “land-banked sites” into the next park-funding proposal.
The purchase price of $715,000 is more than the original owner had sought (and more than the current owner paid less than a year ago, as we reported here) and that was the subject of some questioning by City Councilmembers. “How do we know it’s a good price?” asked Councilmember Bruce Harrell. They had two appraisals and it was within that value, said Parks. They also said the previous negotiations had involved a “pre-2007 value.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The full council is expected to vote next Monday (March 24).