‘Adventure Park’ for Myers Way Parcels? New proposal emerges

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(Part of the Myers Way Parcels, photographed during last week’s tour)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The city-owned 30+ acres of southeast West Seattle land known as the Myers Way Parcels aren’t even officially up for sale – yet – but a prospective buyer has emerged with a new idea:

A commercial zipline-and-ropes-course park.

“My guy can provide the most elegant and simple solution to the whole problem,” declared Douglas Plager, who says he represents Brian Funtleyder, the owner of The Adventure Park at Long Island in Wheatley Heights, NY. “Leave the trees, clean out the trash, the Scotch broom, the blackberries, clear it all out, employ 40 or 50 people.”

We learned about this proposal via Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s legislative assistant Andra Kranzler, who forwarded Plager’s information to those who toured part of the Myers land with Herbold last week (WSB coverage here); the councilmember herself told us last night that she has not spoken with anyone involved with this proposal.

During last week’s tour, two managers from the city Finance and Administrative Services department, which is in charge of city-owned real estate like this and its disposition, said that most of the interest they’ve had so far involved commercial warehouse-type operations – something like the Lowe’s proposal that went as far as City Council approval a decade ago and then fell through.

Green-space advocates have voiced their hope that the land could be preserved as open space, with the Duwamish River just downslope, and pollution concerns including the Duwamish Valley’s air as well as the river’s water.

Mayor Murray already has come down on the side of selling at least part of it – declaring last November that $5 million from potential proceeds would go to help pay for the city’s ongoing efforts to help people experiencing homelessness. Though the land was purchased more than a decade ago, so the city could build the nearby Joint Training Facility, it’s not even entirely paid off.

Plaget thinks an adventure park would be a “fabulous and perfect solution to the problem, with no environmental impact” – and one of the few feasible ways to use the site, which he says he has visited and believes to be “unstable” for uses such as housing. “The site prep alone would preclude any sense of profit.”

The prospective buyer’s Adventure Park at Long Island opened two years ago. Plager describes his client as a “former hedge fund manager, well capitalized.” According to what we’ve found online, Funtleyder and wife Lorrie Funtleyder operate the Long Island park in partnership with Outdoor Ventures, a builder and operator of these types of facilities. Plager says his client also is looking at additional sites such as “72 acres in Covington.”

He says they’ve “had some talks” with FAS already and thought Councilmember Herbold’s office would be interested; he is hoping eventually to make contact with everyone on the 9-member council, which will have the ultimate say on whether the property is put up for sale. During our tour last week, the FAS managers said they expect to deliver a preliminary report on the site to the council soon, and that a final decision could happen as soon as September. If the site is put on the market, Plager declares, they’ll “make an offer” and hope to “put (the land) back on the tax rolls.” He thinks his client would be a “shining knight” for the site’s future.

This wouldn’t be the first time an enterprise like this has been suggested in West Seattle – you might recall the proposal for GoApe in Lincoln Park scrapped four years ago after community opposition – but the differences in this potential proposal would be many, topped by the fact that the Myers land is not already a park and is zoned for commercial development.

But before this early-stage proposal – or any other potential offer for the site – can proceed, the City Council would have to decide whether to put the land up for sale in the first place, and for how much. FAS says it’s already been shopped around to city departments, including Parks, but none have expressed interest.

P.S. If you’re still not sure where this land is – here’s a Google Map.

29 Replies to "'Adventure Park' for Myers Way Parcels? New proposal emerges"

  • sam-c May 18, 2016 (12:22 pm)

    OH, I think this is a great idea!    

  • Enviromaven May 18, 2016 (12:41 pm)

    Is this the same individual who wanted to put a zip line in Lincoln Park a few years ago?

    • WSB May 18, 2016 (12:54 pm)

      No. Different company, as noted in the story.

  • dsa May 18, 2016 (1:10 pm)

    Aren’t those trees too young and the wrong type for zip?  But I like this idea.

  • KBear May 18, 2016 (1:22 pm)

    No development with the word “Adventure” in its name has “no environmental impact.”

  • unknown May 18, 2016 (1:28 pm)

    Isn’t it already an adventure park with all those drug addicts in there?!

     

    A Zip Line would be great though but then you have to think about parking and the neighbors that do surround this area…do they want this sort of business there? 

  • Matt May 18, 2016 (1:44 pm)

    Some west Seattle mountain bike trails would be awesome too

  • Westside45 May 18, 2016 (2:08 pm)

    Unknown…

    It is infrequent that a developer cares what neighbors want, it’s all about $$$.

  • Community Member May 18, 2016 (2:28 pm)

    I am hoping there is interest from a major employer such as Amazon. West Seattle keeps adding residents without increasing the job base. 40-50 employees? Why not some high tech software offices, employing several thousand?

  • kumalavula May 18, 2016 (3:55 pm)

    i like the idea of mountain bike trails and minimizing impact, but maximizing ability to take advantage of our green spaces. enviromaven, i was thinking the same thing about that proposal for lincoln park a few years back. rubbed me the wrong way then; this quick fix for some of our unclaimed space in west seattle rubs me the wrong way now. just my opinion.

  • skeeter May 18, 2016 (4:04 pm)

     

    I *love* the idea of a mountain bike park.  But if this land is for sale to the highest
    bidder, there is no way some nice person is going to spend her personal fortune
    buying the land and making a bike park for people to use for free.

    So that leaves a zip line course or office park?  I say zip line course!!  That way we keep most of the trees and people
    can have some fun.
      But I bet it’ll be an
    office park.
       

     

  • JulNJer May 18, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    Excellent idea that sounds similar to the type of ropes and obstacles courses at Camp Long. This would bring visitors and increase revenue for local businesses and encourage new businesses to join our community in addition to providing a fun family activity for folks who like this kind of activity. 40-50 jobs is just what would be added at the site and doesn’t include increased opportunity for job growth in the surrounding area. 

  • Denise May 18, 2016 (5:07 pm)

    The park in New York owned by this company charges $54 per person for 3 hours. The zipline in Bellevue charges $75 per person. How much will this benefit the neighborhood, with those kind of prices? It would better to have a park where people could go for free.

    • WSB May 18, 2016 (5:12 pm)

      Which reminds me of one other difference – with the caveat that of course there’s nothing in writing since this is early and speculative – GoApe charged those kind of prices but was going to do it while leasing space in a Seattle city park at a relatively low rate. In this case, they would be proposing to buy the land outright (again, for what, we don’t know, and we don’t know what it would be listed for if listed at all – so theoretically the “benefit” would be the money the city would get if it chose to sell the land).

  • AJP May 18, 2016 (5:18 pm)

    It’s a huge amount of land. There are very few neighbors who live directly next to it. I think mountain bike trails and open space that are free to enjoy for everyone is a great idea. Add a pay-to-play zipline to attract more people, sounds great! 

  • Sue May 18, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    If the City wants revenue from the sale maybe the Nature Conservancy should buy it…. and keep it from being developed.

  • Heather May 18, 2016 (6:23 pm)

    I think a zip line adventure park would be fantastic! The one I visited in Honduras shuttled people directly from the hotel. It was amazing to zip through a dense forest… okay, I was terrified but it was amazing, down to the beach. Well worth the fee. All platforms were in the trees except at the beginning and end – otherwise we never set foot on the ground. So I think trails, mountain bike trails and a zip line could all be provided. Personally I’d like one of those huge Velcro walls you could throw yourself up against 

  • AMD May 18, 2016 (7:20 pm)

    I’m curious how they’re going to handle parking with “no environmental impact”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think this actually sounds kind of cool.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about what is planned for the park and what the real impact will be (less than a warehouse for sure, but “no impact” seems impossible).

  • John May 18, 2016 (9:21 pm)

    Housing First.

    Addressing homelessness, low income housing and our increasing housing costs are paramount.

    Covington is the better choice; plenty of space, real forests, room for all those cars and reasonably priced housing for the 40 or 50  employees.

    If they site it here, the employees will not be able to afford local housing and will end up commuting to sprawlburbs like Covington.  It is the exact opposite of the desired scenario.

  • MellyMel May 18, 2016 (11:26 pm)

    Since the likely alternative outcome is a high density  development, something that preserves the trees and is lower density sounds great.

  • cj May 19, 2016 (12:00 am)

    Its a bad idea.  Hurting trees or other living things for entertainment always is IMHO.

  • Mark47n May 19, 2016 (4:41 am)

    This won’t require 40-50 people to operate. Many businesses like to include the jobs required to build it in their job count. I also recall that being the story when this was tossed around duringthe discussions of doing it this at Lincoln Park.

  • Maria May 19, 2016 (7:05 am)

    Urban accessible adventure parks and other environmental entertainment opportunities are good for our environment.  Times have changes and demographics have changed.  How many of your local kids actually spend time in our parks other than organized activities?  Not as many as there used to be.  People today look for organized play.  Activities like this and responsible companies that operate them can provide an environmental education, or at least inspire some to take up lifelong pursuits such as hiking or camping.    This or an office park or more housing?  As long as this is going to be private land, let’s work with those who would keep much of it intact.

    • Mark47n May 19, 2016 (9:39 am)

      Bollocks. Organized outdoor activities don’t lead to camping, they lead to other organized activities. Also, What makes this “environmentally sound”, because they say so?

      As to kids not being in parks, why would this change that? this won’t be a free activity, it’ll be run by a for profit business. Kids don’t play in parks because many parents are too anxious to take their eyes off their children after they read that some kid was snatched a few states away or some poor jerk who peed on a dumpster and was caught is registered as a sex offender and he lives down the street, never mind what the statistics show. By the time parents might be willing their kids are to wired into electronics and passive play to be able to go to the park and invent their own play. 

  • Don Schei May 19, 2016 (9:48 am)

    City of Seattle claims we are short of land to build housing.  Therefore, the only logical use for this land is to develop it with about 2000 apartments.  Designate it only for people who ride bicycles and reserve 10% of the units for homeless/street people.  That way it gets on the tax rolls and helps alleviate the housing shortage.  Everyone is happy (maybe 90%).

  • Rootabegga May 19, 2016 (10:22 am)

    Countless crows and other birds call the trees on that property their home.  

    Hope they would be compensated with replacement habitat? 


  • JanS May 19, 2016 (11:04 am)

    and when the zipline business fails…it isn’t for the demographic there, for sure…$54 for 3 hours? That’s importing people that can afford that with no problems…the locals won’t use it as much. So…when it fails.. and then sits there empty collecting trash…what then? Oh, yeah…that sounds like fun…oh, wait…

  • anonyme May 20, 2016 (8:04 am)

    I’m normally against any development of a natural area, but this seems reasonable – especially when given the alternatives.  It may not be preservation in the strictest sense, but this is not a pristine, old growth wilderness area either.  Let the primates have some fun.  

  • Sweet! May 21, 2016 (1:31 pm)

    As long as they move out the homeless camp they can build anything they want!

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