Three weeks ago, we reported on a City Council committee giving its OK to a small purchase with big potential – Schmitz Park neighbor Bruce Stotler (right) selling rights to his property for far below its value, so that after he’s gone, the site will become part of the forested park. This afternoon, the full council gave its unanimous approval to the $225,000 deal.
It’s been years in the making, initiated back when West Seattleite Tom Rasmussen was still on the council, and shepherded after that by Councilmember Lisa Herbold. As she noted before this afternoon’s vote, the city Parks Department was originally reluctant, but eventually was convinced. The funding will come from the Seattle Park District levy. Those speaking at the start of this afternoon’s council meeting included Rasmussen, who said he was “thrilled” to see it finally coming to fruition, and Vicki Schmitz-Block, on behalf of the family that originally donated Schmitz Park land, saying she hoped it would inspire others, and that it will eventually help enable better access to the park. The council also heard from Jeff McCord, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, supporting the purchase (as originally announced), and finally from Bruce Stotler himself, who told the council, “Thank you for allowing me to fulfill my dream.” (He elaborated in this recent Seattle Times report that he felt it’s “the right thing to do.”)