A long meeting of the City Council committee chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold just concluded with a vote supporting a small but significant expansion of Schmitz Park.
We published the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s announcement of this on Sunday. (They’re a supporter, though not a party, to the matter.) Today the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee heard from the 5,000-square-foot site’s owner Bruce Stotler (right) and from West Seattle-residing former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who shepherded the proposed purchase until his term ended two years ago, and handed it over to Herbold.
Stotler said at today’s meeting that he wanted to make sure his parcel on the southeast edge of the forested preserve – donated by the Schmitz family more than a century ago – wouldn’t someday become a “megahouse with a five-foot yard.” Under terms of the deal with the city, he will sell it for $225,000 but retain a “reservation of life estate” interest so he can continue living there until he dies (or if he chooses to move), at which time the city takes full ownership and will demolish Stotler’s house. The money will come from the levy-funded Seattle Park District.
The city originally didn’t have the money for this, the committee was told, but Stotler didn’t give up. And, said Parks’ Chip Nevins, “It’s important to protect the edges of these parks from encroachment by development.” The site might also be part of a new pathway into the park someday, Herbold noted.
The two committee members in attendance, Herbold and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, both voted to approve the deal, and the full council will have the final vote sometime next month.