From our friends at Seattle Green Spaces Coalition:
The City of Seattle intends to sell the Myers Parcels for commercial development soon, most likely to LOWES. Seattle Parks has indicated it does not want it. If 500 people say they want it to become Discovery Park South, they will reconsider.
WHAT: Myers Parcels occupy 32 acres of undeveloped surplus land owned by the City of Seattle. It is steep, wooded slopes, wetlands, and a meadow.
WHERE: The land is located in the south and east end of West Seattle, between White Center and Highland Park. It is adjacent and south of the Joint Training Facility, 9401 Myers Way South and Arrowhead senior housing.
Cass Turnbull: email@example.com
HELP: Send an email to the Mayor and/or your councilmember saying you want Myers Parcels saved as Myers Park, a natural area.
COME: You are invited to come to the first ever gathering of SAVE MYERS PARK, on Saturday March 14th, 10:00 a.m. to noon, at the offices of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, 210 S. Hudson. Call or email Cass to confirm and for questions. 206-783-9093, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of the Myers Parcels:
The Myers parcels may be the last large, undeveloped piece of property that could become a major park in Seattle. It is 32 acres of surplus land already owned by the City. It is located at the south border of West Seattle, between White Center and South Park. It is an easily ignored piece of land that seems remote from the industry, the homes, and certainly from the building boom that is elsewhere. You can see 509 from it; it is surrounded, and locked up entirely, by a chain link fence. You might not even notice it when driving north to get to the 1st Ave Bridge.
We noticed it because it has woods, fields and as we found out, water. And because of our work on the Save Our Substations project we knew it was City owned surplus land. After researching its history we can say that Myers is a much abused piece of earth. For most of its modern history it was mined as a gravel pit. Nintendo owned it for a while and insisted that Seattle buy all 50 acres of the property if they wanted to buy any of it. The centrally located flatland portion became Seattle’s interdepartmental Joint Training Facility.
Then in 2007, just before the great recession, the rest of the land was put up for sale by the Council. The City wanted to pay off an interdepartmental loan on the land and stimulate the economy in underserved south Seattle. For various reasons the deal with LOWES flipped.
Development has recently begun to nibble at the corners. The property just adjacent to the North has become a spiffy new building complex for retired people. Above the steep cliff and to the west the King County Housing, people decided to turn over large swaths of their land to build Greenbridge, which is the latest thing in mixed use housing designed to deal with Seattle’s affordable housing problem. The steep greenbelt to the north of the retirement complex was taken by parks as part of the Westcrest Park. It extends the Duwamish greenbelt to Myers. On the east side of Myers Way, located behind an inconspicuous hole in the chain link fence, is a trail going down the steep wooded hill to SR 509. A homeless camp is hidden there that has been beautifully landscaped and cleaned by its members.
Money is always the problem. The State Accountancy Act says you can’t just give or transfer property from one department to the other. We’re investigating several possible ‘work-arounds’ to make the land affordable, or perhaps even free. We have applied for grants to create a think tank of a lawyer, a strategist, and policy analyzer to check out the feasibility of various possible options. Now we need a coalition of supporters to build momentum to save the property.
The kids of future Seattle will not have what we had as children growing up in Seattle. Because of the density headed our way, there just won’t be the backyards, the vacant lots and the empty campgrounds of our youth. We want the kids of Greenbridge to be able to bike to Myers Park to climb trees, build forts, play in mud, and pretend they are in some distant wild place. We want a place where there are frogs to hear, crickets to catch, a killdeer and swifts to watch, or perhaps even a salmon spawning.