City Hall Park to be come under King County ownership in exchange for county lands

Photo credit: Q13 FOX

Seattle's City Hall Park awaits a vote from the city council before it may be turned over to King County for management.

The King County Council approved legislation back in October allowing them to acquire the park, and then on Tuesday approved a land swap ordinance. This would give City Hall Park to King County in exchange for 13 county-owned properties, which would then be given to the city. Officials say the county properties amount to roughly 1.35 acres of land which already border on existing city parks.

All the voting on King County's end is done; now, they await a vote from the Seattle City Council in January to finalize the exchange. But, some county officials are already celebrating victory.

"Today’s acquisition of City Hall Park is a major victory that allows King County to reclaim the park for taxpayers while working to create a safe environment around the King County Courthouse for our employees, jurors, and all who need to access government services," said King County councilmember Reagan Dunn. "For too long, encampments have been allowed to multiply and expand across King County without intervention — but with this acquisition, King County shows that we can take back our public spaces for everyone to enjoy."

This decision follows the move in August to clear the park of homeless encampments and address the rise in violent crimes. Since then, the park has been closed for renovations. Now, King County Executive Dow Constantine will need to find ways to further address concerns of safety and sanitation at City Hall Park.

"This action begins a new day of stewardship for this long-neglected space and I hope nearby residents, businesses, visitors, courthouse users and workers will join us in reimagining this vital area," said councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. "By working together, we will ensure this space is inclusive, recreational and safe, and we can make certain the community knows that any movement toward making this space anything but open will be subject to robust public engagement. I appreciate the collaboration of Executive Constantine and Mayor Durkan in making this change a reality."

The legislation requires Constantine to outline usage for the park, as well as plans for relocating encampments that may show up later.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Seattle's City Hall Park to be turned over to King County

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