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Sunday, October 2, 2022

King County Land Swap

The King County Council on last Tuesday approved a plan to acquire the land that houses the City Hall Park from Seattle as part of a land swap plan that would put the troubled park under the county’s auspices. Once the City Council endorses the pact, Seattle will then assume ownership of 13 parcels of land within city limits, most of which border existing city parks. Some County Council members had lobbied for King County to take possession of the park in order to develop a plan that would step up oversight of the land.

Several County Council members said the land swap was overdue, stating: 

“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 County Councilwoman Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who co-sponsored the legislation. “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.” 

“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,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a written statement. 

“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.” But the lingering issue is what will happen if the county does take over ownership of the park. Some wonder if will will remain a park.

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