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Seattle Times: Seattle Gets Ready to Develop 14 New Parks

From our news partners at The Seattle Times: The city of Seattle now has the money to transform lots into 12 small parks, plus two additional parcels where the city has purchases pending, thanks to voter approval of the Seattle Park District. By Daniel Beekman.

Some people in Lake City, Fremont, South Park and nine other Seattle neighborhoods are living next to new parks. They just don't know it yet.

That's because 12 properties purchased by the city with money from the 2008 parks levy haven't been designed or developed. The Parks Department didn't have enough money — until now.

The Seattle Park District approved by voters in August will allocate about $10 million from 2016 to 2018 to develop the 12 spaces, plus two additional parcels where the city has purchases pending.

That's not a big chunk of the $48 million the district will raise each year — and the new parks won't dramatically alter the physical landscape of the city.

Seattle already boasts about 5,500 acres of parkland. The largest of the 12 new sites is two-thirds of an acre, and the smallest is one-tenth of an acre.

But the new spaces are potential game-changers for some neighborhoods growing denser each year.

"It's going to be a great thing, especially for the teenagers around here," said Deloris Cain, 49.

The mother of six lives down the block from a future park in Lake City, just north of Northeast 125th Street. The parcel, which the city snapped up for $880,000 in 2010, borders Lake City Court, an 86-unit Seattle Housing Authority apartment building with many large families.

"Right now, the teenagers don't have anywhere to hang out," Cain said, nodding disapprovingly toward a street corner where some older kids congregate to talk and smoke.

"We need more activities like basketball and we need a park just to be outside communicating with each other."

The Parks Department, as it searched for properties to buy, focused on 20 neighborhoods in need of green space, according to an agency analysis and input from residents.

The city's goal is to reduce the distance between parks by filling gaps with new sites.

Eighteen of the 20 target neighborhoods are in "urban centers" and "urban villages" where the city has encouraged high-density development.

Read the full story here.

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