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City Parks: Gasworks


Gas Works Park had its final Public Hearing at the March 27 Board of Park Commissioners regular meeting. About 20 citizens or so attended and offered their three minutes of public testimony. There was a small contingent of Friends of Gas Works who spoke out against an off-leash area, citing the original vision of the park designer. A larger contingent of neighborhood citizens spoke in favor of an off-leash area. Some points raised included the fact that off-leash areas are multi-use, not single-use as the detractors complain. An off-leash area within the Park plan would be cheaper than the current design and have high intense use consistent with the original vision. Considering that there were no leash laws in Seattle when the original park plan was devised, an off-leash area meets the growing needs of the local community as well as the region served by this regional park. Furthermore, a recent poll on the Seattle Channel showed that 87% of respondents favored an off-leash area at Gasworks, while 13% did not.

Nevertheless, the Board of Parks Commissioners voted (3-2) against the formation of an OLA at Gasworks. Parks Superintendent Ken Bounds followed the Board's decision, stating:

"Earlier this month, I made a decision not to include an off-leash dog area within the “containment wall” area at Gas Works Park. This was consistent with the recent Park Board recommendation. Like the Board, I concluded that the several planning processes over the last 30 years did not contemplate such a use. It’s important that we honor the guiding park plans, such as the Parks and Recreation Plan 2000, Gas Works Park Master Plan, the 1990 Final Environmental Impact Statement, and the adopted Neighborhood Plan. In addition, the language of the Pro Parks Levy, which is funding the improvement project at Gas Works, did not mention an off-leash area. During the process that defined projects in the Levy, certain areas were specified as off-leash areas. Gas Works was not one of them."

A public meeting on the issue of cutting trees for a view corridor in the Gasworks Project area has been set for Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m., at Hamilton Middle School Auditorium, 1610 N 41st St. For more information, contact Project Manager Tim Motzer at (206) 684-7060 or tim.motzer@seattle.gov.

When the city originally solicited public input for plans to rennovate a triangular walled section in the north part of Gasworks, an area that was slated to be a parking lot in the original park plans, there was significant support for an off-leash area. Three designs were presented for public input at a second public hearing, none of which included an off-leash area. If you think the city shouldn't be allowed to ignore the community's request for an off-leash area design alternative for Gasworks, then email COLA and ask to be put on the information list for Gasworks Park updates.

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