Neighborhood groups want more time as City Light looks to sell properties

Seattle City Light is considering selling seven properties in the greater Ballard area that were once used for power substations. With the deadline rapidly approaching, Groundswell NW and the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition say they need more time to see if the land can be adapted into parks, P-patches or other community spaces.

The city says it’s required to price the properties at “fair market value” as determined by the assessor’s office, which ranges from $330,000 to $978,960 in Seattle’s red-hot real estate market. We’ve mapped the locations, names and price tags of each of the properties:

The city’s Office of Housing has expressed interest in two of the sites, Loyal Heights and Phinney, for possible affordable housing developments, according to City Light.

Groundswell NW board member Dave Boyd says the group has been tracking these properties for years. “By bundling seven of these sites for disposition, [City Light] has put the community at a disadvantage,” he told My Ballard. “After waiting for years to find out when the process will begin, we are faced with a tight timeline for several sites that have potential for community use.”

Boyd points to Pocket Park on 6th and 76th as an example of how an old City Light substation has been converted into a community space. “Groundswell acted as fiscal sponsor of the community group that got Neighborhood Matching Fund and other grants to develop a gem of a corner park,” he explains.

Seattle Green Spaces Coalition agrees the city is moving too quickly, arguing that the “need for the sale at this time as not been properly addressed.”


(Loyal Heights location on left, Ballard on right)

All this is shaping up for a lively public hearing, which is scheduled for this Thursday, Nov. 16th at 7 p.m. at the Ballard First Lutheran Church on NW 65th St. The deadline for public comment, in writing, is due a day later on the 17th.

Boyd says Groundswell NW anticipates making a formal request to the city council to delay the sale of several of the properties “to give the community time to further prioritize and develop support for community use of these sites.”

“As an all-volunteer organization, we have learned that these projects can be accomplished, but they take time,” he said.

2 comments on “Neighborhood groups want more time as City Light looks to sell properties”

  1. The Pocket Park on 76th. We rented a small house (2002-03) that was adjacent to the corner substation parcel. The house was rather run down but functioned well, and as a couple it would have been a great starter home provided we could have purchased it. Sadly, it was not for sale as a residence, but rather sold to either the Land Conservancy or the City of Seattle so that the future pocket park had more space. I thought that was wrong at the time and 14 years later still feel the same way. A pocket park has specific hours and has limited uses; a home serves the inhabitants 24 hrs. per day.

  2. I agree. Let’s focus on larger problems. We have some great parks already in our neighborhood and the Parks Dept. doesn’t need to be stretched any further.

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