14th Ave NW park boulevard’s $3M price tag worries some residents

The park proposed for 14th Ave NW has a $3 million price tag, and that’s irking some residents. The park will replace the parking median down the middle of 14th, just north of NW Market St. The plans have been in the works for the last several years, but according to a recent article by KOMO News, some residents are worried about whether it’s worth the price.

One of the sketches of the park boulevard plan presented to the Ballard District Council last year

KOMO looked at the issue as part of their “What a Waste” series, and interviewed some residents about the project. Park opponent Tom Ormbrek told KOMO, “I really doubt that most of the taxpayers when they voted for this levy fund envisioned a 29 foot park with a water garden – for three million dollars.”

The park will be 29 feet wide, and will span two blocks. Traffic will be diverted to one side of the park, and a 13-foot rain garden will be added.

The proposed park also gained some negative attention last year because it will eliminate 89 parking spaces, which residents say are in high demand because of the recently constructed apartment buildings on NW Market St. East Ballard Community Association’s Dawn Hemminger recognizes that the park isn’t large, but said it will be a much-needed green space for the nearby residents. Currently, the closest park is Gilman Park, which is on the south side of NW Market St., but locals want something closer to their homes. “It’s going to be more of a respite, more of a nice place to meet friends and family,” Hemminger told KOMO.

Funding to develop the park became available from the voter-approved 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy Acquisition Fund, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation. The Seattle City Council will consider the final approval in the next few months, and construction is planned to start in early 2014. To see the city’s plans and read more about the background of the park, click here.

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