A historic duck pond is up for sale and its North Seattle neighbors are banding together to save it from development.
Nearly 100 years ago, a 12-year-old boy dug a pond by hand on 90th Street in Seattle's Licton Springs neighborhood. Decades later, Charles Pilling became a duck expert, breeding three kinds in captivity that no one in the world ever had.
"He was self-taught and became a world expert on breeding certain kinds of ducks. He was recognized all over the world," explained Kathleen Braden.
Braden and Liz Kearns serve with the Licton Springs Community Council. Many neighbors have stories of what's now called Pilling's Pond.
"I said, 'Chuck, there is a pheasant in my yard.' He said, 'Oh yea, one got out. That's OK,'" Kearns laughed.
It's stories like Kearns' that have neighbors so upset by a recently placed "For Sale" sign. After Pilling died, a neighbor bought and cared for the property.
But now it's for sale again.
"This little pond gave the neighborhood a really strong identity. I think people who have lived in the neighborhood a long time don't want to lose that," Braden said. "It combines the wildlife, the history, the culture, the sense of the neighborhood."
Neighbors worry that the new owners may not care for the pond.
"You can't get it back. Once it's gone, it's gone," Kearns said.
The Licton Springs Community Council hopes to make the site a historic landmark and wants the city of Seattle to buy it for a park or neighborhood center.
Neighbors say Copper Leaf, the real estate company that currently owns the duck pond, is willing to work with them so they have the first chance at purchasing the property.
"The owners have expressed their support for the community's goals, and indicated that they would like to give the community the first chance to acquire the property along the lines of the suggested strategy," said Dave Barber. "The community recognizes that this is an extraordinary response and is deeply appreciative to the owners of Copper Leaf. We also recognize that public acquisition is difficult and that the present owners are entitled to resolution in a reasonable time. The Licton Springs group is working with the City Council, and hopes that you will help by calling your City Councilmember as well."