Urban green space forum draws Seattle City Council hopefuls

SEATTLE -- TreePAC is hosting the first Urban Forest and Green Space forum for Seattle City Council hopefuls Tuesday night at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. The public is invited and will have an opportunity to ask questions.

One focus of tonight's green space forum: What to do with the city's surplus property.

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Cass Turnball founded TreePAC, an organization that's rallying to turn surplus property into parks or community centers.

"The deck of cards is against green spaces. People have to fight for their parks," she said.

In one of America's fastest growing cities, green space advocates are turning to surplus properties. It's land owned by Seattle but typically not used anymore. Eventually, they'll likely go up for sale but much of it costs millions of dollars.

"There's a big temptation for the city to chase the quick buck and to sell," Mary Fleck said.

Fleck co-chairs the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition. She knows properties are often too expensive for the Parks & Recreation Department to buy.

"It's a little bit daunting. Listen to the noise, there are cranes behind us and around us. It's feeling like a lot is happening at once," she said.

Collaboration is often shattered by pitting green space against affordable housing.

"It's an unfair competition. It pits poor people against green spaces- that's not the way it has to be," Turnbull said.


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