West Seattle community fights to save green space

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

Certain sights and sounds become scarce in the city, like kids playing tag under a canopy of trees.

Especially in the widespread development of West Seattle, where any available space can go to the highest bidder.

So a group of parents, neighbors, and educators are trying to save a parcel of land at SW Dakota and 50th Avenue Southwest. 

"As we all know being Seattle residents, the city is getting more and more dense and we're losing spaces like this and once they're gone you can never get them back," said Katie Stemp, parent and president of Urban Homestead Foundation.

Teacher Emily Mitchell at Genessee Hill Elementary looks at the land across the street from the school as a valuable teaching tool. 

"My classroom is right up there and for my kids to be able to look out here during our art lessons," Mitchell said. "What are the different colors you see? Why is that happening? How is that changing? I think it's very important for the kids to have that right outside our door."
 
Owned by Seattle City Light, the parcel of land was once a substation. The site, known as the Dakota Homestead, is home to 20 mature trees. It's one of several former substation sites the utility is disposing of throughout the Seattle area.

 It's now the focus of a fundraising effort. 

"We started about two and half years ago when we found this land was going to be up for sale," said Stemp. 

They formed the Urban Homestead Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit to purchase the 10,000 square foot lot and turn it into an environmental learning lab, with P-patches and community gatherings. 

The foundation will manage the historic land as a neighborhood preserve.

The space has been the site of pig roasts, coffee stands, and block parties. 

"Everything we do now revolves around screens, and we have small backyards, and just having this space to learn and grow and be inspired and eventually become really good stewards of our environment," said Stemp.

Thanks to a $281,000 matching grant from the King County Conservation Futures Fund, they've raised $310,000 so far. They're hoping others will donate to help their cause.

The utility is asking for $650,000 by the end of the year to purchase the property.

According to City Light's website, the utility is in the disposition process for several properties in northwest Seattle as well. 

© 2017 KING-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories