LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

How do you make Downtown Seattle more kid friendly? Downtown business owners are putting their money on a new play area.

It's being built in the heart of the shopping district, Westlake Park.

Workers are installing play area, which includes a climbing dome and surrounding benches for moms and dads.

Let your kids play around, get the wiggles out, then go back in and shop, said mother Linda Davis of Tacoma.

There are an estimated 3,000 children living in the greater downtown area. But, when they hit school age, many leave.

When little kids turn five, half of them leave downtown with their families, said Kate Joncas with the Downtown Seattle Association.

Downtown business owners are competing with some intimidating elements that can keep families away. Often at Westlake there is a wall of skateboarders and loiterers.

It's kinda sketchy. There have been some violent crimes down on Third Street, said mother Pamela Hale.

Play area supporters say kids will keep the menacing folks away.

I think that the more we have families and kids here, the less it will be appealing for the negative activity. said Victoria Schoenburg with the Seattle Parks Department.

Downtown business owners and the Seattle Children's Institute put up the $150,000 for the playground. They're hoping it will attract business.

Little kids may not spend money but their parents do and little kids make a neighborhood, said Joncas.

Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/2014/08/03/13228452/