Neighbors raise money to save Lake Forest Park woods

Neighbors of Lake Forest Park's largest contiguous green space are racing to save it from development.

Often called "five acre woods" by the locals, the 5.6-acre property at 40th Place Northeast and 45th Place Northeast in Lake Forest Park is for sale, and neighbors are rallying to save it from development.

It belongs to Seattle Public Utilities as surplus property. By state law, SPU is required to sell it at market value.

"Seattle has to get real about what it says it's going to do. It wants to be a green and livable city. The only way to do that is to save greenspaces and to be thoughtful and attentive when selling property," Mary Fleck said.

Fleck and others are concerned about the sale listing. The $1.2 million asking price coaxes buyers with development potential, enough space for nine small homes.

It's the largest property of its kind in the area, and some want to keep it that way.

"It's the last chance really to have a big enough piece that has a forest in it, not just a tree here or a tree, but a true forest with understory, with habitat, with animals of all sizes and types, and with moving water through it," said Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation President Julian Andersen.

Andersen says neighbors have raised 60 percent of the necessary funding through individual donations and King County grants.

SPU reports it's tried everything possible to help Lake Forest Park, even delaying the sale, but in the past Lake Forest Park has declined.

Today, Mayor Jeff Johnson said they're reconsidering and working to make the purchase a reality.

"It reads, 'Save this Land.' It brings silence. It mitigates storm water. We can be very scientific and see why it's important, but there's a sense, being so close to Seattle, you can finally relax," said Natalie Boisseau.

The creek deep inside the woods eventually flows into Lake Washington. It makes the property more valuable, but activists say it's too valuable for development.

"To save our greenspaces we have to act now," Fleck said.

© 2017 KING-TV


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