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University District Farmers Market Site Update- November, 2012

November 27, 2012 Update- University Heights

The South Parking Lot at University Heights is being redeveloped in 2013 to include a park in what was once only a parking lot!  We will post updates here about how construction and the new park will change and enhance the U District Farmers Market as details are finalized.

September, 2009 update from Seattle City Council: 

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS CENTER SAVED FOR COMMUNITY

On Monday, June 22, the Council cleared the way for the University Heights Center to become a permanent home for the community. One ordinance approved unanimously by the Council accepts a 15-year community benefits agreement with the University Heights Center for the Community Association; a second piece of legislation approves the purchase of a portion of the former University Heights Elementary School site for public open space.

The University Heights Community Association will use $2,500,000 provided by the Council along with funds from the Pro-Parks Levy, King County Conservation Futures and the State to purchase a majority of the former University Heights site from the Seattle School District, including the 1902 school building. The Community Association will access the $2.5 million from the City by contracting to continue to provide community services for 15 years at the site.

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation will take title to .34 acres in the SE corner of the site to be used as open space. The Parks Department will begin planning the development of the open space in late 2009. The current P-Patch and Farmers Market will continue to use the site.

Preserving the center was a key recommendation of the University Community Urban Center Neighborhood Plan. Several years ago, the School District decided that it would not need this building in the future, and proposed to sell it. This led to a delicate dance of negotiations – the School District had to balance its interest and the community support in keeping this facility as a community institution with its fiduciary duty and financial interest in selling it for development. The City Council approved landmark status for the building, which was a key step in preventing the site from being sold for development, and opened the way for a negotiation on how the community could acquire it.

The City had already set aside some funds in the 2000 Pro Parks Levy for acquisition of the open space on the site. However, the property still has significant value for development, even with a landmarked building, and there was significant uncertainty as to whether the community could come up with enough funds to proceed with a purchase. In the 2006 budget process, I proposed setting aside $3 million dollars to support the purchase of the UHeights building and Phinney Neighborhood Center (Allen School), and the Council agreed to this budget allocation. In 2007, the Council set aside another $4 million, $1 million for each of these facilities plus $1 million for the Crown Hill and Fauntleroy Centers. House Speaker Frank Chopp and Representative Mary Lou Dickerson led a legislative effort which resulted in another $1 million for each of these communities.

This legislation is a great example of intergovernmental cooperation to realize the aspirations of the community. It is also another major implementation step in the Neighborhood Plan process, and a great step forward for the University neighborhood.

 August 2009 update from Mayor Greg Nickels:

"It was 20 years in the making, but this month we celebrated the realization of a dream of community ownership of the historic University Heights Center -- formerly University Heights Elementary School until 1989. As part of the purchase from the Seattle School District, our Parks Department purchased a part of the site for an urban park. University Heights Center is home to Seattle's oldest and largest neighborhood farmers' market, supporting 50 local farmers, and will eventually have an urban park at the corner of University Way Northeast and Northeast 50th. Congratulations to all for your perseverance. This was a great collaboration which will continue to benefit the University District neighborhood and Seattle."

 


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