Lake City Live recieved the following press release from the City of Seattle Thursday afternoon. We will update with further information as it becomes available.
SEATTLE (August 13, 2015) Mayor Ed Murray today announced that the City plans to purchase portions of two properties that make up the former N.E. 130th Street beach from the current owners and restore waterfront access for the public.
“For decades, generations of Seattle residents enjoyed lakefront access from the N.E. 130th Street beach,” said Mayor Murray. “I have directed the Parks Department to begin the process of restoring that access by acquiring the properties using all tools at our disposal.”
The two properties lie at the end of N.E. 130th Street and Rivera Place, near the Burke-Gilman Trail in the Cedar Park neighborhood in the Lake City area. Earlier this year, the private property owners restricted the public from accessing the waterfront.
“This parcel bordering Lake Washington has been used by the public to gain access to the water for over 80 years. It was very unfortunate to have access denied,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “It’s great news that the City is now taking affirmative steps to restore this property to the public and to neighbors who know how much it matters to save this beach.”
“Privatizing public property based upon an 82 year-old records error is a disservice to the neighborhood,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I commend the Mayor for joining the Council in reclaiming what has long served as the only public access to Lake Washington between Matthews Beach and the northern city limits.”
“I visited the 130th Street beach with neighbors and community members and stand firmly behind them in their desire to have the beach end returned to its original use—a neighborhood park,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “Many congratulations to the community who worked hard to ensure this space is open and welcoming to the community.”
“When public access to Lake Washington was taken away, community activists pushed the City to recover it,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant. “Generations in Lake City will be able to swim in the neighborhood due to their organizing efforts.”
Under the Mayor’s direction, Seattle Parks and Recreation will send a purchase and sale agreement to the current owners. The owners will then have 30 days to agree with the terms, counter-offer, or decline. In the event a negotiated purchase of the portions of the properties cannot be reached, the Mayor will transmit an ordinance to City Council authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire the parcels for public use and benefit.
“The 130th Street beach has provided recreational access to Lake Washington for residents since 1932,” said Dave Pope of the Friends of 130th Street Beach community group. “As Seattle continues to grow, more parks are needed, not fewer. I applaud Mayor Murray and City Council for taking the first steps in restoring beach access for those who do not have the luxury of owning waterfront property.”
“Shoreline access is precious everywhere in Seattle,” said Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. “We constantly strive to increase park and recreation opportunities for our residents and restoring this property to public use provides critical access for the community.”
In June, the City Council sent Mayor Murray a letter urging him to condemn the properties. The letter was signed by all members of the Council.