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Seattle to replace parking spaces with $3M Ballard park

A park set to replace two gravel parking strips in Ballard is going to cost $3 million even though it's just 29 feet wide, and it's sparking major criticism. (Photo: Seattle Parks Department)

The Seattle Parks Department has dubbed Ballard so park-deficient that the city is replacing 89 parking spaces to create a small park.

Dori is calling the $3 million price tag for the installation a waste of taxpayer money.

KOMO news reports that Seattle Parks has finalized plans to build a 29-foot-wide park at 14th Ave NW between NW 59th and NW 61st Streets. The park will replace a gravel parking strip and cost $3 million.

City Parks officials have praised the park’s location, saying it will provide more green spaces and make the neighborhood safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Using the road’s median for the park also means the City of Seattle won’t have to buy land for the park.

“This section of Ballard is one of the areas of the city that doesn’t have enough parks and green spaces,” says the project description on the Seattle Parks website.

But that has Dori wondering why the project is so expensive.

Last year, the development cost was quoted at just $1.5 million, and Dori says he could do the project for even less than that.

“I’m thinking I could probably do it for $80-$100,000 easily,” said Dori.

He guessed the city would have to re-grade the space, bring in topsoil and grass seed, put in sprinklers, and make a barrier between the park and street.

“And they already own the property!” said Dori.

The cost, Dori says, is even higher when you factor in the loss of parking spaces.

“There are a lot of apartments around there, so parking spots are at a premium,” said Dori. “It’s been this way ever since I was a little kid, they’ve had this median where people can park.”

But now, as more and more condos go up in Ballard, two blocks of the median will be converted into a park. This will eliminate 89 parking spots. The City says that leaves 311 spaces in a two-block radius around the park.

“You could buy a waterfront house on Lake Washington, you could buy two waterfront houses side-by-side and tear them down and have a beautiful waterfront park for less than $3 million,” said Dori. “But that’s what it costs when government gets involved.”

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