Lake City Floodplain Park Development

Updated: June 30, 2022

Summer 2022

Demolition Update

Demolition has begun on the existing site structures. The smaller structure closest to NE 125th Street has been demolished and the back structure is on target to be removed later this summer. The demolition team is working out the details for removing the back structure over the creek.

Community Workshop #2

Join Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, and Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group in the second of three virtual workshops on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. To participate in the design of your new park please register at lakecityfloodplainpark.com/register.

Community input will be critical in designing the upcoming Lake City Floodplain Park. We need your feedback on how to make this new park an accessible green space that supports a healthier creek and serves the needs of the Lake City community. The creation of a truly inclusive park is only possible if the needs and dreams of our diverse community are represented throughout the entire project!

For more information on this project, and to learn how you can contribute ideas, please visit lakecityfloodplainpark.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

The City of Seattle would like to thank everyone who participated in our first community workshop on Thursday, March 3, 2022. The recording of the presentation from this online meeting can be viewed anytime at: https://www.lakecityfloodplainpark.com/materials

We are planning several more in-person and virtual events to share information about the project and receive feedback on how the community would like to use the park. Upcoming information sharing and feedback opportunities include:

  • Summer online workshop to share a draft for possible park design resulting from information gathered in the Spring workshop and ask for community help in refining the design.

  • In person meetings at the new park location and in the community, as permitted by COVID restrictions, for hands-on learning, information sharing, and receiving community feedback.

If your community group would be better engaged in a different format, please reach out at: https://www.lakecityfloodplainpark.com/#contactus

Summer 2021

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is partnering with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the non-profit Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group (MSFEG) to develop a floodplain reconnection project benefiting water quality, in-stream, and riparian habitat, managing on-site stormwater, and creating an accessible natural area for the Lake City community, a heavily urbanized and underserved area.

The location of the property provides a unique opportunity for water quality and to reduce future flood losses. The goal of this project is to promote partnerships and enable high impact investments that will enhance water quality and salmonid habitat, help mitigate current and future climate-influenced flood flows and provide public green space in a racially diverse and underserved urban community.  

Weed removal will begin on the site beginning in April 2021. Seattle Parks and Recreation's Green Seattle Partnership is helping to lead this effort with generous assistance from the King County Noxious Weeds Program through the Healthy Lands Project. Professional crews will be active in spring and summer carrying out weed control of potentially problematic plant species and soil stabilization near the Creek and on steep slopes adjacent to 125th Street. As the larger project progresses, crews and volunteers will eventually replant with a diversity of native trees and shrubs in these areas now dominated by just a few species of weeds.

A restoration contract crew through the Green Seattle Partnership will be on site at the end of June, actively removing weeds like ivy and blackberry from the northern edge of the property in advance of the house demolition, planned for end of summer 2021. We expect them to revisit the site several times up until the date of the demolition.

The parcel is entirely within the FEMA floodplain along 200ft of Thornton Creek channel, while also adjacent to a designated urban village. Floodplain reconnection and additional flood storage will provide climate resiliency in the future, while reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff into the creek, including water pollution and potential flood damage to residents along this section of the creek.

Location

2318 NE 125th Street, Seattle 98125

Budget

The site was jointly acquired between SPR and SPU, and with grant funding from King County Conservation Futures.

Current SPR funding approved - $100K for Planning tasks through early design tasks.

Future tasks include developing a final design option, construction, and construction close-out. Additional funding will be requested through the 2023-2028 Seattle Park District budget as well as through King County, Washington State, and Federal grant opportunities.

Schedule

Planning & Design: 2021 - 2023
Construction:
2024 - 2025

Project Description

The goal of this project is to promote partnerships and enable high impact investments that will enhance water quality and salmonid habitat, help mitigate current and future climate-influenced flood flows and provide public green space in a racially diverse and underserved urban community.

A fully funded project will include a site plan, conduct community engagement, develop design solutions, and construction of the preferred design option. The designs will consist of nature-based solutions including riparian habitat, stream restoration, green stormwater infrastructure such as rain gardens or swales, and community access.

The parcel is entirely within the FEMA floodplain, including approximately 200 linear feet of stream, approximately 21,000 square feet of potential floodplain habitat, and approximately 19,000 square feet of upland habitat. Restoring the area will create multiple benefits, including reduced upstream and downstream flooding; improved water quality; improved creek habitat for fish, aquatic life, and birds; greater watershed resiliency; easier maintenance and future replacement of the undersized NE 125th Street culvert; and public access to a new park that connects the Lake City community to a restored natural area.

Restoring a stream with the goal of decreasing flooding often involves widening the stream and increasing its complexity. Stream complexity can be achieved by adding bends to the stream channel, as well as by adding wood and other obstacles. Stream complexity slows water and creates pools where stream insects and fish can gather to rest and shelter from predators. Widening and increasing complexity slows the flow of water, decreasing erosion, and allows a stream to hold more water, decreasing flooding.

Site Description

Thornton Creek is made up of 18 miles of urban waterways running through southeast Shoreline through northeast Seattle where it enters Lake Washington. The Thornton Creek watershed is the largest in Seattle, covering approximately 12 square miles. Most of the water (including rainfall that picks up pollutants when it falls on roofs, streets, and parking lots) in that 12 square miles drains into Thornton Creek and its tributaries. As Seattle has grown and developed, Thornton Creek has been altered from its original path. Much of the creek and its tributaries have been straightened and its surrounding wetlands filled. A few sections of Thornton Creek have even been redirected through pipes underground. As a result of these changes, the creek's natural capacity to store water has been greatly decreased and it now suffers from frequent flooding and poor water quality. Over the years, this flooding has caused damage to public infrastructure such as roads and private property. In addition, decreased water quality has negatively impacted the health of the fish, birds, and other wildlife who live in the Thornton Creek watershed. Climate change is predicted to cause increasingly larger rain events, meaning even more water in Thornton Creek during storms and even more frequent flooding.

The land where the upcoming park will be was previously privately-owned property, listed for sale in 2018. The community recognized it as an opportunity to create more green space in the Lake City community and to restore and protect Thornton Creek. In response to strong community advocacy and support, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities jointly purchased the property to create a public park and restore the natural area.

Community Participation

Following the demolition there will be an interim phase in which the site is being designed and before construction begins. During this time, we will be brainstorming temporary activation activities focused on restoration, education, and community engagement. Please contact Jonathan Pagan for additional information and for how to propose an activity at the site. As events are scheduled, they will be posted on the project’s website.

For more information on this project, and to learn how you can contribute ideas, please visit lakecityfloodplainpark.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

We are committed to engaging the Lake City community as an active participant and collaborator in the design of public access to the new park. We look forward to hearing from you online and to visiting you in the community in COVID-safe ways to work with you on designing public access elements, including establishing community priorities, identifying, and selecting the overall program of uses, and contributing to the layout of site elements. Together we can design a beautiful, safe natural area for community use!

Continue to check this website for updated project information and details about feedback opportunities!