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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
6/22/2009  3:26:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rob Gala, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805
Tom Van Bronkhorst, Godden Office, (206) 684-8807
David Yeaworth, Clark Office, (206) 684-8802

Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Sally Clark
Councilmember Nick Licata

Council Approves Purchase Deal for Former University Heights School
University Heights Center for the Community to Buy Former Elementary School; Parks Dept. to Build Open Space

SEATTLE - Today, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed two ordinances clearing the way for the transformation of a surplus school into an important community center. The first ordinance approves a 15-year community benefits agreement with the University Heights Center for the Community Association; the other approves the purchase of a portion of the former University Heights Elementary School site for public open space.

"It is great to see the dreams of the University community and the University Community Neighborhood Plan become reality. I want to thank my colleagues for supporting my efforts to get $2.5 million in City funds set aside for this important public purpose. This will be the heart of the University District community for many generations," said Council President Richard Conlin. "Congratulations to all the volunteers and community members who have made this possible."

"This agreement has been a long time coming", said Councilmember Jean Godden. "It's a great day when we can work together to craft a deal ensuring the school will be used to benefit the community for years to come."

"University Heights manages to be both a historic and contemporary heart for the neighborhood. With these dollars and the community's drive that heart will beat for generations", said Councilmember Sally Clark.

"Securing University Heights for community use is no longer a dream, it is a reality. Another gem of a historic building has avoided demolition or commercialization and given new life as a neighborhood community center", said Councilmember Nick Licata.

Under Council Bill 116557, the University Heights Community Association will use $2,500,000 approved by the council along with funds from the Pro-Parks Levy, King County Conservation Futures and some State funds to purchase a majority of the former University Heights site from the Seattle School District including the 1902 school building. The Community Association will contract with the City to continue to provide community services for 15 years at the site as part of this agreement.

Council Bill 116558 authorizes the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to purchase .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.

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