United States

Seattle Center Department to take over city’s waterfront

(The Center Square) – The City of Seattle is switching operations and services of its waterfront from the Parks and Recreation Department to the Seattle Center Department.

The Seattle Center Department manages the public space that features the Space Needle, Seattle Center Armory, Climate Pledge Arena and the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, among other attractions. The area holds a number of large-scale events with the department in charge of programming, maintenance and public safety integrated into its core operations.

The department will now manage the Seattle Waterfront which includes the public promenade, Overlook Walk, Pier 58 and Pier 62. This is in partnership with the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects and the Friends of Waterfront Seattle organization.

The City’s public/private partnership with Friends of Waterfront Seattle includes the organization’s $110 million raised to support the redevelopment of Waterfront Park as part of a $200 million comprehensive campaign, according to the city. Friends of Waterfront will provide annual funding towards public safety, as well as continuing to be responsible to fund, program, steward and activate the park.

Waterfront Seattle’s budget for the construction totals $756 million, according to the organization’s budget overview. The City of Seattle contributed $268 million to the construction plan. The state dedicated $218 million as well.

Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis said that the city’s waterfront is a key part of revitalizing the downtown core, with the Seattle Center Department up for the task of fulfilling that goal.

“Since the 1962 World’s Fair the Seattle Center Department has been a trailblazer in the implementation and stewardship of new public spaces and structures,” Lewis said in a statement. “The new Seattle Waterfront is going to be a front porch for our city and I am thrilled that visitors and residents will be able to experience robust programming in this beautiful setting.”

The Central Waterfront Oversight Committee submitted a formal recommendation to the City of Seattle to re-assign operations to the Seattle Center Department in its 2021 annual report. The organization found that the Seattle Center Department had built a “uniquely effective culture that addresses operations holistically.”

The Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, Friends of Waterfront Seattle organization and both city departments involved jointly agreed with this recommendation.

The Waterfront Park is under construction until 2025 when it is expected to be complete.

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