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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

City Council Hears Call for Pier Historic District

I made a brief presentation to the Seattle City Council yesterday in support of the Department of Planning and Development's Central Waterfront Concept Plan, their grand vision for the post-viaduct waterfront. I spoke on behalf of the Association of King County Historical Organizations, and I expressed support for the plan's provisions that call for the creation of a city landmark district around piers 54 to 59 on the waterfront. My remarks to the council also called for creation of a National Historic District as a further step. Two other historic district supporters also spoke.

Council reaction to the city landmark district proposal was very positive, although discussion was limited. They are focused on the transportation aspect of the plan, but those who mentioned preservation clearly recognized that retaining the historic character of the wooden piers is vital to the vision of a walkable, "vibrant" central waterfront experience. A member of the city planning commission also remarked on the need for an "authentic" waterfront experience that includes the wooden piers.

The next steps include giving permission to the city bureaucracy to make more detailed plans. That should come in the next few weeks. The city is already conducting a survey of the piers and surrounding properties in preparation for recommendations to the city landmarks commission. My guess is that concrete action on an historic district designation won't happen until sometime next year.

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