The Friends of Smith Cove Park (FoSCP) was formed in 2015 to initiate a community-developed plan for Smith Cove Park. Creation of a new waterfront park at lower Smith Cove Park was an opportunity not to be missed. The Berger Partnership, a landscape architect and urban design firm was selected (by FoSCP) to complete this conceptual design. The Berger Partnership “. . . take(s) (their) role of stewards of the environment seriously and continuously strive(s) to achieve balance between program (people) and site (nature).” The entire conceptual design process met with exceptional community support; especially from the supporters of athletic fields and the beach volleyball supporters.

In 2016, Seattle Parks accepted the conceptual design from FoSCP, began the construction process and selected GGN (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol), a landscape architecture firm. GGN “. . . works to express hidden histories and repair connections in the landscape.” Seattle Parks will likely hold public meetings to acquaint Smith Cove Park supporters with the harsh reality of funding versus construction costs (tentatively scheduled summer/fall 2016).

Seattle Parks is supportive of the potential for multiple stages of construction at Smith Cove Park; only this first stage is funded. Research for additional grants and funding sources is ongoing.

FoSCP’s goal is the completion of all elements of the conceptual design for Smith Cove Park! Both residents and visitors will enjoy this signature park on Elliott Bay with views of Seattle and Mt. Rainier!!

Steering Committee Biographies

  • Carol Burton
  • Bruce carter
  • Susan Casey
  • Stephen deforest
  • don harper
  • katherine idziorek
  • brian kaloper
  • carla kotila
  • roy kuroiwa
  • dennis lewarch
  • tom tanner
  • alex johnston

Carol Burton

Magnolia Community Council; Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council; Neighborhood Matching Fund advisory committee; Green Seattle Partnership forest steward; Friends of Magnolia Manor Park steering committee; retired community college instructor after teaching biology and botany for 30 years; resident of Magnolia for 14 years.


The Smith Cove Park Steering Committee meets on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7PM. These meetings are open to the public. Please email at info@seattlesmithcovepark.org for meeting location.


Historical Perspective by Bruce Carter

The Smith Cove location between Queen Anne and Magnolia is an integral part of Seattle history. In 1852, Dr. Henry Smith, Magnolia’s first resident, staked his claim on this cove that bears his name. In 1893, the Great Northern Railroad commenced service from Seattle to St. Paul, Minnesota, with its freight terminus located on the piers now known as Terminal 91. The Asian silk trade flourished as the silk ships arrived at Smith Cove and their cargoes were whisked off to eastern markets in an early railroad land bridge.

During 1934, Smith Cove was the site of a longshoremen’s strike in which two longshoremen were killed.

With the onset of World War II, the entire terminal and the uplands became committed to The U.S. Navy’s military shipping which continued through the Korean and Viet Nam wars. 1970 found the Port of Seattle acquiring the terminals and passing commuters soon saw a mass migration of imported Nissan vehicles from arriving ship to railcars.

In 2003, the Navy was selling the property west of 23rd West, north of Marina Place and south of the Magnolia Bridge together with the property at the top of the bridge currently known as the Ursula Judkins Park. The purchase by Seattle Parks was made with certain 2000 Seattle Parks Pro levy funding combined with County mitigation funds from the West Point Sewage Treatment plant. The present playfield west of 23rd West was acquired and developed into youth soccer fields.

The rectangular beachfront area east of 23rd West and south of the Magnolia Bridge, commonly known as the West Yard, became a focus of the Queen Anne and Magnolia Community Councils which continued to advocate for development of this beachfront parcel into a park.

When the King County Waste Treatment Division sought to obtain the northwest corner of the West Yard for a Combined Sewer Overflow facility, there was a renewed call for a West Yard Park facility from the Queen Anne Community Council, Magnolia Community Council, the Uptown Alliance and the 19-member Magnolia Queen Anne District Council. The local neighborhoods and the region in general were then fortunate that Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and King County Councilmember Larry Phillips together with then Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton were able to arrange for the Port to sell King County the northwest portion of the West Yard required for the CSO and sell Seattle Parks and Recreation the remainder with financial support from City and County sources. The Parks purchase was celebrated on May 30, 2013 on the site with King County Executive Dow Constantine and then-Mayor Mike McGinn joining Sally Bagshaw, Larry Phillips Gael Tarleton, community leaders, and Parks and County WTD leaders.

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