With the unrelenting pace of development in the region, it's often difficult to remember what used to stand on a site after new development is completed. But the board of Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is preserving the local history of Seatac by creating the Neighborhood Heritage Garden. Through a public garden space, they're telling the story of the gardens and homes that once existed on the site and were relocated as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport built the third runway.
When the Port announced the Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Small Matching Grants Fund in 2016, the board of the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden submitted an application, and was one of 11 recipients of the first round of grant funding in the fall.
The Airport Small Matching Grants Program offers community members of SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines the chance to apply for up to $10,000 of Port funding to improve the local environment. Community organizations, chambers of commerce, service organizations, youth or athletic associations, or other associations located in or providing services in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines can apply for funding.
Wendy Morgan, vice president of the board of the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, said the grant is bringing the vision of the Neighborhood Heritage Garden to life. Specifically, the grant provides funds for students of Highline College’s Urban Agriculture Class to recreate the design of historic gardens in the area, including an inventory of plant and tree species from decades ago. Volunteers will also conduct research of the site’s history through interviews and public records.
The grant fosters more community involvement in a public space that people can enjoy and learn from.
Morgan said the creation of the garden is important for the community of SeaTac.
“It shows a history of what a neighborhood was like in the 1940s and 1950s,” she said. “For me it’s something that brings the community together. The goal for us of getting that grant is that it fosters more community involvement in a public space that people can enjoy and learn from.”
She also said that by investing in these community projects, the Port is showing that they are a partner in the health and wellbeing of the communities that they impact.