North SeaTac Park is a 205-acre piece of land located between S. 128th Street on the north, S. 144th Street on the south, Des Moines Memorial Drive S. on the west, and approximately 24th Avenue S on the east. As part of a larger area of nearly 220 acres, the park is located within the City of SeaTac, on land owned by the Port of Seattle and leased to the City of SeaTac as a buffer for airport operations, including park uses. The City is responsible for managing the full property, including the Highline Botanical Garden, SeaTac Community Center, the acreage referred to as North SeaTac Park, and other sites. Much of the property is currently used for recreation activities including walking, biking, and picnicking. City-licensed activities on the property also feature sports fields, a BMX track, mountain biking, disc golf course, bicycle pump track, and a radio control race car track.
The land was formerly a neighborhood north of the airport and developed prior to the opening of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in 1947. In 1974, the Port, with grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), began purchasing the land for noise mitigation purposes. In 1994, the City of SeaTac entered into a lease agreement with Port to manage the open space and developed much the area into a park and recreational facilities. As part of a later amendment, 55 acres of the 205-acre parcel was set aside for future development to meet airport needs.
Future of the park
The City’s lease with the Port ends in 2070. There are no current proposals by the Port to develop property in North SeaTac Park.
The Port and City of SeaTac are conducting discussions regarding the future of the park property. The City of SeaTac and Port of Seattle are committed to finding solutions together to address the long-term health and wellness of the park. In August 2022, Port of Seattle Commission President Ryan Calkins and City of SeaTac Mayor Jake Simpson issued this joint statement:
“For the past several weeks, representatives from the Port of Seattle Commission and the City of SeaTac have met to discuss our shared vision for the future of North SeaTac Park. As leaders of the Joint Advisory Committee, a partnership between the Port of Seattle and the City of SeaTac, we are in complete agreement that we need to work together to figure out a plan for the long-term health and wellness of the park that the Port of Seattle leases to the City of SeaTac. Parks and green spaces matter to our community’s quality of life. We share each other’s commitment to protecting parks and green spaces and echo each other’s commitment to finding solutions together."
Removal from SAMP review
In 2021, Port staff submitted the draft federal environmental assessment (EA) for the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) to the FAA for its review. The EA’s screening of alternatives included the proposed surface parking lot in North SeaTac Park (project name: L06) and considered alternate ways to meet future employee parking needs. In that draft document set, Port environmental staff made the recommendation that the L06 project be removed from further consideration and that different alternatives be explored.
The FAA concurred with our analysis and issued a notification that L06 is removed from further consideration.
Port staff made this recommendation based on:
- environmental concerns identified in public comments submitted during the scoping process in 2018-2019;
- staff’s determination that L06 was not the best path forward from an environmental perspective; and
- the availability of an environmentally preferable alternative identified when preparing the draft federal EA
- L06 was one of more than 30 projects being studied during the environmental review for the SAMP. The remainder of the draft EA is still subject to FAA review and public comment
Please read this statement for further details.