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New $45 million gift looks to help transform northern Waterfront

The Elliott Bay Connections project will bring a new bike path to Alaskan Way and upgrades to Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks.

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Designs for upgrades to Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Park will fall into sharper focus once the community weighs in.

Rendering via Walker Macy

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It’s certainly a good couple of years to be Seattle’s Waterfront.

While construction continues on the main Waterfront area between Pioneer Square and Pier 62, a new $45 million gift from Melinda French Gates, Mackenzie Scott, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, and Expedia Group is paving the way for even more upgrades just north of the market.

The Elliott Bay Connections project will look to build a protected greenway along the east side of Alaskan Way between Piers 62 and 70, while upgrading Centennial and Myrtle Edwards Parks.

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) has been tabbed to lead the program and plans to start public outreach later this fall. The ultimate goal is to have everything completed for the World Cup in 2026.

Here’s what’s coming down the tracks.

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The green labels indicate which sections of the waterfront area the Elliott Bay Connections project will overtake.

Map via Walter Macy

The new digs

In addition to the greenway that will add two and a half acres of public space, proposed upgrades in the Elliott Bay Connections project include:

  • Restoration of Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks’ beaches and lawns
  • New restrooms, lighting, seating, landscaping, play areas, and picnic tables
  • Upgrades to public fishing areas at Pier 86
  • Improved pedestrian crossings along Alaskan Way (namely the awkward intersection at Alaskan Way and Broad Street)

Waterfront project differences?

If you’re having trouble telling the two Waterfront projects apart, the Elliott Bay Connections’ funding and the entity in charge are key. The entirety of this project will be privately funded, so no taxpayer money will be used. Meanwhile, the other Waterfront project is organized by a nonprofit and has its own board.

What’s next?

DSA will be reaching out to Seattle residents in the coming months to get feedback on what kind of features we’d all like to see in the parks. The design phase will also take place in 2024, so stay tuned for more details.

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