City Council Unanimously Votes to Purchase “Kirkland Segment” of Rail Corridor from Port of Seattle for $5 Million
60-day due diligence period begins
Kirkland’s vision for multi-modal transportation, pedestrian connectivity to parks and schools, and bicycle pathways has come closer to reality thanks to the Kirkland City Council unanimously voting to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the Port of Seattle for 5.75 miles of the Eastside Rail Corridor that lie within Kirkland city limits. At its special meeting on December 12, 2011, after receiving a comprehensive overview presented at a study session, public comment at the regular meeting, and discussing the proposed purchase and sale agreement, the City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an acquisition agreement with the Port of Seattle, initiating a 60-day due diligence period. Additionally, the Council adopted legislation that provides for the funding for the purchase.
Several Council Members expressed the desire to further involve the City’s Planning Commission, Transportation Commission, Park Board, and the Parks Funding Exploratory Committee (PFEC) in developing public communications about the impacts of the purchase on other City capital improvement projects. The purchase and eventual development of the portion of the Corridor within Kirkland has been a long-standing vision of the Park Board, known as the Cross Kirkland Trail Project, the Transportation Commission through its work on the Eastside Rail Corridor Interest Statement, and the Planning Commission through its work on the Lakeview and Central Houghton Neighborhood Plans.
The City Council was presented with possible funding sources to purchase and to develop the segment. Interim acquisition funding, in the form of an Interfund Loan, was approved by the adoption of Ordinance No. 4341 in the amount of $4 million from the Water/Sewer and Surface Water Utilities. The loan will be repaid by reprioritizing other capital projects or possible grant funding that may be secured. Funds to eventually develop the Kirkland Segment could include voted debt, corporate sponsorship, and state and federal grants.
The due diligence period will allow the City to review existing environmental reports, review title reports and encroachments from adjacent property owners, and review permits, leases, and easements.
In February, 2011, the City Council identified completion of due diligence for the purchase of the Kirkland Segment of the rail corridor on its 2011 Council Work Plan. In April 2011, the City Council approved an Interest Statement, which reflects the community’s desire for the corridor to serve the transportation needs of Kirkland, remain in public ownership, and contribute to economic sustainability. To view the staff memo to the Council and to watch the December 12, 2011 meeting, go to the City Council Agenda page at www.kirklandwa.gov and select or search “Watch On Demand Programming.”