North Bend City Council members voted Aug. 1 to authorize Mayor Ken Hearing to take necessary action to purchase land adjacent to E.J. Roberts Park in North Bend, in partnership with another buyer. The land, a five-acre parcel owned by the estate of Ruth Anderson, was valued at $430,000 by the King County Assessor. Through the partnership, the city has purchased half of the parcel and the other buyer purchased the other half and the home, agreeing to place a restriction on the land to prevent it from future subdivision. The city’s share of the purchase totaled $123,000.
The property, located at 709 NE 6th St., was originally listed for sale at $1.2 million, and zoned for up to 12 single-family homes. Several developers had expressed interest in the parcel, however, the development of a neighborhood would have required the new owner to also extend sewer service to the new homes, at great expense.
Leila Brett, a resident of the Silver Creek neighborhood, approached the city and Si View Metropolitan Park District about buying the parcel, and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise local funds for the purchase, but closed the campaign after 30 days, far short of her $100,000 goal.
She had hoped that the city, Si View and community members together could combine funding to purchase the land. Si View was initially on board but withdrew after determining that a park expansion in the Silver Creek neighborhood was not compatible with the district’s comprehensive plan, which instead identified greater needs in neighborhoods on the Eastern side of North Bend. Another concern was the possibility of county funding reductions next year, due to several large levies from higher-priority taxing districts on the November ballot.
Brett’s deadline for the campaign was July 13, but she said on July 11, with only about $6,000 raised, she decided to close it early, and that all donors should have been reimbursed within seven days.
“At the time, because the city is focused on fixing our roads and improving our downtown, we didn’t have funding to purchase it,” councilmember Brenden Elwood, said. “Community members asked us to acquire and preserve it and attempted to raise $100,000 for the effort. We held an emergency public hearing to discuss the topic. We jumped into action immediately and were able to work out a deal to purchase it for $123,000.”
The city then worked to partner with a buyer who agreed to purchase the home on the property and place a restrictive covenant on the remaining 2.5 acres to ensure that this land will not be subdivided. It will either be joined with the existing E.J. Roberts Park or adjacent lots. As funds become available, the land will be improved with additional walking trails.