The City of Des Moines on Wednesday (Dec. 9, 2020) announced that it recently received a grant award of $1.89 million from the King County Conservation Futures (CFT) program for the purchase of two parcels adjacent to Midway Park in the Pacific Ridge neighborhood.

Midway Park is undergoing significant expansion and improvement, and the new grant builds on previous expansion efforts. In 2019, the City purchased the first two of four parcels adjacent to the park, with funds provided by a CFT grant. This funding was one of the first match waiver proposals approved by King County, resulting in full funding for the purchase.

Here’s more from the city:

The new grant of $1.89 million will be utilized to purchase the last two of the four parcels. No City matching funds are required, the grant will pay in full for the properties. Existing residential structures will be removed to create more open park space, and the City is also able to offer grant-funded financial relocation assistance to current occupants.

The CFT match waiver program funds projects that provide open space in the most under- served parts of the county, where “past history of inequities, discrimination, injustices, and limited regional investment is evident today.” Providing a match waiver is intended to help “eliminate disparities in access to public open spaces and trails in communities with the greatest and most acute needs.” (King County Land Conservation Advisory Group, Final Report)

You may also have seen the improvements occurring at the park this summer. The Seattle Sounders FC’s charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, along with the Seattle Storm, partnered with Symetra Life Insurance Company and the City to support and improve equitable access to safe, fun physical activity for youth by renovating the court at Midway Park into a new soccer mini pitch and basketball court.

As part of this project, Highline Schools held a virtual class for Midway Elementary children to produce the art for the hoops/goals, involving the youth of the local community in the project. An online skills clinic hosted by the City was also held in this summer, with free balls in advance and instruction provided by the Sounders/Storm.

The active park area refurbishment is complete including the new court for soccer and basketball, artwork, garbage containers, picnic tables and benches. The court at Midway Park is free to all, and the Sounders and Storm have also pledged ongoing programming at Midway Park and nearby Midway Elementary.

The City is extremely pleased to be able to serve our all of our community with parks and open spaces, including the Pacific Ridge area which is one of our most diverse neighborhoods, and where many residents face economic challenges and health disparities.

The City’s Police Chief, Ken Thomas stated, “I am very excited for this opportunity to expand Midway Park in the Pacific Ridge neighborhood. This will provide for enhanced opportunities for residents to enjoy this outstanding park while also serving to provide a safe place for our youth to productively spend their free time.”

It takes a cooperative effort for a project like this to come to fruition. Thank you to the Des Moines City Council and other elected officials including the King County Council and Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, the King County CFT program committee and staff, the RAVE Foundation, Seattle Sounders, Seattle Storm, Symetra, Rotary, Reach Out Des Moines, Highline Schools, City staff, and area residents for partnering to make this park expansion and renovation happen.

Together, the park improvements and expansion will provide a safe place for area youth to play, increase open space equity, open sight lines to 28th Avenue S, and completely transform Midway Park.