Olympic Sculpture Park

Photo credit: Benjamin Benschneider

In 1998, TPL, in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), stepped in to purchase the last undeveloped piece of downtown Seattle, a 7.3-acre former oil tank farm zoned for development as hotels and condominiums. TPL and SAM proposed a very different plan: redeveloping the site as a park that would showcase great art and outdoor conservation, and effectively double the amount of open space in Belltown, the city's densest and fastest-growing neighborhood.

The team worked quickly to secure an option on the land, but faced the task of raising the $17 million purchase price from private and public funds in only six months. Thanks to key investments by state legislators through Washington's Wildlife and Recreation Program as well as from generous private donors, the partnership stayed strong through the next eight years as the team worked to ensure the brownfield site met environmental standards, and raised money for the design and build of the park. In January 2007, the Seattle Art Museum opened the Olympic Sculpture Park, which showcases world-class art, innovative park design, habitat restoration, and breath-taking views—all together in a stunning public space open to all.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.