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Northlake Community Wharf Feasibility Study Report

February 24, 2011

The pursuit of a community resource at the north end of Lake Union began with the need to address a crisis in the preservation and interpretation of maritime heritage in Seattle and the surrounding area. Two of the three fundamental issues facing maritime heritage, as reported in the 2005 Maritime Heritage Task Force Report, are the identification of potential sites for long-term display and workplace moorage for large historic vessels and the identification of community support; a broadbased coalition of business, tourism, and cultural entities.

The Task Force identified The Center for Wooden Boats [CWB] as a potential leader in the discovery of remedies for these issues. Since then, CWB has managed the feasibility study of Northlake Community Wharf – a proposed site located at the north end of Lake Union that would serve the dual purpose of housing large National Historic Landmark vessels for both display and maintenance and acting as a center of community waterfront activity – inviting the public to be a part of history and to participate in the legacy that is Seattle maritime.

With guidance from a Steering Committee that includes representatives from Wallingford, Fremont, heritage organizations and other stakeholders, significant outreach was conducted to assess support for the project and to provide an opportuinty for local communities and heritage vessel owners to shape the design of the potential site.

The Vision: Turn a neglected public shoreline into a civic resource.

The Plan: Engage neighbors and improve the site, then activate with programs.

The Gap: Despite significant effort and broad community support, site control continues to be the main challenge.

This feasibility study supports the recommendations of the Seattle/King County Task Force on Maritime Heritage, as well as many other community initiatives, and is meant to act as both documentation of work to date as well as a guide to future efforts relating to the proposed designation of a community resource at the edge of North Lake Union.

– Betsy Davis
Executive Director, The Center for Wooden Boats

Download the Feasibility Report


1: Community Letters of Support

2: County and City Council Resolutions

3. Results of Historic Ships Survey

4. Results of Design Charettes

5. Brochures and Collateral about Northlake Community Wharf

6. CWB’s Capital Campaign – Case Statement

7. Grant applications

8. Cost scoping

9. Programming

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