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Waterfront Park Project Receives New Contributions Including $4 Million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Downtown sculpture park

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Chris Rogers
Trust for Public Land
Phone: 206.587.2447

SEATTLE -- A plan to create a waterfront sculpture park in downtown Seattle received a significant boost today as several new contributions totaling $7.1 million moved fundraising efforts past the $12 million mark.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations announced a gift of $4 million for the creation of the downtown sculpture park, which is a joint effort by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and the Trust For Public Land (TPL). Additionally, TPL and SAM announced other major contributions to the project including:

Airborne Express

Robert Arnold

Concord Development Group (including residents of the Concord)

Joshua Green Foundation

Dick & Betty Hedreen

Microsoft Corporation

Moseley Reed Families

Nesholm Family Foundation

Norcliffe Foundation

Sam & Gladys Rubenstein

Seattle Foundation

Kayla Skinner

Bagley & Virginia Wright

"We see the sculpture park as one of the most important projects in our community," said William H. Gates Sr., director of the William H. Gates Foundation. "We are pleased to be able to contribute to move it closer to becoming a reality."

With today's contributions, project officials have raised more than $12.1 million towards their July 9th goal of $17 million, the cost to acquire the Unocal property. TPL and SAM have until that date, to commit to the purchase of the six-acre site, which is currently owned by Unocal.

"These contributions represent a powerful commitment to enriching public life and helping preserve precious urban land," said Chris Rogers of the Trust for Public Land. Rogers also expressed hope that this new downtown park will respond to the need for more open space in downtown Seattle, an area that currently has fewer parks per resident than any other area of the city.

"By acquiring and transforming this former industrial site into a magnificent park, we are creating a legacy for future generations of Northwesterners," Rogers continued.

The proposed sculpture park would adjoin Myrtle Edwards Park, which would double in size as a result. The former industrial site will be restored to a more natural state with significantly improved waterfront access. SAM will own and manage the site, and use the space to display works from its existing and future collection of outdoor sculpture.

"We are very optimistic that we will raise the funds necessary to get this project off the drawing board," said Mimi Gates, director of the Seattle Art Museum. "We are particularly encouraged by the activity in recent weeks, and are currently involved in discussions with other community members who are interested in helping realize this vision."

Including acquisition costs of approximately $17 million, project officials estimate the overall project budget to be $37 million for site restoration, improvements such as pedestrian bridges and a parking facility, as well as endowment.

SAM's chairman of the board of trustees, Richard Cooley, called today's gifts "visionary" and praised the "generosity of these individuals who are helping to create a spectacular and important new landmark for our community."

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