Mayor calls for Chihuly, KEXP, and a playground at Seattle Center

Dec 15, 2010

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has given his approval for a Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit to replace the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, plus a new home for radio station KEXP and a children’s playground.  

He says the mix is critical to build up the Seattle Center despite the city’s budget struggles. 

His announcement aims to appease several of the competing interests that have been duking it out for the Fun Forest space. 

“Our goals were to make Seattle Center more vibrant, more music and art, more visitors," McGinn says.  "We want to make it more kid friendly and we want to make it financially stable, too.”     

That means the Chihuly exhibit would get its choice spot underneath the Space Needle.  The project has drawn opposition for being another private business at the Center, but it doesn’t require any public funding. 

It won't knock KEXP out of the plan, either.  The radio station will raise its own money to move into the Northwest Rooms.  The station also committed to promoting Seattle Center to its radio and online audiences.

The Center would also get new playground under McGinn's proposal.  The owners of the Space Needle have pledged $2 million to build and maintain one near Memorial Stadium

The plan does dash the hopes of several other proposals, at least for now.  McGinn says ideas such as a Native American cultural center and a multi-purpose green space weren’t developed enough, but he says he’ll keep working with them on future possibilities.

The plan now goes to the city council for approval.