Help design the White Center Ponds to create a safe place for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.
Tell us your ideas!
Our design team is attending community meetings and events throughout White Center. Do you have a meeting you would like us to come to? Please invite us!
- Create a place everyone in the community can enjoy and feel safe.
- Improve safety and enhance pedestrian access.
- Increase recreation opportunities and access to green space.
Opportunities to let us know what you think
- Design workshop (Date TBD)
- King County Engagement Hub survey (survey closed)
The goal of this project is to redesign White Center Ponds so that it is a place that community members want to go to and everyone feels safe in. The project will also:
- Increase the size of the ponds so they can hold more stormwater and will stay wet year-round,
- Improve water quality of stormwater leaving the site,
- Reduce neighborhood flooding,
- Improve safety and public amenities in this natural area.
We are relying on input from you and your neighbors to tell us what you think is the best way to do this. Sign up to hear about opportunities for public input on this project.
White Center Ponds are located just east of downtown White Center and immediately west of Greenbridge. The site stretches from Southwest Roxbury Street to Southwest 100th Street and between 11th and 12th Avenue Southwest.
The White Center Ponds are a wetland and a stormwater pond facility designed to collect and clean rainwater. By collecting the water after it has run off roads and pavements, pollutants have time to settle out to the bottom of the pond where it can be removed by maintenance crews. Plants growing around the ponds draw pollutants and excess nutrients up into their roots. Plants that grow in the water also trap sticky things like oil and grease and prevent them from washing downstream. This cleaner water then drains into Mallard Lake and Hicklin Lake in Dick Thurnau Park before heading into Salmon Creek and out into Puget Sound.
What's the problem?
White Center is becoming more developed. When more streets, sidewalks and buildings are added that means there is less soil and plants available to absorb rain. Rainwater instead flows over roads and sidewalks and through storm drains into stormwater ponds. Too much stormwater can flood neighborhood streets and lead to polluted streams and lakes.
Water quality downstream at Hicklin Lake (Lake Hicks) has been poor for years. Toxic algae blooms have led to frequent lake closures and the lake has suffered from high concentrations of phosphorus and bacteria (fecal coliform). Although prior water treatments with alum have had some success, high pollution concentrations have continued to be an issue. This means it is often not safe to swim in, is dangerous for pets, and it isn’t providing good quality habitat for birds or other animals.
The White Center Ponds are a public natural area but many people avoid the area because of safety concerns. The area is very dark at night. The dense vegetation is hard to see through and provides cover for camping especially when the ponds dry out in the summer. The King County Sheriff’s Office is often called to the area in and around the ponds due to illegal activities.
Trail along west side of White Center Ponds.
What changes will happen with the redesign?
The redesigned ponds will contain water year-round and the plants will be easier to see through. The project team is considering adding lighting so the area feels safer at night and also adding other features to encourage more community use. Do you have ideas for how we can improve the area around the ponds? See “We want to hear from you” below.
- What would it take for you to feel safe in White Center Ponds?
- What could we add or change that would make you excited about going to White Center Ponds?
- Is there anything about the current White Center Ponds that you would want us to keep the same?
This redesign project will make the ponds bigger which will allow them to store more water. The result will be less neighborhood flooding during heavy rainstorms. Bigger ponds also allow stormwater more time to settle in the ponds. This will help remove pollutants and allow water to be absorbed by plants. This means cleaner water flowing into Hicklin Lake, Salmon Creek and Puget Sound.
Digging out the ponds to make them bigger will mean that some of the existing shrubs and trees will need to be removed. The new design will prioritize leaving existing large trees wherever possible. Some of these large trees will be preserved on islands in the middle of the ponds. It will look much like the redesigned pond that is located just south of this project between Southwest 100th and Southwest 102nd streets. Native plants will be installed after construction to provide habitat to insects, birds and other animals.
Open space on the north end of the site, looking northeast from 12th Avenue Southwest.
|Feasibility Study completed||December 2020|
|Gather community input||Through May 2022|
|Design phase completion||Early 2024|
|Construction target||Summer 2024|
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