There was a time when Smith Cove was something more than a place on Elliott Bay to store rotting fish nets and watch cruise ships mooring at Terminal 91. In fact, a rather famous skirmish took place at the cove during the Maritime Strike of 1934, when 2,000 striking longshoremen went toe-to-toe for five days with tear gas-toting police and various strikebreakers. It was called "The Battle of Smith Cove."
Later, the Navy took root at Smith Cove as some of the area supported shipbuilding and naval operations in the Pacific and Alaska during World War II. In the 1970s, the cove, under the control of the Port of Seattle, served as a part of staging point for the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.
Now, something new is afoot at the largely fallow Smith Cove, as a possible deal could be in the making that would allow the City of Seattle's Park Department to take over the land from the Port.
The arrangement, if in fact it materializes, calls for the Port to hand over a $6 million to $7 million parcel of cove real estate -- known as the "Terminal 91 West Yard" -- to the city's parks department and transform the property into a large park.
Bagshaw says much of the credit belongs to King County Councilman Larry Phillips, who was been working with all the parties in bringing them to the negotiating table.
The proposed site is just east of a city park used mainly for soccer. The reason the issue could be coming to a critical juncture is because the Port-owned property might be used for a 1.9 million-gallon underground combined sewer overflow tank for King County's Waterwater Treatment Division.