Olmsted Parks and Boulevards Restoration Project

Updated: February 15, 2022

Spring 2022

This essential maintenance project provides funding to rehabilitate Olmsted-influenced and Olmsted-designed landscapes in Seattle's Olmsted Parks and Boulevards. The rehabilitation of cultural landscapes maintains historic character while addressing emerging or ongoing needs for use. The term "rehabilitation" defines a category of historic treatment under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (1992).

Seattle's Olmsted Parks and Boulevards began as a dream the City of Seattle had in the late 1800's for a beautiful system of landscapes among urban growth. This vision was implemented in the form of parks throughout the city designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm. The basis of design for these parks was to allow access to attractive open spaces and provide peace and respite for people from all walks of life.

Seattle Parks and Recreation used findings from the 2018 Olmsted Parks Study to select three priority sites for improvement based on maximizing improvements to the general safety and health of those in and around each site. Selected sites are Schmitz Boulevard, Magnolia Boulevard, and Lake Washington Boulevard parks -Colman Park.

Three project sites
   1. Lake Washington Boulevard parks
        • Colman Park project seeks to improve the drainage and landscape of the area near the upper bridge. 
   2. Magnolia Boulevard seeks to implement the community vision vegetation management plan for the area, bring back the historically significant Madrona trees, and address slope stabilization.
   3. Schmitz Boulevard project seeks to make permanent an informal pathway up a steep hillside for safety and to build a connection from the neighborhood to Schmitz Park Boulevard. This project is on hold to seek additional input from the community.

These three projects were prioritized for construction due to their ability to provide maximum relief to several maintenance concerns. The three sites have suffered from deferred major maintenance due to budget constraints over an extended period of time. Resulting problems have caused health, safety, and welfare concerns. These concerns include invasive plant species, hazardous large trees, erosive slopes, and poor drainage, among other concerns.

The prioritization was based upon community feedback received in early 2019. Thank you to the over 1300 people who participated in the online survey and helped us prioritize the funding allocation. View the prioritization document and survey results below.

Upon completion of these first phase projects, a second round of implementation projects will begin design and construction, again based on the 2018 Olmsted Study. The design process will address prioritizing scope elements that are included in the study to fit a reduced budget. These projects are:
   • Lake Washington Boulevard Mt. Baker Slopes
   • Lower Woodland
   • Lakeview Park (pending availability of funding)  


Study funded by the Seattle Park District


Design and construction are ongoing for this program.

Background Information/Documents

Olmsted Parks Study Report - October 2018
Olmsted Park Study Improvement Prioritization - April 10, 2019

Community Participation

The online survey is closed - Thank you to everyone who provided input through the online survey. View the survey results here.

Important Links

For more information on Seattle's Olmsted Parks visit https://www.seattleolmsted.org/