Prop 1 would provide significant improvements to James E. Keough Park

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Angel is waiting for the dog park
Photo by Martin DeGrazia
By Diane Hettrick

James E. Keough Park is one of the five parks on Shoreline's Prop 1 slated for major renovation.

"Significant improvements will be made at Brugger’s Bog, Hillwood, Richmond Highlands, Briarcrest (Hamlin East), and James Keough Parks."

From Vicki Stiles at the Shoreline Historical Museum:

James E. Keough Park was the dream of a neighborhood and particularly one man, James Keough.

Known as King County Park #80 and as North McCormick Neighborhood Park, in 1978 King County councilmember Tracy Owen (who served 3 terms) introduced a motion to rename the park “James Keough Park” in honor of Mr. Keough, who, in the words of the motion, “is recognized by his neighbors as having been the primary force leading to the fruition of this community park...”  

View from Google Earth
James Keough was the father of five and never missed an event involving his children / grandchildren. He loved sports and coached many youth teams, "especially his 82-0 girls' basketball team."

According to his obituary, he was "instrumental in helping to ensure a parcel of Seattle land was designated as a park for children and families rather than its original less desirable intent."

He died June 8, 2020 at his home in Edmonds.

The park is located at 2350 N 167th at the end of Meridian Park neighborhood street N 167th.

The entrance is gated with a short driveway beyond the gate leading to a cell phone tower and some unused freeway sound wall panels.

Tennis, anyone?
Photo by Martin DeGrazia

Inside there are neglected playfields - a basketball court, soccer field, and tennis court that haven't been used for so long that trees have grown in the tennis court.

A sad little playground
Photo by Martin DeGrazia

There's a very minimal piece of playground equipment.

South of N 167th the park's neighbor is the King county recycling and transfer station. The east border runs along Interstate 5. Eight residential properties border the west side. A couple of residences are to the north.

Drainage is poor so the ground is soggy with puddles in low spots, including the tennis court.
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Mostly it's just a huge brown field in summer that turns green in the fall. The drainage is poor so the field has mud and standing water when it's raining.

Plans to refurbish the park include
  • New off-leash dog park
  • Replace existing play area
  • New picnic shelter
  • New perimeter trail
  • New restroom
  • New parking
Prop 1 will be on the April 27 ballot in Shoreline.

The City estimates the annual property tax paid by the owner of a median valued home ($517,000) would be approximately $112 per year, or $9 per month. It would mean an increase of approximately $3 per month from the expiring park improvement bond.

Update: Added financial information


Unknown April 3, 2021 at 8:26 AM  

Thank you so much for sharing the history of this park. It takes it from being just a piece of land to a meaningful part of Shoreline's history. With appreciation.

johnphipps April 3, 2021 at 3:23 PM  

"The entrance is gated with a short driveway beyond the gate leading to a cell phone tower and some unused freeway sound wall panels."

I live on NE 157th Street just east of the freeway. We would love to have the unused freeway sound wall panels installed!

Anonymous April 4, 2021 at 8:09 PM  

“This proposition authorizes the City to improve and/or construct City parks, including playgrounds, an accessible play area, splashpads, multi-sports courts, walking and sensory trails, picnic shelters, off-leash dog areas, sports fields and/or other park amenities; install public art; acquire and improve new park land; issue up to $38,500,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within 20 years“

We should use that money to build affordable housing and support people in need not build new parks. This is the true definition of privilege right here. So many people are homeless, struggling with addiction or without a job. Let’s help them out!

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