King County Parks is installing solar panels and energy-efficient LED lighting in communities with historically underserved parks and existing picnic shelters. We are doing this to increase visibility and provide a greater sense of safety in low-light conditions. The exact locations would be determined based on the results of this survey and additional community feedback, as well as a solar lighting feasibility study.  However, the goal is to target park sites in historically underserved areas in South King County.

Projects like this one were selected by the Climate Equity Community Taskforce as part of their work developing the first climate justice framework for King County. Parks is developing this project in response to the Safety and Belonging Community Needs Assessment conducted from November 2021 through January 2022. Results of this report showed that lack of visibility or lighting was one factor that decreased a sense of safety for park visitors.

Through the King County Council, Economy and Climate Equity Initiative, King County Parks will be able to address lighting issues in several parks that are determined to have the greatest need.

Those parks will be determined by the following criteria:

  • Community input via this survey
  • Internal Park staff input
  • In-person public conversations in various parks during the summer of 2022
  • A solar feasibility study that will look at the efficiency of locations 
  • Budget and cost assessment

The timeline for this project is as follows:

  • Early 2022 - Mid 2023: Outreach, planning, design, and permitting
  • Late 2023 - Mid 2024: Implementation and closeout

While we don't know exactly what types of products will be chosen for the final installation, we will be assessing products for efficiency and cost. Here are a few examples of possible scenarios.

Image of solar pathway lightingImage of solar panels on a picnic shelter

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