Bruce Stotler stands on his deck overlooking Schmitz Preserve Park.
“It's my own little den,” Stotler explained, “Very comforting, very peaceful.”
At 72 years old, he worries what will become of his beloved property when he's gone.
It's a modest home, but would likely go for top dollar in Seattle's real estate market.
But it's not about money for Stotler. It never has been.
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“I’d have a hard time living with myself if I allowed this house to be torn down and a megahouse built here,” Stotler said. “If you build a megahouse here, no one else will ever get to see that.”
That's why he is willing to sell his home to the city for half of what it's worth - just $225,000.
As part of the deal, it would eventually become part of the 53-acre park. He also gets to live in the home until he dies or until he chooses to move.
He spoke in front of the city council ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
"Thank you for allowing me to fulfill my dream of making the property part of the park,” Stotler said.
The proposal is more than three years in the making. It was concocted with the help of former city Councilman Tom Rasmussen.
“Just as we appreciate and benefit from the generosity of the Schmitz family over 100 years ago to donate their property and become Schmitz Park, future generations are also going to be thankful,” Rasmussen said.
The council approved the plan unanimously.
KIRO 7 spoke to Stotler, who was emotional after the vote.
“I did it because it’s the right thing to do and yes, I am emotional about it because I love the park,” Stotler added. “I feel since I’ve lived here for 38 years, since September 1980, that I am part of the park.”
He hopes the city will consider putting in an access trail here so more people will be able to enjoy the park.
He also hopes others will follow his example and add to the park as well.
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