On September 28, 1995, in a 6 p.m. ceremony, the U.S. Navy bids farewell to its Sand Point base. The base is to become surplus federal property and transferred to the City of Seattle, which plans to add much or all of it to the existing Warren G. Magnuson Park.
The Sand Point Naval Station Puget Sound, formerly the Sand Point Naval Air Station, had been slowly making the transition to public open space since 1970, when the federal government announced it would vacate the air strip at the site. The air strip had seen the landings of the likes of Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post. The Army's first round-the-world air flight had begun and ended there. It was also an important reconditioning site for World War II aircraft.
Part of the land declared surplus in 1970 (100 acres) became the Western Headquarters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while the remaining 195.6 acres was converted into Warren G. Magnuson Park, named after the former U.S. senator. After disputes over whether to continue aviation at the site, the park opened May 29, 1977, sans airstrip.
Even after the naval ceremony, details about the transfer remained to be worked out. The Navy needed to release an environmental impact statement and the City needed to work out final details of an agreement with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, which had filed a claim on the land, before taking control of the property.
Many squabbles over everything from run-free areas for dogs to ball fields to housing for the homeless lay ahead before the 151-acre property could be converted to public use.