Residents of Kirkland, Wash., have access to a new public park thanks to Google.
Google paid $3 million to transform an abandoned rail corridor into a new public space for its employees and the public that includes a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, a Crossfit/TRX fitness area, and a zip line.
Google will celebrate the opening of the space next Monday afternoon, with U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, and other local leaders on hand.
This isn’t the only benefit Kirkland residents now have because of Google. In June, the company announced a $200,000 donation to the City of Kirkland for a free WiFi network at Everest Park and Houghton Beach Park — both of which are within one mile of Google’s office. The money will support the network for three years.
Google, headquartered in Silicon Valley, first established a presence in the Seattle-area with its Kirkland outpost 10 years ago. The search giant now employs more than 1,900 people in the region, split between offices in Kirkland, Bothell and Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
In 2013, the company announced plans to add onto its Kirkland campus with the new 180,000 square foot development, which has enough room for an additional 700 employees and is adjacent to the recreation space. The new building, located a few miles from rival Microsoft’s sprawling Redmond campus, is slated to be completed this year.
Last month, Google gave the City of Seattle a $225,000 grant that allowed the Seattle Public Library to offer lendable mobile hotspots.
The company has yet to offer its high-speed Google Fiber service in Seattle — former Mayor Mike McGinn tried convincing Google to offer the service in 2010, but ultimately the Emerald City was not picked. Former City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier blamed the “Seattle Process” and bureaucracy at City Hall as roadblocks to Google Fiber.