Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, located within the Seattle metropolitan area. One of the most recently incorporated cities in the county, its population was 101,030 at the 2020 census, up from 89,306 in 2010. Federal Way is the tenth-largest city in Washington and the fifth-largest in King County.
Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called "Federal Way" in 1929. The name derived from Federal Highway U.S. 99 (now State Route 99 or Pacific Highway South), which ran from Everett and Seattle to Tacoma. The name "Federal Way" was first used in 1929 when five existing schools consolidated operations into School District #210 and planned construction of Federal Way High School, which opened in 1930 and gave its name to the school district. The local chamber of commerce adopted the name in the early 1950s.
Attempts to incorporate the city were voted down in 1971, 1981 and 1985. The voters eventually approved incorporation as a city on February 28, 1990; the official act of incorporation was held at the Sportsworld Lanes bowling complex.
Until 2014, Federal Way was home to Weyerhaeuser, the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the world. Weyerhaeuser had opened much of its land in Federal Way to the public, including two botanical gardens: the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, and the Pacific Bonsai Museum. In 2014, the company announced it would vacate its Federal Way headquarters. City leaders have suggested promoting the location as a potential community college. Federal Way is also home to the US headquarters of World Vision International.
Other attractions in the city include the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic-size swimming pool which has been used for the 1990 Goodwill Games and 2012 US Olympic Swim & Dive Trials. Celebration Park includes sports fields, a playground, and wooded trails. The city has also developed many lakefront and neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and trails.
The 40-acre (16 ha) PowellsWood Garden, known for its outstanding structural plantings and perennial borders, is located off South Dash Point Road. This land, on a portion of the Cold Creek ravine, was purchased by Monte and Diane Powell in 1993 in order to preserve green space in an increasingly urbanized area.
Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, the largest amusement park in the region, opened in 1977 on the south side of the city. It is the Seattle area's only permanent amusement park. Six Flags purchased Wild Waves in December 2000. However, after low sales, Six Flags sold the park in April 2007 to Parc Management LLC of Jacksonville, Florida, for $31.75 million.
Federal Way is locally identified by its 1990s semi-urban development, characterized by landscaped off-street multi-structure apartment complexes and shopping centers. The Commons at Federal Way, the city's only indoor shopping mall, is located on South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South (State Route 99) near the city's main Interstate 5 exit.
Parks and Recreation
- Steel Lake Park – located on S 312th Street east of Pacific Hwy S; large lakefront area with picnic areas, playground, and boat launch.
- Celebration Park – on 11th Avenue S just south of S 324th Street; with sports fields and wooded trails, and Independence Day fireworks.
- Dash Point State Park – 53rd Avenue SW & SW Dash Point Road; the only developed waterfront park located within the city, including hiking trails and campground.
- West Hylebos Wetlands Park – at S 348th Street and 4th Avenue S, with hiking trails through wetlands. The park also features two iconic buildings: the nearby Barker Cabin built in 1883, which is the city's oldest known building, and the 22 by 22 ft (6.7 by 6.7 m) Denny Cabin, which was once located west of present-day Seattle Center. The Denny Cabin was built by David Denny in 1889 as a real-estate office and was made from trees cut down on Queen Anne Hill.
- Dumas Bay Centre Park – on SW Dash Point Road; includes a beach, picnic area and walking trail
- Lakota Park – on SW Dash Point Road; includes baseball field, softball field, football field and 440 yard running track
- Saghalie Park – at 19th Avenue SW; includes basketball court, 440-yard track, children's playground, soccer and football field, sand volleyball, tennis courts and baseball courts
- The BPA Trail extends from the entrance to Celebration Park west to approximately 18th Avenue SW, then south to the Pierce County border. The trail is paved and lies under the Bonneville Power Administration electricity transmission line.
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