The Commons: A Time Line

1911: World-renowned planner/engineer Virgil Bogue proposes a sweeping plan for Seattle, including a broad boulevard lined with trees and monuments, running from downtown to Lake Union.

1912: Voters reject Bogue plan.

1991: - In a series of columns, Seattle Times columnist John Hinterberger promotes a large park and boulevard from Westlake Center to Lake Union. - The nonprofit Committee for the Seattle Commons forms to pursue Hinterberger's idea. Its agenda expands to include redevelopment of surrounding neighborhoods and solving the long-standing "Mercer Mess" traffic bottleneck.

1992: - An anonymous donor - later identified as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - lends the Commons committee $20 million to begin buying land for a park. Allen later lends another $6 million. - Mike Foley, whose family owns two city blocks in the park path, meets with Commons director Joel Horn to learn about the plan and immediately declares opposition. He and a handful of other business owners in the area begin tracking the proposal through public hearings and City Council meetings. - The Commons committee unveils a draft plan for an 85-acre park, surrounded by a redeveloped residential/commercial neighborhood with homes for 15,000.

1993: - The Commons committee unveils a second draft plan, this one for a 74-acre park. - The Commons concept is endorsed by Mayor Norm Rice and the Seattle City Council. - City planners begin to review the Commons plan.

1994: - The City Council earmarks $7 million for low-income housing in the Commons area. - City and Commons committee studies predict redevelopment will increase tax revenue while also increasing city expenses. - Rice proposes a new South Lake Union Plan, including a 61-acre park, area-wide rezoning, transportation improvements (including Mercer Street) and provisions for affordable housing.

1995: - The previously rejected $320 million Seattle school-construction levy is approved; Commons backers play prominent roles in the campaign. - Foes organize Seattle Commons Opponents Committee (SCOPE). - Rice unveils a slightly modified South Lake Union Plan and calls for a public vote. - The Seattle City Council agrees to place a $100 million Commons levy on the ballot. Hours before the 9-0 vote, council members decide to add $11 million for ball fields in other neighborhoods.

Next Tuesday: Seattle voters decide on the project.

WHAT'S NEXT if voters approve the levy

1996: The city of Seattle begins buying property, relocating businesses, clearing the park area. Property taxes on a $150,000 house increase an average of $48.12 per year for eight years to pay off the Commons levy.

2000: - Commons park dedication. - The City Council expects to issue $25 million in bonds (not requiring voter approval) to pay additional Commons-related costs.

2003-2004: Commons park scheduled for completion.

2015: By this year, projections say, a redeveloped South Lake Union neighborhood is supporting 13,000 new residents and 17,000 new jobs.

2025: The Commons is projected to have spurred $2.3 billion in private development over the preceding 30 years.