Since we’ve been keeping an eye on WS this whole year, our 2006 WSYIR will be way meatier than our 2005 WSYIR, which was our 13th post (viewed on 1/1/06 by a grand total of 0 visitors, since this blog had existed, fanfarelessly, for all of eight days at that point).
Enough about us. Here they are, the year’s top 10 WS “stories” (as we see ’em, anyway):
#10: VIADUCT? OR WHAT? Not physically in West Seattle, but this stretch of roadway is a major part of commuting life for many of us, so the ongoing dithering on the issue makes our WSB 2006 Top Ten (and is likely to repeat next year, since that governor-mandated vote may be only months away).
#9: MEGA-MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENTS INCH TOWARD REALITY. In February, the developers for Fauntleroy Place, one of the MMU’s in the works near The Junction, announced they’d bring in Whole Foods Market. The rumors continued to swirl around the 4200 Admiral project. Groundbreakings for any of these projects are shoo-ins for the ’07 Top Ten.
#8: CHIEF SEALTH RECRUITING SCANDAL. As this played out — starting with a newspaper expose — by July, the girls’ basketball team’s titles had been taken away.
#7: TEARDOWNS ON A TEAR. Check the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin twice a week, and you’ll see that each edition features at least one WS parcel with old houses going down and condos/townhomes going up. Projects that caught our eye during the year included Bayberry south of M-Junction and NoMo north of MJ.
#6: ALKI CHANGES. The ex-Alki Market finally got a tenant, with Cactus opening at summer’s end. A bit to the east, the former Point/Lighthouse/Chez Million restaurant became Coyotes on Alki. And Lady Liberty went on sabbatical in July.
#5: RELIGION REVELATIONS. Lots of changes in the world of West Seattle churches, most notably the arrival of Seattle’s Gen-Y-targeting megachurch Mars Hill, still meeting at Sealth HS till its renovations at ex-Doxa are done. Also notable, the ouster of Holy Rosary’s longtime pastor; the sale/resale of Gatewood Baptist, moving to Westwood in the new year with a new name; and a new home for the Skate Church.
#4: DANGER ON THE ROAD. Major crashes put West Seattle in the citywide/regional news time and time again during 2006, including the WS Bridge crash in June that killed 3 and closed the bridge for hours, two Alki double-fatal crashes (in April and September), the 35th SW crash that killed bicyclist Susanne Scaringi (still memorialized at the site with a “ghost bicycle”) and the 47th/Admiral crash that killed City Councilman’s chief of staff Tatsuo Nakata and triggered a new debate on pedestrian safety.
#3: SCHOOL SQUABBLING. West Seattle schools were in the spotlight during this year’s edition of the school-closure controversy. When months of dustups finally ended, and the superintendent had given notice, Pathfinder was staying put at Genesee Hill, Cooper was staying in place, but Fairmount Park was still closing, with its program “merging into” High Point.
#2: WIND WALLOP ’06. Still fresh in our memories since it was just weeks ago, but West Seattle got hit especially hard by the pounding rain that hit the night of Dec. 14 and the wild wind that followed hours later. Many parts of WS lost power for days; the Upper Fauntleroy sinkhole lingers, and there’s damage elsewhere yet to be fixed, from flooding to fallen trees. Here’s hoping for fairer weather in ’07.
#1: JUNCTION BUSINESS BOOM. This is by far the biggest thing that happened in West Seattle during ’06. So much has changed, and at least from the perspective of an outsider looking in, it seems mostly, if not all, for the better. In retail, new specialty entrepreneurs like Divina, Clementine, Swee Swee Paperie, and Georgia Blu have opened their doors, and some regional franchises have moved in too (such as Super Supplements in the ex-Urban Fitness space). In food/beverages, Talarico’s turned the New Luck Toy site into an adults-only pizzeria/bar; Cupcake Royale took over the ex-Ben & Jerry’s corner; Bakery Nouveau replaced Remo Borracchini; and Garlic Jim’s declared its intentions for the space vacated by First Mutual Bank when it opened its new standalone outlet to the north (that wasn’t the only banking change, with Viking Bank transforming the former Burger King/Dave’s eyesore into a lovely branch). And let’s not slight the existing businesses; looked like a good year for many of them too (aside from the disruption of the repaving project), demonstrated in particular when the post-windstorm power outages managed to spare The Junction, and many of us powerless refugees from elsewhere flocked to enjoy the food, fun, and warmth. Plus, the businessfolk in The Junction enhanced community life many times during the year, with events including Sidewalk Cinema movies, the Art Walk, and the Tree Lighting.
What did we miss? Feel free to tell us (and the WS world) with a comment on this post, or send us e-mail. And here’s to a spectacular 2007 for West Seattle!