Heartening to see new faces at both neighborhood-group meetings covered tonight by Team WSB, after our exhortation-let as the week began … Our first report: The Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting, at Admiral Congregational Church. Turnout was about double the average crowd – up to about 20 in the room at one point – most there to hear the latest on a proposal for improvements at California Place, the mini-park adjacent to the church – and new developments were revealed, as well as other agenda items, all ahead:
That’s California Place, a triangle on the northwest corner of California/Hill (map). A neighbors’ group led by Manuela Slye, who runs nearby Cometa Playschool, has been pursuing park improvements that might include a “natural playscape,” incorporating features such as logs, water, and rocks, but no structured play equipment. Slye first presented the proposal at last June’s ANA meeting (WSB coverage here), and the group has had several public meetings in the meantime, as well as an “ice-cream social” in the park and doorbelling, but several residents on hand tonight said they’d only recently found out about the proposal. (Another reason to stay in close touch with your neighborhood association — as we’ve said before — that’s where you’ll get first word of proposals like this.)
Slye wasn’t at the meeting, but the park-improvement proponents were represented by her husband Matthew Slye and area resident Ann Limbaugh, who presented the newest information on the project, which recently received a city grant of $15,000 matching funds to get design work under way (WSB coverage here).
-The piece of land the neighbors originally focused on, an empty triangle to the southwest at Ferry/Hill (map), may be back in the picture – with help from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Limbaugh says, it’s being transferred from the city Transportation Department to the city Parks Department.
-Park-project supporters are working with Urban Sparks as their fiscal sponsor (the same group that assisted the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza Committee during its fundraising phase), which means the nonprofit group they team with to process donations etc.
-Limbaugh said SDOT analyzed the area in response to safety concerns about the park area; she said the city committed to a crosswalk across California on the north side of Hill as well as speed-limit reminders, though Admiral neighborhood activist Dennis Ross later said he had spoken with SDOT neighborhood liaison Jim Curtin and that no improvements were a “done deal”
-The Parks Department plans to lead a community “visioning” meeting about the project before plunging ahead into the design phase facilitated by the $15,000 grant the group has received; a date is TENTATIVELY set for November 6th at Hiawatha, watch californiaplacepark.org (and WSB, of course) for final word
After Limbaugh’s update, some discussion ensued with those in attendance who were opposed to or concerned about changes at the park. Much of it centered around repeated contentions that they hadn’t heard about the proposal until very recently. Ross said city Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher had assured him that when the community meets to discuss the project, one option will be leaving it “as is.” Consensus seemed to be that the “visioning” meeting will be vital for determining what, if anything, happens to the space (or potentially to the changing-hands triangle nearby), and all options remain in play. With that, most of the people who had come for the park discussion got up and left, though ANA president Mark Wainwright had suggested earlier that it would be great to have at least some of them join the group to help deal with other issues too.
Also discussed by the Admiral Neighborhood Association tonight:
ADMIRAL SAFEWAY PROJECT: Wainwright recapped the recent “early design guidance” meeting for the project (WSB coverage here), including the Design Review Board‘s request that Safeway work up more distinct options for the site and return for a second EDG meeting – no date set for that yet.
TOWNHOUSE DESIGN: ANA member Brandon Nicholson recapped the presentation he had given on behalf of CORA (Congress of Residential Architects) Northwest at City Councilmember Sally Clark‘s so-called “ugly townhouses” forum back in June (WSB coverage here). That event was followed a few weeks later by proposed changes in the “multifamily code (zoning)” incorporating many of the CORA suggestions (WSB coverage here), and Nicholson (as we reported last weekend) is now working with the city on developing new design-review procedures as part of it. He said the process of discussing and finalizing the multi-family changes should play out over the next half-year or so; meantime, he and other CORA Northwest architects are making the rounds of neighborhood groups citywide in hopes their presentation on townhouse design will help provide context and background for discussion of the changes.
ADOPT-A-STREET: Wainwright pitched for more help at the next ANA Adopt-A-Street event, observing that the last one had only a handful of participants, but there are benefits for those who join in, including free treats. Next one is likely to be in December; watch for an announcement of the date.
OFFICER ELECTION: That’s planned at the next ANA meeting, November 11th.
The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets most months on the 2nd Tuesday, 7 pm, basement meeting room at Admiral Church. You can also sign up for its mailing list by going here.