The night started with a full house, and then some, at Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill, full of people supporting one (or more) of the 15 projects that made the list of finalists for Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money – and a few that didn’t (the committee is free to change the list before making its final recommendations). Listening to the pitches: The levy’s Oversight Committee, citizen volunteers including three West Seattleites: Bruce Bentley, Pete Spalding of Pigeon Point, who as vice chairman is running the hearing (he’s in the white hat), and Cindi Barker of Morgan Junction:
The first West Seattle representatives to speak as part of the hearing included five speakers supporting Puget Ridge Edible Park – part of a delegation that appeared to number about a dozen – seeking a little over half a million dollars to acquire a “homestead” property in northeastern West Seattle, telling the committee about the neighborhood’s involvement and determination. One of the strong community voices for PREP, Stu Hennessey, talked about its ties to the watershed for Puget Creek and the Duwamish River, and how it would cleanse water bound for those waterways, also promising, “We will be producing a lot of food on this land.” Also noted: The project’s proximity to South Seattle Community College, which is starting a permaculture program, and would use PREP as a “demonstration park” for students and other community members. (video added later) Steve Richmond also talked about an envisioned partnership for PREP:
Later in the hearing, the committee heard from Carolyn Stauffer of Highland Park, on behalf of the HP Spray Park proposal that she spearheaded: (video added later)
As she told the committee – with an entourage of supporters surrounding her – this is already a “named project” for Parks and Green Spaces Levy money, but as a bare-bones spray feature (replacing the existing HP wading pool) – if the half-million-dollar request is granted, not only will the park be more fun, but it will save more than 2 million gallons of water per year. (She is one of two people who have spoken about it so far.)
The committee also has heard from passionate supporters of projects around the city – perhaps the biggest contingent represented Friends of Lewis Park on Beacon Hill, all armed with little yellow signs; one group advocated for Jimi Hendrix Park, while others talked about a project proposed for the neighborhood of the iconic Fremont Troll.
If you weren’t able to make it to this hearing (which looks to have at least another half-hour to go – we have some video to add when we get back to HQ), you can still comment on the projects until November 17th; the committee is scheduled to make its final recommendations to Parks leadership on December 6.