Though the scheduled guest from the Southwest Precinct was a last-minute scratch, Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting featured a lively discussion of questions for the group to consider, and observations about the city’s new open-to-all process for spending more than $2 million on community-proposed park/street projects. About 20 people were at The Sanctuary at Admiral to talk, listen, and consider:
YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: Past president David Whiting, who co-chairs the Southwest District Council, noted that the SWDC did not meet this month but that its former role reviewing Park and Street Fund proposals has morphed into the Your Voice, Your Choice process (now in the second phase, choosing projects to be voted on). So instead of an SWDC recap, this is what he told the ANA about.
Whiting said that last week he went to the first open meeting for anyone from City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) interested in being part of the “development team,” which he said had broken into groups quickly. Everyone had tablets with the map of proposals (embedded above), he said, and were asked to decide if projects were feasible, needed by the community, had a social-equity component. Participants were provided with SDOT maps showing areas with crashes. He noted that all four project meetings are in south West Seattle – the first and second have already been held, and there are two more (next one Tuesday, March 21st). Participants are being asked to winnow the list – 211 in this area – to 8 to 10. It was pointed out that the proposals really weren’t vetted before this phase – one suggestion, for example, was to replace the relatively new traffic signal at 47th and Admiral with a flashing beacon. Each project can cost no more than $90,000; citywide, there’s about $2 million to spend.
Another attendee said he had gone too and found the process “unrealistic,” asking people to judge suggestions with little information, time, or community context. “There were too many projects – the winnowing-down process wasn’t clear enough – they never had an example for us on how to judge this, and we got an hour and a half to look at like 50 projects. You weren’t working on your own community, either” – his table was “working on South Park” though he had shown up in hopes of advocating for crosswalks on Admiral Way. “What I came away with was, the needs are so great out there – a lot are very much in-need projects, like in South Park, we want some crosswalks and gutters. … I came away from it very discouraged, feeling the projects should have been winnowed down within the community.”
Whiting said he too wound up working with proposals from outside the area with which he was familiar.
The group talked a bit more about what’s suggested in this area – crosswalks, in particular.
And another attendee said that while the city certainly has to see how this new process turns out, it’s important for those participating to track it too, for feedback purposes at least.
There could be a good side effect, one person said, if this processes surfaces so many needs that the city realizes there need to be more ways to fill them.
“What they’ve done is removed it from the community councils, and I think that’s a terrible mistake,” said one person.
Whatever happens after this year’s process – which will send projects to a vote in June – you can still get involved in helping cut down the list; here’s how.
DESIGN REVIEW FOR 2715 CALIFORNIA SW: An attendee wanted to make sure that everyone knew the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting for this proposed mixed-use project is coming up tonight (Thursday, March 16th, as reported here), 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon). He pointed out that the number of people who show up matters – “if nobody shows up, they think nobody cares.”
HALA UPZONING: Should ANA draft a collective response and send it to the city during the ongoing comment period on the proposed upzoning for Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda? One attendee who had participated at Admiral’s Community Design Workshop in February (WSB coverage here) said that the issues seemed to be the same for most communities. She also noted that the facilitator of her small group had told them they couldn’t say “no” to anything and she wondered if that was a way for the city to be able to say “look, (X Community) is excited and can’t wait for this!” Dedicating an upcoming meeting to response and updates was suggested and ANA president Larry Wymer pronounced that to be a good idea.
EXPAND ADMIRAL NA’S AREA? Residents of an area east of Admiral – 34th, 35th, Manning, edging toward Luna Park – plan to attend a future meeting with a formal proposal to have their area “formally brought into” ANA’s jurisdiction. About 60 people live in that area, one attendee explained, and the discussion began between Block Watch members. Past president Whiting suggested that if interested, committed people are interested in becoming part of the group, there couldn’t possibly be a downside. Bylaws say the boundary expansion has to be presented at a meeting and then voted on at another, so this will be discussed again next month.
SUMMER CONCERTS AT HIAWATHA: Organizers are working on choosing performers for this year’s series of six free Thursday night concerts on the lawn outside Hiawatha Community Center; Dave Weitzel, who has helped with sponsorships in recent years, says Umpqua Bank is signed on as a gold sponsor (WSB has been a sponsor every year and is continuing this year).
CHANGE THE MEETING SCHEDULE? It comes up at almost every ANA meeting – should the group meet less often? Every other month? Quarterly? One of its relatively new board members, secretary John Noonan, said the problem might not be the meeting frequency so much as the format/intent – “the meeting is generating efforts for this group to act on as a group.” When projects come up, people could become point persons, and report back to the group, generating interest, he said. “I feel the issue is in generating what the group is going to work on.” On the other hand, fewer meetings would give people more time to participate in such projects, suggested Weitzel. Another attendee who described himself as relatively new asked about active subgroups – none really beyond the Summer Concerts project, he was told. Discussion meandered from there – the group currently meets 10 times a year, and its current bylaws require at least 9.
MEETING TOPIC IDEAS? If you have any to suggest, you’re invited to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENTS AHEAD: The March 22nd grand reopening for the Admiral Theater was mentioned (here’s the announcement we published) … So was the March 30th grand opening for the new restaurant Arthur’s, on which we followed up by interviewing its co-proprietors on Wednesday.
The Admiral Neighborhood Association welcomes all with an interest in the neighborhood – living there, working there, etc. – and meets second Tuesdays, 7 pm, at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander).