They’ve worked hard on tough issues, like a possible city jail in their own backyard, but the Highland Park Action Committee has a sense of humor too – as evidenced by their New Year’s Eve parade (WSB coverage here) and by their newly re-elected leaders’ decision to ham it up for a post-election photo last night. (From left, chair Dan Mullins, secretary Michael Shilley, vice chair Nicole Mazza, treasurer Shawn Mazza.) They were re-elected in a flash tonight – nobody else was nominated, a quick motion to re-elect them passed, applause ensued, on to other business, which included news of an important role that is getting a new face – read on:
That’s Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Adonis Topacio, who also got a round of applause tonight during the meeting in the Highland Park Improvement Club building. He told HPAC it’s his last meeting in Highland Park, because he’s moving to a CPT beat in western West Seattle (as noted in our coverage of last week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council). From hereon out, new Community Police Team Officer Jill Vanskike (new on the CPT but a longtime officer) will take over the Highland Park area.
As for the crime roundup presented by Officer Topacio tonight – he focused on graffiti-vandalism reports, including word of at least 11 incidents at Highland Park Elementary. However, he said, those incidents had not been reported to police – and “we don’t know it’s occurring, if you don’t report it.” He also mentioned a break-in at a “recreation building” in Highland Park that had “obvious signs of arson, and smoke damage on the side … someone set some plastic stuff on fire.” Chair Dan Mullins then told the story of recently having interrupted what looked like a case of gas siphoning about to happen outside his home: Officer Topacio said he hadn’t heard of that particular crime in the area in a while, but reminded everyone to call 911 when something suspicious is happening.
Numerous quick updates comprised most of the rest of the meeting:
NEW YEAR’S SUCCESS: Chair Mullins recounted highlights of the aforementioned New Year’s Eve neighborhood parade – well-attended (he estimated 75) despite the rain – followed by the fiery “rosemary comet” performance in the HPIC parking lot afterward (our report from that night has video of that as well as the parade – see it here).
JAIL IN HIGHLAND PARK? “It’s been nice not having to talk about it for the past few months … with the new mayor, county executive, city attorney, nobody is for it … but it hasn’t gone away completely yet,” Mullins said, sharing information about e-mail received earlier in the day from what’s currently known as the Northeast Cities Municipal Jail Project: The e-mail included an update on the timeline for the Environmental Impact Statement that’s the next major part of the longrunning process; it’s now expected to be made public in the second quarter of this year (see “hot info” atop this page), and that’s when a new round of public meetings will be triggered.
SPRAY PARK AT HIGHLAND PARK WADING POOL: HPAC got an update from Carolyn Stauffer, whose effort to seek Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money for the spray-park project was detailed here Tuesday night (before the meeting, she said she’d received lots of e-mail in response to that call for notes of support). Many wondered why other conversion projects were slated for more city money out of the gate than HP, like Georgetown – as Stauffer put it, theirs “is going to be fantastic, while ours is going to be like a garden hose” unless supplemental funding is found. Other discussion ensued regarding how the HP pool came to be targeted for conversion in the first place (from our coverage last year, we later found this Parks document that shines some light). Delridge Neighborhoods District Coordinator Ron Angeles asked if Stauffer had considered applying for a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant; she said that might be her next resort if the Opportunity Fund grant doesn’t come through, but she’s not trying it first because NMF requires rounding up major commitments of “matching” time and money in the neighborhood.
WESTCREST RESERVOIR PARK PROJECT: Mullins reminded the group of the next public meeting about the plan for expanding Westcrest Park onto the new acreage being created as the adjacent reservoir is covered – Saturday, February 6, 10 am-noon (more here). “We’ve got a lot of opportunity at that park,” he said. “They’re going to design it by what they hear from the public.”
FOREST STEWARDS NEEDED: Green Seattle Partnership is having an orientation March 13 for people interested in being forest stewards – Mullins says he’ll be signing up. He pointed out that every little bit of help for our greenbelts can make a difference – one area of restoration, invasives removal, etc., at a time. (Find out more about the orientation/steward program by going here – note that Westcrest and Lincoln are among the parks listed as needing help.)
DUWAMISH RIVER CLEANUP COALITION: Some of the upcoming events it’s promoting include a two-hour boat tour with members of the city’s “design community” on February 3 (tickets available here), noon-2 pm, leaving from Harbor Island Marina. (Other activities and updates: duwamishcleanup.org)
ARTS FUNDING SUPPORT: Two HPAC members will be in Olympia this morning to support two arts-funding bills making their way through the State Legislature, both involving lodging taxes. One is HB 2912 (info here), the other is SB 6661.
DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL RETREAT: Mullins will be among those attending a retreat February 20 involving members of the DNDC, which convenes reps of community and neighborhood groups from around eastern West Seattle – the area the city calls the Delridge District – each month. Ron Angeles gave HPAC an overview of the council.
ALSO FROM RON ANGELES: February 6 is Neighbor Appreciation Day, as declared by the city, with various events expected. (Among them, we noticed later on the city website, tours of all neighborhood fire stations, 11 am-3 pm – more info here.) He joined Mullins in urging participation in the Citizens’ Budget Conference coming up at Seattle Center this Sunday (as announced here January 12) – organized by the volunteers who comprise the City Neighborhood Council (which incidentally is led by West Seattleites Chas Redmond and Jim Del Ciello), though city leaders and department heads are expected to be there to listen to how citizens want to see their money spent.
BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: This is now a tradition at HPAC meetings. In the spotlight this time, White Center’s Proletariat Pizza, opened 4+ months ago by a Highland Park couple. One of them was scheduled to be at the meeting to talk about the restaurant, but had to cover for a sick employee, so vice chair Nicole Mazza talked about the business and its roots in the community, including being mentored by Full Tilt Ice Cream (WC) and Zippy’s Giant Burgers (HP), and supporting other local businesses, including FT (serving their root beer) and Big Al Brewing (serving their beer). Proletariat Pizza was served before the meeting – which is always preceded by a potluck – and a gift certificate was raffled off before the meeting ended.
(Highland Park Action Committee meets at the HP Improvement Club building the fourth Wednesday of the month, potluck 6:30 pm, meeting 7 pm.)