@ Alki Community Council: Alki Art Fair plan; skyscraper signs

Story and photos by Karen Berge
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Though the city budget cuts to Alki Community Center threatened the Alki Art Fair‘s future, as previously reported here, it’s expected now to continue – with volunteer power (and that means you!).

That’s one of the biggest items discussed this past Thursday night at the monthly meeting of the Alki Community Council. City Council President Richard Conlin was there too – his first of two West Seattle visits in a three-day span – as were Southwest Precinct police leaders, who discussed crime trends as well as police-staffing plans for Alki this summer. Read on for details:

First up, from SPD, were night-watch commander Lt. Alan Williams and Sgt. Joel Sweetland, who works primarily with the Alki neighborhood. They touched on recent crime trends. Of note, violent crimes have steadily decreased each year in the Alki neighborhood. As with other parts of the area, car prowls and burglaries are more problematic and have become a key area of focus; they have noticed almost immediate “cause and effect” in that two recent arrests have already decreased car prowls by 65%.

Operations Lt. Pierre Davis added that one of the key factors in the recent arrests is the involvement of the community; “Keep it up!” he urged. “Being proactive really makes a difference” as it allows the officers to respond more quickly. Sgt. Sweetland noted somewhat jokingly that calling 9-1-1 about suspicious behavior should always be the first priority…”the sighting of the murder suspect climbing out of the ravine was blogged about before the witness called 9-1-1.”

(Editor’s note: It wasn’t actually “blogged about” — a comment was posted on WSB by someone who apparently wasn’t aware of last Wednesday morning’s Fauntleroy murder until reading our story – see that comment, and the ensuing discussion, here.)

Sgt. Sweetland also updated the group about summer staffing for Alki. In past years, problems have occurred during shift changes; this year, they will have officers provide volunteer/unpaid support during those times. There will also be two, or more, officers patrolling the area on bicycles.

The officers fielded a few questions, then wrapped up by handing out business cards and encouraging residents to contact them if they can be of help.

Next, City Council President Richard Conlin packed a lot of information into his session. He began with some general information about 2010 accomplishments, then updated the group on the City Council’s 2011 priorities. These new priorities include renewed focus on the economic recovery, “Re-imagining the Community Centers” and other neighborhood services, and a renewed focus on libraries. He provided several handouts about these efforts and noted that he hopes people will provide comments and feedback throughout the public process.

He then updated attendees on the proposed skyscraper signage legislation, which is also detailed on the Council’s website (here’s what he has written about it). As well, he showed several visual renderings of the proposed changes. Some in the audience said they felt the quality made them hard to see; he then offered to post them to the website. Some of the key points about the proposed changes are that the signs will face the waterfront and therefore will change the view of the downtown skyline from West Seattle; if the signage changes are made, several other companies could install signs as well; and the company that is requesting the signs has not made the signage changes a condition of their move to Seattle.

Conlin noted that there will be a public hearing this spring, followed by a vote (tentatively set for April). Most, but not all, of the comments from attendees were negative or spectacle. One didn’t like that “we won’t be able to turn it off – we’ll continually have to look at someone’s puffery”; another noted how some signs such as the “E” at the Edgewater or the “R” from the old Rainier brewery have become iconic; another said that in places like New York, signs make it seem interesting.

Other announcements at the meeting:

· Will Winter from the Alki Community Center Advisory Council updated the group on plans for this year’s Alki Art Fair. Its future had been in doubt, since it had been overseen by paid staffing from Alki CC which has since been cut as the center moved to a “reduced-hours” status this year. But with volunteer power, the plans are moving forward, according to what Winter told the ACC. He said the event is slated for July 23rd – 24th this year, earlier than in years past. He urged everyone to get involved early and emphasized that they need volunteers, as the Parks Department will not be funding the event.

· ACC president Tony Fragada announced the status of the Alki Beacon quarterly newsletter, subject of much discussion at last month’s meeting. They plan to continue to produce a printed version as well as an online version. But members who wish to receive the printed version will need to request it; there is a checkbox on the membership form (membership fee is $20).

· As previously reported here, Celebrate Summer Streets (Alki Car-Free Day) and the West Seattle 5K will be on May 22nd this year.

The Alki Community Council meets 3rd Thursdays from 7-8:30 PM at Alki UCC (in the Church Parlor), corner of 62nd Ave & Hinds. They wrapped up this month’s meeting with a call for attendees to “bring a neighbor” to the next meeting!

4 Replies to "@ Alki Community Council: Alki Art Fair plan; skyscraper signs"

  • DW February 21, 2011 (9:03 am)

    Let them put the signs on the buildings. Bellevue has done so, with no negative impact on their skyline.

  • Chris February 21, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    Downtown is actually more anonymous without the signage. Signs would enliven the skyline imo. Our downtown is a number of 40 storey, flat topped buildings and a few that standout. A little color couldn’t hurt.

  • W February 21, 2011 (7:57 pm)

    when I look out at the city on a clear night, I don’t want to think “seattle” or “emerald city”. I’d like to have “Russell Investments” run constantly through my mind.

    It’s only fair, afterall they paid for it. Since times are so tough, I wonder what other things we might sell?
    How about the naming rights for Pike Place – we could change it to “Pemco Place”
    & the space needle could be the “Safeco Needle”

  • redblack February 21, 2011 (9:22 pm)

    if this signage is supposed to be so unobtrusive, then what good does it do? i asked the city council the same question. no responses so far.
    i suggested that they allow signage, but it can only be one color (emerald green).
    and in morse code.

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