Spraypark construction, school partnerships, Delridge paving, more @ 2-in-1 meeting in Highland Park

At Highland Park Improvement Club last night, two meetings in one – the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council and Highland Park Action Committee together.

DNDC chair Mat McBride led the meeting. He pronounced it “very exciting” since, as he said, there’s been talk of “cross-pollinating” neighborhood councils. Among the topics:

HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK, AND ART NEARBY: In about two weeks, Burien-based TF Sahli Construction will start construction of the long-awaited Highland Park Spraypark. We confirmed that today with Seattle Parks project manager Kelly Goold, who couldn’t be at last night’s meeting but sent the info with the team that came to talk about a proposed art project next to the spraypark.

Artist Leo Berk came to talk about that with Kelly Pajek from the city’s Public Art program. This project was chosen to get a “1 percent for art” feature – coming specifically from that fund, not out of the spraypark-project budget.

Berk’s proposal involves the WPA-era building adjacent to the spraypark-to-be; he found it “super awesome and cool” and studied architecture in the neighborhood, researching the details of Tudor architecture, which the house seemed to resemble. He plans to transform its exterior, including a Corian exterior that will be graffiti-resistant, and “monuments to windows” where it would have windows if it were being used. Some renderings were shown; we’ll be pursuing electronic copies. From the presentation, the top image is how the building looks now, the second how it might look.

Renovation of the building itself is not part of the park project, but it was stressed that nothing about the art aspect would affect the building’s usability or its ability to be renovated in the future. Details are still being worked on.

DELRIDGE REPAVING UPDATE: SDOT‘s LeAnne Nelson was back in the area for another update on the big, imminent project, which will now repave Delridge from Orchard to Roxbury (as a result of the contract award, reported here).

It’ll be mostly concrete, and it’ll include new drainage, she recapped. She reviewed previously publicized information about the project’s phases and detours, and SDOT’s commitment to keep northbound traffic flowing (southbound will be detoured).

By mid-December, Nelson said, she hopes to have information on what order the phases will be done in, and exactly what the detouring will be. She brought the answers to some questions that had emerged at her most-recent briefing (at the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting earlier this month – WSB coverage here) – including, how will families be notified if school-transportation routes are affected? Answer – district notification. Also, she said, Metro will be out next month doing test runs to figure out the best detour routes. The project will move south to north, starting in January, and lasting much of the year.

She also mentioned that some traffic-calming features on 24th SW between Thistle and Trenton will be going in, and the fact that 21st SW and 26th SW Greenways are both now officially on the drawing board (as shown in this presentation from the recent Delridge Greenway open house – 26th SW for 2013, 21st for 2014).

Since Nelson had included some information beyond the scope of the paving project, that inspired some attendee questions – such as, what about traffic-safety measures near Boren, currently home to West Seattle STEM Elementary? She didn’t know but promised to get information.

As her presentation and Q/A ended, McBride reminded everyone that banding together as blocks/neighborhoods during the planning process of projects is the best way to have a say.

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ CARMELA DELLINO: The combined group heard from the executive director of SPS’s schools in the Southwest Region (West Seattle/South Park). She lauded those on hand for the eastern West Seattle-led volunteer recognition – and got almost choked up talking about her four years as principal of Roxhill Elementary. As for her current job, “It’s a really fancy title meaning I’m just here to serve” the schools in the southwest region – which means “I”m serving the community – that’s what schools are, they are communities,” she said. And the community is what makes things happen, she said, echoing what McBride had said moments earlier. How do we merge our schools better with our communities? she wondered aloud, then noting she had spent the day at a consortium with other districts’ reps from around the region regarding birth-to-third-grade education. She said it inspired the idea of finding out “who are all the providers” in the area and collaborating with them so that when kids come to school for kindergarten, it’s not a sudden shift – it’s a continuum. She hopes to hear from providers in the Southwest Region, she said, before inviting Q/A/ideas about a partnership with the community and schools.

Highland Park’s Mike Shilley suggested bringing schoolchildren to HPIC, so that it’s not only hosting people from the immediate neighborhood.

Fellow HP’er Cheri Christensen mentioned that the wider community should know what’s going on at HP Elementary, everything from performing arts to multicultural nights.

North Delridge’s Patrick Baer wondered about the future of Boren, currently home to the STEM school, saying he considers it unfortunate that it’s a temporary home for various schools, instead of something permanent that “would help bring community to Delridge.” He believes it is kept as temporary housing because Delridge has no clout.

Also from North Delridge, Mike Dady said he also believes that the lack of a neighborhood school is a challenge to community-building in Delridge, since a school so often is the place where community members come together, where events are held – and with schools coming in and out of Boren every few years, “we lack that glue.”

Dellino suggested that concern should and would be shared with assistant superintendent for facilities Pegi McEvoy and with family-engagement specialist Bernardo Ruiz. “Maybe we can talk about … how we can build stronger partnerships with the (permanent) schools we do have in the meantime,” she said.

McBride, switching “hats” to speak as rep from the Camp Long Advisory Council, suggested CL could be better utilized by schools. Dellino said she thought that was a great idea and asked for a price list. Piggybacking on that was CL’s Sheila Brown (who noted she was also a former teacher), saying she wants to see how environmental education in West Seattle “can bring new elements of the community together.” She’s hoping to organize a forum on that, including state and community leadership as well as schools, to talk about how to help kids learn about the environment “and what would it take to be sustainable for the future.” Dellino thought that could play into the fact that science education needs to improve – and maybe somehow HPIC as a facility could tie into it.

At that point, HPIC and HPAC’s Julie Schickling pointed out that a raingarden project in conjunction with Sustainable Seattle would be starting soon and that could perhaps play into it too.

Dellino promised she would go back to district HQ and talk about a “beautiful community and beautiful space … that wants to get more involved.” And schools are for involvement with community members regardless of whether they are parents or have ever been parents, she stressed.

DEALING WITH VACANT HOUSES: In light of recent fires in Highland Park involving vacant/nuisance houses, North Delridge’s Dady was asked to talk about the effort he led x years ago to get some of that area’s nuisance houses taken care of. He said some of the city’s rules have changed since then, making it easier to address some situations, such as houses that can now be demolished without one being planned to take its place; he had advice about using the city’s website to find information from Client Assistance Memos #601, #605, #608 – “they provide really good layperson’s knowledge around what’s not supposed to be allowed at these properties and what’s supposed to be taking place.” His organization of a walking tour with not only elected officials but also department heads – Dady said their involvement is critical – was hailed by McBride as yet another example of “the power of a citizen and an engaged community.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS: A batch from HPIC president Rhonda Smith – December 5th is the Highland Park Improvement Club tree trimming, December 7th will be their holiday edition of the monthly “Corner Bar” (all ages – “a super-fun time to bring your friends and your kids”), December 8th is the HPIC holiday bazaar (which is “completely full,” it was announced, though vendors are still hoping for space!), this month’s Movie Night will be a double bill of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (original) and “The Christmas Story,” and December 31st brings back the Not-So-Silent-Night Parade and “sage comet” (“actually rosemary,” Rhonda confessed) with a special edition of the Corner Bar for New Year’s Eve. No charge ever, “just bring your good energy and have a good time,” she invited everybody. … McBride noted that the City Neighborhood Council is looking for people to get involved with its Transportation Subcommittee – “open to all,” and the meetings are the last Monday of each month, 6:30-8:30 pm at City Hall downtown. He also noted that next month’s DNDC meeting – likely on December 19th – will be a holiday potluck celebration.

Gathering of Neighbors and Delridge Day are both in the works for next year, McBride mentioned. And he talked about the Roxhill Castle community playground build (grand opening December 22nd!) that he helped organize a few weeks back, and how a city grant for which they applied had factored into it – especially to get more tools that after the project went on to the West Seattle Tool Library – “enough, literally, to build your own park!”

Delridge Neighborhoods District Council usually meets on third Wednesdays at 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, while Highland Park Action Committee usually meets fourth Wednesdays at 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club.

3 Replies to "Spraypark construction, school partnerships, Delridge paving, more @ 2-in-1 meeting in Highland Park"

  • miws November 30, 2012 (10:17 am)

    I think the proposed possible future look for that building is super awesome and cool! ;-)



  • Cclarue November 30, 2012 (1:11 pm)

    I love what the artist is doing here!! Keeping it “period” and making the building more attractive and adding elements that are going to make the clean up easier if it is tagged. I love that he did not use the budget to create something pretty but not useful. This face lift to the building is awesome use of those art dollars!!!! Thank you Leo Berk!!!!!

  • Mike December 1, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    I agree with the two prior postings, and was pleased with the presentation by the artist. His concept honors the past and brings it up a few notches without bastardizing the buildings simple lines. Knowing that the proposal does not preclude the building being brought entirely back to life is another major plus. I hope it makes it through without radical change the remaining steps in the process towards approval.

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