What makes West Seattle livable and healthy? Facilitator Maketa Wilborn asked the question toward the start of today’s Gathering of Neighbors at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. And he gathered a group of attendees into a circle to offer one word about what they were expecting from the day’s event:
Expectations for this year would have differed from the past; some years, the community-building event included a resource fair – many local organizations and agencies holding court at tables/booths so attendees could roam to at will – but this time, it was a deeper dive into four topics and two projects. If you wanted to talk about transportation problems and solutions, you could have huddled with West Seattle Transportation Coalition leaders:
Land use, development, growth interest you more? The recently launched West Seattle Land Use Committee was recruited to head up that topic:
Public safety and crime prevention were on the docket in another room, organized by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network and including Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn:
And in a fourth room, your editor here accepted the invitation to present information about getting connected and staying informed:
We created a sort of mini-directory of West Seattle organizations and places for the occasion, as well as a one-pager about best practices when trying to get the word out about something, and will publish it here on WSB within a few days (after we add links for everything on the list!). That also was a suggestion of Gathering of Neighbors organizers – local community leaders under the umbrella VIEWS (Visualizing Increased Engagement in West Seattle) – asking presenters to make resources available, so once there are links, we’ll help get the word out about them here too.
Back to what people were saying about that sense of West Seattle pride – some samples of the written record:
(Thanks to whomever gave us the shoutout on this one!)
Before the final sessions – focusing on two city projects now in the planning stages, Fauntleroy Boulevard and the North Delridge Action Plan – facilitator Wilborn climbed a ladder in the Youngstown hallway to put up the “graphic chart” that he’d created from what had been said so far:
(He promised that’ll eventually be available via his website, too.) At the heart of all this was “showing up,” as one of the participants in our discussion put it. Whenever, however, you can show up to help move your community a little further along, you make a big difference.