By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Highland Park Action Committee started off last night’s meeting feeling a little dissed.
The city promised new HPAC chair Gunner Scott that someone would be there to talk about the status of the possible future “RV safe lot” at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW.
As of the last information Scott had – similar to what we’ve reported recently here and here – it’s apparently on hold TFN. Scott said that was the word a few weeks ago when nearby businesses had met with the mayor’s office about their concerns, and they were told a news release would make the news official.
Still waiting on that, too.
SPD Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith, who’s provided most of the information that has been made public since the last official discussion, confirmed what Scott reported having been told, that the spaces in Ballard and Highland Park just aren’t able to hold anywhere near what had been originally envisioned. Ballard is maxed out at about 16, half what the city had expected; the West Seattle lot wouldn’t be able to hold more than 10.
And he repeated what he’d most recently said to the Alki Community Council, that the RVs currently “staged” by the entrance to city-owned property on the west side of Myers Way, south of the Joint Training Facility, are people “willing to work within the system” who have been helping with cleaning up the area, including nearby non-vehicle encampments.
HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY: Community involvement with the school has been a priority since the special 2014 forum discussing its challenges and opportunities.
Connie from the HPE PTA mentioned events ahead at and for the school, including the Pow Wow on Friday, open to the entire community, 6 pm (here’s the listing in our event calendar) – something no other local school is doing: “Please come, it’ll be fantastic.” Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center is contributing a percentage of its food-and-beverage proceeds to the HPE PTA on April 5th. And the group working on the new playground for HPE has a big event ahead – a “feast” on April 22 with chances for input. The next day, Saturday, April 23, more workshopping 8 am-4 pm about the playground, put on by Pomegranate, the design firm that’s been hired, and there will be Earth Day planting outside, 9 am-noon, then everyone will break for lunch and look at the plans.
One more HPE note – HPAC chair Scott says HPE’s principal Chris Cronas is expected at HPAC’s April meeting.
WEST DUWAMISH GREENBELT TRAILS: Craig Rankin says 7 pm April 12th is the next steering committee meeting at Puget Ridge Co-Housing – they need a lot of help. There’s another proposal they’re working with West Seattle Baseball and others to try to make it happen. Also in the realm of open space, it was noted that next month, Mary Fleck of the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition will be here to take about the Myers Way parcels and how to advocate for them. (As reported here recently, the comment deadline has been extended.)
NEIGHBORHOOD STREET FUND/PARK AND STREET FUND PROJECTS: This was a continuation of the discussion we covered at last week’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, about seeking city funds for neighborhood solutions. Watch the HPAC website for word on the projects to be proposed for the larger of the two funds, for which a deadline is ahead next month.
NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP DAY: April 30th was agreed on as a date for the neighborhood to come out and clean up. Likely 10 am-2 pm; locations TBA.
SUBCOMMITTEES: In the first of two points in the meeting where the two-dozen-plus attendees broke out into small discussions, circulating around the room, they proposed ideas for subcommittees. Among them:
-Renter outreach. Both new arrivals and lifelong renter types. Lots of apartments right nearby.
-Senior outreach, how to engage them.
-Outreach to the furthest sections of HP, such as South Delridge, including a public-health response to crime.
-Urban village components Highland Park doesn’t have (sidewalks, etc.)
-Cleaning up greenbelts, unimproved right of way, getting ivy off the trees
All were urged to think about more ideas to talk about at the May meeting
NEIGHBORHOOD HOT SPOTS: Second round of small-group list-making called for listing what needs attention, so when it’s time to apply for more grants, they have lists of possibilities. People clustered around the room and wrote their suggestions – but also gathered to chat. Scott promised to make it a running list and plans to look at it each month, “list of neighborhood needs.”
*Sidewalk issues such as drainage and overgrowth. Scott asked, “Have you contacted the city?” Answer was yes, that these issues had been reported multiple times via the Find It Fix It app, with no response/action.
*Missing sidewalk on Cloverdale between 5th and 7th – bringing this up led to an explanation from outgoing HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer that the city had said sidewalks weren’t feasible on that stretch so they created a trail. “Yeah, but cars are parking on it,” was the response.
*The Holden/Highland Park Way traffic-danger zone. “We’re going to grant-bomb them!” promised Scott. Attendees said it’s not just a matter of something needed for traffic calming such as a roundabout or stoplight, but also “a crosswalk is needed there too” because of the nearby bus stops.
*In south Highland Park/South Delridge, the Delridge/18th/Barton triangle needs more attention
*Alleys – torn up by trash trucks
*Blind spots on curves
Everyone with a concern was reminded to take photos so that they’re handy when it’s time to fight for action.
POLICE UPDATE: Lt. Smith said the Anti-Crime Team and crime-analysis officers are focusing on car prowls and suspects – “it only takes one or two people to (wreak havoc)” – and, he said, it’s skyrocketing everywhere in Seattle, not just here. Scott added that the Seattle Neighborhood Group would be at next month’s meeting with a presentation about prevention of these types of crimes.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HPAC AND HPIC? This question came up toward meeting’s end. HPAC meets AT the Highland Park Improvement Club, which also has its own board meetings. Rhonda Smith from HPIC explained that “there’s programming happening in this building” – many events and classes, and the board also deals with the facility’s future, and recently set its upcoming goals. “We hope to put in a commercial kitchen and eventually a café,” she said. Upcoming HPIC events, by the way, include the Corner Bar on April 1st featuring Baby Ketten Karaoke, the annual Highland Park Uncorked wine event on May 21st, possibly an outdoor art show in June, a sip-and-paint event, a movie night for 21+ (HPIC already hosts a popular family-movie night, at which Lauren Englund from the West Seattle Bee Garden will guest on April 15th with a “demonstration hive”), and more. Volunteers are always appreciated – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and watch hpic1919.org for info.
Highland Park Action Committee meets fourth Wednesdays, 7 pm, at HPIC – watch hpacinfo.wordpress.com for updates in the meantime!