West Seattle, Washington
9:21 AM: We’re at South Park Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre are about to announce what’s billed as “new investments to reduce barriers and increase access for residents to the City’s community center system … part of Mayor Murray’s proposed 2017 budget.”
It’s been five years now since Murray’s predecessor, Mike McGinn, came to High Point Community Center (WSB coverage here) to deliver news of big cuts and changes that left the community-center system reeling. Then in March 2014, Murray visited Hiawatha Community Center (WSB coverage here) to announce the Park District proposal, subsequently passed by voters. It included promises of funding for “Community Center rehabilitation and development.”
He begins, “I’m here to announce a series of proposals and changes that we will send to the City Council (as part of the budget process),” with funding from the Park District levy, “stabilizing our ability to fund our park system.” He says the proposals will add staff and/or hours to nine community centers, focused on “underserved” areas. Free programs and elimination of drop-in fees at certain centers will be part of the proposals. Here at South Park CC, “we propose to expand operating hour and explore innovative partnerships with the community … to develop culturally relevant programming … In the long term, Parks and Recreation will undertake a long-term planning process in 2017-2018 for the (entire system)” to find out how to “better serve” the people in the city. He also mentions performance measurement “so people can go online and be sure we are meeting the goals in the process.”
9:27 AM: The mayor then goes on to attack the “divisive rhetoric” heard from presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday and says that Trump’s proposals “would bring our state’s economy to a halt,” among other things, “if we turn away immigrants.” He then turns the podium over to Parks Superintendent Aguirre, who mentions that he himself is an immigrant. He says he has seen the need for what the mayor is proposing. And he has warm words for the 100+ employees who work in the community centers around the city each day. “This plan at its core is about equity,” Aguirre adds. He says the elimination of fees for some drop-in programs may not seem big to some, but for many families, it will be a huge improvement in accessibility. He talks about scholarships provided for the first time this year for adults as well as children, and about the importance of partnerships. “We know that every community in Seattle is going to be excited when they see this plan.” (We’re still awaiting the document with details.) He next introduces South Park community advocate Paulina Lopez, who expresses gratitude about what a difference this will make for the community.
In media Q/A, we asked about what this means in the context of the cuts made five years ago. The mayor’s reply: “Our hope is to get back to a level of service that we saw prior to the Great Recession – but that doesn’t mean the exact same programs – the question is what are the programs that this (fast-changing city) needs? We’re seeing two things that are different from a generation ago – an increasein children, and in people who are choosing to retire her. So given that we have stabilized funding, what is the best place to invest that funding? Superintendent Aguirre has spent a year evaluating how we need to reorganize our department and is now going to evaluate how we spend this additional new money.”
Superintendent Aguirre, asked what this change means for South Park CC, said “standardizing hours … (which will become) 10-8 daily Monday-Fridays, representing an increase from 40 to 65 hours that the center will be open weekly. “We’re also adding more staff – making some that’s part time, full time, and we’ve added an additional staff member.” And he said that staff will be working more closely with community members to be tuned in to their needs.
9:43 AM: The event has wrapped up. Though citywide media is here too, there’s no hard-copy news release so far, and the full list but we’ve obtained the full document to see which West Seattle-area centers are involved. No West Seattle centers are proposed for increased hours, but both Alki and Delridge are proposed for increased staffing. We’ll have a few more details as we go through the document.
10:14 AM: Here’s the full document titled “Community Center Strategic Plan.” We’re searching it for other references to West Seattle’s community centers. For one, it explains that while High Point CC might have been eligible for the equity pilot program that is proposed for South Park and four other (non-WS) centers, it wasn’t chosen because HPCC “is currently piloting other promising equity-focused initiatives, with partners such as the Seattle Housing Authority and the UW School of Public Health.” Another mention of note is Hiawatha Community Center, proposed for $1.2 million in maintenance/renovation work, following its previously announced evaluation (along with seven other centers around the city).
Though you might not feel ready for fall until after next Monday’s holiday – the new month starts right out of the box with a return to some routines, including community meetings. Here are highlights for today and tonight:
FAMILY STORY TIME: 1 pm at High Point Library, bring the preschoolers and toddlers for stories, songs, and rhymes. (35th SW/SW Raymond)
DELRIDGE GROCERY FARMSTAND: Continuing through the end of September, it’s the 4-7 pm farmstand featuring fresh-grown produce and volunteers from the Delridge Grocery Coop, next to the Delridge P-Patch.
WEST SEATTLE POKEMON GO MEETUP: Seattle App Academy (WSB sponsor) “will be hosting a Pokemon Go meetup, in everyone’s favorite place to hunt Pokemon, Lincoln Park! We will throw down lures, and host a variety of activities, so bring your Pokemon cards and your phones! We will meet by Colman Pool, on the north side of the building. Today, 4-6 pm, open to grades 3-12. Feel free to drop in! Please Note: This is a family friendly meet up in a public park. Participants may come and go as they please. SAA volunteers will be available to lead free activities, however, children that require adult supervision must attend with a parent/guardian or responsible sibling.”
2ND DESIGN REVIEW FOR PCC-SITE PROJECT: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction, the mixed-use project for the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) site in Admiral, 2749 California SW, goes back before the Southwest Design Review Board. The proposal is for 112 apartments over a new PCC store. As previewed here last Sunday, you can see the new “design packet” here; our coverage of the first review in July is here. The meeting includes a public-comment period. (SW Oregon/California SW)
NORTH HIGHLINE UNINCORPORATED COUNCIL: If you are among our unincorporated-area readers in White Center, North Shorewood, Top Hat, and vicinity, your all-volunteer community council meets tonight at 7 pm at the North Highline Fire Station in WC. The North Highline UAC‘s agenda – including a discussion of what’s in the King County “comprehensive plan” – is on the group’s website. (1243 SW 112th)
DLO3: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio brings a “unique ’60s and ’70s vintage-soul sound” to Parliament Tavern at 9 tonight. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:06 AM: Good morning!
BACK-TO-SCHOOL REMINDERS: Today is the first day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and also for Highline Public Schools in White Center and other points south. Already in session: Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon), Holy Rosary, and Seattle Lutheran. Our full list of the “early” wave of school reopenings is here. … Seattle Public Schools start classes next Wednesday; school bus drivers are out this week rehearsing their routes.
LABOR DAY PREVIEW: Announced for next Monday – West Seattle Water Taxi will be on a Sunday schedule … Washington State Ferries’ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route will be on a Sunday schedule … Metro buses will be on Sunday schedules.
8:11 AM: In comments, Trickycoolj points out that the Highland Park Way SW repaving project was NOT done by day’s end yesterday as projected by SDOT, so be aware that it’s still a factor today. We’ll be checking the area around midmorning.
8:30 AM: Trouble on the 1st Avenue South Bridge, tweets SDOT:
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 1, 2016
9:17 AM: The 1st Avenue S. Bridge crash is clear, per SDOT.