By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Three major topics when the Southwest District Council met Wednesday night at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, with featured guests City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Susan Oatis of Anti-Hate Alaska Junction, and Lisa Corbin of Friends of Southwest Tennis:
Tennis & More?
According to Lisa Corbin, there are 35 outdoor tennis courts in West Seattle, but proper resources for winter weather are much more limited, with just 20 indoor courts in the entire city.
Corbin’s group, Friends of Southwest Tennis, has been working to expand the area’s indoor options for the game, citing the need for more facilities to be able to introduce children to the game outside of summertime.
The group had originally begun discussions to convert the courts west of Southwest Pool/Teen Life Center into a covered, revenue-generating solution, but were told earlier this year that the property would not be made available. So now they’re pivoting.
In their search for four acres of available space to convert for their desired use, the group came across 12 acres just south of Jack Block Park along Harbor Avenue SW. Rather than moving on from the larger parcel, however, the group worked to design a plan for a broader athletic complex to potentially turn the space into a facility to serve participants in multiple sports.
Though the idea is still in very early stages, Corbin believes that with support from the West Seattle community, their proposed “West Seattle Athletic Complex” could allow residents even more sporting options that would keep them from having to potentially cross the West Seattle Bridge.
The “CEM site,” where Corbin’s group is now focusing, is expected to be the subject of a request for proposals next year, she told WSB. Her SWDC appearance was more in the FYI mode since they’re in the early stages of planning a proposal. (WSB archives reveal an unrelated sports proposal for the site a decade ago.)
Vacant Building Monitoring Program
Councilmember Herbold was invited to the meeting to discuss continuing efforts to enhance the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections’ Vacant Building Monitoring Program. A recently adopted city ordinance strengthened maintenance standards for vacant residential structures and diminished barriers to demolition of those former homes failing to meet safety code requirements.
Among the new standards are provisions for Seattle fire and police departments to initiate the take-down process for vacant houses that are frequently visited by either service due to complaint calls.
But as Herbold told SWDC attendees, identifying houses to monitor is less of an issue than finding the resources to manage the workload.
In 2017, 434 buildings received complaints, but fewer than one-quarter of those were then monitored. Currently, there are 43 buildings in the monitoring program, but at least 70 identified by either fire or police personnel as potential candidates for the program.
Efforts to shift some of the financial burden of vacant homes to their owners have been unsuccessful, as only about one-third of the fines issued are ultimately collected, according to Herbold.
“There is interest among my colleagues to pursue this,” says Herbold. “Fees are a ẗough nut to crack.¨
Anti-Hate Alaska Junction
Susan Oatis of Anti-Hate Alaska Junction introduced her group to the council, sharing its origin as a response to a rising trend in hate-based incidents in Seattle and across Washington.
The group is hoping to grow enough to offer its ¨bystander intervention” program to all local churches, schools, and organizations interested in hosting those practice sessions.
A series of meetings open to the public will be held at Admiral Congregational United Church from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on November 4, November 11, November 18, and December 2.
Also of note from last night’s meeting:
Emergency Preparedness Workshops
Cindi Barker of West Seattle Be Prepared announced that the group’s upcoming workshops on October 7 and November 3 are nearly at capacity and encouraged those interested to reserve spots as soon as possible.
The group is also hosting a “Disaster Trivia Night” next Wednesday (October 10th) at Talarico’s Pizzeria in The Junction. The event begins at 8:30 pm, with prizes for top finishers and a raffle of disaster supplies.
West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival
Lora Radford, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association, offered a reminder that community groups are able to have a free booth during the annual Harvest Festival, scheduled this year for 10 am-2 pm October 28. Interested groups can find application information on the group’s website.
The Southwest District Council, including representatives from community groups and organizations in (mostly) western West Seattle, meets first Wednesdays most months, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Juncion.