Meeting facilitator Tamsen Spengler (of MOCA and SWDC) answers a question as Mat McBride (North Delridge) and Eric Iwamato (Westwood, Roxhill, Arbor Heights) examine meeting materials.
Photo and story by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The first meeting of the District 1 Community Network, the new West Seattle/South Park supergroup that we wrote about on WSB last month, convened on Wednesday night at South Park Community Center.
Leaders from neighborhoods up and down the West Seattle peninsula were present — in fact, the tagline “Doing better things for the peninsula” was mentioned repeatedly during the meeting, as a sort of shared vision for focusing on issues that matter most to the collection of neighborhoods in West Seattle.
The group had agreed to meet on a regular basis with a new rotating facilitator for each meeting. At the helm for Wednesday’s meeting was Tamsen Spengler of MOCA and the SW District Council.
Spengler kicked off the meeting by leading a discussion regarding general “ground rules” for how the group’s meetings will be coordinated, followed by a review of ideas and key objectives previously discussed at a smaller gathering of leaders last November.
Alex Clardy from the office of Councilmember Lisa Herbold clarified for the group that departments typically submit their budgets to the mayor’s office by the end of April, then the mayor shares the overall proposed budget in September. Meeting attendees agreed that, as ideas are discussed, it is crucial to keep these overall dates in mind.
The group then discussed various ideas as Amanda Sawyer of the Junction Neighborhood Organization and SW District Council kept notes, as the ideas coalesced around three key projects:
- Engagement. Attendees agreed that although they had a good feel for the issues that matter most to their neighbors, getting people involved and actively sharing feedback and priorities is crucial. There was agreement to create an electronic community survey in 2019, to collect neighbors’ input and priorities. Representatives from Herbold’s office committed to help with the distribution and awareness of the surveys, to get an optimal number of responses.
- Grant Education. Leaders in attendance talked about that challenge of not only securing and obtaining grant money to fund important neighborhood initiatives, but also the ongoing work to ensure that neighbors are aware of the available sources of funding, the deadlines involved, and the grant money that has successfully been awarded already. Cindi Barker of the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs suggested that leaders go back and take a closer look at their respective neighborhood plans to look for ideas to pursue for grant money. Leaders agreed that there could be value in having the D1 group create a “master electronic calendar” of grant schedules to clearly illustrate the variety of options (city, county, state, etc) and the deadlines and processes associated with each. The calendar could contain, among other information, details like these shared in the meeting by Alex Clardy based largely on correspondence between Councilmember Herbold and constituents:
Possible Funded Projects:
- 61st Ave SW speeding between SW Admiral Way and Beach Drive
- Beach Drive speeding, 6300 block
- 37th & Kenyon, traffic circle
- Speed bumps in 9600 block of Fauntleroy Way SW
- Sidewalks on Brandon St nbetween Delridge and 30th (Neighborhood Street Fund, submitted in 2019)
- Speed bumps on 36th (near Barton), and possible turn arrow lights at 35th & Barton
Different Grant Sources:
- Your Voice, Your Choice: “Idea Collection” January 28 – February 22
- Project Development March 18 – April 12 to narrow the list to 8-10 project ideas per Council District. Voting will take place from July 1 – July 31.
- Neighborhood Matching Fund. Application deadlines typically in late March, late June, and early September.
- Neighborhood Street Fund: 3-year funding cycles. This has already been closed, but there will be a community sorting and prioritization process.
- Budget. Closely tied into the area of grant money is the overall importance of keeping neighbors aware and involved with the various budgeting processes that impact their area. Leaders in the meeting agreed that coordinating events, forums and communications to help achieve budget education and transparency would be an objective worth focusing on, to help neighbors learn about the impact of various initiatives that they may not otherwise be tracking.
The group determined subcommittees and action items for the top three initiatives, and agreed to provide updates at the next meeting.
Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, provided an update on tracking and storing documents for the group.
Attendees agreed that meeting monthly would be a good initial goal, perhaps on “first Thursdays of the month,” and set the next meeting for Thursday, February 7 (venue TBD).