Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Neighbors and community leaders gathered Tuesday night at the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting to talk about neighborhood outreach, music, the local library, emergency preparedness and other topics.
COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT & ADMIRAL UCC CHURCH SITE: Hancock gave an update on efforts that have ramped up in the past 4-6 weeks to do a full “community needs assessment” of Admiral residents and business owners, the goal being to identify ways to make the area a better place to live and work. Hancock said the approach would be to do a “deep dive” survey, likely a combination of doorbelling and tabling at events along with an online survey, throughout the neighborhood including the Admiral urban village (where there is a higher percentage of renters and businesses) as well as homes across the area (see more about the neighborhood on ANA’s website and the city’s 2018 Admiral Snapshot.) Hancock said the idea was prompted by discussions with Pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom, whose Admiral Congregational UCC Church is in the midst of evaluating options for its own future as it relates to how the 27,000-square-foot property could best serve the community, as we reported from ANA’s December meeting.
ANA will be applying for a Small Sparks Fund worth up to $5,000 from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to help support their efforts. It’s a matching fund, which means ANA would need to put in certain amounts of time and money toward designated activities in order to receive the funding. Conley-Holcom and Hancock said their ideal timeframe for the survey is to potentially have it ready by mid-June, but definitely by mid-July in time for the…
HIAWATHA SUMMER CONCERTS: Stephanie Jordan, coordinator of the Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series (happening Thursday nights 6:30-8 pm from July 18 through August 22 on the east lawn of Hiawatha Community Center), gave an update. At ANA’s March meeting, 4 of the 6 artists were announced, and on Tuesday night Jordan reported that she had just updated the ANA website with the July 18 and 25 acts: Sway Wild and The Not-Its! Jordan said they are still looking for sponsors and volunteers to help support the concerts. The complete lineup is:
- 7/18: Sway Wild (featuring Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer) (YouTube) (folk rock)
- 7/25: The Not-Its! (YouTube) (“kindie rock” for the whole family)
- 8/1: Alec Shaw (YouTube) (folk rock)
- 8/8: Ranger and the Rearrangers (YouTube) (gypsy jazz)
- 8/15: The Highsteppers (YouTube) (soul and R&B)
- 8/22: Caspar Babypants (YouTube) (back by popular demand — songs for the kids and grownups, too)
ADMIRAL LIBRARY: Special guest Nancy Slote from the Seattle Public Library (pictured at right below, along with ANA secretary Delores Kannas) gave an update on SPL happenings, particularly at the West Seattle Branch (2306 42nd Ave. SW) location.
Slote, who primarily helps with library services for adults but also works with kids and teens, described the Admiral location as a “real neighborhood branch,” part of a trend of the past 20 years of places in which libraries and coffee shops have become true “third places” that complement people’s homes and workplaces. “People come in to make contact, read newspapers and magazines, and chit-chat” in neighborhood libraries in a way that doesn’t happen as frequently in larger branches like SPL’s Central Library, Slote said. She said the WS Branch is part of the area system that includes the Delridge, High Point, South Park and Southwest branch locations. She reminded attendees that the Libraries for All levy will be on the August primary ballot with the goal of increasing hours and services, as a proposed renewal of the 2012 Library Levy that restored core funding following budget cuts after the recession.
Slote added that she and her colleagues certainly appreciate their regular patrons, but also spend a lot of time talking about “the barriers that prevent people from going to the library,” such as:
- Language and culture, which involves not only ensuring that the library carries a wide selection of translated texts, but also the simple step of educating people from countries without libraries about how the concept even works, and that you “really can take things home for free.”
- The digital divide in the city, when she said is very apparent when working at a library and seeing the number of people coming in to use the computers and WiFi in the libraries. She mentioned a new SPL service in which people can check-out WiFi hotspots for their homes for up to 3 weeks, as well as efforts to teach digital literacy to seniors, kids and other groups.
- Poverty, which SPL tries to address with programs like free after-school homework help for kids, and partnering with groups like United Way to provide free snacks.
- Marginalized groups, including programs like Legendary Children with the Seattle Art Museum, and All Seattle Reads which often features books that resonate with underrepresented groups such as 2019’s The Best We Could Do set in South Vietnam.
Slote noted SPL’s efforts to continually grow and improve their collections, particularly their digital offerings through services like kanopy and hoopla, which have grown in popularity. She also mentioned the Library to Business program that we wrote about last year, and unique programs such as adult bingo, museum tickets for library patrons, concerts and more.
In response to a question from an attendee about the Admiral building, Slote said that as one of the 7 Carnegie-funded libraries in Seattle, the property is landmarked which means that the shelves on the outer walls of the building can’t be changed. She said this adds to the charm of the building, and that many patrons who move away for years came back with fond memories and say “yes, this is the library that I remember.”
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION HUB: Mary Coucoules gave an update on the upcoming disaster drill on Saturday June 1 from 9am-noon (details on the Seattle Emergency Hubs website) involving two hubs in West Seattle: Hiawatha Playfield and Morgan Junction Park (see the West Seattle Be Prepared website). The theme of the drill is “Seattle’s Fault,” simulating the aftereffects of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Volunteers are still needed, and can contact her at email@example.com.
POLICE ENGAGEMENT: Taylor Lowery, a Seattle University SPD public-safety intern at the Southwest Precinct, talked about an upcoming focus group for North Admiral residents happening Wednesday June 19 from 6-7:30 pm at the West Seattle Library. Lowery said the event will be a series of questions about safety and crime concerns, which help inform SPD.
- ANA board members announced that the group is now part of the West Seattle Timebank (see recent WSB articles about the TimeBanks founder visiting Seattle, and a successful sewing program)
- Membership coordinator Sofia Velling said ANA is talking with WS High School about possibly getting an intern to help with social media and email efforts.
- Emergency Hub exercise, Saturday June 1, 9am-noon, Hiawatha Playfield
- Admiral Adopt-A-Street, Saturday June 8, 9am-noon, WS Metropolitan Market
- Bystander Intervention Workshop (calendar listing here) this Sunday from 2-4pm at Admiral CC
ANA’s website is admiralneighborhood.org, and their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The group meets (usually) every other month, 6:30 pm, second Tuesdays, with their next meeting planned for July 9.