The Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s every-other-month meeting last night at Admiral Congregational Church was one of the best-attended neighborhood-council meetings we’ve seen in a while. Maybe that was because of its marquee topic – the church’s potential redevelopment – but that wasn’t the only interesting part of the agenda. Here’s how it went:
SURVEY-RESULTS SNEAK PEEK: The ANA’s community survey brought in 269 responses and the results are being analyzed. President David Hancock offered a sneak peek: In response to a question about what services/improvements people would like to see in Admiral, “improved transit” topped the list. What would people contribute time/expertise to? Top answer: Greenspace maintenance/improvement. What topics would people like to learn about at a community meeting? Top answer: Local history. What would encourage people to come to a meeting? The chance to speak with local elected officials. Look for the full results early next year.
SOUTHWEST PRECINCT: A four-person delegation was there – Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner, Community Police Team Officers Will Kohn and Nic Plemel, and Seattle University intern Taylor Lowery.
The officers answered questions, including what to do if someone is sleeping in your business’s doorway:
Answer – sign a business trespass contract so police can get people to move along without having to contact you for your permission. If someone is there when you open for the day, up to you whether you want to tell them to move along yourself, or call 911. Is that much of a problem? someone asked. Officer Plemel said the Admiral Theater‘s old ticket booth had been home to a camper for a while. What about someone sleeping in the lobby of a condo building? Call 911. But keep in mind it’s a “Priority 3” call so if there are more serious incidents happening, the response may not be immediate.
There was some discussion of how a 911 call will/should go – we’ve covered many such discussions over the years, including this one earlier in the year with a 911 center manager. Also, they had reminders about taking social media with a grain of salt – and if someone talks about a crime, verify that they’ve reported it, otherwise police have no idea it happened.
A variety of categories of crime stats were detailed – mostly down. Overall calls for service in the Admiral area are down 9.5%, while incidents seen by officers -“on view” are up more than 25%. Auto thefts totaled 100 through this time last year – but this year are down to 62. Robbery is the one category that’s running at the same level as last year.
(In a side discussion springboarding from the recent case of police gunfire in the Admiral District, the CPT officers noted that they check WSB daily because “if the community’s concerned about it, it’s going to wind up on our desk.” Unlike membership-only social media, we are visible to all. They were asked if there were any updates on that incident, and the officers said there aren’t; it remains under investigation.)
One more community concern: What about people hanging out at Hamilton Viewpoint and street racing?
Officer Kohn said that they’ve staked out the area – and invariably nothing happens, or a call of trouble comes in so they’ve had to head out for something higher priority. And they reaffirmed – don’t call the nonemergency line. It goes to the same calltakers anyway – so call and let them decide. The only slamdunk nonemergency report are crimes that have already happened with no evidence, like you wake up and find out your car’s been broken into (you can file that report online).
Lowery reminded everyone to take the Public Safety Survey, open for two more weeks.
CHURCH PROJECT: Admiral UCC’s pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom gave a presentation a lot like the one from his own community meeting one month ago (WSB coverage here). He had a sharper head-end focus on the church’s role in the community, detailing its “preaching and teaching” – including anti-racism work – and “public actions for justice and mercy.” The church also is a “welcoming home for recovery communities,” from alcoholics to drug users to sex addicts to underearners. “We know that these services are necessary – they literally keep people alive,” so they charge lower-than-market rate for room rentals. Then there’s “education strategies for living our values,” including bystander intervenion, dealing with gender issue, and “facilitat(ing) accessible community arts/theater/music.” He also is a volunteer chaplain/Bible Study leader at two nearby senior-care facilities. The church even provides restrooms for Metro bus drivers, and it is host to A Child Becomes Preschool (WSB sponsor).
But “the reality is that our income has been decreasing over time” while their expenses have been staying about the same. They’re about five years away from running out of money. Their most-recent budget was $20,000 in the red. So “doing nothing is not an option” – the church wants a sustainable future, and is trying to figure out how to get there. Rev. Conley-Holcom showed the same potential “massing” (size/shape, NOT proposed appearance) concepts shown last month.
He stressed that this is a concept to “start us thinking.” Two buildings on the 27,000+-sf site could include both affordable – maybe for seniors? – and market-rate apartments. The pastor has been meeting with a variety of nonprofits to look for synergies. Going it alone is not an option, as that kind of project would come with an eight-digit price tag. They’re talking to developers including nonprofit housing providers such as LIHI, he said. If no one wants to partner, then the congregation might have to decide whether to sell part of its property to at least finance a new building, as theirs is not going to last much longer.
In Q&A, he was asked about a rumor that Alki UCC might join forces with Admiral, as it was pondering its own future. Just a rumor, the pastor said; then a member of that congregation spoke up from the gallery and said that it was only now starting small-group discussions about its future.
Where would the groups that meet at Admiral UCC go during a redevelopment project, and where would the church hold services? Rev. Conley-Holcom said they’re already talking to potential alternative sites.
One neighbor spoke about her concerns of densifying the neighborhood, while another one said she was fully supportive of the church’s vision. “I’m pumped about this!” the pastor concluded, while also noting the eventual decision is not his – it’s the congregation’s decision to make. And it’ll be sooner rather than later – he expects a partnership to be settled on “in the next four months.
Questions/comments? Reach out to the pastor – here’s his contact info.
OTHER NOTES: ANA’s officers were re-elected for another year … Admiral will join the West Seattle Art Walk in January, with five to 10 businesses ready to go, some as far south as the California/Charlestown business node.
NEXT ANA MEETING: Tentatively set for January 14th – watch for an announcement when that’s a lot closer.