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The year behind and the year ahead at Department of Neighborhoods: Committee Recap

The highlight of yesterday’s Parks and Neighborhoods committee meeting was the Director’s Report from Department of Neighborhoods (DON), the first one we’ve heard this year.

Children’s Tibetan Language and Culture Class, supported by a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant.

DON oversees a wide array of programs, including the following:

In committee, we got an update on each of these areas.

Public Outreach and Engagement

In 2012, 23 trained public outreach and engagement liaisons (POELs) from 12 historically underrepresented groups involved more than 750 community members in the eight projects from various City departments:

  1. Neighborhood Plan Updates for Rainier Beach and Haller Lake, Bitter Lake, and Broadview (Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and DON).
  2. Growing Healthy Communities (Office of Sustainability and Environment).
  3. Chinatown/ID Alternate Feeder Program (Seattle City Light).
  4. Electronic-based Permit Process (DPD).
  5. Shared Multi-Cultural Community Center (DPD and DON).
  6. Parks Legacy Plan (Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
  7. Fair Housing (Office of Civil Rights).
  8. Safe Communities (Seattle Police Department, Mayor’s Office, and Office Immigrant and Refugee Affairs).

In 2013, POELS will work with the Community Development Core Team (which is comprised of DON, DPD, Office of Economic Development, Office of Housing, DPR, Seattle City Light, King County Public Health, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Transportation) on the projects above. They’ll also continue their work on Shared Multi-Cultural Community Center planning efforts.

Neighborhood Planning Update

In April 2013, the Community Development Core Team will kick off its initial neighborhood planning meeting for 23rd Avenue and E. Union, 23rd Avenue and E. Cherry and 23rd Avenue S. and S. Jackson street, which will be followed later in 2013 by efforts in Little Saigon and I-90 and Rainier Avenue.

The 23rd Avenue Advisory Core Team (ACT) will be a stakeholders group comprised of a broad range of interests including residents, business owners and patrons, property owners and developers, neighborhood associations, etc. and their members that have a vested stake in 23rd Avenue and E. Union, 23rd Avenue and E. Cherry and 23rd Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street.  Find links to the survey or apply to join the ACT here.

In 2012, updates to the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake and Rainier Beach Neighborhood plans transitioned from the final planning phase into action item implementation.

The Rainier Beach Neighborhood Advisory Committee has morphed into what is now called Rainier Beach Moving Forward.  With the support of DPD and DON, it has been the recipient of grants and was a key supporter of the City’s efforts to acquire the Byrne Grant.

Outreach and Engagement partnerships w/other City departments

North Team North District Coordinators continue to work on the pilot project Northgate Reads with the Office for Education, Human Services, PARKs, and DON. The NDC is responsible for supporting volunteer recruitment and special events. DON is managing the Neighborhood Matching Funds (25K) that are available for the project.

The Northgate Reads program successfully completed its summer reading pilot project in 2012. The program will continue for the 2012–2013 school year.  

The North District Coordinators Team is working with Seattle City Light on the Denny Substation project to ensure that the community is involved in the planning process.

P-Patch Community Gardening Program

New Holly Market Garden

  • New/expanded P-Patch Community Gardens in 2012 with levy funds. Projects completed in 2012 were the UPGarden at Seattle Center, Kirke Park and Barton Street and under construction in 2012 are the Beacon Food Forest, and P-Patches at Bitter Lake, John C. Little Park, Manor Park and West Crest Park.
  • New/expanded P-Patch Community Gardens for 2013. With our Levy Inflation funds ($427,000), we are working on the following projects in 2013: An Urban Agriculture site, an expansion of the Market Garden at Marra Farms and the Ferdinand and Judkins P-Patches and new gardens on Capitol Hill (Broadway Hill), at North Seattle Community College and Horiuchi Park.  Thanks to the Levy Oversight Committee for its recommendation for this funding.
  • America Community Gardening Association Conference. As part of the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Seattle’s community garden program, the ACGA will hold its annual conference here in August.

Neighborhood Matching Funds

  • Small and Simple Projects Fund and Large Projects Fund Update (SAS and LPF). We have had workshops already for both Small and Simple (Jan 17 at Youngstown and Jan 29 at Greenwood) and for the Large Project Fund (Feb 9 at El Centro, Feb 12 at Youngstown and on Feb 21 at Aljoya at Thornton Place.)  The LPF workshops are mandatory for anyone to apply for a LPF grant.
  • 2013 Neighborhood Matching Fund Improvements. $5,000 increase to $25,000 for SAS. DON made an adjustment to their guidelines this year to increase the size of the awards for Small and Simple from a maximum of $20,000 to $25,000. With the cost of labor and materials rising, it was a wise direction to go for the Small and Simple. (There were no changes in funding levels for either Small Sparks or Large Project.)

Major Institutions:

Activated Interdepartmental Team (IDT). Our Major Institutions team convened a meeting of City representatives in January that will meet quarterly and on a one-on-one basis with institutions at their earliest stages of planning.  (City departments were interested in understanding goals of the institutions but also in reiterating Code and policy requirements early in the planning process so that both the institution and the surrounding neighborhood would be satisfied.)

Historic Preservation:

Fran’s Chocolate in Georgetown.The Landmarks Preservation Board has been working with the Sabey Corporation on the plans for Fran’s Chocolates to re-locate its manufacturing plant and offices to Georgetown at the Rainer Cold Storage site. In addition to renovating the brewery for Fran’s corporate offices, the new building will incorporate the existing façade of the historic Ice House on Airport Way.

Also in yesterday’s committee meeting, we discussed and voted on the following:

  • Two partial transfers of jurisdiction from Parks to SPU for the purpose of combined sewer overflow tanks on Lake Washington Boulevard (C.B. 117687 and C.B. 117688).We voted these out of committee and they will go before full council on Monday February 25th.
  • Legislation authorizing DPR to implement the terms of a settlement agreement between the City and Building 11 Investors LLC. (C.B. 117709). We voted this legislation out of committee and it will go before full council on Monday February 25th.
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