The June 20th committee meeting was chock-full-o-parks and neighborhoods goodness! We considered twenty-six appointments to city commissions, two pieces of legislation, and heard an update on the Public Outreach & Engagement Liaisons (POEL) program.
Councilmember Godden and I voted to confirm or pass the following to Full Council on Monday, June 24th:
- C.F. 313049 – 313060 and C.F. 313067 – 313079, appointing and re-appointing twenty-five members to the Seattle Youth Commission;
- C.F. 313048, which appoints Robert Edmiston as member to the Board of Park Commissioners (link);
- C.B. 117801, approving the execution of a mitigation agreement among WSDOT, UW, and the Washington Parks Arboretum Foundation for impacts to the Arboretum from the SR 520 project; and
- C.B. 117802, which authorizes an agreement between Seattle and First Hill/Eighth Avenue LLC concerning connecting a private development to the Pigott Corridor portion of Freeway Park.
The Department of Neighborhoods’ (DON) Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons are unique and important resources which facilitate connections between the city and historically-underrepresented communities (HUCs). The liaisons are members of the community, speak the language of the community they represent, and are recommended by their community. These representatives are bi-cultural and bi-lingual. At committee, we heard from Maru Mora Villalpando and Mekdes Gessesse, who described their efforts on a variety of issues, including a shared Multi-cultural community center. They expressed enthusiasm for the importance of the POEL program.
Next, we had the pleasure of meeting candidates for the Seattle Youth Commission for 2013-2014. Eligible youth are between the ages of 13 and19 years old, and represent a range of neighborhoods and schools across the city. They experience city government first hand and act as ambassadors for their peers. We thank them for their service and look forward to hearing from them during the next year.
We also heard from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) about our newest nominee for the Board of Park Commissioners. Bob Edmiston is an experienced computer engineer and researcher, with a passion for various city issues and transportation infrastructure. He is a founding member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and a neighborhood activist from Madison Park. He’ll be a great addition to the Park Board.
Finally, we considered two pieces of legislation. C.B. 117801 serves multiple purposes: it adopts the mitigation agreement for the Arboretum for impacts from the State’s SR 520 project and it funds the North-South multi-use trail. The mitigation plan is the result of the hard work of the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee (ABGC), The Committee membership includes members from DPR , the Arboretum Foundation, and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. ABGC worked with the staff of the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to create an equitable plan that will benefit the Arboretum in the years to come.
This legislation appropriates $7.8 million, a portion of the mitigation plan funds, which will primarily be used to create the North-South multi-use trail. The trail is a project that was included in the Arboretum Master Plan, approved by the Seattle City Council in 2001. The trail is for pedestrians and cyclists and it runs from E. Madison St. on the south side of the Arboretum to the SR 520 corridor. DPR plans to start construction in mid-2014. In the mean time, DPR will focus on design and planning.
C.B. 117802 authorizes the construction of an entrance through Pigott Corridor to the south end of Freeway Park. The creation of another lighted entrance to Freeway Park will encourage more Seattleites to use the park and improve the sense of safety. First Hill/Eighth Avenue LLC will improve its property by creating more open space and Seattle gains a partner for Freeway Park.
I enjoy walking through Freeway Park on a frequent basis. It provides a breath of fresh air and gives me an appreciation for the beauty in this city while I hustle between meetings downtown. Many Seattleites don’t know about this gem because of lack of access. I’m looking forward to sharing this treasure.
The next Parks and Neighborhoods Committee meets on Thursday, July 18th. If you’d like to know more about the PaN Committee, please subscribe to the agenda here.