On Saturday, February 1, residents from Ballard to Mt. Baker and many stops in between came together to discuss neighborhood issues with Seattle City Councilmembers Sally Clark and me.
In a tradition known as “Coffee with the Sallys,” we have met in more than ten neighborhood cafés and other public spaces throughout the city to hear from constituents about community issues large and small.
This was the first Coffee gathering held in Magnolia and judging by the turnout, was an immediate success.
People began assembling at Uptown Espresso before the start time to share a diverse array of concerns. Their issues ranged from parks funding to zoning regulations to a local daycare center slated to close in six months.
The closure of Northwest Center Kids, a daycare and preschool program run by local non-profit Northwest Center, drew several parents and young children to the table (the babies were an immediate hit with the Sallys).
Parents told about the lengths to which they had gone to gain admission to the popular program at the Northwest Center and how much the center meant to them. Northwest Center Kids has come to serve as a national model of best practices in caring for developmentally disabled children while offering affordable daycare to children of all abilities.
Supporters of the daycare are asking the Seattle School Board to reconsider the move or give NW Center more time to relocate. After a father of a daughter with Down syndrome shared his story and expressed his desire to keep the daycare open, two Magnolians who came to discuss parks looked at each other and told me, “take care of the preschool first.”
We were also briefed by residents interested in increased funding to athletic fields and adult recreation, the potential reorganization of the neighborhood district councils, microhousing regulations, crime in Mt. Baker, and pedestrian crossings on Madison Street.
Participants listened and asked questions as others presented their issues, reinforcing the cooperative spirit of the morning. When the event wrapped up around 11, both Councilmembers and participants alike expressed gratitude that we had been given the opportunity to get together.
The next gathering will be billed as “Cocktails with The Sallys,” and will held at Huarachitos Bar in Othello Station on March 11th from 7-9 p.m. More information is available online. Look out for the Sallys in your neighborhood, and if you would like to share an issue you are involved with, get in touch with the us by email or phone: Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, (206) 684-8884.