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South Park Library Temporary Closure; Council Vacancy Process; Only in Seattle Program Update; Office Hours

South Park Library Temporary Closure

The South Park Library will be closed starting Tuesday, April 16 for up to two months for refurbishing and improvements.

The project has an approximate budget of $424,000 and consists of:

  • Re-carpeting
  • Repainting inside
  • Adding new electrical outlets
  • New furniture
  • Modifications of the circulation desk
  • New mobile shelving
  • New collaborative spaces

The Library anticipates that the project will be completed by early summer. However, there will be some disruptions. As many of you know, the Library serves as a hub for several programs and services. Specifically, Kids Café and Homework Help programs. I have learned from the Director of the Library that the Bookmobile will be available at the South Park Community Center between 3:45pm and 4:30pm on 4/30, 5/14, and 5/30. Additionally, the Kids Café program will be relocated for the duration of the closure to the Community Center, and Homework help is scheduled to be at the High Point and Rainier Beach branches of the library. Finally, the Southwest branch will be designated as the default branch for holds and pickups unless otherwise indicated.

The current efforts by the Library to address the needs of South Park library patrons during these changes are appreciated, but I’m concerned that they are insufficient to meet the needs.  I have reached out to the Chief Librarian and have made three requests:

  1. That the Bookmobile be in South Park twice a week with hours extended for 30 minutes before and after the Kids Café program.  The Bookmobile is proposed to only be there 3 days over the 2-month period (4/30, 5/14, 5/30), and for less than an hour each day.
  2. That the Bookmobile be available to bring requested books if patrons put them on hold.
  3. That the Homework Help program move to the South Park Community Center along with Kids Café.

Council Vacancy Process

As many of you know, Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4) has resigned. The City Council has 20 calendar days after a Council vacancy to fill it. The 20-day period is from April 6 to April 25. You can track the process here, the website is being updated regularly with new information.

There are currently 11 eligible applicants.  They are listed here in alphabetical order: Brooke Brod, Darby DuComb, Kathryn Gardow, David A. Goldberg, Jordan Goldwarg, Sherae Lascelles, Jay Lazerwitz, Abel Pacheco Jr., Marjorie Press, Maritza Rivera, and Luke Wigren.

There will be a Special City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 pm, which will provide qualified applicants the opportunity to formally present a 3-minute presentation and respond to questions from City Councilmembers. The public will have the opportunity to provide comments.

The Council will vote to fill the vacancy at the 2:00 p.m. Full Council meeting on Monday, April 22.

Only in Seattle Program Update in CRUEDA this Week

Theresa Barreras and Leon Garnett joined the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee (CRUEDA) on Tuesday for a program update on the Only in Seattle (OIS) Initiative. OIS, a program of the Office of Economic Development since 2011, works to provide grant funding and technical assistance to support local businesses, property owners, and community members in building cohesion between “local commerce, community, and culture” to maintain the history and character of a neighborhood and keep dollars stay local.

Mr. Garrett, representing the Central Area Collaborative, explained their use of Only in Seattle grants for a lighting study, advocating for culturally-relevant products in the New Seasons store at the former 23rd Promenade space, and supporting projects with the Historic Central Area Arts and Culture District to promote local Black artists in new community-driven development.

This presentation was particularly timely given two weeks ago I had the honor to talk about the work I’ve done to promote and support Legacy Businesses at the Main Street Conference hosted in Seattle this year. This Main Street movement is an effort to protect and revitalize historic main streets/downtown areas and neighborhood commercial districts that have experienced disinvestment due to suburbanization and corporate competition, or ethnic and cultural erosion driven by displacement. The Only in Seattle program applies this same approach by using community engagement and data to understand the unique challenges and assets of a neighborhood, then focusing on four strategies:

  • Supporting businesses/business development
  • Marketing and events to attract customers
  • Placemaking
  • Cleanliness and safety

To implement these strategies, OIS offers grant opportunities for neighborhood action planning and public space projects. In this past funding cycle, OIS issued $1.3 million in grant opportunities to neighborhoods across the city, including $50,000 for action planning in South Park.

OIS prioritizes funding based on three major considerations: “equity districts” based on percentages of people of color (POC) living in the area, people living on low incomes, and business owners of color; districts with established hubs of business, economic activity, or a Business Improvement Area (BIA); and communities in the beginning stages of establishing a neighborhood action plan or Business Improvement Area. 

Given the impact of displacement and commercial affordability for POC business owners in areas of high-displacement risk, the OIS program can be used to encourage established BIAs to engage and include business owners of color.  The trainings and technical assistance for business owners facing displacement can help them negotiate favorable lease requirements and strengthen relationships with landlords.  I see this as part and parcel to my work with stakeholders and POC-led community-based organization efforts around an anti-displacement ordinance.

In-District Office Hours

On April 26, I will be at the Southwest Customer Service Center (2801 SW Thistle St) from 2:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, May 31, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, June 28, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, July 26, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, August 16, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, September 27, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, October 25, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, November 29, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, December 20, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
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