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Seattle Department of Neighborhoods News
Fall 2010

In This Issue...

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A message from the director

Director Stella Chao

It's  autumn! Much like when you were a child going off to school thinking "this is going to be a great year!," we at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods are thinking the same thing - about all the possibilities that lie ahead this fall and next year to create stronger communities and help turn community members' dreams and ideas into realities.

This city is blessed with having such caring and passionate people, who step out, tap into this department's resources, take action and tackle projects that will improve their neighborhoods.

For example, when I witnessed the closure of South Park Bridge back in June, I was astounded by the tremendous commitment and energy in all of the community members as they noted the 80-year-old bridge's long life. There was such a strong sense of community that I knew, with the help and resources from our department and the City, this neighborhood will continue to transform its future, bring together diverse backgrounds and cultures, and show that South Park is one of Seattle's cherished gems.

And this is just one example out of many. So as you're reading this newsletter, believe me when I say that this City is what it is because of you. You, who are creative and innovative, toiling on remarkable improvement projects, putting some old-fashioned elbow grease into your neighborhood, and paving a path towards a better, more wondrous Seattle. You are the ones who make this place so great to live.

Do you realize that together so far this year we've gotten 165 new matching fund projects off the ground, established 16 new landmarks for everyone to enjoy, built 2 P-Patch community gardens, and served more than 152,000 visitors at our Neighborhood Service Centers??

Remember - we're here to help!

Stella Chao
Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Youth find hope in Project Launch

Zachariah Bryan, Communications Intern

When East African Community Services (EACS) staff first approached Abdi - an at-risk youth who wished to keep his real name anonymous - he was running with a troubled peer group, prohibited from entering school campus, and had been asked multiple times by his mother to leave the house.

After three months of Juvenile Detention, Abdi joined 16 other youth in South Seattle to participate in Project Launch, a program funded by the Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund and sponsored by EACS. The youth took part in poetry workshops, college exposure activities, and competitive open mic nights. The program allowed them to express themselves and start thinking seriously about their future.

During the six-month program, EACS staff watched as Abdi stayed clean, volunteered with the EACS afterschool program, and remained peacefully in his mother's house. At the end of the program, his mother approached EACS staff and gratefully said he was a "new person." The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is proud of Abdi and the other participants for their accomplishments throughout the program.

Picture: Project Launch participants take part in a poetry workshop

District Coordinators host walking tours for Deputy Mayor Smith

Christa Dumpys, Neighborhood District Coordinator

On July 22 a contingent of community members welcomed Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith to the heart of Wedgwood at NE 86th and NE 35th. Residents walked and showed Deputy Mayor Smith what makes Wedgwood unique and expressed their needs for improving the neighborhood. The Deputy Mayor saw such sights as the Hunter Tree Farm lot, a popular community gathering spot, Wedgwood Elementary, and popular local businesses that are distinct to the neighborhood.

This is one of many walking tours that are organized by Neighborhood District Coordinators. These tours engage the Mayor's Office directly and personally with neighborhood stakeholders so as to gain a better understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and successes found in each neighborhood.

Picture: Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith talks with Wedgwood resident Courtney Kaylor

Art4Justice events provide youth with platform

Dan Mahle, Art4Justice Coordinator

This past spring the eight-member committee of the youth-led initiative Art4Justice, a recipient of the Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund, hosted two community arts showcases in support of environmental and social justice. The events, Youth Art 4 Climate Action and Increase the Peace, served as a positive space for passionate youth artists and activists to come together and share their creative visions for a more just world. The events attracted 60 youth artists, 30 volunteers, and over 300 attendees.

One participant, Lynda Morales, said that Art4Justice gave her the chance to reach out to people and get important ideas across to them. "It was nice to make music that matters," she said. "I felt like I had a voice in the community; that I wasn't just a kid."

Picture: West Seattle youth group "Youngstown Records"

Updates to neighborhood plans coming to two neighborhoods

Kerry Wade, Neighborhood Planning Outreach Specialist

Neighborhood plan updates are back in full swing as we gear up to update the Rainier Beach and the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake neighborhood plans. Dedicated volunteers from both communities have been chosen to serve on neighborhood advisory committees (NACs) and will partner with our department and the Department of Planning and Development to engage the community through targeted outreach, review community input, and create recommendations that balance community interests.

In addition to the NACs, Planning Outreach Liaisons (POLs), our outreach team, are continuing their amazing work by building bridges and making connections between neighborhood planning and the everyday experiences of our city's historically underrepresented communities.

Look for the POLs and the NACs to be key collaborators during the 2010 Neighborhood Plan Updates process!

Seventeen community organizations awarded Neighborhood Matching Funds

Zachariah Bryan, Communications Intern

On August 2 at City Hall, dozens of award recipients witnessed and expressed appreciation to the Seattle City Council as it approved $1.24 million in Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Projects Fund awards for 17 neighborhood projects. Projects range from the renovation of historic cottages to youth arts education. Before the meeting, the recipients enjoyed a reception held in their honor by Councilmember Mike O'Brien, along with Councilmember Sally Clark.

"In tough economic times like these, the incredible value Neighborhood Matching Fund projects provide across our city becomes apparent," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien, chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. "Community volunteers invest $1.52 of donations and sweat equity for every $1 of taxpayer support. It's a win-win for the neighborhoods and the city."

The 2010 awards range from $25,100 to $100,000, and this year communities are matching the City's $1.24 million contribution with resources valued at nearly $1.25 million. Here is a listing of the 2010 Large Project Fund award recipients.

Seattle has 16 new historic landmarks

Zachariah Bryan, Communications Intern

Since May, Seattle City Council has approved sixteen new Seattle landmarks which exemplify the diversity and the rich cultural and architectural heritage of our City. These landmarks include such prominent icons as the Sorrento Hotel, the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Center House, which was built in 1938 and has an interesting history as a field artillery armory.

The Landmarks Preservation Board, staffed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, approved the nomination, designation, and controls and incentives for each of these landmarks. Click here for more information on our Historic Preservation Program.

P-Patch Community Garden Tours a success!

Nate Moxley, P-Patch Coordinator

Over the past few weeks Seattle Department of Neighborhood's organized a series of van tours highlighting P-Patch community gardens and related Neighborhood Matching Fund projects. The first three tours explored the Southeast, Southwest and Lake Union gardens of Seattle. P-Patch gardeners welcomed the tour groups and give detailed background including history, community demographics, and an overview of Matching Fund projects. Some of the sites even provided snacks - a big hit!

The overwhelming response to the tours has been very positive. The most common feedback is that people are surprised to find such a wide variety of gardens and Matching fund projects in their communities. Our goal for the tours was not only to expand the population of P-Patch and Matching Fund supporters but to inspire individuals to take action in their communities to make them a better place for everyone .

The upcoming tours are full; but more to come next year.

South Park to get new bridge

Andres Mantilla, Community Capacity Manager

On October 15th, Mayor McGinn, King County Executive Constantine, and United States Senator Patty Murray announced that the United States Department of Transportation has awarded $34 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER II) funds for the South Park Bridge. This project will replace the 81-year old bridge with a one that improves pedestrian and bicycle lanes and reconnects the South Park community with the Duwamish Valley. The federal allocation will be matched with other regional dollars, including $15 million from the City of Seattle, to start construction in the spring of 2011. The closure of the South Park Bridge in June left many in the South Park community concerned about the long-term vibrancy of the neighborhood. Since the closure, our department has been collaborating with various community groups to design events that will continue to inspire community ownership and camaraderie. The bridge project is expected to take more than two years to complete.

Apply for passports at Neighborhood Payment and Information Services sites

Margaret Cesena, NPIS & Facilities Manager

Don't forget that you can apply for passports at our Neighborhood Payment and Information Services sites located at seven of the Neighborhood Service Centers. So far this year, more than 10,000 passports have been processed, and the number is still growing! For more information about passports, including directions on how to apply, locations, processing hours, and necessary forms, click here.

Mark your calendar - Neighbor Appreciation Day is February 12, 2011!

February 12 marks the 17th Neighbor Appreciation Day, the City's annual celebration of connecting with neighbors, creating new bonds, and expressing our thanks to the people who live around us. Last year 60 organizations and neighborhoods held block parties, open houses, recreational activities, and work parties to celebrate the day. Because it keeps growing, we have some changes in store for 2011: we are expanding the recognition to a week (Feb. 5-12), creating interactive online activities, and developing tools to help you organize a neighborhood activity.

So mark your calendar now for February 5-12 and watch for more information in preparation for the big week!

      2010 Youth Art Contest winners

Artwork by Alex Taylor
Artwork by Helen Ippolito

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