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A message from the interim director

It's great to be back at "Neighborhoods." Some of you may remember me from my many years at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods having left 3 1/2 years ago to retire from City employment. At the time I was looking forward to even being more involved in our son's high school activities, including the start of his college search. Well, his sophomore year is quickly coming to a close, and I was fully engaged in the empty nester phase of my life when the Mayor asked me to return to Neighborhoods. Now as interim director serving over the next six months, I'm pleased to see so many familiar faces on the staff, within City government, and the community as well.  

While I'm here I'm committed to maintaining the wonderful programs and services that have made Neighborhoods legendary in Seattle, across the country, and worldwide. My goal is to keep Neighborhoods in perfect alignment with our role of strengthening Seattle by actively engaging all communities, while being mindful of the City's budget challenges.

As I serve in the role of interim director, I hope to meet with as many community members as possible – especially folks I don't know and people from my former days at Neighborhoods. I also want to support this dedicated staff and steward the department's mission of connection and engagement. The great work of this department will continue to strengthen our neighborhoods and empower community members as they work to improve their quality of life and their neighbor's too.

Thank you for the opportunity to reconnect. I look forward to seeing you in the ‘hood!

Warm regards,

Bernie Agor Matsuno
Interim Director

Two new community gardens to host grand opening celebrations

by Laura Raymond, Levy Projects Coordinator

Volunteers working hard at UnPaving Paradise

UnPaving Paradise P-Patch Community Garden and the New Summit Slope Park on Capitol Hill will celebrate their grand opening on May 1 from noon - 1 p.m. All are welcome to enjoy the new space that was created by the efforts of many community members and funding from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.  UnPaving Paradise P-Patch is located at E. John St. and Summit Ave. East. 

Seattle Urban Farm in Rainier Valley is hosting a community celebration to mark its grand opening on June 25th.  This farm, where neighbors will grow food for donation, is a partnership between the P-Patch Community Gardening Program, Solid Ground, and Seattle Housing Authority with participation from the Boys and Girls Club and many community members.  The Farm is located at MLK Blvd. S. and S. Andover.

Neighborhood Matching Fund launches new fund management system

Great news! The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) is launching a new web-based fund management system. This user-friendly tool will allow community members to apply for NMF funds and manage their awards online. And for those who receive an award, they will be able to electronically submit invoices and reports and make changes to documents more easily. Over time, this online system will provide much more efficiency for NMF staff to review, administer, monitor, and communicate with awardees and other stakeholders.

Two drop-in sessions are available for applicants who would like hands-on assistance with the new system. For details, see Calendar of Events above. And if you plan to apply to the Neighborhood Matching Fund, make sure to visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf to learn more.

Finding COWS in West Seattle

by Garry Owens, NMF Project Manager

"I think that each of us longs for ways to give and connect. I think it is hardwired into us - we just seem to have forgotten this. Thanks for the opportunity to remember."  This is the voice of a grateful volunteer participating in a Neighborhood Matching Fund Project called COWS - Community Orchard of West Seattle. With an award of $43,639, the Neighborhood Matching Fund is supporting the design and planting of an effort to create a community orchard on the grounds of South Seattle Community College.  The neighborhood group has hosted several well-attended design workshops and work parties (mostly in the rain), and planting is underway. The orchard will serve as a source of local fruit for orchard volunteers and food bank programs and as a venue for free public urban agricultural education.  For more information visit www.fruitinwestseattle.org.

Sand Point Naval Air Station now a historic district

by Beth Chave, Landmarks Preservation Coordinator

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board recently designated Sand Point Naval Air Station as the city's newest historic district, the first in more than 20 years.  Throughout 2010, Friends of Naval Air Station Seattle Historic District, a group of community members and neighbors, spearheaded the effort to get the historic buildings, structures, and the site recognized as a local landmark district.

What makes the Naval Air Station so unique is its contribution to not only the history of Seattle, but the nation as well.  It was Seattle's first municipal airport, the site of the first around-the-world flight, and an important facility for the Pacific Front during WWll, as well as for the early development of The Boeing Company.

Community members take advantage of Neighborhood Matching Fund

By Patricia Lopez, Neighborhood Matching Fund Supervisor

Volunteers painting
Dexter mural

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) team has been busy reviewing applications for both the Small and Simple Projects Fund and Small Sparks Fund. Out of 40 applications received in January, 25 Small and Simple Projects Fund awards were made to community groups totaling $395,110. The community proposed match is $989,602 consisting of volunteer labor, donated professional services or materials, or cash.  The good news is that the word about NMF is spreading – more than half of the award recipients are first-time applicants! 

And so far this year, NMF received 21 Small Sparks Fund applications and awarded 10 projects totaling $8,400 with a match value of $18,275. Small Sparks applications are accepted anytime for projects up to $1,000.

For a list of awarded projects, go to www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf

Prepare for summer travel!

Passport processing is available at your local Neighborhood Service Center. Our highly trained customer service staff is ready to assist you with complex application questions as well walk you through recent changes to forms and eligibility requirements. Visit http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc/ to find a Neighborhood Service Center that is convenient for you to visit. Application forms are available online and in our lobbies.

Gardens Galore! Progress report on new garden development available

by Laura Raymond, Levy Projects Coordinator

P-Patch Community Gardening Program released its report on the progress of new garden development funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy.  The Community Update report can be found here:  http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ppatch/levy.htm.  

The highlight of the report is that the P-Patch Community Gardening Program has already completed 4 projects with 11 more in the works. Together, the 15 gardens are adding space for 225 new households to garden in P-Patch community gardens.

Pike Place Market midway through major renovation

by Heather McAuliffe, Coordinator, Pike Place Market Historical Commission

As one of the eight historic districts in the city, the Pike Place Market is now in Phase II of three phases in its renovation.  The Pike Place Market Historical Commission has approved more than 40 applications for changes related to the renovations, such as new seismic bracing, public restrooms, and heating and cooling systems.

In addition to infrastructure improvements, the Commission has also reviewed many applications for temporary relocations of Market businesses. In order to maintain the character of the Market, even these temporary applications are subject to the Commission's guidelines.  For example, displays are kept away from windows to preserve the views of Puget Sound and the sense of openness in the pedestrian ways.

Green sheds for tenants displaced
in the Sanitary Market.
  Temporary location of La Buona Tavola.

Fifteen Seattle student winners honored on Neighbor Appreciation Day

In a special ceremony at Hamilton International Middle School, Mayor Mike McGinn and Councilmember O'Brien presented awards to the top 15 winners of the 2011 Student Art Contest commemorating the 17th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day. More than 120 students, family members, friends, principals, and teachers attended the event on February 12 and celebrated with the students. 

Every year Seattle students enter the art contest with drawings depicting what it means to be a good neighbor.  The 15 winners were selected out of nearly 600 entries. The artwork of the two first place winners, Grace Corsi, an 8th grader at Hamilton International Middle School, and Angel Corpuz, a 4th grader at Dunlap Elementary School, adorned 13,000 Neighbor Appreciation Day greeting cards that were distributed for free at Neighborhood Service Centers, libraries, and community centers.


Angel Corpuz


Grace Corsi

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