Duwamish Valley: Update and Progress Report (Spring 2019)

Taking Action & Delivering Results

It's been almost a year since the release of the Duwamish Valley Action Plan and we have lots of good news to share! Seattle City departments continue to work in partnership with the community to advance community priorities and community-led efforts to improve the quality of life in the Duwamish Valley. See below for updates on the South Park Community Center and Improvements to 8th Ave. S and Gateway Park North in Georgetown. For more details on all projects and ongoing efforts, click on each of the priority areas below.

Image of 30% design for the South Park Community Center site redevelopment.  Features include a multi-sport field, two play areas, adult exercise area, spray park, multi-sport courts, dog park, and informal lawn.

South Park Community Center

Site Plan Design and Implementation:
The Consultant team for the South Park Community Center site redevelopment is approaching 30% design. Community engagement activities were completed in April, as well as the Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) meetings. The Consultant selection process for construction phase is currently in progress. Seattle Parks & Recreation will wrap up 30% design, RET report, and consultant section for construction phase by end of 2Q/2019; construction is expected to start by end of 2020.

Programming:
There will be many programming updates and opportunities for kids, youth, and adults to recreate at the community center this summer, including a soccer league, martial arts, acrobatics and circus arts, piano lessons, rowing and fitness, and more. Refer to this guide for more information.

Additionally, SPR is seeking volunteers to serve in the community center Advisory Council. The council is a group of local volunteers to help community center staff decide on programming. Please contact John at john.barclay@seattle.gov for more information.

Vision for improvements to 8th Ave. S and Gateway Park North in Georgetown that cater to the needs of both the residential and industrial/business communities. Features include green infrastructure (including trees), a pedestrian pathway, vehicle parking, and improvements to the Street End Park.  More work needs to be done to determine feasibility of improvements.

Mid-Term Improvements to 8th Ave. S and Gateway Park North in Georgetown

Through a King County Waterworks grant and Department of Neighborhoods grant, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Parks Foundation, and community members are collaborating on a community-led effort to improve the street-end park Gateway Park North on 8th Ave. S in Georgetown. The Port of Seattle is also involved and is coordinating design efforts to stabilize the bank and improve the natural habitat. Although there is no Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) funding, they are engaged in the process and are providing input and coordinating the historic Landmarks nomination for the old Pump House on the park site.  SPR is reviewing schematic design, and Georgetown community members hosted a community meeting on May 20th at the old Georgetown City Hall to collect ideas to take action for the shoreline and street end design.

Seven Priority Areas

Tree Planting and Maintenance

Office of Sustainability & Environment is participating in the Green-Duwamish Learning Landscape (GDLL) convened by the U.S. Forest Service. GDLL will launch a project related to air quality, trees, and community capacity building in the Duwamish Valley this spring. In general, the project will train and compensate youth and adults from the Duwamish Valley on an innovative technique to monitor air pollution using moss. The end goal is to identify specific hotspots and actions to mitigate air pollution impacts on the community. The project is expected to begin this month. Expect more information in an upcoming update and progress report.

Climate Change Mitigation and Air Quality Improvements

Oil Heat Conversion:
Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) and Office of Housing launched a pilot program in April to convert 25 households with lower incomes from oil heat to clean and efficient electric heat pumps in the 98108 zip code, prioritizing the Duwamish Valley neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown in 2019. Heat pumps are 2-3 times more efficient than oil furnaces and provide air-conditioning which will be critical during extreme heat and wildfire smoke events. These upgrades will save households money on their heating and cooling expenses, while helping them be more comfortable.

Building Tune-Up:
Earlier this year, Concord International Elementary School benefitted from a partnership between OSE’s Building Tune-Up Accelerator program and Seattle Public Schools (SPS). The Accelerator program provided SPS with a financial incentive from Seattle City Light to complete a building tune-up, which corrected some operational and maintenance issues on the heating system and recommended future lighting upgrades. This work will result in improved comfort and energy savings for the school!

Access to Affordable, Healthy Food

In January-February, Office of Sustainability & Environment’s Fresh Bucks team partnered with Concord International Elementary School and the South Park Senior Center to help families living in South Park access healthy food. Fresh Bucks vouchers were delivered to 40 families at Concord and 350 clients at the South Park Senior Center. Vouchers can be used like cash to purchase fruits and vegetables at Seattle Safeway stores. Patricia from the South Park Senior Center noted, “So many seniors are struggling financially, and many have recently expressed concerns about food stamps and the government shutdown, our clients will be thrilled.”

Georgetown Off-Leash Area

Seattle City Light (SCL) is preparing to submit a Street Vacation Application to Seattle Department of Transportation (for a site in SODO) for review, which could result in The Flume property being transferred to Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR). SPR is interested in acquiring this site for a potential Off-Leash Area (OLA). The Street Vacation Application review will likely take up most of 2019 and SCL hopes to be ready to transfer the property to SPR in 2020. In the meantime, the City will continue to explore ways to fund development of an OLA at this location.

Duwamish Waterway Park

Seattle Parks & Recreation’s (SPR) consultant is completing the design documents and has initiated the permit process. Seattle Parks Foundation has secured the project funding. SPR property purchase from King County is underway. SPR aims to complete purchase, obtain permits, and bid the project by 4Q/2019.

South Park Plaza

In late 2018, Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) started working with the community on early activation by having a taco truck on the site. In 2019 activation events included HONK! Fest West on May 31st.

SPR has contracted with a consultant to help study, plan, and implement interim activation, such as improved food access and potentially a summer community market. SPR has also selected a consultant for design of the space. The public engagement process for this will start in 2Q-3Q/2019.

The Flume

See Opportunity 9, Georgetown Off-Leash Area.

Outside Citywide—South Park

The Outside Citywide team completed a public space implementation guide based on the results of the interagency South Park Open Space Workshop held in 4Q/2018. They published the South Park Neighborhood Profile and Outside Citywide Online Map Tool. The team is also working with the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps and interagency partners on early implementation of the South Park River Walk. In the next few months, we will continue engaging community members in the planning and implementation of the Riverwalk and Green Loop (concepts highlighted in the South Park Green Space Vision Plan).

Land Acquisition for Open Space and River Access in South Park (New!)

In March, Seattle Parks & Recreation, in collaboration with the Duwamish Valley Program, South Park Area Redevelopment Committee, Friends of the Duwamish Waterway Park, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Concord PTA, Duwamish Rowing Club, Seattle Parks Foundation, and others submitted a proposal to King County’s Conservation Futures Program for $3.5 million in funding to acquire two properties in South Park for future green space/open space and river access. These properties are adjacent to the Duwamish Waterway Park and adjacent to Gateway Park South (8th Ave. S Street End) in South Park. King County’s Review Committee did a site visit in late April. The City expects a decision to be made in the next couple of months.

Community-Controlled Spaces

White Center Community Development Association (CDA) completed interviews of community stakeholders and tenants in order to develop shared understanding about the South Park Neighborhood Center and to help community-led decision-making to selecting a new manager for the Mutual Offset Benefit building. Department of Neighborhoods (DON) led a Racial Equity Toolkit on the process. The recommendation is to support tenants with organizing to self-manage the building. RDH Building Science has completed a draft of the facility assessment that identifies maintenance and building systems needs. Once confirmed, the consultant will identify costs for priority improvements and proposed building reserves budget to address ongoing major maintenance. This year, Office of Planning & Community Development (OPCD) and DON will identify resources and next steps to transfer management of this community asset.

Georgetown Steam Plant

A new partner that has Washington state non-profit status has been selected to manage the Georgetown Steam Plant: Georgetown Steam Plant Community Development Authority. Seattle City Light is in the last stages of negotiating a long-term lease with them. Community engagement events will begin in the next few months to solicit public input on programming and recruiting advisory and board members. Expect a final lease, official announcement, and press event in the next few months.

Community & Climate Resilience - Connect Capital

Several projects related to community capacity and climate resilience are currently underway, most of which are being led by Seattle Public Utilities. These include developing strategies related to sea level rise adaptation, community resilience, and economic opportunity, as well as relationship-building with community investors and funders. The Center for Community Investment is funding this effort (known as Connect Capital), which runs through July 2020.

Climate Change, Health, and Equity Grant Application (New!)

Office of Sustainability & Environment and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) staff supported the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC) to apply to The Kresge Foundation for a one-year grant to do work related to climate change, health, and equity. This could complement the City’s Connect Capital work led by SPU. If funded, this will provide an opportunity to meaningfully collaborate with South Park stakeholders in developing a climate change adaptation strategy to proactively mitigate and adapt to flood risk and other climate change impacts, while prioritizing keeping people and businesses in place (per the Action Plan’s long-term strategy #3). DRCC was invited to submit a full proposal. A decision is expected in 3Q/2019.

South Park Library (New!)

Physical Improvements:
After being closed for nearly two months for refurbishing and interior improvements, the South Park Library will reopen on Monday, June 10th. After 12 years of use, the branch needed to be re-carpeted and repainted inside. While the branch is closed for that work, the Library will also add electrical outlets, new furniture, circulation desk modifications, mobile shelving and furniture, and collaborative spaces. The changes are based on branch usage and trends in Library services.

Save the date!
Seattle Public Library and Duwamish Valley Program will host a community event to celebrate the reopening of the South Park Branch and the one-year anniversary of the release of the Duwamish Valley Action Plan. Please save the date: Sunday, July 21st. Expect more details via the neighborhoods’ social media avenues, listservs, etc. in the coming weeks.

Increase in Services:
To advance equity, education, and opportunity in Seattle, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced a “Libraries for All” plan to renew and expand investments in The Seattle Public Library’s 27 locations across Seattle, including South Park. If enacted, the new Libraries for All plan would maintain current services, expand library branch hours, eliminate fines, improve digital access, and make seismic retrofits of existing libraries, among other key steps. The South Park Library will be one of seven that would get increased hours.

Technology Matching Fund (New!)

In the first year of implementation of this project, with just 20 laptops and one instructor, the South Park Information and Resources Center enrolled 85 people, predominantly Latinx, who were looking to sharpen their digital expertise. Funding for the Center came from a Technology Matching Fund grant that was awarded to help close the digital divide and provide more opportunities to improve computer skills in underrepresented communities.

Sea Level Rise Projections in the Duwamish Valley and Beyond (New!)

A collaborative team of researchers, including the University of Washington’s (UW) Climate Impacts Group, recently released new projections of sea level rise for Washington state. In order to increase awareness and use of this science by Washington communities and decision-makers, the Climate Impacts Group, UW Reality Lab, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and Seattle-based data visualization company, Tableau, have teamed up to create two different interactive data visualization tools – an interactive tool of sea-level projections for 171 different coastal sites in Washington state (including the Duwamish Valley!), and creating several public-facing virtual reality experiences that showcase community-relevant impacts of future sea level rise to 2150. This will help the City better prepare for future climate change impacts.

South Park Youth Mural Project (New!)

Earlier this year, Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) funded the South Park Youth Mural Project. This will be a collaboration between Urban ArtWorks, South Park Arts, Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG), and ARTS during summer 2019. SNG will hired a local artist to teach 12 local youth (ages 14-18) the fundamentals of designing and painting a mural over 8-weeks. No art skills are required, but the youth should be eager to learn about making murals and want to be a positive difference in their community. At completion of the project, youth will receive a $375 stipend for their participation. There are still a couple spaces available; to reserve your space, email Jake at jake@sngi.org.

Georgetown - South Park Connection

Seattle Department of Transportation is partnering with the Department of Neighborhoods and Duwamish Valley Safe Streets to conduct outreach to find the community's preferred route alignment culminating in a workshop in early June. Following this outreach, consultants will design the Georgetown to South Park connection to 30% design.

Drainage & Street Improvements

The South Park Pump Station project is at 90% design. The Conveyance and Street Improvements project (Seattle Public Utilities-Seattle Department of Transportation partnership project) is at 30% design. Both these projects are scheduled to start construction in 2020 and complete construction in 2021. Both these projects are partially funded by King County Flood Control District grants. A third project, the Stormwater Quality Facility project is currently in the planning phase.

Pedestrian Improvements Along 8th Ave. S in South Park

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has completed early-phase planning and outreach on this project and is now at a 60% design phase. The design will be completed by the end of 4Q/2019 with construction beginning as soon as early 2020. In the meantime, SDOT will continue design on this project and conduct site-specific outreach with neighbors over the next few months.

Support for Small Merchants

South Park:
Only in Seattle, a program of the Office of Economic Development is investing a total of $50,000 in South Park in 2019.  $30,000 will support a business development consultant to lead the business outreach and engagement work, and $20,000 will support the South Park Merchants Association to do some business outreach and to organize networking events.

Georgetown:
Only in Seattle is investing a total of $50,000 in Georgetown in 2019. Infrastructure grant funds will support the Mini Mart City Park and aid in environmental cleanup of the site.

Georgetown as an Arts & Cultural District

The Georgetown Cultural District advisory committee continues to meet and move the designation process forward. After submitting initial documents, the City asked them to refine their work around partnerships and diversity and anticipate that they will be officially designated by end of 2019.

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition

The DVAHC has executed a Memorandum of Agreement for a $75,000 Equitable Development Initiative Fund Grant from the Office of Planning & Community Development to support capacity building. Since 2017, they have:

  • Defined their mission;
  • Outlined a two-pronged approach;
  • Developed a concept for a mix-use development;
  • Researched property availability; and
  • Conducted community engagement.

In the next few months, the DVAHC will be assessing sites that are suitable for the proposed development and meeting with non-profit developer to select a partner moving forward.

Preservation of Existing and Increasing Access to Affordable Housing

The Seattle Office of Housing (OH) announced a Request for Proposal inviting community-based organizations to submit proposals to conduct outreach and engagement to low-income, underserved communities about new and existing OH programs that assist low-income homeowners stay in their homes. Investment of this funding will result in outreach and engagement being conducted primarily in areas of high risk of displacement.

Implementing Public Safety Recommendations in South Park

Increased Police Presence:
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) and City departments will deploy additional resources and take immediate steps to improve public safety and address community maintenance needs by launching a pre-summer emphasis program in seven neighborhoods across Seattle, including South Park. Residents can expect to see increased visibility by SPD officers, and in some cases, criminal investigations of activity. SPD will evaluate the impact to understand continued and future deployments in this and other areas.

This work will include 'neighborhood walks' with community members to identify priority work that will then be addressed. South Park's neighborhood walk was held on Thursday, May 9th. City staff are proactively keeping track of and addressing issues that were highlighted by community members during the walk. Expect more information in an upcoming update and progress report.

Improvements Along S Cloverdale St. (between 7th & 8th Ave. S):
Conceptual design was developed and presented at an open house organized by Department of Neighborhoods (DON) on February 19th. Additionally, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) conducted a site visit on April 2nd to review design approach with community members. The project will be transitioning to SDOT Project Development Team. SDOT is currently seeking project funding authorization. Planned improvements include:

  • Pedestrian street safety improvements which may include widened sidewalk, planted median, pedestrian lighting (under the SR 99 underpass), and street trees
  • Roadway re-channelization
  • Freight coordination

S Cloverdale St. Sidewalk (west of 5th Ave. S):
SDOT has awarded a construction contract to build the new sidewalk with planting strip and street trees on the south side of S Cloverdale St., between 5th Ave. S and the business park to the west. Construction is expected to start as soon as this summer with completion occurring before the end of 2019. Seattle Public Utilities is continuing design on the bioretention facility for the north side of the street and will be starting construction as soon as next year.

Lighting Under the SR 99 Overpass:
Seattle City Light completed 90% design, and submitted it to Washington State Department of Transportation for design review and final permit approval. Due to the location and engineering of the SR 99 underpass, the lights to be installed under it needed to be specifically designed for this site. Installation is expected in 3Q/2019.

Implementing Public Safety Recommendations in Georgetown

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) and City departments will deploy additional resources and take immediate steps to improve public safety and address community maintenance needs by launching a pre-summer emphasis program in seven neighborhoods across Seattle, including Georgetown. Residents can expect to see increased visibility by SPD officers, and in some cases, criminal investigations of activity. SPD will evaluate the impact to understand continued and future deployments in this and other areas.

This work will include 'neighborhood walks' with community members to identify priority work that will then be addressed. Georgetown's neighborhood walk was held on Thursday, May 9th. City staff are proactively keeping track of and addressing issues that were highlighted by community members during the walk. Expect more information in an upcoming update and progress report.

Duwamish Bikeway/8th Ave. S Trail Improvements

Activation Through Art:
Due to staff capacity issues at the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), the arts engagement portion of this project is currently on hold. ARTS has identified a potential funding source to be discussed with Seattle Department of Transportation that may help launch the project later this year. ARTS will re-evaluate a potential start time in late summer. In the meantime, ARTS will participate in the upcoming planning meetings for this project.

Litter Abatement Pilot Project

Seattle Public Utilities’ cleaning crews continue to go through a predetermined route in South Park twice a week and collect and dispose of ground litter, needles and SHARPS, bulky items, etc. Survey results from 2018 showed an increase of 9% in litter cleanup awareness in the neighborhood and 64% of South Park respondents agreed with the statement “Streets and sidewalks are cleaner than six months ago.”