New Space, Same Speed
by Kirby LindsayThe January 2011 Fremont Chamber of Commerce Board of Director’s meeting started with attendees entering the History House conference room through a backdoor – and right through the new office of Chamber Executive Director Jessica Vets. Vets declared the space “an upgrade,” from her cubicle in the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhood Fremont Service Center. When city budget cuts shut down the Service Center, the Chamber relocated to this space, with its view of Lake Union and Mount Rainier, at 3405 Troll Avenue North.
Decisions, Made In Quickly
When the Chamber Board did get down to business, it breezed along quickly. For instance, the election of the Board Officers for 2011 barely allowed a breath for reading the names into the minutes. The assembly did acknowledge the impressive tenure of Marko Tubic, as Chamber President, who signed on for his ninth year. Phil Megenhardt, Anne Helmholz, and Kathy Moeller all returned as Vice-Presidents, and Riq Molina came back as Treasurer. Pat Carr stepped in for a turn as Secretary, a position often difficult to fill.
The Board also approved the recommendations by the grant committee without discussion. The recommendation distributed $4500 to nine non-profit projects, including the Fremont First Friday Art Walk, the After School Tutoring Program at B.F. Day Elementary School, and a sponsorship for the Literacy Source fundraising breakfast. Grant money will also pay for repairs to the Fremont Rocket and the historic fire engine parked at History House, and, possibly, the neon on the Fremont Bridge – specifically Rapunzel’s hair. Three events - a birthday celebration for J.P. Patches, the Music In the Sculpture Garden concert series, and the Seattle Police Foundation North Precinct picnic – also received funds. An additional $500 went to the Moisture Festival which sparked a short discussion, but only about the bookkeeping.
Discussions, In Brief
The Board also discussed parking, briefly, and the proposal before the Seattle City Council to raise parking kiosk (parking meter) rates, including increasing Fremont’s rate from $1.50 to $2.00. The Chamber has taken a firm position that the kiosks hurt area businesses, and representatives were ready to take their case to a public forum on January 25th on proposed rate increase, until it was cancelled.
The City Council did later approve rate increases for Downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill, according to Vets, but rate raises for other neighborhood business districts are still under review. The Board voiced support for further fighting of rate increases, even if the kiosks must remain, for now.
Megenhardt then brought up the Fremont Fair and Oktoberfest festivals for 2011. For the Fair (June 18th & 19th,) they’ve added another music stage for acoustic, singer-songwriter performances, along with a wine garden overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Sponsorship sign-ups are going well, and registration has opened for entertainers and vendors. They’ve also already had some groups sign-up to volunteer at Oktoberfest (September 23, 24 & 25) although Megenhardt emphatically acknowledged the need for many, many more.
A final discussion took place on the Board retreat in early February, with homework and an agenda distributed. The Board, and the Chamber Executive Committee, want the retreat to proceed as effectively as possible, and keep it short - much like the January meeting.
To experience a Chamber meeting, stop by History House (790 N 34th) at 8am on the final Wednesday of the month (next one on February 22nd.) The meetings remain open to the public, and everyone is welcome…see you there?
©2011 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.