by Kirby Lindsay, posted 2 December 2013
The November meeting of the Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) contained updates on many neighborhood projects, all monitored by but not necessarily part of the work of the FNC.
During opening announcements, FNC Board Member Matt Gasparich reported that he has heard from Chase Bank that they’ve come to an agreement with the property owner (of the McKenzie Building – where Chase opened a branch this year) to replace the awning removed from the former Costas Opa space. This news came with no date, or details about whether this would be a replacement or a restoration.
Utility Works Planned
A team from King County (KC) Wastewater Treatment Division spoke on planning for the replacement of the Fremont Siphon, a large construction project currently scheduled to begin in late 2014. While the project began as replacement of a vital, 100-year-old sewer line that runs under the Lake Washington Ship Canal near 1st Avenue NW, it has expanded to include construction of a facility for odor control on the site of the current Praxair store.
The KC team showed a drawing of the planned facility, with changes made based on public input. The area will have less lighting, less paving and less visible fencing than originally planned, with more permeable surfaces and more landscaping as requested. Perri Howard has been chosen as the artist, and she has drafted an art piece for the project, currently visible on-line.
Monica Van Der Vieren spoke on the project for KC, and acknowledged that this will not be an easy project. A similar (although larger) replacement is currently being done in Ballard, and the KC Team has learned from that project and will be better able to mitigate previously unseen problems here. Replacement of the Fremont Siphon will require some closures of Canal Street, between 1st & 2nd Avenues NW during the nearly two-years of construction, but the Burke-Gilman Trail will stay open (with slight detours) and all truck traffic will access the construction site from N 36th St/Leary Way.
Currently scheduled for completion in the third-quarter of 2016, the pre-construction meeting, with the chosen contractor, will take place in the summer of 2014. KC Team Members strongly recommended that everyone attend this public meeting to clarify remaining concerns and raise any potential issues before construction begins.
Paj Hwang and Bill Bender, of Seattle Public Utilities, also spoke to the FNC about planning for replacement of a water main that also runs under the Ship Canal. Located in the same utility tunnel as the original siphon, this main has also reached the end of its life. Leaks in the water main were discovered in 2011, and it was abandoned. To save resources, and lessen impacts, the City will repair/replace it immediately following on the completion of the KC Siphon work. However, planning and scheduling have only just begun. Expect to hear more in 2014.
More MLK Day Of Service
On January 20th, Fremont will celebrate its second annual MLK Day Of Service, and organizers Sarah and Ralph Weathers attended the FNC meeting to share the latest info – and ask for a donation. So far, the event has gathered a lot of support – again. A collection will take place during it for household items for the residents of the new, low-income Patrick Place Apartments being built by Catholic Community Housing on Aurora Avenue. A street clean will also take place that day of streets surrounding the venue – the Fremont Baptist Church – and Fremont icons (Lenin, Rocket, Troll, etc.)
A brief discussion took place among FNC Board Members about giving a $500 donation to help fund the event and, specifically, the emergency hygiene kits volunteers will assemble, for use during natural disasters and crises throughout the year. The organizers were asked about other donors, and they responded that the donation has been pledged by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and Fremont Baptist, and that Doric Lodge #92 has been asked. The donation was approved unanimously.
A Neighborhood Plan Review
The FNC scheduled a second meeting on December 16th for further discussions about the Fremont Neighborhood Plan, submitted in 1998 to the City of Seattle. This review is being done to see what has been accomplished, what has not, and what still needs to be done. Disagreements about the parking plan, and requirements for new developments, came up along with concerns about transit…
Proposed Transit Cuts
FNC Board President Stephanie Pure spoke then about proposed cuts to METRO transit service through Fremont. The proposals, released November 7th, will dramatically cut service on routes numbered 5, 16, 26, 28, 40 and 44. These proposals are not a done deal, but Board Member Kevin McClain pointed out that METRO doesn’t currently have funding to send representatives to community meetings to discuss this plan.
The Board discussed inviting public officials (KC Councilmember Larry Phillips, Seattle Mayor-Elect Ed Murray, and/or Seattle City Councilmembers) to hear FNC concerns. Pure brought up the recent loss of Peter Hahn as head of the Seattle Department of Transportation. Hahn had attended, and listened to, the FNC on past issues. The suggestion that such invites may be pointless was submitted, but the consensus became that, “the neighborhoods that scream loudest will get adjustments,” as McClain summed it up.
From there, the meeting moved into talk about soliciting memberships – about how to get the word out about joining the FNC. The best way to learn more about the organization is to attend the next meeting – taking place on January 27th at 7p at Doric Lodge 92.
Meetings are free to attend after all, and open-to-the-public. Consider hearing the next batch of progress reports, and other timely news, in person…
- FNC Highlight Reel: Updates & Intros
- by Kirby Lindsay, October 30, 2013
- Doric Hosts First Ever Fremont MLK Day Of Service
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 14, 2013
- Homeless Housing Plans Move Forward for CCS
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 21, 2011
©2013 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.