by Kirby Lindsay, posted 4 June 2012
The May meeting of the Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) took place one week earlier than the regularly scheduled time. Normally, the FNC meets on the fourth Monday of the month, but the Board moved it up a week to avoid the conflict with the Memorial Day holiday.
A strong majority of the Board of Directors did attend, but the president and vice-president couldn’t make it. Once Former President Norma Jones agreed to facilitate the meeting, it proceeded rapidly through its business.
Art Murals In Fremont
Fremont Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Vets briefly attended the meeting, in large part, she explained, to hear any residential concerns about the upcoming Fremont Fair. None were expressed.
She also invited the FNC leadership to attend an upcoming meeting, on June 5th, on art in Fremont. Vets described the gathering as a discussion about enhancing the existing art in Fremont, and potentially adding some new murals.
Urban ArtWorks, a non-profit that engages at-risk youth in the arts. One of the on-going art projects is the painting of large murals around Seattle. The group is currently seeking new projects where they provide the manpower, but the community would find the funding.
Another potential topic would be the Aurora Bridge Mural. The original artist, Patrick Gabriel, has contacted the Chamber – as well as the FNC, the Fremont Arts Council and the City of Seattle – asking the mural be replaced or removed. He has said that the work, which has been extensively vandalized and repainted by community volunteers, no longer reflects his ability as the artist. He has asked that the community either replace the work – and he has submitted a proposal for another, easier-to-maintain piece – or that the City of Seattle paint the wall grey and allow another artist an opportunity to install a mural.
Jones, who organized the last large community repair project on the Aurora Bridge Mural, stated that, “when we did many hours of work last summer, I understood that he had signed off on [the mural.]” She had heard that Gabriel no longer maintained the work, and considered it the responsibility of the community. She also mentioned that the portion of the work on the columns still needs to be repainted at some time.
B.F. Day Playground & Principal
The FNC then heard about the imminent retirement of Susan McCloskey, the extremely popular principal at B.F. Day Elementary School. Katie Pearl has been selected as her successor, and is currently wrapping up her fifth year as Assistant Principal at Mercer Middle School, on Beacon Hill. So far, the staff and McCloskey seem very pleased by the choice made.
B.F. Day parent and Playground Improvement Project Chairperson, Kristin Anderson, then presented the plan developed by our community for the school grounds. The FNC had asked for her to return when she cost estimates on the improvements were completed, and she brought along a print-out for Phase 1 estimates which totaled $280,276 (with tax.) Andersen said that the total for completing the entire plan is approximately $800,000 – although some in-kind donations and alternate materials may ultimately change that figure.
Phase one construction could begin as early as summer of 2013, provided donations roll in. . “We’re receiving a lot of support from the community,” Anderson reported, with donations come in from the Rotary Club of Fremont, Key Bank and the Mobile Food Rodeo. The P.T.S.A. have also held fundraisers, such as the recent clothing drive. Anderson plans to submit the project for both a City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching and a King County Youth Sports Facilities grants. Being able to show community support through donations from a variety of sources can only strengthen these applications.
Pihl then made a motion that the Board donate $5,000 towards this project from the FNC treasury. “We have received money to mitigate negative impacts,” Pihl said about settlements the organization has from some past development projects, “I can’t think of a better way to support our community.” The motion passed unanimously, and Pihl recommended Anderson contact the Fremont Chamber and present this as a challenge they could match.
Land Use Developments
The Land Use Committee Report covered three pending developments in Fremont.
Pihl gave a report on the Early Design Guidance meeting held on the Harbor Urban development of a 160-unit apartment building on Woodland Park Avenue. He sees the project as planned for Downtown Seattle, without consideration of the needs of Fremont – and with an “open roof top deck.” He mentioned the historic survey of Fremont building elements, and explained that the design of the building doesn’t fit within those descriptions.
Board Member Linda Clifton then asked if any details were available (none were) on a proposed demolition of moderate income housing in Upper Fremont, near Woodland Park Avenue N and N 45th St, for construction of seven townhomes.
Finally, a Design Review meeting is scheduled, for June 4th, on development of a 120-room hotel on the east side of Aurora Avenue. Thaler, as FNC Land Use Chairperson, observed that the proliferation of developments in Fremont is, “indicating the real estate market is getting out of the doldrums.”
The meeting ended there, with the Board continuing on in Executive Session. To learn more about the FNC, or bring a residential issue before them, visit the new website – or attend an upcoming monthly meeting. On June 25th, the meeting will return to its normal time (7p) and its normal place (Doric Lodge #92.) Hope to see you there!
- Design Review Provides A Public Forum
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 11, 2012
- Site Workshop Helps Fremont Improve B.F. Day Playground
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 25, 2012
- FNC Highlight Reel: Community Building & Celebrating
- by Kirby Lindsay, April 27, 2012
- Fremont Public Art Inventory, Part V: Murals
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 9, 2011
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.