by Kirby Lindsay, posted 4 July 2012
The June 27th meeting of the Board of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce (FCC) had a light attendance as many people, after the successful celebrations of Fremont through the Fremont Fair, the Chamber Picnic In The Park, the Fremont Fun Run, etc., chose to take a break. That left the heavy lifting, and exercise of mental muscle, to a few who showed how even minimal Chamber brawn can strengthen a community.
Fremont Siphon Site
The meeting began with Executive Director Jessica Vets giving a brief report on the planning for replacement of the Fremont Siphon by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, based on information distributed two days before at the Fremont Neighborhood Council monthly meeting. The Chamber has not requested a presentation on this large, two-year construction project, although a few members have been following its development.
A big issue for the Fremont Chamber, Vets and other Board Members pointed out, is the recommendation made by King County planners to site the construction work, and any permanent structures left behind, on private property currently owned by a viable, productive Fremont employer. King County would acquire the property, with taxpayer money, as well as paying all relocation costs. However, this plan comes with no guarantee that the industrial/retail business would remain in Fremont, or even the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing & Industrial Center.
The FCC Board voted to write a letter against this recommendation and displacement of a long-time private landowner, even at the risk of losing some public land at Fremont Canal Park.
Membership & Meeting Report
Vets continued with a report on the increase in Chamber membership, including new member Sunwink Seattle, a Fremont Sunday Market vendor. Board members briefly discussed the success of using social media in soliciting members, as well as networking gatherings organized by Vets for specific industry groups including Health & Wellness, Geek Meet Ups, Women’s Networking, etc.
The Board also heard the positive feedback from the Picnic In The Park on June 20th, as representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation discussed traffic with attendees. For 2013, the meeting topic will return to tradition with a candidate’s forum, and the Board agreed that mayoral candidates should be a focus.
Solid Ground Contributions
The Board reviewed and approved a budget for the coming fiscal year (July 2012 – June 2013,) and the continuing contributions to Solid Ground. As part of the agreement to take over leadership of the Fremont Fair, the Chamber makes financial donations to the non-profit. Vets reported that the contributions remain on-target for $15,000 this year thanks to the continued success of the Fair.
However, Board members did discuss concerns raised about the recent shift in the mission of Solid Ground. The organization, which began as the Fremont Public Association, works to end homelessness and poverty. At its May fundraising luncheon, Chamber attendees found a new emphasis on racism and anti-oppression difficult to comprehend, and possibly irrelevant in addressing the root causes of poverty in Fremont.
Hysterical Marker Printed Material Policy
New chairperson of the marketing committee, Raymond Glandon of the PCC Natural Market in Fremont, presented the draft of a policy for materials inserted in the Hysterical Marker kiosks maintained by the Fremont Chamber. (Eight kiosks form an information distribution system throughout Fremont for the Chamber – while three located adjacent to History House are the property, and responsibility, of the local museum.)
The policy states that each Hysterical Marker contains only printed materials created by the Chamber and those provided by Marker sponsors, unless the Board votes to give written permission otherwise. The Board approved the policy as written.
A Fair Report, & Restaurant Rescue
Vets heard that the Seattle Police Officers that patrolled Fremont during the Fair were bored – exactly as she would have it. Also, thanks to the work of Vets, Adrian Hollingsworth, Marko Tubic and Ken Saunderson, the beer gardens operated by the Fremont Chamber passed all Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) inspections.
A customer was refused entrance at his third trip into the beer garden due to a hole punch in his driver’s license. The Chamber Board discussed the validity of a mutilated ID, with some retailers/restaurateurs admitting that they will not accept it due to the risk for fines and loss of license. According to Vets, the LCB Inspector said that the ID was valid even when punched, and the Chamber did issue an apology to the customer.
Chamber President Saunderson applauded the hard work of Vets over the three-day celebration, and acknowledged how, “she was everywhere!”
Vets even saved a local restaurant from a significant fine. An officer noted that the business had expanded its sidewalk café so much that it required pedestrians to walk by in the adjacent arterial street. The officer demanded the restaurant reign in the café area, and they did, but when the same officer passed by later the café area once roamed across the sidewalk and created a dangerous impediment to pedestrian traffic. The officer contacted Vets who asked for leniency and understanding, and received it – and no fine was issued.
The Board applauded Vets for her intervention even after hearing that the restaurant is not a paid member of the FCC.
Whiffle Ball, Anyone?
In June, Adobe Systems’ Fremont offices began its annual Whiffle Ball league play, with 167 people participating in 14 teams. The games take place in the enclosed, secured grounds of the Adobe campus. Saunderson attended the opening game, and spoke with the organizer about the potential of having a public tournament in August – perhaps as a fundraiser for the B.F. Day Playground Improvement Project, and held on the Seattle Parks playfields just north of B.F. Day Elementary School. Anyone interested in organizing a team, or simply finding out more, can contact Vets at email@example.com
Another fundraiser for the B.F. Day Playground will be held during the Red, White & Dead Zombie Walk on July 7th, from Noon – 8p. The gathering takes place earlier in the day this year, and a larger crowd is expected. The Board discussed concerns about the impacts of the overall event, and the Zombie Walk scheduled for 7p in the evening when 3,000 – 7,000 ‘zombies’ will lurch in an elongated herd around the business district. Organizers have invited mobile food trucks into the event, although the earlier closing hour will lead zombies to disperse into area restaurants and nightclubs for an evening’s entertainment in Fremont.
To find out how Fremont fares from the zombie invasion, or learn more about efforts of the Chamber to strengthen the Fremont business climate, attend the next Board Meeting on July 25th at 8a at History House. These meetings, held on the last Wednesday of each month (except December) are always open-to-the-public, and everyone is welcome.
- FCC Highlight Reel: Two Lightning Rounds, And Motions On City Matters
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 6, 2012
- FNC Highlight Reel: Information Shared On A Siphon, And Other Opportunities
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 29, 2012
- A Guide To Surviving Summer Events In 2012
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 18, 2012
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.