by Kirby Lindsay, posted 3 September 2012
Many communities suspend their August meetings, due to low turnout and/or slowdown on projects (usually caused by low turnout.) Yet in Fremont, our community groups ‘work’ through August every year – particularly the Fremont Neighborhood Council which may have had a limited agenda slated for its monthly board meeting, but it 8 of its 9 board members still attended along with a few curious residents.
Also, a fortuitous scheduling foul-up brought Paige Heggie, of Solterra Systems. She’d come to support representatives from Solarize Washington (and Solarize Seattle) who didn’t make it. They’ve been attending community meetings to inform residents about incentive programs encouraging the use of solar power, and the opportunities to feed unused power back into the grid (thereby earning money for the homeowner.) Solterra Systems sells and installs a system that she claimed can bring a return on investment in 5 – 7 years. She then headed off to find where the representatives had gone.
Jessica Vets, of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, then reminded residents that September 21st – 23rd will be the annual Fremont Oktoberfest. She requested that anyone in the neighborhood with questions or concerns before, during or after this festival contact her. “The Chamber really does care,” she announced. Also, volunteers (particularly for the Saturday evening shifts,) can get in to Oktoberfest for free. Contact Vets at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Parks & P-Patches
Several items on the agenda were reported as ‘no progress,’ including the Ernst Park Addition. FNC President Matt Gasparich reported, “I don’t see it moving forward at this time at all.”
Gasparich asked representatives from Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation about using the Opportunity Fund to develop property they acquired last December, but they said that money cannot be used for operational expenses. “I characterized it as a blighted property,” Gasparich said. Currently, the street side of the property is seriously overgrown while the alley portion has vehicles parked upon it with no oversight.
Gasparich then contacted the Seattle City Council Parks Committee Chair, and heard that the lack of progress developing acquired properties has frustrated other neighborhoods as well. He was told the problem will be brought up at a future council parks committee meeting. The FNC Board discussed sending a contingent to any public meetings the Council may hold on this issue.
Board Member Toby Thaler then gave an enthusiastic update on the mosaic tile project being installed at the Hazel Heights P-Patch, and to be installed soon. The organizers have applied for a City of Seattle Small Sparks grant to go with funds given by the FNC to pay for the tiled signage.
Gasparich then introduced a discussion on potential topics for upcoming FNC meetings. The September meeting (on Sep 24th,) he reported, “is looking to be very transportation themed.” Board Member Erik Pihl recommended asking Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Peter Hahn to attend, to answer questions raised by the FNC Board about bus only lanes on southbound Aurora and on N 46th Street east of Aurora. Thaler also suggested asking a representative from METRO to attend.
For October, Gasparich asked about interest in hearing from candidates. The Board discussed the upcoming races, and encouraged Gasparich to ask State Representative Frank Chopp and his challenger to attend. Also, the Board discussed the initiatives – particularly Initiative 502 on marijuana legalization and Referendum 74 on same-sex marriage.
Resident Kevin Beder raised some concerns, after having been referred to the FNC by the Fremont Chamber. Beder lives to the east of Aurora Avenue, and travels the area by bicycle and on foot – and has contacted the City of Seattle about several chronic problems with little response.
He mentioned the staircase on the east side of the Fremont Troll statue, and the trash and rainwater that collect there. Also, since seismic reinforcement work ended on the Aurora Bridge around the statue, behind the Troll has become littered – once again – with sleeping bags and detritus from homeless encampments.
However, Beder raised two new concerns. He identified an area of sidewalk along Aurora, the overpass for Bridge Way, that often becomes littered with dead bird carcasses, trash, grass and dirt, which makes it difficult to navigate for pedestrians and cyclists. Also, on North 40th Street near Aurora Avenue the grass in the parking strip has been removed and replaced with gravel, and vehicles now park in this area, blocking the sidewalk and spilling gravel around.
The FNC Board suggested Beder write down his concerns, and include a map, to present to the SDOT representatives at the September meeting. Also, they gave him numbers to call for Parking Enforcement (on the N 40th St issue,) and ‘Illegal Dumping’ (for the garbage left behind the Fremont Troll.)
Another resident – Amanda Boyle – also attended the FNC meeting, for the third time. This made her eligible to join the FNC Board, and she agreed. She said, “I’ve always wanted to join a community board,” and gave her interests as fundraising, membership and parks – particularly for p-patches. The Board voted her in, unanimously, as its 10th member.
To find out more about the FNC, and Boyle, attend the next monthly meeting on September 24th at 7p at the Doric Lodge #92. Board meetings take place on the fourth Monday of each month (except December) and are open-to-the-public. Also find more information on the FNC website.
- FNC Highlight Reel: Mid-Summer Housekeeping
- by Kirby Lindsay, July 23, 2012
- FNC Highlight Reel: Motions & Progress Made
- by Kirby Lindsay, December 7, 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.