Mayor Murray signs legislation creating Central Area Arts and Cultural District

central area arts district (10)

Mayor Murray signed legislation today creating the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District, the second Seattle neighborhood to be named a designated Arts & Cultural District. The Central Area is a center of African-American heritage and history as well as a neighborhood undergoing rapid change. The Arts District designation recognizes the culturally rich neighborhood and seeks to preserve its character.

“With this designation, we recognize the importance of the Central Area and the contributions of African Americans to Seattle’s rich and diverse cultural traditions as we seek to both honor and shape the legacy of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We also seek to build a vibrant arts environment and opportunities for creative industries to thrive in the Central Area for years to come.”

“The idea of an arts and cultural district in the Central Area actually predates the recent efforts to establish these districts,” said Steve Sneed, Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District co-chair. “We’ve talked about and dreamt about something like this for more than 20 years, and now we’ve been able to turn that into action.”

The Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District designation is dedicated to:

  • Preserving an African and African-American legacy in the Central Area.
  • Sustaining and strengthening the physical identity and sense of place for Black cultural relevancy.
  • Establishing continued support of artistic creation, economic vibrancy, livability, affordability, desirability and artistic vitality.

“The heritage of African-Americans in the Central Area has served this city in so many ways and now we have an opportunity to bring new life and meaning to a sacred past, and to be a force that helps to shape the future,” said Stephanie Johnson-Toliver of the Black Heritage Society of Washington. “The arts offers unlimited opportunity to stand firm in the present while giving honor to the past, and creating new paths to the future.”

The arts district designation creates access to the Creative Placemaking Toolkit, a suite of tools designed to preserve, strengthen, and expand arts and cultural places. The district will have access to $50,000 to be used towards the toolkit’s programs: signs to identify neighborhood borders and provide directions to significant places and landmarks; music and art in public places; pop-up activation; and parklets. The toolkit was designed by the Seattle Office Arts and Culture to support artists, art spaces, and neighborhoods in maintaining and investing in their cultural assets.

Central Area

The Central Area is Seattle’s historically African-American neighborhood and in a rapidly changing environment remains the nucleus for black art, business and culture. The Central Area has been home to some of the world’s most respected artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Theaster Gates, James Washington, Vitamin D, Ernestine Anderson, Ray Charles, Art Chantry and numerous others.

The Arts District is home to many arts and cultural organizations including:

Africatown

Ariel Productions

Black Dot

The Black Heritage Society of Washington State

Brownbox Theater

Central Cinema

The Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas

Cortona Café

Coyote Central

Hidmo Cypher

Hollow Earth Radio

The James and Janie Washington Foundation

Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation

Lake Chad Café

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

New Urban Unlimited

Northwest African American Museum

Pipsqueak Gallery

Pratt Fine Arts

RBG the CD

The Seattle Black Arts Alliance

YMCA

Arts & Cultural Districts

The creation of the Arts & Cultural District program stems from the recommendations of the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee’s June 2009 report, which was accepted and endorsed by Seattle City Council with Resolution 31155 in August 2009. City Council found that a district plan benefits the city because arts and cultural activities serve as a major economic engine for Seattle, and provide an invaluable quality of life that other activities cannot duplicate. The program launched in November of 2014 with the adoption of City Council Resolution 31555 and the creation of the Capitol Hill Arts District.

City adopts resolution to support Muslim community

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The Seattle City Council today adopted a resolution in support of Seattle’s Muslim community and speaking out against the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence targeting Muslims.

“We must never allow a religious test for families seeking refuge in the United States or in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Since our nation was founded, America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and religious pluralism. We stand united in opposition to racism and bigotry that targets any faith community.”

Approximately 100,000 Muslims call Washington State home, where they serve our community in every walk of life — as doctors, police officers and school teachers.

“Elected leaders hold a responsibility to speak truth against the anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and violence increasing in the national discourse,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The City of Seattle welcomes and affirms our Muslim residents, both native born and immigrant, and recognizes the enormous value they add to the cultural and economic life of this city. When we respond from fear, we respond from weakness. We all want our community to be safe, but fear does not lead to safety.”

The resolution encourages Seattle residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors, and encourages all City departments to direct appropriate resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

“I came to this country as a refugee from Viet Nam with my family in 1975, fleeing war like today’s Syrian refugees,” said Cuc Vu, director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. “This resolution truly reflects who we are as a city. Seattle and Washington State have long been a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees, benefiting our economy and our culture. It is very important that government do all it can, now as we have for centuries, as a beacon of hope for those in need.”

A RESOLUTION declaring support for Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the United States, and urging Seattle residents to stand together for peace and understanding.

WHEREAS, Muslims are part of our society and, inspired by their faith, give back every day as U.S. military personnel, police officers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, and in many other roles contributing to the success of the United States of America and the City of Seattle; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s founding documents emphasize the freedom of religion and a society that embraces religious pluralism; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle values the many different cultures, religions and traditions our residents embrace; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle continues to work toward a more inclusive society and welcomes cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity; and

WHEREAS, Muslims, both native born and immigrant, represent an increasingly important thread in the tapestry of American society; and

WHEREAS, the Muslim population in Washington State is estimated to be approximately 100,000 people, many thousands of whom live in Seattle, and who share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish; and

WHEREAS, a significant percentage of Seattle’s immigrants and refugees are Muslim and have come to Seattle seeking a safe place to work, study or raise a family; and

WHEREAS, throughout history the United States has welcomed wave after wave of immigrants and refugees who add enormous value to the economic and cultural life of our nation; and

WHEREAS, presently, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased in the national discourse and rates of hate violence targeting Muslim families and children are at record highs across our nation, which is detrimental to all people who cherish freedom and liberty; and

WHEREAS, some of the darkest moments in our nation and our city’s history have emerged from similar climates of fear; and

WHEREAS, this fear-based rhetoric distorts the reality of terrorism in the United States, where more individuals have been killed since September 11, 2001 by those who espouse other extremist ideologies like white supremacy or antigovernment fanatics than by those who espouse a perverted form of Islam; and

WHEREAS, hateful rhetoric only enables extremist ideologies to flourish in the dark corners of global society; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle finds this anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate violence to be against American principles of religious freedom and fairness and contrary to the vision we hold as a nation that welcomes all people; and

WHEREAS, all of Seattle’s residents deserve to live in a safe environment free of hate and discrimination; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle wishes to extend the traditional Islamic greeting of “Peace be upon you” to all of its Muslim residents and visitors; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:

Section 1. The City of Seattle does not tolerate anti-Muslim hate speech and violent acts committed against those who are Muslim or perceived as being Muslim, their places of worship, businesses, schools, and community centers. These are in direct contradiction to values of The City of Seattle and our open American way of life. We encourage our residents to recognize and celebrate the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity that is represented in our City. We encourage residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors. We encourage all City departments to direct appropriate attention and resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

Mayor, Council introduce legislation designating Seattle P-I Globe a City landmark

Today, Mayor Ed Murray, along with Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Jean Godden, and Sally Bagshaw, introduced legislation to formally designate the Seattle P-I Globe a Seattle landmark. City Council’s approval of this ordinance will complete the process that began in 2012

“The P-I Globe is one of our city’s prominent icons, a visible reminder of Seattle’s history,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “With this ordinance, the P-I Globe will continue to greet Seattle visitors and residents with its familiar motto, ‘It’s in the P-I.’”

The P-I Globe was designated a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Board in April of 2012 when it was nominated by three City Councilmembers – Jean Godden, Tim Burgess and Sally Clark. Once it was designated, City staff worked with the Hearst Corporation, the Globe’s owner, to develop an agreement that specified the features to be preserved and clarified what changes would need review by the Landmarks Preservation Board. Once that agreement was completed in June, the legislative process could go forward.

“This legislation is a step forward in a long journey to preserve and honor a symbol of competitive journalism in Seattle,” said Councilmember Jean Godden and former reporter for the Seattle P-I. “We must continue to seek the right site for this iconic work of art.”

“Following our designation of the P-I Globe, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board is delighted that the significant 1948 structure has become one of the city’s most visible and unique landmarks,” said Jeffrey Murdock, acting chair of the Board. “We look forward to being involved in the structure’s careful rehabilitation and eventual return to its role as a revolving, illuminated beacon for the City and the Sound.”

“I want to thank the members of the Landmarks Preservation Board for their thoughtful review, evaluation, and approval to designate the P-I Globe as a city landmark,” said Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Director Kathy Nyland. “Their expertise and careful assessment is important to the city’s Landmarks process, and the many decisions that come before them each year.”

The P-I Globe is a unique sign, designed and manufactured specifically to advertise the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It’s been considered a Seattle icon since it was installed on the Post-Intelligencer building in 1948. The image of the Globe served as the logo for the newspaper, appearing on its masthead and on each section of the paper. The Globe was later moved to its present location on Elliott Avenue W. in 1986.

Murray announces new cultural district in the Central Area

This week Mayor Ed Murray sent the Seattle City Council a draft ordinance to create the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District, the second Seattle neighborhood to be designated an Arts & Cultural District.

The Central Area is a center of African-American heritage and history, as well as a neighborhood undergoing rapid change. The Arts District designation recognizes the culturally rich neighborhood and seeks to preserve its character, while stimulating a growing arts environment in the Central Area.

“The Central Area is has made enormous contributions to Seattle’s cultural identity, from the music of Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute,” says Mayor Murray. “The neighborhood’s arts heritage is felt far beyond our city boundaries. This designation honors our history and nurtures the Central Area arts community for the next generation.”

“This is the first step in preserving our legacy and officially designating the Central Area as a hub for black art and culture,” says Vivian Phillips, co-chair of the Central Area coalition and director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Theatre Group.

The Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District designation is dedicated to:

  • Preserving an African-American legacy in the Central Area.
  • Sustaining and strengthening the physical identity and sense of place for cultural relevancy.
  • Establishing continued support of artistic creation, economic vibrancy, livability, affordability, desirability, and artistic vitality.

The arts district designation includes access to the Creative Placemaking Toolkit, a suite of tools designed to preserve, strengthen, and expand arts and cultural spaces. The district will have access to $50,000 to be used towards the toolkit’s programs and resources for right-of-way identifiers, wayfinding, busking and plein air painting, art historic markers, pop-up activation and parklets. The toolkit was designed to support artists, art spaces, and neighborhoods in maintaining and investing in their cultural assets.

Central Area

The Central Area is Seattle’s historically African-American neighborhood and a center for art, business and culture. The Central Area has been home to some of the world’s most respected arts and cultural organizations and artists, including the Northwest African American Museum, Africatown, the Seattle Black Arts Alliance, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Theaster Gates, James Washington, Vitamin D, Ernestine Anderson, Ray Charles, Art Chantry, Black Heritage Society of Washington, CD Forum, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Coyote Central, RBG the CD, James and Janie Washington Foundation, and others.

Arts & Cultural Districts

The creation of Arts & Cultural District program stems from the recommendations of the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee’s June 2009 report, which was accepted and endorsed by Seattle City Council with Resolution 31155 in August 2009. City Council found that a district plan benefits the city because arts and cultural activities serve as a major economic engine for Seattle, and provide an invaluable quality of life that other activities cannot duplicate. The program launched in November of 2014 with the adoption of City Council Resolution 31555 and the creation of the Capitol Hill Arts District.

Mayor’s statement on Syrian refugees

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement on Seattle’s tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees:

We join with the people of France, of Lebanon, and other countries across the world in mourning the victims of the Paris and Beirut attacks. While I am heartbroken by the recent tragic events, I feel as Americans, we cannot give in to the fear and hatred that are often the end goals of such heinous acts.

“I stand with Governor Jay Inslee in welcoming Syrian refugees into Washington State and the City of Seattle. It is the right thing to do and a practical response to a global refugee crisis. The foundation of America includes the values of freedom and opportunity. And it is our responsibility to provide safety to families fleeing attacks on their homes and children.

“Some have given into fear and suggested we close our borders to those needing our help. I disagree. The federal government reaffirms that refugees go through the highest level of security screening of any category of traveler to the U.S. This process can take up to two years and involves multiple federal agencies.

“Seattle is home to many who have fled violence in war-torn lands. Our long history of integrating new refugees and immigrants continues to benefit our vibrant, multi-cultural city.”

Council acts on Roosevelt park

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council adopted his legislation to acquire land near Roosevelt High School for new public open space:

“Thanks to the Council for swift adoption of this ordinance. While it will take time to acquire the land and realize our vision, this is a victory for neighbors who have been fighting blight and seeking a park for this community. The City intends to use funds collected from the Sisleys to acquire open space for this growing neighborhood, provide assistance to tenants, and manage nuisance properties that are a safety concern. We are also working closely with developers to ensure that additional affordable housing is part of a revitalized neighborhood.”

FAQ for New Office of Planning and Community Development

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The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is a new office that will support the Mayor’s vision of building thriving communities with a mix of amenities, open space, transportation, utilities, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. This new office will work across our City departments to assess community needs, prioritize resources, develop a vision for how our neighborhoods grow and develop, and ensure that we are coordinating and implementing our plans with a cohesive vision. We are excited about the work ahead. This FAQ provides further details about how the new office will improve planning coordination across the City.

FAQ for New Office of Planning and Community Development

  1. Why are we creating a new executive Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD)?

The City of Seattle is growing rapidly. By 2035, Seattle is expected to have 120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs. While these factors support our robust economy, some residents are concerned with how growth has affected their neighborhood character; others are concerned about displacement or traffic congestion. As a result, the Mayor recognizes that to build thriving communities with a mix of affordable housing, open space, transportation, utilities, and economic opportunity, the City must have one office that will help truly integrate planning and community development.

While the current Department of Planning and Development (DPD)—to be renamed the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI)—manages site-specific land-use planning and permits new development, current ownership of the City’s vision for comprehensive planning and implementation at the neighborhood and city level often is unclear and distributed across multiple departments. By restructuring how the City plans and then implements those plans, the intent is that City departments will be more strategically aligned to deploy resources to meet current and future needs. Our goal is to accommodate growth while maintaining a high quality of life for all and improving equity in the City.

  1. What are the key divisions of OPCD and what are examples of their work?

OPCD will be comprised of three divisions and two commissions:

  • Director’s Office
  • Research and Analysis Division
  • Planning and Implementation Division
  • Seattle Planning Commission
  • Seattle Design Commission

The Director’s Office will manage OPCD and provide leadership and support in the areas of finance, community engagement, administrative assistance, and communications with Councilmembers, staff, and constituents. The Director will be a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

The Research and Analysis Division will inform long-range planning activities. This division will assess best practices research, and assemble and present data on growth, equity and other issues to help guide decision-making and support the planning and investment priorities. This Division will directly inform the work of the Planning and Implementation division. Examples of their work may include:

  • Working closely with capital department liaisons to align long-range capital planning investments;
  • Coordinating with the City’s revenue team, economists, the fiscal and capital manager within CBO, Citywide GIS, and staff liaisons from capital departments to support work on equitable growth analysis and community investment strategies;
  • Establishing criteria for neighborhood priorities;
  • Developing GIS resources to monitor and track citywide capital investments; and
  • Monitoring and updating the Comprehensive Plan and tracking citywide growth and development.

The Planning and Implementation Division will develop, update and implement plans and citywide initiatives, as informed by the Research and Analysis Division. Given its focus on planning and implementation, this division will develop and implement plans, and align City investments to enhance community benefits. Examples of their work may include:

  • Leading cross-departmental efforts supported by staff liaisons from other City departments to develop community plans and citywide initiatives for implementation;
  • Coordinating with the Department of Neighborhoods on outreach and engagement;
  • Implementing key planning recommendations including the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA); and
  • Managing a capital subcabinet to align capital investments.

The Seattle Planning Commission will remain an independent body that continues to advise the Mayor, City Council and City departments on broad planning goals, policies and plans for the physical development of the City.

The Seattle Design Commission will remain an independent body that promotes civic design excellence in capital improvement projects that are located on City land, in the City right-of-way, or constructed with City funds, and will continue to advise the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on the design of capital improvements and other projects and policies that shape Seattle’s public realm.

  1. What are the biggest challenges that this new office will address for the City? How will this new office accomplish this task?

OPCD will support the Mayor’s vision of building thriving communities with a mix of amenities, open space, transportation, utilities, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. To help achieve the Mayor’s vision, there are three core challenges that this new department must address:

  1. Current ownership of the City’s vision for comprehensive planning and implementation at the neighborhood, regional, and city levels is distributed across multiple departments;
  2. Departments have identified that the lack of comprehensive information about where projects are being planned often results in project plans, implementation, and capital investments of departments being misaligned; and
  3. Departments prioritize budgets and resources differently, which can result in competing priorities and less focused use of resources.

The new department will address these core challenges by:

  • Assessing neighborhood needs, and identifying opportunity areas and priorities for neighborhood development and implementation;
  • Ensuring that department priorities are aligned with the Mayor’s priorities and the goals of the comprehensive plan;
  • Ensuring that Council priorities are also in alignment and reflected in policies, regulations and budget resources; and
  • Establishing, vetting and executing implementation plans.
  1. How is this new office different? How will it operate with other departments to ensure that Seattle will plan holistically and meet future needs?

We recognize that in the past, the City of Seattle has reorganized various departments and established new offices to coordinate and strengthen City planning services. While some past efforts helped, they were not sufficient. The current era of unprecedented growth and development only underscores the need for a truly coordinated planning office that will strategically address current and future challenges.

OPCD is a priority for the Mayor; and the team working in OPCD will have the significant task of planning comprehensively to support both current and future residents. The new office must work closely with all City departments to establish strong communication, align work plan priorities, leverage resources, and develop tangible implementation plans that address neighborhood needs. OPCD will work with other City departments to accomplish tasks that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Assessing neighborhood assets and needs, the impacts of growth, and strategies to support more equitable development;
  • Identifying opportunities and establishing priorities for community development;
  • Focusing on implementation by identifying capital investments, strategic partnerships, assets, and equity issues that are consistent with City objectives;
  • Staffing a Capital Subcabinet to ensure that short- and long-range department plans drive capital investments and leverage city resources effectively to address community needs;
  • Collaborating with the Mayor, City Budget Office (CBO), and Council to ensure that City goals are aligned with proposed priorities and resources; and
  • Ensuring significant planning activities and development projects are reviewed to ensure alignment with community development priorities.

In addition, some examples of interdepartmental coordination work led by OPCD may include:

  • Aggregating data that defines where capital investments are planned by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Parks and Recreation, and other capital departments to align and leverage strategic priorities;
  • Aligning area plans, Urban Design Frameworks, transportation plans, and community development strategies; and
  • Coordinating with SPU and SCL to plan for adequate infrastructure in water, sewer, drainage and power when new development occurs to ensure sufficient capacity.
  1. What parts of DPD (to be renamed to SDCI) will change? How will different components of DPD work together?

The planning functions that oversee comprehensive planning, area planning, and community development, as well as the Seattle Planning and Design Commissions, will be moved to OPCD and restructured to develop and promote integrated planning and community development. The other core regulatory functions of DPD will remain in DPD, which will be renamed to SDCI.

We also recognize the importance of the close relationship between the divisions currently in DPD. OPCD will continue to work closely with the regulatory component, as it would with all other departments to facilitate and implement comprehensive planning. For example, because the regulatory function manages the permitting process, OPCD will work closely with the regulatory side to help monitor current, future, and potential development to identify and assess capital investment needs in neighborhoods, regulatory changes that may be warranted, etc.

  1. Who are liaisons and what will be their role?

To strengthen interdepartmental coordination, staff from City departments will work with OPCD as subject matter expert “liaisons” to facilitate cross-department coordination. Such staff will remain in their home departments and will work within OPCD to ensure that OPCD has sufficient department expertise and remain coordinated with department priorities. As a result, liaisons may take on the following roles:

  • Work with OPCD planners by providing guidance and recommendations on department priorities, planning efforts, and capital projects to ensure cross-department alignment and project implementation;
  • Serve on a Capital Subcabinet led by OPCD to guide long-range planning and capital investment decisions;
  • Communicate emerging issues and priorities of their home department; and
  • Identify additional subject matter experts within their home departments when necessary.
  1. Who was involved in the creation of OPCD?

As a new office with the primary objective of strengthening coordination across all departments, it was critical to Mayor Murray that multiple departments help to shape and frame the scope and mission of OPCD. In June, Mayor Murray announced an Executive Order directing all City departments to work with the Mayor’s Office, DPD, CBO, and the Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) to develop OPCD.

  1. How will this change be implemented? What is the timeline? What will be the impact on the City budget?

The legislation and budget changes to implement OPCD will be sent to City Council with the 2016 Proposed Budget at the end of September. The total proposed budget for OPCD in 2016 is $7.9 million, all supported by the General Fund. This includes $6.6 million that currently supports existing functions within DPD and $1.3 million in new resources. City Council will review and hold hearings on the proposed budget and legislation as part of their budget deliberations in October and November. The final vote on the 2016 Budget legislation package is expected in late November. All adopted changes will be effective January 1, 2016.

Mayor Murray, Seattle City Council approve $1.5 million in matching funds to support neighborhood-initiated projects

Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Council today approved more than $1.5 million in matching funds to support neighborhood projects across the City. Nineteen community organizations will receive awards from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Neighborhood Matching Fund program for a variety of projects involving physical improvements, events, and cultural activities.

“The Neighborhood Matching Fund creates opportunities for neighbors to turn their creative ideas and energy into innovative projects,” said Mayor Murray. “The City’s meaningful investments help build community and provide incredible returns for our neighborhoods that everyone can enjoy.”

Funded through the Large Projects Fund, the awards range from $43,785 to $100,000, and the awardees have pledged to match the city’s $1,505,515 contribution with in-kind resources and donations valued at $2,961,190. Projects range from the construction of a neighborhood center at Pike Place Market to a cultural event series in Delridge.

“Neighborhood volunteers truly make a difference,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. “Countless volunteer hours go into each of these projects, and I’m impressed by the desire, dedication, and tenacity of community members to see these projects to completion.”

Every application to the Large Projects Fund goes through an extensive evaluation process by two teams: the Citywide Review Team (CRT), a group representing each of the 13 neighborhood districts, plus four at-large community members; and the District Council Review Teams, comprised of members from the District Councils. These volunteers review the applications, interview applicants, and make the recommendations for funding.

“In every neighborhood, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has made an impact – from Georgetown’s Hat n’ Boots to Wallingford’s Meridian Park Playground,” said Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “Over the past 27 years, more than 5000 community projects have been completed with help from the Neighborhood Matching Fund.”

There are two other funds in the Neighborhood Matching Fund program, the Small Sparks Fund (awards up to $1000) and Small and Simple Projects Fund (awards up to $25,000). To learn more about the Fund, visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhood-matching-fund.

2015 Large Projects Fund Awardees

North Region (north of Ship Canal)

$100,000 to the Broadview Community Playground Improvement Project to renovate the school playground and play areas to benefit the school, Bitter Lake Community Center, and the surrounding neighborhoods. (Community match: $112,760)

$100,000 to Viewlands Elementary PTSA to construct a new play structure, track, and site, and renovate the field and painted sport courts to revitalize this gathering place with purposeful and accessible areas. (Community match: $183,904)

$88,887 to Friends of Yesler Swamp to complete the restoration of Yesler Swamp and construct 300 additional feet of the remaining section of an environmentally-designed, ADA-accessible boardwalk. (Community match: $90,160)

$25,000 to the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association to convert a cut-through street into a safe pedestrian- and bike-friendly zone that bridges the gap between the I-5 Park and Ride and the Sound Transit station. (Community match: $106,655)

$99,414 to University Heights Center to renovate the community performance hall to include egress improvements, ADA accessibility, creation of a foyer, installation of stage lighting and audio-visual equipment, and other aesthetic improvements. (Community match: $99,414)

$99,000 to John Stanford Playground Improvement Committee to improve the school grounds into a more accessible, safe, and welcoming public space. Project includes replacing concrete fixtures and play equipment and the addition of accessible ramps and pathways. (Community match: $108,150)

South Region

$100,000 to the Mount Baker Community Club to improve the clubhouse’s energy efficiency and safety by replacing the roof, removing or repairing the damaged brick chimneys, and installing an energy-efficient gas-fired boiler. (Community match: $152,689)

$100,000 to Seattle Tilth to activate the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands by adding a children’s learning garden, rain gardens, and educational signage; equipping the community farm stand, kitchen, and greenhouses; and hosting a community-led celebration. (Community match: $111,464)

$100,000 to Rainier Valley Corps to implement a leadership and capacity-building program where emerging leaders of color will be recruited, trained, and placed in full-time work at communities-of-color-led nonprofits in Rainier Valley.        (Community match: $568,800)

$100,000 to Friends of Seward Park to build a new torii in Seward Park to replace the one that stood for 50 years and served as a community icon and gathering place. (Community match: $199,977)

West Seattle

$69,975 to the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association to produce 12 events in 2016 that will connect diverse community partners and build stronger relationships between organizations, groups, and individuals in the greater Delridge neighborhood. (Community match: $47,760)

Central Region

$50,000 to the Melrose Promenade to implement a series of community-supported road safety and placemaking measures to include pedestrian lighting, distinctive paving, crosswalks, signage, and art. (Community match: $145,793)

$43,785 to Friends of Jackson Street Mural Project to commission the painting and installation of a mural depicting significant historical labor events in the multicultural context of the Chinatown/International District and the Central Area. (Community match: $90,288)

$100,000 to the Friends of Jimi Hendrix Park Committee to construct Phase 2 of Jimi Hendrix Park designated “Are You Experienced?” to include additional pathways, lawn mow curbs, and vine plantings. Project entails demolition, earthwork, hardscape, and planting and irrigation. (Community match: $189,169)

$49,454 to the Central Area Senior Center to conduct a feasibility study to identify and prioritize options for future redevelopment of the center. Consultant will do surveying, architecture, parking and traffic analysis, engineering, and community engagement. (Community match: $103,200)

$100,000 to the Hirabayashi Place Legacy of Justice Committee to complete and install community-led project located on and around Hirabayashi Place to provide historical and cultural identity of Nihonmachi, Seattle’s historic Japantown, by honoring civil rights leader Gordon Hirabayashi. (Community match: $289,625)

$80,000 to the Pike Place Market Foundation to support the planning, design, and construction of a new Pike Place Market Neighborhood Center, a 1,950 square foot welcoming, accessible venue to serve as a downtown community gathering and activity place. (Community match: $171,300)

$50,000 to Lake Union Neighbors to proceed from 30% design completion to final construction documents for the East Howe Steps Plaza project which will provide a plaza and pedestrian connection from Capitol Hill to Lake Union. (Community match: $62,582)

$50,000 to the Plymouth Housing Group to construct a rain garden on the hill climb of the 710 Cherry Street property with benches and spaces for pedestrians, along with education panels on stormwater runoff, native plants, and green infrastructure. (Community match: $127,500)

Mayor unveils $47 million Seattle Park District plan for 2016

Mayor Ed Murray today unveiled his proposal for $47 million in Seattle Park District funding as part of his 2016 budget. This is the first full year of investments made through the district approved by voters in August 2014.

“Years of deferred maintenance and lack of major investment has taken its toll on Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “In 2016, we will launch a major round of improvements to community centers, open spaces and facilities across the system.”

“The Seattle Park District helps ensure that the city’s great parks and recreation legacy will be around for generations of Seattle residents to enjoy,” said Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.

“I am so pleased about the improvements to our city parks and programs that will result from the Park District,” said Barbara Wright, Vice Chair of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners. “After the year-long efforts of the Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which I chaired with Charlie Zaragoza, it is extremely gratifying to know the city is moving forward with the commitment of Park District funds to taking care of what we have, improving the lives of people in the community and preparing for our future.”

A map of the proposed investments through the Seattle Park District can be found here.

Two-thirds of the new funding, $31 million dollars, will target deferred maintenance at existing facilities:

  • Install new play equipment at playgrounds, completing 3 projects in 2016 and starting 7 others.
  • Begin the rehabilitation of community centers throughout the city, with 7 centers currently being assessed for needed repairs.
  • Repair and upgrade the Ballard Pool.
  • Install synthetic turf on the Brighton Playfield.
  • Repair priority sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
  • Support the Green Seattle Partnership and the thousands of volunteers planting trees and removing invasive species to restore the urban forest.
  • Contribute to major renovations at Woodland Park Zoo.

Across the City, 24 facilities will benefit from major maintenance projects next year. In order to avoid disruptions to programming during the day, the City will add a third shift of journeyman trades people who will work at night to fix leaky plumbing, repair ceiling tiles and clean drains. The work will put facilities on a two-year maintenance cycle, rather than the current five to seven-year cycle.

Visitors will also notice that 41 of the busiest park restrooms across the system will benefit from twice as many cleanings during times of peak use.

The mayor also announced $4 million to develop new culturally relevant programming to serve an additional 6,000 Seattle residents across the system.

“Our parks facilities are only as good as the programs that fill the spaces – educational courses, the arts, physical fitness, child care and early childhood education,” said Murray. “We will establish new community partnerships to improve access to programming for communities of color and other underserved populations, for young people, for our elders.”

To support equity of access, the budget adds $400,000 in scholarships to offset program fees for low-income families and individuals.

Parks will form innovative community partnerships to bring more opportunities for young people, including youth with disabilities, to support after-school programs and over-night camps. New community partnerships will also support physical fitness activities for adults and children. A successful pilot project for seniors experiencing dementia will be expanded, as will other programs for seniors, with a special focus on serving immigrants and refugees.

Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture will launch “Put the Arts in Parks” with 40 exhibits and performances to renew the cultural role of City parks.

The City will build on the successful public-private partnership that is activating Westlake Park by working with community organizations to activate other urban parks with music, games and the arts, such as Hing Hay, Freeway and Victor Steinbrueck.

Finally, the Seattle Park District will invest $9 million in 2016 to acquire new properties, enhance existing facilities, and develop new parks to serve a growing city.

“We expect 120,000 new Seattle residents over the next 20 years,” said Murray. “We must expand our system to meet that need.”

In partnership with King County Conservation Futures, Parks will purchase additional land for future open space in growing urban centers and urban villages where most new Seattle residents will live. Existing land-banked sites in Seattle’s urban villages will be developed, beginning in Lake City, Greenwood-Phinney, Fremont, Denny Triangle and North Rainier.

Community groups can apply for matching funds to renovate or expand existing parks facilities through a new Major Projects Challenge Fund.

Mayor Ed Murray: We are one step closer to having an arena

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle Design Commission voted to recommend approval of the proposed arena in SODO:

“The City of Seattle continues to do its part and we are one step closer to having an arena that is ready to host NBA basketball and NHL hockey. Seattle has the transit, restaurants, hotels and other infrastructure that will make the new arena a success. We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders on the potential impacts in SODO of this new facility.”