The February 11, 2015 meeting of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council began with a review of this year’s traffic-calming applications. Three residential applications and two arterial applications were submitted for the EGNC’s approval. The locations are shown below.
Each applicant, if in attendance, was given an opportunity to describe the traffic problem, its threats to safety and quality of life, and their proposed improvements. Later in the meeting, to facilitate the voting process, individual street views and an overview of the locations were displayed with a projector. Each voting member was allowed to cast one residential vote and one arterial vote.
For the residential improvements, the intersection of Alice and Cedar received 16 votes. Stevens and York received five. Another application regarding residential area improvements had been submitted by Shannon Lawson, the principal of Spokane Public Montessori; it received five votes. The neighborhood council determined that the Montessori application was still valuable, but it could be covered by one or two other funding mechanisms, such as Safe Routes to School, whereas the other residential projects would not.
For the arterial improvements, Lincoln and Indiana received no votes because this intersection is sandwiched between two other intersections with stoplights (Indiana and Post, and Indiana and Monroe). The only other arterial application, Adams and NW Boulevard, received all votes aside from five abstentions. That pedestrian crossing is very close to Spokane Public Montessori, which is expanding to K-7. It would also function as a seed for the larger improvements as mentioned above.
The sidewalk list that was approved in November was rendered invalid by shifting Community Development Block Grant eligibility. Therefore a revised sidewalk list was voted on and unanimously approved. Council member Candace Mumm also explained the possible funding sources that might help to improve the sidewalk project if CDBG funding will not cover a particular area.
New attendee Steven Anderson volunteered to be Emerson-Garfield’s dedicated representative on the Pedestrian Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee. Tim Musser volunteered to serve as the E-G rep on the Community Assembly’s Community Development Committee, which will help to determine how these federal funds are allocated to the neighborhoods via the City of Spokane.
Laura Schlangen, who is now officially a resident, reported on Corbin Senior Activity Center. An elevator is to be installed in the Upper South classroom; the remodel will cost around $350,000. March 14 is the Movin’ and Groovin’ Fair, where a half-price membership to the CSAC will be offered.
Candace Mumm gave a report on the City Council. There might be a slight increase in water bills, and the power bill is about to increase as well. The City of Spokane is committed to charging the lowest rate possible. However, the water pipes are so old that the system loses approximately 20% of the water that is available.
Barb Biles briefly reported on the Land Use Committee, which addresses issues such as cell-phone towers being out of place. There were no urgent matters. Like the E-G Neighborhood Council, there is generally less activity than usual during the winter months.
Karl Boldt also reported on the Spring Cleanup and explained it to the new attendees. Saturday, April 18 has been proposed as this year’s roll-off dumpster date. Karl would like to have an assistant to help with managing this popular event (please get in touch if you’re interested).
This year the cleanup crews will be unable to dispose of household hazardous waste; E-G was the only neighborhood to make use of that cleanup funding. At the first Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market of each month in June, July and August, a handful of dump passes (approximately 10) will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each pass is valued at $20. Unfortunately, much of what was brought to the dump last year using the pass was valued at only $5, so $15 was wasted by those dump runs.
The council moved on to discussion items. John and Rusty Vlahovich have moved out of the neighborhood and will be missed. John served on the West Quadrant Tax Increment Financing (WQ TIF) Committee and helped secure funding for N Monroe improvements. Megan Kennedy will leave her position as EGNC vice chair in April and fill John’s shoes on the WQ TIF Committee. With her experience in the neighborhood planning projects, and the relocation of her business onto N Monroe, this position will be a good fit. This means the EGNC vice chair position will be available in April (please get in touch if you’re interested in running for the position).
There have already been seven applications for the 2015 E-G Farmers’ Market. Al Steuart has been very active with ideas for various events, which have traditionally drawn a larger crowd to the market. He shared several event ideas, such as a composting and vermiculture; water conservation; student art; reading for children; cooking; canning and food preservation; high-tech gardening gadgets; and do-it-yourself dehydrators and ovens. (Please get in touch if you’d like to organize one or more of these events.) There is consideration for relocating the market onto N Monroe in front of the new Modern Monk microbrewery.
Stacy Blowers with Petunia’s Marketplace explained a seed library that will be provided in the store. The other two libraries in the area are in Hillyard and Otis Orchards. You would sign up for a library card and check out seeds for no cost. They are hoping to benefit collaborations with Project Hope Spokane and Second Harvest through this. The capacity for checkout, still to be determined, might be four seeds of each variety.
In January, an application for $3.8 million which had been submitted by City engineers for N Monroe renovations was approved (please see our previous blog post for more info). There was much discussion about benefits and drawbacks, with insights provided by those who had been involved with Emerson-Garfield’s Neighborhood Planning Committee. All attendees, irrespective of opinion, were encouraged to research road diets and look at case studies locally and nationally.
Jackie Caro from the Office of Neighborhood Services applauded the neighborhood’s tree planting efforts, and explained a ballot for a $5,000 greening grant, which anyone can apply for. In 2014, eight new trees were planted on N Maple, and 64 perennials will be planted this April. All voting members agreed to request an additional $5,000 grant. There were no objections to receiving additional funding.