Greening Grants: Street Trees on W Mansfield

As part of the City’s current round of Greening Grants, volunteers from the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council recently convened in Emerson Park and identified streets in the neighborhood that were lacking trees. One area that came up (and has come up at least once before) is West Mansfield.

The Office of Neighborhood Services and Spokane Urban Forestry pulled together some data that identified existing trees and showed where new trees might be planted. Those annotated maps are shown in the gallery below.

If you live or own property on the portions of W Mansfield depicted in these aerial views, you will likely have received a letter from the City with a return postcard allowing you to accept or decline the free Greening Grants street trees.

We encourage you to fill out the card and mail it back — preferably with your consent to plant! Like the letter says, these trees come at no cost to you. The only obligation is to water them sufficiently to get them established after planting.

The benefits of trees should be self-evident. They shade your house during oppressively hot weather like this. They act as a wind buffer in the winter. They beautify your street and even add value to your home. And they’ve even been shown to help slow speeding traffic. (Here’s a good rundown with these and other reasons.) So if you were on the fence before, we hope you’ll choose to plant and help green the neighborhood!

June PeTT Meeting Summary

This is a quick summary of the last two meetings of the Community Assembly‘s Pedestrian, Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee from Carlie Hoffman, our neighborhood’s PeTT representative. It provides some context to the discussion about Photo Red funding that took place during the June meeting of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council.


John Snyder spoke at the May 26 PeTT Committee meeting. He noted that there have been unused funds each year since the program began in 2010, about $200,000 per year.  Each district now gets $150,000 per year (up from $100,000) with a $50,000 limit per project (up from $40,000).

Snyder proposed that the neighborhood councils and the Community Assembly discuss the option of using some of the surplus unallocated funds to help fund a larger project through a loan.

  • The loan would be paid back using funds from the unallocated photo-red funds over a set number of years.
  • The loan would be created to enable a grant-matching amount so that the total price of a large project (e.g., Mission Gap) would be supplemented.

This concept presupposes that the Photo Red camera project would continue to have an excess of funds each year to cover the loan repayment.

At the June 23 PeTT Committee meeting, this issue was discussed further, and all agreed that the neighborhood councils had concerns about the following three areas of the proposal:

  • Sustainability of the Photo Red money
  • The larger project’s fit to the purpose and goals of the Photo Red traffic-calming focus
  • Involvement of the neighborhood councils in the choice of the projects that would involve unallocated funds.

Two additional documents offer additional information on the Mission Gap project that prompted Councilman Snyder’s proposal and PeTT Committee chair Paul Kropp’s summary of the situation to the neighborhood councils.

If you have questions about this proposal as it relates to Emerson-Garfield, please contact Carlie via e-mail.

Corbin Park Yard Sale (June 20)

The 2015 Corbin Park Yard Sale is this Saturday (June 20).

It runs from 9am to 3pm. Houses on and near the park will have lots of secondhand and gently used items for sale.

While you’re there, snap a photo and send it to us so we have an accompanying image next year.

Recap of the June E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

The meeting started with a brief announcement from Julie Banks, Community Development Director at the YMCA of the Inland Northwest, who said that the Y is hosting a Summer Meals Program in Corbin Park. The meal program will serve breakfast and lunch to any child 18 years old or younger from MondayJune 22 to FridayAugust 14. Julie asked that the neighborhood help raise awareness about the program so that no child goes hungry.

Councilwoman Candace Mumm reported on issues under discussion by the City Council. A new parking ordinance is being proposed that will require fewer parking spaces for small businesses; a public hearing on the matter will be held at the City Council meeting on Monday, June 22.

Councilwoman Mumm also noted that a decency clause regarding adult entertainment might also spill over into the area of adult coffee shops. North Hill Neighborhood Council is almost finished with their neighborhood plan, and they intend to revitalize Garland Street as well as preserve the bluff. A southern portion of Northwest Neighborhood will become the Audubon/Downriver Neighborhood. Letters to the editor regarding Monroe Street revitalization are still encouraged.

Shanna Cejka, the neighborhood parent liaison to Spokane Public Montessori at Havermale, and Olga Lucia Herrera, a grant applicant and Montessori parent, announced that they were successful in soliciting Spokefest funding for a Bicycle Laboratory. The lab would be housed at the school; older students would learn to repair bikes and teach bike safety. The school would like to hold bike-related events in conjunction with Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council.

Amy Dutton reported on proposed Greening Grant locations for autumn plantings in the neighborhood. The traffic triangles at Northwest Boulevard and Monroe Street are potential locations. For residential areas, planting strips must be at least four feet wide. All locations must either have direct access to water and/or a volunteer neighbor or business to commit to watering duties.

The majority of neighborhood council members voted to forego the July neighborhood council meeting. The next EGNC meeting will therefore be on Wednesday, August 12 as part of the Summer Potluck in Corbin Park. The entire neighborhood is welcome to attend the potluck for food and socializing.

Bri Musser has plants for the traffic circle at the intersection of Montgomery and Madison. Others volunteered to help. Jackie Caro from the Office of Neighborhood Services reported on the other traffic circle, which was recently planted by Trinity Catholic School. The traffic island at N Maple is scheduled to have sidewalks installed this year, and another Ponderosa Pine will be planted there as well.

The Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market opened last week, and sales showed a 50% improvement over last year’s opening event. It is encouraging to see EBT clients making use of the incentive programs like Fresh Bucks. Broken Whistle, the band that will be performing at this year’s Concert in the Park, played the opening market. Future market activities and events include a water conservation demo on June 12, a garden pest information session on June 19, and a hydroponic gardening demo on June 26. Starting Friday, July 10, the Kids Eating Right Nutrition and Education for Life (KERNEL) program will have a different kid-friendly activity each week and will reward participants with tokens to use at the market. Several sponsors have stepped forward, but some are still needed!

Friends of Emerson Park will meet at the park on Saturday, June 13, at 6:30pm.

Laura Schlangen reported on the Corbin Senior Activity Center. Their Madhatter’s Tea Party had 100 attendees. The 6th Annual Golf Scramble had more sponsors and players than ever. Corbin’s Boutique, a secondhand store, is requesting donations, which can be dropped off at the time of the Emerson-Garfield meeting. The Munch and Mingle Auction will take place on Saturday, September 19, and tickets will be sold at the end of June. An upcoming bus trip to Las Vegas, Zion and the Grand Canyon will cost only $838.

A large portion of the meeting involved discussing how Photo Red revenue is allocated. Up to now, Photo Red funding — which comes entirely from fines paid by drivers who run red lights — has been available exclusively for traffic-calming projects such at the traffic circles on W Montgomery. Recently, however, changes have been proposed that would increase the available annual funds for each district to $150,000 (up from $100,000) and use surplus revenue (including anticipated future revenue) as seed money to attract matching grants for more ambitious projects.

The EGNC conducted a vote on the issue; the consensus was to uphold Councilman Jon Snyder’s proposal, summarized as follows by Paul Kropp in a recent PeTT Committee e-mail:

… leveraging unallocated photo-red revenue to make local matching funds available in a significant amount to use for grant applications to secure engineering and construction funding of larger scale community street or trail projects.

Additional details on this issue as well as the vote tally of the neighborhood council will be available in the meeting minutes (once approved) and a forthcoming blog post from Emerson-Garfield’s PeTT representative.

As a final order of business, Barb Biles reported on Land Use Committee topics, including the six-month moratorium on the building of cell-phone towers in residential zones while the zoning issue is analyzed.

Photos from the Trinity Traffic-Circle Planting

Here are some photos from this morning’s traffic-circle planting at Trinity Catholic School. This is the first of two plantings that will beautify these residential traffic-calming projects on W Montgomery.

With the help of teachers, parents and neighbors, the students planted coneflower (aka echinacea), blue fescue and some tall grasses that are also drought-resistant, so they’re as practical as they are pretty.

Similar flowers and grasses will be planted at the circle at the intersection of Madison and Montgomery — stop by tonight’s neighborhood council meeting to find out how you can volunteer to help plant.

Materials for the June 10 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

The Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meets tomorrow (WednesdayJune 10) at 6pm in the Corbin Senior Center (827 W Cleveland).

Unless the council votes otherwise, this will be the last meeting before the neighborhood-wide Summer Potluck on August 12, so it’s a good idea to attend and keep up to date on all that’s happening before the summer hiatus.

This month’s guest speaker is representatives from Spokane Public Montessori at Havermale, who’ll be talking about their new Bicycle Laboratory grant and the spring bike-centric event they’d like to plan along with the help of the neighborhood council. As Summer Parkways has decided to re-focus their efforts on the South Hill, this is a pleasant coincidence and could bring a similar event back to Emerson-Garfield.

Next we’ll talk about some of the preliminary locations the Greening Grant committee has identified for autumn plantings. That’ll be followed by rounding up some volunteers for the Summer Potluck as well as the traffic-circle plantings on Montgomery — which have been a long time coming.

There will be a brief recap of how the season opener of the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market went, and we’ll also hear about the sidewalks that are scheduled to be installed on the N Maple traffic island later this summer. After a few more odds and ends (including whether or not we want to meet in July), we’ll close with the usual roundup of reports from neighborhood reps who are keeping up to date on citywide issues like crime, planning and land use that are affecting or could affect Emerson-Garfield.

As always, we ask you to keep our printing expenses low and download the materials beforehand as PDFs:

The neighborhood council is open to anyone who lives, works or owns property in Emerson-Garfield and homeowners as well as renters are encouraged to come to these meetings. We regularly see attendance of 40+ people from all over the neighborhood, and there are no dues, fees or other obligations to participate.

It’s a great way to stay informed, meet your neighbors and take an active, grassroots role in shaping your neighborhood for the better!

Trinity Catholic School Cow Plop (June 6)

Trinity Catholic School (1306 W Montgomery) is holding its 25th annual Cow Plop fundraiser on this Saturday, June 6 from 11am to 4pm.

Typically Trinity closes off a one-block portion of Cedar for this popular family-friendly event and brings in carnival-style games and activities. This year they’ll have a human gyroscope, a bouncy house, an obstacle course and arts & crafts.

Cow Plop Flyer 2015

And don’t forget that they’ll have over 50 cash prizes, including $3,100 in prize money for the winner of the bovine bingo. Pizza Rita and Second Chance Ranch mobile petting zoo will be there too.

To buy bingo tickets or request more information, call (509) 327-9369. All proceeds benefit the students at Trinity.