Typically the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council holds a very casual meeting with a light agenda after the neighborhood’s Summer Potluck, and this year was no different. However, owing to shifts in the annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) deadlines, the agenda included preliminary decisions on how the neighborhood intended to allocate its $56,299 for 2016.
Here’s a brief recap of some of the discussion and decisions from the August 12, 2015 neighborhood council meeting. (Click here for a photo gallery from the potluck.)
Because the proposal due August 31 only needed to be an indication of the neighborhood’s interest in particular projects, the allocations were discussed in broad terms. The CHHS “ground rules” this year are that the minimum amount to be allocated to each project, aside from sidewalk funding, is $10,000. That total can be a combination of multiple neighborhoods. Two of the four projects that appealed to voting members involved such cooperation with another area.
The project with the most interest was a collaboration with the North Hill Neighborhood for the vacant property on North Monroe near Cora Street. Trees and shrubs could be planted in order to beautify the unused land. Funding from other sources could cover irrigation, neighborhood gateway signs, and other planting or beautification initiatives.
The second proposal of interest involved the Fulcrum Institute‘s Ash Street Workforce Training Station. The neighborhood council allocated money to the Lands Council for the training station last year, which would serve to train former inmates for work, potentially reducing recurring crime in our neighborhood. This particular project would be partnering with Chief Garry Park Neighborhood for the third training bay.
The third project voted on was the garage or ADA ramp for the West Central Community Center. As a substantial portion of the center’s clients are residents of Emerson-Garfield, this project was of particular interest to the voting members.
The fourth project voted on was for public safety improvements for Emerson Park. Improvements could involve lighting and a perimeter sidewalk. Transients seem to be a strong problem along the perimeter of the park. Increased traffic, such as walking dogs in a loop, might be a deterrent to those who occasionally sleep in the park.
There were other projects that were discussed, but which received no official votes. One such project was the addition of new sidewalks within the neighborhood. This was not chosen as an official project, because Emerson-Garfield is always in need of new sidewalks. We can use the remainder of the CDBG funding for sidewalk projects, and we may also use traffic calming funds for sidewalks.
Another topic of interest was North Monroe revitalization. This road project has been delayed until 2018, so it would not be ideal to allocate funding that would need to be used within the 2016 calendar year. The neighborhood council still has interest in channeling significant funding this project, but it would be best to use this funding closer to the time of the revitalization.
One last topic was SNAP home repair. Because there is no longer a 2-to-1 matching of funds, members did not rank it as highly.
This was followed by reports from various committees. The first report was regarding Corbin Senior Activity Center. Laura Schlangen reported that the Department of Commerce informed the center that the State Capital Budget includes an appropriation of $300,000 for their elevator project. It will cost more than that, but these funds will need to be used soon.
On Saturday, September 19 the center will be having its annual auction dinner. The cost is $30 in advance. She encouraged donations and attendance.
Barb Biles reported on the Land Use Committee. The cell-tower moratorium was extended to October. Notification must be given in advance to occupants within a wider radius of 600 feet. There is also an effort to make the cell-phone towers aesthetically pleasing.
Carlie Hoffman, the neighborhood’s representative on the Pedestrian Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee, talked about how it is difficult to identify sidewalks needing repairs. They desire more participation from residents in identifying those projects.
Carlie also encouraged everyone to view and make use of the new interactive Spokane transportation maps that have a great deal of visual info on transportation conditions.
Megan Kennedy reported on the West Quadrant Tax Increment Financing (WQTIF) Committee, which she is hopeful to become an official member of in the coming months. The last meeting the committee did not have a quorum, so it involved more casual conversation, but Megan learned that the development of North Monroe was delayed until 2018 primarily because the City wanted to take the time to weigh options as to how best implement the improvements based in part on continued feedback from stakeholders and in part on what they learn from other corridor improvement processes in the meantime.
The last report prior to the conclusion of the meeting concerned the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers came through on July 31 to see how the market is accepting Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers to encourage a healthier diet for low- and moderate-income families.