Recap of the March E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

Recap of the March E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

The March 11, 2015 meeting of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council (EGNC) featured Kelly Norwood of Avista, assisted by Casey Fielder, as its guest speaker. Kelly provided a printed slideshow with some background on the company, its infrastructure, as well as the rate regulations it is subject to.

Of the $2.5 billion investment in Avista, 48% is equity, owned by shareholders, and 52% is owned by bond holders and banks. Avista is asking for a 4.75% authorized return on equity, which, according to the statistics provided in the printed materials, is an average rate compared to other providers. While the cost of electricity has increased 41% over the past 10 years, natural gas has only increased 3%. Over time, the costs to the customers has matched inflation almost exactly.

Kelly took questions from the group and later remained after the meeting to speak with interested attendees individually.

Kelly Norwood of Avista speaks to the EGNC about rate increases.
Kelly Norwood of Avista speaks to the EGNC about rate increases.

Next, Alicia Powell spoke about the City’s Greening Grants. In 2014, twelve neighborhoods applied for projects, and there were 17 approved applications, including 117 street trees, five perennial plantings, and one riparian planting. Under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, 66 street trees were planted.

Under the Greening Grants program, each neighborhood in Spokane can apply for three grants each at up to $5,000 per grant. On April 17 and 18 of this year, 1,000 trees will be given away to residents for planting. Every resident can receive up to two trees. If residents would prefer to be supplied with larger, more established trees, a landscaping company can deliver and install up to two for $95 each. Vouchers for these trees and pickup locations will be provided to the neighborhood council at the next meeting on April 8.

The neighborhood Greening Grants planting for its successful 2014 applications will take place on Saturday, April 4. More info on that — including times, locations and scope of projects — will be available in a forthcoming blog post.

There were several volunteers for an ad hoc Greening Grants Committee, which will meet briefly over the next month to determine potential locations for plantings and landscaping and apply for one or more of the three possible grants. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please get in touch. You don’t have to be a voting member of the neighborhood council to participate.

Volunteering for the neighborhood council executive positions was encouraged, as elections are in April.

Megan Kennedy reported on the City-hosted open house for North Monroe business owners that she attended on the morning of March 10. She said that the City employees took the concerns of the business owners very seriously. One of the main concerns for owners was the length of the street closure. If a full closure, there would be 3 to 5 months of construction as opposed to 2 to 4 years if a partial closure. The City is also adjusting an additional levy source that could bring further improvements to the road surface.

Community Frameworks recently provided their architectural plans to the EGNC’s chair and vice-chair, requesting their opinions regarding the development of affordable housing at 315 West Mission.

The City is currently in negotiations for a site in Emerson-Garfield that would house an additional drinking water well. This well would provide a safe source of drinking water, especially in light of the risks associated with some of the current drinking water wells in industrial locations.

The neighborhood website was recently migrated to a new server, and is now (clearly) back online.

The Movin’ and Groovin’ Fair of the Corbin Senior Activity Center will be held on Saturday, March 14 from 8am to 2pm. There will be 75 vendors.  Lunch will be served for $6. Corbin’s sound system, valued at $500, was stolen, and the Center is considering a new locking system.

Karen Colvin and Carol Anderson spoke on behalf of the Spokane Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S.) shops. The North Hill and North Central C.O.P.S. shops should be merging, with volunteers relocating to the North Central location (630 W Shannon). The North Central location is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 2pm.

As C.O.P.S. receives limited funding, there will be a flea-market fundraiser market on Saturday, May 9 from 9am to 3pm at Knox Presbyterian Church (806 W Knox). C.O.P.S. North Central and Knox Presbyterian will be collaborating with the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council to plan and augment the event.

Al Steuart briefly reported on the planning for composting demonstrations and other activities during the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market. There are currently additional volunteers for canning and dehydration/desiccation demos. If you would like to coordinate one of these events, please e-mail Al directly.

On the news that previous organizer Eline Helm was stepping down, Timothy Diko and Melissa Parker volunteered to organize this year’s Concerts in the Park. The date will depend on the availability of the band but could be timed, like last year, to coincide with Summer Parkways.

Karl Boldt reported on the Spring Cleanup scheduled for Saturday, April 18 from 9am to 12:30pm, the annual dumpster roll-off event that allows residents to dispose of household and yard waste for free. Faith Bible Church will provide beverages and snacks to all those who participate, plus pizza for volunteers after the event. Unlike previous years, we will be unable to gather hazardous waste materials. This is a good opportunity to clean up alleys with your neighbors. Tires are acceptable at the roll-off event, but dump passes may be provided for construction materials that should be taken directly to the dump.

Barb Biles reported on the Land Use Committee, which is considering changes to bicycle lanes, rental properties regulations, and an easy-to-use outline for application processes.

Steve Anderson reported on the Pedestrian, Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee, which primarily consisted of an STA presentation and ensuing discussion. A more detailed overview is available here.

Tim Musser reported on the Community Development meetings, which are working to determine how neighborhoods will receive and allocate CDBG funds in the coming years.  The intent of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the source of the funds, is to improve the standard of living for lower-income residents, so the committee used that goal to formulate a proposal for a point-based system of resource allocation. Generally speaking, if a CDBG block has 75% or more of low-income households, it receives four points. With 60–75%, two points, and 50% to 60% receives one point. The Community Assembly is set to assess and vote on that proposal.

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