This is a brief recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting that took place on November 11, 2015.
Officer Tracy Douglas reported on the monthly statistics for area “P2,” which includes Emerson-Garfield as well as West Central and parts of the North Hill Neighborhood. There were no sexual assaults in our area last month, nor any commercial robberies. There were two robberies of a person, one domestic violence incident, and 14 violent crimes in the last month. For residential burglary, there were nine this month, and the same number of garage burglaries. Commercial burglaries are at seven, less than 13 in the previous month. Vehicle theft is at 20, slightly more than last month, but less over the yearly average. There was a decrease in overall property crime compared to the previous year.
Miscellaneous notes: Neighborhood officers are being pulled out of COPS shops to put the officers in precincts instead. A property near 1800 W Montgomery is a drug house that is being shut down on November 12 due to the involvement of the neighbors. If you leave your vehicle running and unattended, parked on a street rather than in your own driveway, you could be fined $124. Officers like to have address numbers shown on alley garages to use as a point of reference. Officer Douglas also warned against having a glass window built into your back door, which is very tempting for thieves to break when entering.
Councilmember Candace Mumm reported on Drumheller Springs Park by Ash and Euclid. A neighboring piece of property, 3121 Ash, came up for approval for sale as a CDBG property and might be used to enhance the park.
North Monroe is going to be completely renovated during its repair, not least because of its 110-year-old sewage infrastructure. The long-dormant North Monroe Business Association really needs to be reenergized and involved.
Councilmember Mumm said in closing that there is an active effort to put Knox Presbyterian Church, where the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market is currently held, on the register of historical buildings.
Gayle Haeger and Rachel Sumagpang spoke about a house at 820 W Spofford that the nearby Spokane Central Seventh-Day Adventist Church bought for an after-school program for kids from third to fifth grade (tentatively) that will be held between 3:30 and 5:30pm four days per week. They are looking for volunteers and encourage interested adults to get in touch.
The meeting shifted to the allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. After the CDBG allocations determined in previous months, the neighborhood was left with $24,145 to allocate. It was proposed that $2,135 be allocated to the West Central Community Center for an even $10,000 along with the already reallocated 2015 funds; $11,010 toward the $78,198 sidewalk project on Cedar from Alice to Euclid; and $11,000 toward a $24,793 dog-walking path in Emerson Park that might also discourage transient camping in that area.
The proposed allocation was approved by a unanimous vote with no abstentions. Jackie Caro, even while absent (which is rare), was applauded for her involvement with our neighborhood’s CDBG projects and her guidance.
Amy Dutton reported on the Northwest Boulevard Greening Grant planting that took place on October 31 and involved 15 volunteers. While the area looks beautiful, the southern triangle was not completed in time, as the other two traffic triangles took much more effort than anticipated.
Karl Boldt reported on the neighborhood cleanup program. Faith Bible Church has stepped up in wanting to be involved with the neighborhood. The church brought two dumpsters for “clean green” on November 7, and their volunteers spent three hours driving around the neighborhood to help people rake and dump leaves. Saturday, May 21 is the proposed date for the 2016 Spring Cleanup.
Transitions had a community meeting on November 10 regarding the development of a 24-unit cottage-style development for low- or moderate-income housing. Transitions was very eager to solicit the feedback of both neighborhoods that adjoin the property. If you have strong feelings about that area or the proposed development, it is recommended that you follow up with Transitions directly.
Laura Schlangen reported on the Corbin Senior Activity Center. There was a full house of 120 people at a recent performance by the Corbin Players, which included eight short plays. On Saturday, December 5 at 5:30pm there will be a performance by the Spokane Magic Club, with a requested donation of $3.50 per person and $7.50 for an entire family. The elevator was estimated to cost around $400,000, and $291,000 of that will be covered by the Department of Commerce.
Jay Cousins reported on the Community Assembly. The Neighborhood Notification process is now in effect. There are going to be two people per neighborhood who are listed with neighborhood services who are going to be notified of any projects happening in the neighborhoods, and then those two people are responsible for disseminating the information to the neighbors.
Beginning in 2016, there will be a pool of $15,000 among the 28 neighborhoods to draw from for neighborhood projects, such as concerts in the park. It is generally agreed that the funding is not quite enough, so there is an effort to increase the pool. Neighborhoods can apply to the Office of Neighborhood Services for the funding of a project.
The Community Assembly’s Community Development Committee is proposing changes to how sidewalk funding is distributed. They suggest a total pot of $150,000 (half of the $300,000 allocated in 2014) for sidewalk improvements anywhere in the city, as long as the area is in a zone that qualifies based on CDBG criteria. There is a concern that the City has not taken responsibility for maintaining the sidewalks or street trees that are considered to be on City property, a model that was reported to be more common in cities west of the Mississippi. The committee felt that it should be up to the landowners, rather than the neighborhoods, to apply for sidewalk repair projects.
Megan Kennedy reported on the West Quadrant Tax Increment Financing (WQTIF) committee, which currently operates with five voting members. The committee and their advisor, Andrew Worlock, are evaluating whether the committee is to be an ear for revitalization projects initiated by others, or if they are to take their own initiative for projects (or a balance of both). Most of the projects are capital-oriented and favor improvements that would increase the economic viability of an area for businesses. Emerson-Garfield is looking for an alternate representative on the WQTIF to assist Megan. Meetings currently take place quarterly but potentially could happen more frequently.
The meeting closed with a reminder to bring a dish to the Winter Potluck on Wednesday, December 9. Everyone in Emerson-Garfield is invited!