The first meeting in several years of the revived Victory Heights Community Council was held Wednesday night, not in Victory Heights itself but the Seattle Mennonite Church in Lake City (more on that in a bit). A dozen people including speakers showed up and heard Susan Causin, our representative on the North District Council, gave an introductory speech in lieu of Shammara Estrada who was home with her new baby (congrats!).
Brad Cummings then gave a short presentation (see photo) about the history of the Victory Heights Community Council. In its heyday (over a decade ago), meetings at the Community Center in Victory Heights Park would attract a number of active dues-paying members as well as city councilmen and other VIP speakers. Community events included egg hunts in the park for kids. Eventually fewer and fewer people attended meetings as people’s lives got busier but also Victory Heights’ unique and rather stable situation as a single-family housing neighborhood without any businesses that doesn’t really see a lot of change or upheaval to motivate folks. Brad has continued to oversee the bank account for the council even though he hasn’t written a check in over nine years. He also revealed the existence of three sandwich boards he had stored for alerting the community about upcoming activities (watch for these on display in coming months!).
I was then asked to say a few words about the blog and social media. One burning question was what was the blog’s purpose versus that of Next Door Neighbor. I explained that Next Door is a closed-loop social media where people post items or news about themselves that only get distributed to other members. While it is immediate (particularly when suspicious activity is occurring), I see the blog as more Big Picture since it’s not really about things happening directly to me but what’s going on in the neighborhood at large. Maybe folks see that as all the same thing, feel free to choose for yourself.
In lieu of Terrie Johnston, the Seattle Police Department’s Crime Prevention Coordinator who was home sick in bed, Phillip Duggan, the co-chair of the North District Council (and who runs the Pinehurst blog) stepped in to talk briefly about the work that Terrie does including free home and business security inspections. If you are interested you can contact her at the North Precinct, 206-684-7711.
Janet Arkills from the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance distributed fliers with community group contact information as well as a brief summary of the Bill Pierre property situation in Lake City. She was very well-informed and a great resource (did you know putting in a new sidewalk in Seattle costs $1 million per mile?) Which is why we’ll never see any in Victory Heights in our lifetimes…
Eileen Canola then talked briefly about how the city awards grants for improvements such as traffic circles. There has been a movement to get one put in 23rd Ave NE, it just takes persistence to make it happen (Brad illustrated this point by talking about construction projects like at 5th Ave NE and Northgate Way which were being planned as far back as the 1990s but only now got funded and built).
Everyone seemed keen to have further meetings, and it was decided to hold the next Victory Heights Community Council meeting at 7 PM on Thursday, November 29th tentatively at the Community Center in Victory Heights Park. Susan had worked tirelessly to secure that location for Wednesday’s meeting but neither the Parks Department nor North Seattle Community College was able to provide assistance beforehand. But earlier this week I was contacted by someone at the Cooperative Daycare at the community center who has the necessary authority to let us use the building in future. Thank you, Kara, for your help!
Watch for sandwich boards alongside the streets announcing future events (and plugging this blog). If you have a “prime” location (for example, on NE 107th, 19th Ave NE, 23rd Ave NE or NE 100th) and would like to volunteer a few feet of your lawn by the side of the road for us to display a sign, please drop us a line. Thanks!
[This article was edited on October 28th to change the date of the next meeting.]