Emergency Preparedness HUB News and More

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council (read the complete minutes here) in addition to an election to vote in a new President and Vice-President (congrats to Ann Forrest and Monica Harris, respectively), there has been much movement on the plan to install an emergency preparedness HUB in Victory Heights Park. Originally the community council was going to apply for a matching grant from the city in order to buy and maintain the supplies for the HUB. The “matching” was done using volunteer hours in the community. However, the city’s Office of Emergency Management has decided they really want more HUBS in the city (“200 in 7 years,” or one within 1/2 mile of every resident in Seattle) and so they have made it much easier to obtain a grant and done away with the matching requirement. They are also offering to sell a $1500 “HUB-in-a-box” starter kit with nearly everything (except radios) to get going setting up a HUB.  The logical place to store it (and set up) is in Victory Heights Park, and the Parks Department has agreed to let us use the concrete pad next to the playground. We are still looking for ham radio enthusiasts in the neighborhood to help with our communication needs.

Speaking of the park, the planned playground renovation has been pushed back yet again, and construction now will start in Spring 2017 and take place during the summer. Designers were also persuaded to use wood chips under the equipment instead of “synthetic turf.”

And the Seattle Police Department’s 36-foot-long “mobile precinct” will be visiting Victory Heights next month! It will be stationed next to the park in time for our meeting on October 18th and the public (and kids) are welcome to get a tour.

New Little Free Library At Bottom of 20th Avenue NE

little-library-4A new Little Free Library has been added to Victory Heights, this one is located where 20th Avenue NE turns into a walking path down towards Thornton Creek.  If your kids take the big stairs up to Sacajawea Elementary, then they would walk past it every day.  This is the sixth Little Free Library in Victory Heights (see map below). The others are located on 15th Avenue NE just north of the mosque, on 14th Avenue NE just north of NE 107th, on NE 106th Street just east of 17th Avenue, on NE 105th just east of 20th Avenue, and on 23rd Avenue NE at NE 104th Way. Visit them today! “Add a book, take a book,” as they like to say.

librarymap2016

Volunteers’ Hours Will Help Build Emergency HUB in Park

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, over 20 people agreed to volunteer their time during the next year to help secure funds to build an emergency communications HUB based on Victory Heights Park.

Read the full minutes of last night’s meeting.

Communication HUBs have been set up around the city by volunteers to be used to gather and disperse information in the case of a disaster.  There has been one in Lake City at the Fred Meyer parking lot for several years now (read about a drill held there several years ago).

On September 12th, Vice-President of the community council Ann Forrest is going to apply for a matching grant from the city. To match the amount requested, community members must pledge to volunteer a certain number of hours (calculated at $20 per hour worked) over the next year (starting on the 12th). So if 10 people each pledged to work 5 hours, that would be 50 hours or $1000 we could receive in matching funds. The cost to set up the HUB will be between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on how much equipment and supplies would be purchased. It would be stored in a locked box in the park, pending approval of Seattle Parks.

In case of emergency, always check your home and family are safe first.  Then check the neighbors.  Then find out how the community is doing.  That is what the HUB is for, especially when conventional communications might not work in an emergency. The HUB would be fitted with ham radios to keep in touch with Seattle officials and other HUBs in the network. Drills would be conducted periodically to help train volunteers and establish procedures to better cope with likely events (earthquakes, massive power outage, volcanos) that likely would mean first-responders would not be able to reach us for hours or possibly days due to infrastructure damage and other priorities.  Keeping people informed about the situation and connecting up resources with needs is the primary function of a HUB.

If you would like to know more, or to volunteer to help put in hours, please write us and we will let the organizers know.

The next meeting of the Victory Height Community Council is Tuesday, September 20th in the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM. We’ll be electing a new president and several board seats are now open.  Come be a part of our great community!

Northgate Pedestrian Bridge Briefing Tuesday

This month’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council on Tuesday, May 17th will feature a presentation by Art Brochet from Seattle’s Department of Transportation about the Northgate pedestrian bridge project. This new bridge over Interstate 5 from the coming Northgate Link Light Rail station across to North Seattle College has been in the planning stage for several years, but funding was in question. However, with the passage of the Move Seattle Levy last year, it is fully funded now and in the design phase for construction to begin in 2018. Come see proposals for bridge design and location and learn more.  The meeting begins at 7 PM at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park. The chairs are designed for small children, so bring your own for best comfort. We hope to see you there!

New Little Free Libraries Added To Neighborhood

Little Free Lib 16

UPDATE: There’s a 5th library on 14th Avenue NE just north of NE 107th.

Two new Little Free Libraries have been added to Victory Heights in addition to the two existing libraries installed in 2013. The first one is on the south side of NE 105th Street just east of 20th Avenue NE (pictured left). This was funded from the CleanScapes fund that was awarded to our neighborhood in 2013.

The second Library is up on the west side of 15th Avenue NE just north of the mosque on Northgate Way. The previous libraries are on NE 106th, a block west of Victory Heights Park, and on the corner of 23rd Avenue NE & NE 104th Way. Be sure and check them out as you wander around the neighborhood.  Here’s a compete map:
librarymap2016

Learn How To Remove Used Needles At Workshop

needleThe North Precinct Advisory Council Social Services Committee invites community members to a free training workshop, How to Safely Remove Used Syringes from a Public Area on Saturday, February 20 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the University Masonic Lodge, 4338 University Way NE.

Joe Tinsley, Needle Exchange Coordinator for Seattle-King County Public Health, will talk about the risks, proper handling, and disposal of used needles. A limited number of sharps containers and garbage pickers will be available for participants.

This free training will provide community members who regularly see discarded needles in public places with the information they need to safely dispose of them. While certainly not a solution for preventing and reducing drug abuse, the training can provide neighbors with information needed to keep public areas clean and safe.

For more information and to RSVP, contact NPAC Social Services Committee volunteer Michael Cuadra at mccuadra@msn.com

Other resources:

  • Needles in parks: Call the Seattle Parks Department Maintenance Request Line: 206-684-7250.
  • Needles on other city-owned land/facilities: During regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., call the SPU Illegal Dumping Hotline: 206-684-7587.

 

Live Near Thornton Creek? Get Free Improvement Grants

The Adopt A Stream Foundation is in the second year of a three-year grant to do improvements around Thornton Creek. If you are a homeowner who has any part of their property within 35 feet of the creek you are eligible for a free assessment of your property and if you want, they will help pay for improvements such as erosion abatement, evasive species control, lawn replacement with native species, or even a rain garden (one is already going in at the end of Elshin Place under the 15th Avenue NE bridge).

Read the complete minutes of this month’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting.

Working from funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Adopt A Stream is joining with the Thornton Creek Alliance to identify eligible properties and contact homeowners about this terrific program. To learn more, contact Les Meade, an ecologist at Adopt A Stream: lesm@streamkeeper.org.

In other business from last night’s meeting of the Community Council, there are plans to make the annual neighborhood block party a separate event from August’s Neighborhood Night Out, and concern about pedestrian safety crossing 15th Avenue NE just north of the bridge.

Next month’s meeting on February 16th will feature a return of the Parks Department with designs for new park improvements coming in 2016. Don’t miss it!

“You are the decision makers,” Says Parks Dept on Playground Renovation

park renov01Twenty-four residents (plus many kids) crowded in to the preschool building last night during the Victory Heights Community Council meeting to hear and make comments about Seattle Parks & Recreation’s playground renovation project coming to our park in 2016.

Read the complete minutes from last night’s meeting.

Between 6 and 7 PM, representatives from Parks set up displays showing the various different styles and play elements that are possible for new playground equipment. At 7 PM the formal presentation took place, hosted by 20 years Parks veteran designer Frank Robinson. Among the highlights he proposed were a separate play areas for kids ages 2-5 and ages 5-12, a “plaza space” where parents will have clear sightlines to the play areas, and demolishing the wall next to the basketball court. The grassy area of the park will remain unchanged, as will the preschool building.

park renov02Tuesday night’s meeting was a chance for the public to have our say about what sort of play equipment should be installed and any else we would like to have done within the budget allowed. “This is an important night for us,” said Robinson (pictured here holding a proposed plan of the renovations). The next step will be talking with equipment manufacturers to get prices, draw up a design, and then come back in February for any final comments from the public. Work needs to be underway by the middle of 2016 in order for the project to be completed by the end of 2016.

Parks’ Playground Renovation Presentation December 15th

This month’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council on December 15th will feature a presentation by Seattle Parks about the Victory Heights Playground renovation project. After $893,000 was budgeted by the Seattle Park District Fund earlier this year, the project will install updated play equipment and improve access to the Victory Heights Park play area. The play equipment will include play structures and seating accessible to children of all ages and abilities and also other elements for play.

Currently the project is in the planning and design phase (with construction scheduled for the second half of 2016) and with that, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s in-house landscape architect and project planner will be holding an open house and presentation at Tuesday night’s meeting. Your ideas, comments and recommendations will assist them with creating a preferred design to renovate the play area.

The meeting will be held at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park with an Open House starting at 6 PM to show design options and gather community input. At 7 PM a formal presentation will be made as part of the monthly community council meeting. Please make plans to attend and have your say about this exciting neighborhood improvement project. (Note: the chairs at the school are designed for very young children, so bring your own if you want maximum comfort)

$893,000 Park Renovation Announced

Park RenovThe Seattle Parks Department has announced a $893,000 renovation project of the playground equipment in Victory Heights Park.

Read the entire minutes from last night’s Community Council Meeting.

The project, which is currently in the design phase, will replace the current 20-year-old playground equipment, make the entire area ADA compliant, and via the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program (sometimes called CPTED), increase sight lines and removal of “hidden” areas. As part of the design, the Parks Department wants community input. The first way you can do that is by answering the survey on the project website. The second way is by attending the December 15th Community Council meeting, where the project designer will be there to make a presentation and listen to feedback.

Construction is scheduled for the second half of 2016. About half of the cost is earmarked for accessibility upgrades that will make the park Americans With Disabilities Act compliant. The project does not include any work on the building which currently houses the co-op preschool.  Earlier this year, the Parks Department had said Victory Heights was near the bottom of a 300-item list of “Things To Do” but apparently a combination of the aging equipment, recent criminal activity, citizen requests, and probably dumb luck (the right project size for what was left in this year’s “must spend” account) contributed to the project suddenly becoming viable and a done deal.