Victory Heights Scores $4,157 Grant From City

Thanks to the efforts of the Victory Heights Community Council (especially President Ann Forrest), the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has awarded a matching grant of $4,157.25 for various signs and expenses to be used around the neighborhood.

Read Minutes from the May Victory Heights Community Council Meeting

Read Minutes from the April Victory Heights Community Council Meeting

This money is in exchange for volunteer hours we have pledged including maintaining the traffic circles around Victory Heights. The funds include purchasing “Welcome To Victory Heights” signs from the city to be placed on arterials, banners, copying flyers, and buying ice cream for the social on Tuesday July 18th.

In other business at the Community Council meeting, we heard from David Johnson of Sustainable NE Seattle. These great folks organize urban farms, school gardens, the NE Tool Library (which is awesome!), the emergency preparedness HUB in Wedgwood, skills fairs, and garden tours.

Despite a fancy display shown to the Council last year, the Northgate pedestrian/bike bridge has been radically redesigned to be narrower, shorter, and more importantly, cheaper than the initial design.

The next meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be Tuesday, June 20th at 7 PM at the co-op preschool building and will feature a speaker from Seattle Parks about the renovation project in our park.

Watch For Post Cards Promoting Victory Heights

On Saturday March 25th, the Victory Heights Community Council will have post cards (technically door hangers) distributed to all the houses in the neighborhood by volunteer high school students.

Read the entire minutes from this month’s Community Council meeting.

The post cards will inform residents of the activities of the community council, upcoming events (like the Book Fair on April 22nd, May Day celebration on April 30th, and of course the ice cream social in August), as well as resources and how to contact them.

The community council is also looking for volunteers willing to beautify the various traffic circles in the neighborhood.  We can use those volunteer hours for a matching grant in order to get the city to install two “Welcome To Victory Heights” signs.  Write to VictoryHeights.Seattle@gmail.com to learn more.

The next meeting is Tuesday, April 18th when we will hear from the Northgate Transit Oriented Development organization.

February Events Calendar

Here are some events in and around Victory Heights you might be interested in:

Saturday, February 18: Your Voice, Your Choice: Lake City Greenways will be hosting an idea-collection event at the Lake City branch library meeting room between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. This will be a drop-in, swing by, or stay-as-long-as-you-like affair.

Sunday, February 19th: Idris Mosque Potluck. Every 3rd Sunday a potluck is held at our local mosque. “There’s always plenty of food but feel free to add to the bounty… ” 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM, 1420 NE Northgate Way.

Tuesday, February 21: Mayor Ed Murray’s State of the City Address at Idris Mosque. At 9:30 AM, Seattle’s mayor will give his annual speech at the Mosque on the corner of Northgate Way and 15th Avenue NE.  Doors open at 8:30 AM. You need to RSVP in advance.

Tuesday, February 21: Victory Heights Community Council Meeting.  The monthly meeting of the community council is your chance to interact with neighbors and find out what’s going on in little section of town.  7 PM at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

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.

Park Renovation Design Review Tuesday

Park RenovSeattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Victory Heights Cooperative Preschool and Victory Heights Community Council, invite the community to review the schematic design and provide input on play equipment for the renovation of Victory Heights Playground play area. The meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 will be held at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park as part of the Victory Heights Community Council meeting that evening. Seattle Parks and Recreation’s in-house landscape architect and project manager will host an Open House from 6 – 7 p.m. to provide an update on the project and gather community input on play equipment. The formal presentation will be made between 7 – 8 p.m. during the Victory Heights Community Council meeting.

This project will replace the play equipment, provide access improvements and improve other features at the park. The scope of this project provides improvements which will bring the play area into compliance with current play area safety standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access. The play area is located adjacent to the preschool.

The Seattle Park District provides the funding for this play area renovation.  Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. For more information about the project please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/victory_heights/.

If you have additional questions about the project or would like to request accommodations or need an interpreter please contact Katie Bang at katie.bang@seattle.gov or 206-684-9286.

We hope to see you there on Tuesday! Remember, the chairs at the pre-school are designed for small children, bring your own for better comfort.

“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)

Volunteers Needed Tuesday To Distribute Neighborhood Night Out Flyers

The July meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council will be Tuesday, July 21st in Victory Heights Park at 7 PM at the picnic tables. This will be a planning meeting for the annual Neighborhood Night Out which will be held August 4th next to the park on NE 106th Street. At Tuesday’s meeting flyer packets will be distributed to volunteers who will be tasked to take them door-to-door to specific blocks around the neighborhood.  If a lot of people turn up, then each person only has to do a single street. Flyers are the best way of letting everyone know about this great neighborhood event which will again feature pot luck food, free ice cream and tables promoting various local organizations. Help make the Neighborhood Night Out a success by turning up this Tuesday to help distribute flyers (we’ll give you the flyers and a map on Tuesday, but you have a week and half in which to deliver them).

Meanwhile, Victory Heights had a small article in this week’s Seattle Weekly about our neighborhood.

And, if you want some really sobering reading, the current issue of The New Yorker has an article about how most of Seattle is doomed when the big 9.0 earthquake hits.

Burglary Rate Falls But Residents Worry About Crime

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, residents heard a presentation by Elizabeth Scott, the Crime Prevention Coordinator from the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who said that compared with a similar period last year, burglaries are down in the Lincoln 2 sector that Victory Heights is part of.

Read the entire minutes of last night’s meeting.

However this did not assuage the concerns of some residents who, citing personal experience (and recent articles in The Seattle Times), felt SPD was not treating property crime seriously. Even though her job is helping residents with crime preventation, and not being a spokesman for the department, she said dispatchers have to prioritize cases and burglaries can be a lower priority at times depending on what other calls are coming in. “There are limitations to what we can do.”

Given the recent publicity in The Times, the new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, said they would be reviewing police procedures. It is still important to report any robberies because it does provide data to the police department of what is happening where and how resources are allocated. On the prevention front, Elizabeth reminded us to lock your doors, make sure your house looks occupied even when it’s not, and store and lock up any ladders or tools that are outside that could be used to enter your house.

Meanwhile, if you need to report a non-emergency such as a homeless encampment or abandoned car, you can call 684-CITY, or use the new Find It Fix It app for your Android or iPhone. For added safety, you can register your mobile phone at Smart911.com with your personal information which would then be displayed if you ever call 911 to let them know who you are and your home address, which might be invaluable during an emergency.

And while burglaries are down, car thefts are up, particularly if you drive a 1990s Honda, Toyota or Subaru. Very often these cars are used by joy riders who leave them on the side of the road afterwards. Lock your cars, use a Club, and never leave valuables inside.

The next meeting of the community council is Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at the Co-Op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM.