• June 27, 2014

NEW BRIDGE: Update on dignitaries who’ll be at dedication

Counting down to Sunday’s big party celebrating the new South Park Bridge! The county has sent a media advisory noting that besides, of course, King County Executive Dow Constantine and other county leaders, the dignitaries will include U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. The ceremony’s at 3, followed by a parade across the bridge, and events into the evening including Lucha Libre at 6 pm.

  • June 26, 2014

City to ‘investigate’ as part of 14th/Concord sewer project

An alert from the city, via the South Park mailing list:

On July 1, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will be conducting geotechnical investigations as part of the 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project. The work will take place on South Donovan Street near 14th Avenue South, and South Concord Street near 14th Avenue South. No roadways will be blocked and traffic flow on 14th Avenue South will not be impacted.

The 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project will construct a parallel sewer line in this area in 2015. Geotechnical soil investigation is needed to determine current conditions around the sewer alignment. After testing and sampling work, borings will be filled and the surface restored. You may see crews and equipment on your block and in some locations, “No Parking” signs will be placed 72 hours in advance of the work.

Work related to the borings is expected to take one day to complete. Normal work hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While the investigations are underway, you can expect:

• Some nearby on-street parking may be temporarily reduced
• Periodic noise, dirt and vibration from the drilling operations
• Pavement excavation and restoration

Questions? Please contact Project Manager Jason Sharpley at 206-615-0030 or jason.sharpley@seattle.gov. To learn more about the 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project, please visit: www.seattle.gov/util/southparkprojects or see the attachment for a project fact sheet.

  • June 25, 2014

NEW BRIDGE: How Metro routing will change, once it’s open

Wondering how the new bridge will affect Metro routing? We asked:

The new South Park Bridge is scheduled to reopen for service between South Park and Georgetown at 6 a.m. June 30. At that time, two bus stops will reopen northbound and southbound on 14th Ave S just north of S Cloverdale St, serving the South Park business community.

When the bridge reopens, Route 60 will operate its former routing on 14th and 16th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and East Marginal Way S. Route 60 will no longer operate on 14th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and Highway 99, and on East Marginal Way S between the 1st Ave S Bridge and Carleton Ave S. Operating via the South Park Bridge is expected to save about 5-8 minutes per trip in each direction.

  • June 24, 2014

PHOTOS: Taken a close-up look at the new bridge yet?

This afternoon, we’ll be on a media tour promising a look at and inside the bridge. In advance of that, we went over for a closer look from the construction perimeter, and there’s lots to see!
Along the south side of the bridge, a raingarden and permeable-pavement path are visible:
Watch for a separate gallery later with what we see on and inside the bridge. More details on the bridge construction are here; and remember, the big party starts at noon Sunday, dedication 3 pm, street party (with Lucha Libre at 6 pm) continuing into the night. The bridge doesn’t officially open for traffic until Monday, June 30th – four years to the day after the old bridge was closed for good. (Photos by TSPN co-publisher Patrick Sand)

  • June 20, 2014

Duwamish Rowing Club celebration on Saturday

From Carolyn: “Our newest racing 4+, honoring Robert L. McNeil will be dedicated this Saturday, 5 pm.

Join us as we celebrate at our boat house, with a great potluck. Don’t be shy, bring your favorite dish to share with us. We are a family oriented rowing club.

We can be found at S. Elmgrove between 10th Ave S and 12th Ave S., South Park.”

  • June 18, 2014

Boeing shows off restoration work at Plant 2 site

That’s a video by NOAA highlighting restoration work spotlighted this week, as, across the river from South Park, Boeing held an event on Tuesday to show off its work at the former Plant 2 site. As the narrator notes, “there’s more to be done.” The five-acre site now contains “more than 170,000 native plants,” Boeing notes. Here’s a report from KING 5.

  • June 16, 2014

City selling South Park Neighborhood Center building? Tuesday night meeting, and what we’ve found out

A community meeting has been called for 7 pm Tuesday night (June 17th) at the South Park Neighborhood Center to discuss concerns/questions raised by news the city-owned building might be sold.

The mailing-list discussion over the weekend led us to contact city reps on Monday to see what we could find out, since, in our experience covering proposed sales of city-owned properties of various sizes in West Seattle, there is usually a relatively sizable amount of public outreach and notification well before a sale is authorized/made, including solicitation of public comments, announcements through news media, and more, and we hadn’t heard about anything along these lines in this case.

First thing Julie Moore from the city Department of Finance and Administrative Services wanted to clarify was: No sale is pending, and indeed, a lot of public process would ensue before one could be made.

She had a lot more to say, in response to our questions, and pointed to a lot of background information for those interested – bottom line, it’s a complex situation:

The South Park Neighborhood Service Center (SPARC) is one of six City-owned buildings housing private nonprofits through what’s known as a “Mutual and Offsetting Benefit” (MOB) lease. Such leases allow the tenants to pay the City rent, in whole or in part, through the public services they provide. With the exception of the Southeast Seattle Health Clinic, which was built with County bond funds in the late 1980s, these buildings were City-owned facilities that either became surplus in the 1960s or 1970s, or that the City had acquired during the same time period for the specific purpose of having private nonprofits provide social services.

Normally rent pays for building upkeep. That has not been the case with MOBs.

Because MOB tenants’ rent does not cover full maintenance costs, the City has had to utilize other resources, such as the General Fund, to keep its MOB buildings in good repair. For example, in its 2012 proposed budget, FAS included $1.9 million in unprogrammed funds from a property insurance settlement to repair and replace roofs at a number of MOB facilities. This ad hoc funding strategy has resulted in building maintenance deficits, and buildings that are not well suited for the programs they house. Adopted City policy calls for increasing rents to pay for building costs, but rents have never been increased because these tenants have limited ability to absorb a larger share of the rent without needing to cut services to targeted populations

During 2012 budget deliberations, the City Council focused on this problem, and issued a statement of legislative intent (SLI) requesting two reports, the first of which was transmitted to the Council on April 2, 2012, summarizing cost and funding options to complete near-term repairs at City-owned buildings that have MOB tenant leases. The second part of the SLI called for:

“…a review of the present MOB situation, policies for MOB leases, and options for MOB facilities, including disposition of the property to current tenants or entities that would ensure that the buildings continue to be leased to organizations providing a public benefit. This report shall be developed with input from current tenants and be informed by a survey of current MOB tenants to assess their ability to pay the lesser of fair market rent or standard City rent for similar facilities.”

The response to the second half of the SLI request was published Aug. 15, 2013, and you can read it here: clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~CFS/CF_312305.pdf. (Please see page 30 of this document for the April 2, 2012, report mentioned above.)

One of the options identified in the SLI is to transfer buildings to MOB tenant organizations where feasible. That is what we are exploring with the SPARC facility. We are in the very early stages of fact-finding related to a discussion about transferring the building to the Providence Regina House, which runs the food and clothing banks at SPARC. We understand this facility is a beloved part of the community. This is why, as part of this process, we are trying to work with all existing tenants to understand their current programs in the hopes of crafting a “win-win” agreement that will ultimately provide a more functional asset for the community.

You are correct that there is extensive process required by City policy in order to authorize the sale or transfer of City real estate. We don’t know yet whether the kind of “win-win” opportunity we seek is even feasible, and so there is no transfer or sale to propose. Absent such an opportunity, we do not expect to propose the sale of the building in the near future. Therefore, the time is not yet right to gear up a community process. In the event we do identify a “win-win” opportunity, there will absolutely be an outreach process and specific notice to both community organizations (including SPARC tenants) and neighbors. Responses and input provided by the community is part of the information provided to the City Council at the time they begin consideration of a sale.

(The PDF document linked in the third-to-last paragraph above includes a significant amount of background specific to South Park, including correspondence and details of discussions.) Moore also confirmed that city real-estate staff will be at the Tuesday night meeting in South Park.

Meantime, we sent an inquiry to a media liaison for Providence, but have not heard back.

ADDED: Providence has since replied. Bottom line: Same thing the city says – it’s very early in the process.

  • June 11, 2014

South Park Neighborhood Association’s new board

The South Park Neighborhood Association board, newly elected at Tuesday night’s meeting, includes a change at the top: Dagmar Cronn is now past president, with two new co-presidents accepting the baton:

SPNA Board for 2014-2015

Co-President Brooke O’Neill
Co-President Lora Suggs
Vice President Tom Fragasso
Co-Secretary Sera O’Neill
Co-Secretary Irene Stupka
Treasurer Alan Nechols
Director Gloria “Jackie” Jacquemart
Director DeVona Lahrman
Director Monica Lopez
Director Isabel Mireles
Director Peter Khai Nguyen
Director Yami Rios
Director Lashanna Williams

SPNA Representative and Alternate to the Greater Duwamish District Council:
GDDC Representative Brooke O’Neill
GDDC Alternate Dagmar Cronn

SPNA Representative to the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council
SWPAC Representative Betsy McFeely

  • June 10, 2014

Update: Arrest after kidnapping/rape attempt in South Park; suspect’s bail set at $250,000

Just posted to SPD Blotter – a fast-thinking witness helped police catch a suspect after a child was kidnapped and threatened with rape:

Police arrested a 26-year-old man Monday evening for the kidnapping and attempted rape of a 10-year-old girl in (South Park).

The suspect grabbed the girl and dragged her into a wooded area after she asked him for directions to the library. He reportedly ordered the girl to have sex with him or he’d rape her.

A witness driving by saw the girl frantically running from the woods and screaming for help. He pulled over, saw the suspect running away and called 911 to provide a detailed description.

Officers arrived quickly and spotted the suspect near the scene of the crime. He was arrested and booked into King County jail for investigation of kidnapping and rape.

We called SPD to ask more specifics about the location – they say it happened in the 8800 block of 7th Avenue South.

ADDED: Our partners at The Seattle Times report that the 26-year-old suspect was in court Tuesday afternoon for a bail hearing, at which time his bail was set at $250,000. We checked Washington court records and he does not appear to have any prior felony convictions. It will be up to prosecutors to decide – likely by Thursday – whether he will be charged.

  • June 9, 2014

Macklemore kayaks the Duwamish River

Fan of hip-hop star Macklemore? He was out on the river Sunday, kayaking with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, and they’ve published photos via Facebooksee them here.