Kay Gordon, Wedgwood Hero

At the November 4, 2015 Wedgwood Community Council meeting, a tireless volunteer, Kay Gordon, was given the Hero of Wedgwood Award in recognition of her contribution to the betterment of the neighborhood.  Kay Gordon is the founding member of the Wedgwood Garden Group and she loves working with and educating folks about plants.

For the last two years, Kay has organized a plant sale to support Wedgwood’s future park, the former Morningside Electrical Substation site on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 86th Street.  Now known as Morningside or the Picnic Place, the site is owned by the City of Seattle Parks Department.  Wedgwood is waiting for park-site development to be implemented.

Kay worked tirelessly on the plant sales in 2014-2015 and was instrumental in collecting $700 for the park last year and $2000 this year.  She doesn’t ask for personal recognition but rather supports the neighborhood.  Kay Gordon, we salute you:  you are our 2015 Wedgwood Hero!

Meet the Parks Superintendent

Seattle Parks Supt. Jesus Aguirre

In February 2015 former Washington, DC Parks and Recreation chief Jesus Aguirre was nominated to be the new superintendent at Seattle Parks and Recreation.  In recent months the new superintendent has been on a tour of Seattle’s community centers, and November is the month for northeast Seattle.

You can meet Superintendent Aguirre on Tuesday, November 3rd from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave NE. Bring your experience, interest and concerns about Seattle’s Parks and Recreation program to discuss at the November 3rd session.

Other upcoming meetings will be on Saturday, November 14th from 1 to 2:30 PM at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, and Thursday, November 19th from 6:30 to 8 PM at Magnuson/Building 30.

Here is more info about the Superintendent’s Listening Tour.   The public is encouraged to send in questions ahead of meeting with Superintendent Aguirre by tweeting at hashtag #ParkRecSupe and you can also take a survey to give the superintendent info on public perceptions of Seattle’s Parks and Recreation programs.

Scarecrow Mini-Fest at Magnuson

The Magnuson Community Center will have a fall festival of scarecrows on Saturday, September 26 from 11 to 2 at the Children’s Garden, 6344 NE 74th Street.  There will be music, a petting zoo and other children’s activities.

Bring old clothes for your scarecrow to wear, a pillowcase to make its head, and $15 activity fee.  Admission to the Mini-fest is free; there will be food and beverages for sale at this event.

A Walk in Wedgwood with Mayor Murray

Mayor Ed Murray was welcomed to Wedgwood by Brianna McDonald, president of the Wedgwood Community Council (at left), Dass Adams, community council volunteer (in hat) and Jennifer Stormont of the Future of 35th Ave NE committee.

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Mayor Murray of Seattle took a tour of Wedgwood’s commercial intersections along 35th Ave NE to look at issues of building use, pedestrian accessibility, traffic flow and the changes to city zoning requirements which could make for a more shop-able and walkable Wedgwood.

The process of deciding how we can build the future of Wedgwood began with a wake-up call, the “Condo Controversy.”  At a Wedgwood Community Council meeting in 2007, neighbors presented their concerns about a new building to be built at 8606 35th Ave NE.

A former grocery store at 8606 35th Ave NE had, since 1989, been used as the Jewish Community Center (JCC).  By 2007 the JCC was in process of moving out.  The building owner had sold the site to a developer who planned to build a four-story condo building.  We called it the “Condo Controversy” because at that time, even community activists in the Wedgwood Community Council were caught unawares — was it really legal for a four-story building to be built along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood?

Mayor Ed Murray heard about Wedgwood's Future of 35th Ave NE Project from co-chairs Mary Beth O'Neill (left) and Jennifer Stormont.

The community got a chance to catch its breath when the condo project went “on hold” during the economic downturn of 2008-2009.  The Wedgwood Community Council then formed an initiative to take action on land use issues.  In 2009 a committee was formed to apply for grant funding through the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to create a Vision Plan for Wedgwood, completed in 2010.  This plan was in part a survey of how Wedgwoodians see the commercial district evolving and what services, street and land use planning issues are of concern.

The stalled condo project was sold to a different developer who built apartments instead, but using the same floor plans.  The Jasper Apartment building which opened in 2012 was a disappointment to the neighborhood because of the lack of storefronts and street-level interest for pedestrians.  At the street level, the Jasper does not have the built-in space for the venting and mechanical equipment needed by restaurants and coffee shops, so no shops like that will ever be put in.

Building on the Vision Plan and our frustration with our inability to influence the Jasper Apartment project, the next step was to form an alliance with nearby neighborhoods Ravenna-Bryant and Hawthorne Hills to advocate for needed improvements at the commercial intersections along 35th Ave NE.  This process, called the Future of 35th Ave NE Project, held meetings through 2014 and culminated in recommendations which have been presented to the City of Seattle.

Dongho Chang of Seattle Department of Transportation and Mayor Ed Murray discussed traffic and pedestrian issues in Wedgwood.

In 2015 the Future of 35th Ave NE committee representatives have met with members of Seattle City Council to request rezoning of the commercial intersections of 65th, 75th, 85th and 95th along 35th Ave NE, so that controls can be put in place for better buildings.  As buildings age and are replaced at these intersections, zoning can help bring in pedestrian-friendly streetscape in new buildings with storefronts, protected canopy over the sidewalks, and safer driveways into the buildings.

Stay tuned for more reports on the Future of 35th Ave NE process.  After a well-attended meeting on June 24, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development has been taking input and implementing what rezoning could do to insure a walkable, shop-able environment along 35th Ave NE.

Getting more of what we want in Wedgwood’s business district, such as coffee shops, restaurants and small locally-owned businesses, can be helped by rezoning for the kind of buildings that are built in the future of Wedgwood.

In his visit to Wedgwood on August 18, Mayor Ed Murray indicated that Wedgwood could become the model for other neighborhoods in laying a good foundation of community input and planning, and in ensuring that future commercial development projects serve the needs of our neighborhood.

Other participants in the Walk in Wedgwood on August 18 were Ryan Moore of Dept. of Planning and Development (at left) and Chip Nevins of the Parks Dept. (at right.)

Mayor Murray stopped at many points along Wedgwood's commercial district to discuss traffic, zoning and businesses.

Clean-up at Hunter’s

It has been a summer of community action and clean-up in Wedgwood as groups of volunteers have undertaken needed improvements.

Weed-whacking volunteer Tony Frego is a Wedgwood Community Council trustee.

Volunteers from the Wedgwood Community Council and OneLife Church contacted the City of Seattle for needed graffiti removal at Wedgwood’s Future Park, corner of NE 86th Street.  Then the volunteers held a work party on June 27th to create a Picnic Place.

On May 31st Wedgwood’s Scout Troop 166 cut back tree branches and shrubbery along the sidewalk on 35th Ave NE from NE 80th to 81st, including the plantings around the Gateposts of Wedgwood.

The most recent clean-up work was coordinated by Sustainable NE Seattle at the Gathering Place at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, on July 9th, 2015.  This site was first created in 2011 with permission from the Hunter family, to make a usable space for summer activities.

The Gathering Place site can be reserved for birthday parties, summer picnics, etc. by registering with the SusNE site coordinators.  The next public event to be held at the Gathering Place will be Wedgwood Community Council’s Outdoor Cinema on July 25, 2015.

Our thanks to Brooke Richardson for these July 9th work party photos, and thanks to the volunteers of Sustainable NE Seattle and the Wedgwood Community Council.

Grass-cutting and stage repair was done by volunteers at a work party for The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm on July 9, 2015.

Summer Nights 2015: Outdoor Movies at Magnuson

The Summer 2015 schedule of Outdoor Movies at Magnuson Park features big screen flicks, entertainment, trivia and food trucks.

The Outdoor Movies will be held rain or shine, weekly on Thursday evenings from July 9 to August 27, 2015.

Event entry opens at 7 PM for the first six events and 6:30 PM for the last two.

Prizes provided by: Pagliacci PizzaSchwartz Brothers RestaurantsWhole Foods in Roosevelt Square.

PEMCO Seat Upgrade: At each event a lucky winner and their crew will win the PEMCO Seat Upgrade and be treated to an awesome package of treats just in time for the movie!

Cost: Event entry is $5 per person, at the event, for live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, activities and prize raffles. Five and under is free.

Parking: Parking is free. There is a lot to the north of the athletic fields and one to the southeast.  There is limited parking to the west of the athletic fields.

What to Bring: Low back lawn chairs or blankets, friends, family, dogs and money for fun and food.

Times: Seating opens at 7 PM for the first six events and 6:30 PM for the last two. Entertainment and trivia times vary. Movies show at dusk.

Food Trucks: Seattle’s best food trucks will sell hot food,  snacks, kettle corn, sweet treats, ice cream and more.   Come hungry and get your grub on before the movie.  Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Live Acts: TBA

Trivia: Movie trivia gets you thinking before each film and offers the chance to win great prizes.

Dog Friendly: Well behaved dogs and owners are always welcome.

Location / Directions: The entrance to the Seattle’s Magnuson Park is at 7400 Sand Point Way NE -or- NE 65th St. and Sand Point Way NE.  The outdoor cinema takes place in the grass athletic fields with lots of room for blankets, chairs and comfortable viewing.

Rain or Shine: All of the outdoor movies at Magnuson are rain or shine.

Wedgwood’s Picnic Place

Wedgwood Community Council President Brianna McDonald had a helper at the Work Party.

While we wait for park development to begin, the Wedgwood Community Council has taken initiative to make Wedgwood’s Future Park into a usable space.  On Saturday, June 27, volunteers from the Wedgwood Community Council and OneLife Church put their backs into it to create a picnic area at the corner of NE 86th Street.

Wedgwood Community Council trustee Gordon Dass Adams submitted the application for a neighborhood matching grant to Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, for this picnic area in the center of the Future Park.  Now when the food truck is on-site (Tuesday through Saturday evenings) people can use the space to sit and eat.

Our thanks to the volunteers from Wedgwood Community Council and OneLife Church. Despite the prospect of sore backs, arms, and shoulders from shoveling wood chips and hoisting picnic tables into place, all the volunteers can have the satisfaction of knowing that they helped to build our community.

Picnic tables are now in place at Wedgwood's Future Park.

Wedgwood Community Council trustee Tony Frego coordinated the supplies needed for the Work Party.

Pastor Rich Sclafani of OneLife Church arranged to obtain picnic tables and bring them to the site.

Wedgwood Community Council Gordon Dass Adams wrote the application to grant funding for the Picnic Place.

Wedgwood Community Council volunteer Peter Zimmerman gets into shoveling.

Weed removal and general clean-up was done by volunteers including Wedgwood Community Council trustee Gretchen Bear.

A Summer of Practical Action

The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm was created by a grant-funded project in 2011.

The Hunter Tree Farm Gathering Place (HFGP) at 7744 35th Ave NE is a usable public space created in cooperation with the site owners, the Hunter family.  The HFGP needs its summer sprucing up!  Make your summer a time of practical action at  the work party at Hunter’s on Thursday evening, July 9th, from 6:30 to 9 PM.

We will meet to weed, mow, fix, and the likes, to get the HFGP ready to be used for the community’s summer events, like the Wedgwood Outdoor Cinema coming up on July 25th.

Bring your work gloves and any tools you might use for yard work.  Building skills are sought for stage repair.

The work party will be hosted by Sustainable Northeast Seattle.  Take a look at the other Summer of Practical Action events such as a Rainwise workshop and a night of Wedgwood Meaningful Movies.

Fun at the Future Park

In November 2013 a building at 8605 35th Ave NE was demolished to clear the site for park acquisition.

When will Wedgwood’s new park be built at the vacant corner of NE 86th Street?  Thanks to grass-roots volunteer efforts in Wedgwood, the site is “land banked” while waiting for development as a pocket park.

Through volunteer efforts this year, arrangements were made for a food truck on-site, and volunteers have monitored and cleaned up trash and graffiti.

Everyone is invited to join in the fun this Saturday morning, June 27th at 8 AM for a Work Party at Wedgwood’s Future Park. It is requested that volunteers bring rakes and shovels.  Coffee and donuts will be available for the work party!

Volunteers will level the center space of the lot, put down weed barrier and spread mulch.   The final touch will be the placing of picnic tables which have been donated by OneLife Church.  The Wedgwood Community Council has applied for a SPARKS grant (Department of Neighborhoods) which will be used to at least partially reimburse OneLife for the picnic tables.  Other donations from members of the community are welcomed.

The site at the corner of NE 86th Street has a sign to indicate that it is Wedgwood's future park.

If time permits, the volunteers will clean up some of the junk that has accumulated in the wood chip area near the back fence of the park.

Come on out to the Work Party at 8 AM on Saturday, June 27th, where you can get to know community activists from the Wedgwood Community Council and the volunteers from OneLife.

This project is funded in part by a Neighborhood Matching Fund award from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.  

Pre-Fourth Celebration at Magnuson

Kick off your summer with the Pre-Fourth-of-July Celebration at Magnuson Park, in the amphitheater next to the Children’s Garden, on Friday evening, June 26th, 6 to 8:30 PM.

Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner, and top it off with ice cream in the park available for $1 per person.  There will be a bluegrass music program from The Weevils and time for kids to explore the Children’s Garden area, located behind the Brig.