Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Highlights from Reclaiming Lake City Parks Meeting

Those attending Monday's meeting shared common concerns with Lake City parks: negative experiences, perceptions of drugs, inebriation,crime, feeling like the neighborhood is in crisis mode - which leads to planning around nuisance behaviors rather than planning for positive events.  Residents are driving outside of Lake City for community space, rather than staying here.  Much of the discussion was specific to Virgil Flaim Park, however, many of the safety and action items can be applied to other area parks & playgrounds.

According to city attorney liaison, Jana Jorgason, there were only nine 911calls from  Virgil Flaim Park in the last year.  Meeting participants immediately disagreed based on their own experiences making calls. Action items from the discussion include:
Call911 for any suspicious or criminal behavior. When you do:
  • Ask for the event number & record it. (Incident numbers are only created if an officer responds and writes a report, but event numbers are recorded when a call is received.)
  • Don’t be disappointed if officers don’t respond immediately; all calls are logged and that information is used to deploy future resources.
  • Give the exact address of the park.  (Issues with inaccuracies in the number of logged 911 calls may be related to differing addresses being given.)
Virgil Flaim Park  2750 NE 125th St
Albert Davis Park  12526 27th Ave. NE
  • Alcohol is not allowed in Seattle public parks - so any drinking can be called in.
  • Meeting participants asked for a copy of the questions 911 operators ask  - this will make it easier for residents to anticipate & answer questions when calling.
  • Do not be discouraged by laissez-faire police response. In fact, if you are treated discourteously, contact a supervisor.
Establish a community Block Watch in properties surrounding parks. (Seattle Neighborhood Group can help with this.)
CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) for Virgil Flaim Park
Changes to property can help address problems. For Virgil Flaim, this requires coordination with Lake City Prof.Center and Dept. of Parks &Rec.  Lorig Properties, which operates the Lake City Prof. Center noted their budget is currently on hold as they negotiate the sale of the property with Seattle Public Schools (read more about the history & ownership of the property here). Suggested changes:
  • Cut back laurel hedge to improve sight lines and remove hiding areas.
  • Thin trees on NE corner
  • Improve lighting
  • Adding a kiosk to promote park activities
  • Temporarily removing BBQ’s to see if it alters behaviors
Activating parks helps push out problem behaviors by providing positive opportunities. Partnerships with Lake City Community Center or Meadowbrook Community Center were suggested.  SmallSparks grants for up to $1,000 are also available to help with this, and community volunteer hours count as matching funds at a rate of $20/hr per person.
  • Ice cream socials
  • Kite-making at community center with kite-flying at park
  • Health & fitness programming
  • Outdoor movies
  • Weekly neighborhood sporting events, such as volleyball, kickball, or badminton
  • Music series
  • Family potlucks
  • Crafts
Katie Gray, Department of Parks & Recreation, North Manager, 206-684-4561
Peggy Pullen, Department of Parks & Recreation, Maintenance
Thomas Whittemore, Department of Neighborhoods, North District Coordinator, 206-684-4096
Kelly McKinney, Seattle Neighborhood Group, 206-323-9666
Seattle Police Department (SPD) representative was not able to attend.
Several follow-up questions will be addressed to SPD & we will report back the answers.

People participate in the meeting at the Lake City branch of the Public Library

Meeting summary courtesy Families for Lake City. If you don't follow them you should, they are a fantastic neighborhood source of information. You can find them on Facebook here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the follow up. I had a work event and couldn't make it but I like all the ideas for bettering the park. The sightlines issue seems really key -- that park is so hidden, I never even knew it existed for a couple of years after living here -- even after driving right by it numerous times. Is there a way to open it up on the other side as well (the 28th Ave/Dick's Drive in side)?


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