Thursday, February 7, 2013

You know you're from Lake City when....

The Olympic Hills Polo Club as seen in 1935.

People in Lake City are a bit tough on their neighborhood. Sure we have some serious problems in our community and we seem to be the contemporary Northeast playground for the vices of Seattle.

Also, many here have a perception that folks down in Queen Anne, Madison Valley and Ballard see us as a sketchy neighborhood lined with asphalt car sales lots, strip clubs and weed shops. (Obviously some of that is true.)

But there is so much more to Lake City than many of those tired sterotypes.

The Facebook Group "You Know You're From Lake City" helps longtime residents wax nostalgic and share stories about our community. The group is also an effective way for newer residents to learn about some of the history of the neighborhood.

True to Lake City form, there is some occasional odd content posted there, but amid posts from people upset at how the neighborhood has changed and people posting about Lake City crime, there are some real gems, such as this historic photo above of the Olympic Hills Polo Club.

Member of the group post photos, anecdotes and commentary about the LC.

You can view or ask to join the Facebook Group by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lake City community calendar to connect, inform LC residents

Today (Feb. 6th) the Lake City Library hosts 'Valentines Crafts' at 1:30. Tomorrow (Feb 7th) a 'Senior Dance Around' will be held at the Community Center at high noon.

These are among the events produced by neighborhood organizations here in our community. But as we all know, getting word out about events can be a challenge in our community.

In our continued effort to keep Lake City residents connected and informed, today we debut the new Lake City Community Calendar.

This Google-based calendar features the feeds from the Lake City Library, the Lake City Community Center's new web calendar, Familes for Lake City's calendar, Lake City Neighborhood Alliance's calendar, and Douglas Park Cooperative's calendar.

While there may be a bit of overlap on some events, especially meetings, we will be working to improve the information featured here. This calendar is available on the right column of the Douglas Park Cooperative website or here in this blog post

If you know of other Lake City community-based organizations that use Google for their calendar, let us know and we may also feature their posts on this new community calendar.

Posts in brown are from the Lake City Community Center, posts in light blue are from the Lake City Library, posts in dark blue are from Families for Lake City, posts in green are from Douglas Park Cooperative.

You can paste the code below to embed the calendar shown above (month format) on your own website:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seattle Public Schools Levies Offer Significant Improvements to Greater Lake City Neighborhood Schools

Note: The following post was guest-written by a member of our community.

If passed, the Olympic Hills Elementary building will be replaced and expanded

Seattle voters recently received ballots in the mail for the renewal of two property-tax levies. The levies, which are the only measures on the ballot, will help bridge state funding gaps and support facility improvements for Seattle Public Schools

These levies, if passed, would have a significant impact on the Lake City neighborhood because they would fund two new, expanded replacement school buildings on the sites of Olympic Hills Elementary and Pinehurst Elementary.

They would also provide for earthquake safety improvements for Jane Addams, Rogers Elementary, and Sacajawea Elementary buildings.
Click map for larger

Proposition 1: a $551.9 million Operations Levy, will provide funding for approximately 27 percent of Seattle Public School’s operating budget over the next three years. The school levy will help fund teachers’ salaries, textbooks, transportation, a sixth period for high school, security and special-education programs, among other day-to-day costs not fully funded by the State.

Proposition 2: the $694.9 million Capital Levy (BEX IV), will provide necessary funding to maintain, improve and expand school buildings. In 2007, voters approved the BEX III capital levy that improved district buildings, infrastructure and classroom technology. Every project in BEX III came in on time and within the budget. The renewal of the BEX Capital Levy will replace or renovate school buildings, many of which are more than 50 years old. Additionally, the levy will provide funding for new schools and school expansions in response to increased enrollment in recent years. Within the past year, enrollment has increased by about 1,400 students and an additional 7,000 students are anticipated over the next decade.

The BEX IV Capital Levy will also continue to provide earthquake retrofits for 37 schools that do not meet updated safety standards.

Further, BEX IV will build additional lunchrooms, new science labs and improved outdoor athletic facilities. All schools are slated to receive technology upgrades that include wireless internet access and improve accounting systems

Both propositions are renewals of existing levies. If approved, these levies would cost the owner of a $400,000 home $13 a month over what the homeowner pays on the expiring levies

Below is more specific information about projects the levies will fund across the district:

Monday, February 4, 2013

School Levies and their impact on Lake City

Our friends at Families for Lake City have put together a post that explains the significant improvements Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 will have on Seattle Public Schools in Lake City and Northeast Seattle.

The Building Excellence (BEX) Capital Levy (Prop 2) and the Operations Levy (Prop 1) will bring much-needed improvements to our neighborhood schools. Families for Lake City and Douglas Park Cooperative both ask you to vote YES for Proposition 1 and YES for Proposition 2 to help improve and invest in our community schools.

If approved, these two levies will be a continuation of expiring levies. If approved, these levies would cost the owner of a $400,000 home $13 a month over what the homeowner pays on the expiring levies. A simple summary of the two levies is available here.

Below Families for Lake City explains how these levies will impact individual schools in Lake City.
What do these levies mean for Lake City area schools?
The Capital Levy (Prop 2) will help fund new construction and safety improvements at multiple Lake City area schools. The Seattle School District is facing severe capacity shortages, particularly in our NE corner of Seattle, just based on current enrollment. With projected enrollment included, the capacity issues worsen.  Without Prop 2 passing, we’ll see Lake City schools overcrowded and thriving programs dislocated or disbanded altogether.
The Operations Levy (Prop 1) provides crucial support for everything from textbooks and transportation to student activities and support for bilingual and special education students.
With schools bursting at the seams, whether or not the levies pass, the following Lake City area schools will be impacted:

Olympic Hills Elementary
If the Capital Improvement Levy passes, Olympic Hills Elementary will receive a rebuilt and expanded school.  The Olympic Hills program would temporarily re-locate during construction – either to the currently closed Cedar Park site, or to another location. If the capital levy does not pass, Olympic Hills will not be rebuilt. Instead, neighbors would likely see a slew of portables added to house more students, putting additional strain on the school’s small infrastructure.

Cedar Park
The Cedar Park site formerly housed a neighborhood elementary school, but has been leased to an artist cooperative for the last 30 years. Regardless of whether the levy passes or not, the school district plans to re-open this site. At a recent community meeting, Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, presented two scenarios: 1) if the levy passes, Cedar Park will be used as an interim site for Olympic Hills, then reopened as a permanent school, 2) if the levy fails, the district will need to reopen the school as soon as it can be made ready; a time crunch that will limit the district’s flexibility with how to redevelop the site.

Jane Addams
To relieve overcrowding at Eckstein Middle School, the district will begin a comprehensive middle school at the Jane Addams site in fall of 2014, called Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS).  Currently, the Jane Addams site houses the Jane Addams K-8 option program (JAK8). It’s expected that these two programs may be co-housed at the site for one or more years.
If the Capital Levy passes, the JAK8 program will be permanently relocated to a new facility at the existing Pinehurst site by 2017. If it doesn’t pass, it’s unclear what will happen to the JAK8 program.
With JAMS will come a new middle school feeder pattern, with Olympic Hills, John Rogers and Sacajawea feeding into JAMS instead of Eckstein. This has raised equity concerns, as these elementary schools have much higher concentrations of low-income students than the elementary schools which will remain in the Eckstein feeder pattern. In a meeting last week, the School Board voted 4-3 to wait until 2014 to open JAMS in order to allow adequate planning time to address these concerns and bring this new school online.

If the levy passes, the existing Pinehurst site will have a new facility built on it to house JAK8. District plans for the existing Pinehurst K-8 program aren’t specified, but the possibility of relocating it to the Cedar Park site was mentioned at the Cedar Park community meeting with Pegi McEvoy.
If the levy doesn’t pass, the Pinehurst program may experience even more radical changes. It’s unclear what the district would do to relieve capacity issues, but almost certainly the Pinehurst site would get more students than it currently does.

John Rogers, Sacajawea & Jane Addams
If the levy passes, these three schools will receive important seismic upgrades to improve earthquake safety.

In addition to benefiting Lake City area schools with new construction and seismic upgrades, these levies will also fund sorely needed projects in other areas of Seattle, such as replacement of the severely dilapidated Arbor Heights building.  If approved, these levies would equate to a $13/month increase for the owner of a $400,000 home. The following chart provides a comparison of how Seattle’s education levy tax rate stacks up against other cities:
*Levy rate chart available via
**Note:  With any school construction, the school district will work with the City of Seattle to address neighborhood impacts following SEPA and best practice protocols for community involvement.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Neighbor Appreciation Day, February 9th

Saturday, February 9, 2013, marks Seattle's 19th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day.

This is a day when we can reach out, create new bonds, and express thanks to those who live or work around us.

The celebration began in 1995 when Phinney Ridge activist Judith Wood suggested that the City designate "a special day to celebrate the goodness in those around us and to reach out and strengthen our bonds to each other."

Seattle Mayor Norm Rice then proclaimed the Saturday before Valentine's Day as Neighbor Appreciation Day. The observance has grown every year since.

So what can you do on Neighbor Appreciation Day?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Plan an activity for your neighborhood such as a block party, potluck, or work party. This website provides ideas, tools, resources, and templates to help community members organize an activity. Once scheduled, the event can be posted to the events calendar
  • Attend one of the many community activities listed on the events calendar. Many Seattle Fire stations along with Seattle parks and neighborhoods are hosting celebrations and work parties.
  • Send Neighbor Appreciation Day e-cards to your neighbors. The selection features artwork from past winners of the Neighbor Appreciation Day Student Art Contest.
  • Share a story or two about your favorite neighbors. Community members can post stories about great neighbors or their neighborhood.
  • Share the photos of your activity with us on flickr.